Antigenic variation is a common feature in malaria parasites and a considerable challenge facing the development of an efficient vaccine. The expression of variant antigens on the surface of the infected red blood cell plays a role in immune evasion, sequestration and the associated pathology. There are a number of multigene families in Plasmodium that code for these variant antigens and are targets for protective immunity. Recently, a new gene family (vir) coding for a variant surface antigen has been identified in P. vivax. Homologues of vir have now been identified in a number of other malaria parasites. Using the availability of suitable model systems we propose to study the expression of vir and investigate host immunity. This information will then be used to establish and test a suitable approach for a vir based malaria vaccine.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
2288 GJ Rijswijk Zh
2300 RC Leiden
G12 8QQ Glasgow