The utility of Plasmodium berghei as a rodent model for anti-merozoite malaria vaccine assessment.
Goodman AL., Forbes EK., Williams AR., Douglas AD., de Cassan SC., Bauza K., Biswas S., Dicks MDJ., Llewellyn D., Moore AC., Janse CJ., Franke-Fayard BM., Gilbert SC., Hill AVS., Pleass RJ., Draper SJ.
Rodent malaria species Plasmodium yoelii and P. chabaudi have been widely used to validate vaccine approaches targeting blood-stage merozoite antigens. However, increasing data suggest the P. berghei rodent malaria may be able to circumvent vaccine-induced anti-merozoite responses. Here we confirm a failure to protect against P. berghei, despite successful antibody induction against leading merozoite antigens using protein-in-adjuvant or viral vectored vaccine delivery. No subunit vaccine approach showed efficacy in mice following immunization and challenge with the wild-type P. berghei strains ANKA or NK65, or against a chimeric parasite line encoding a merozoite antigen from P. falciparum. Protection was not improved in knockout mice lacking the inhibitory Fc receptor CD32b, nor against a Δsmac P. berghei parasite line with a non-sequestering phenotype. An improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for protection, or failure of protection, against P. berghei merozoites could guide the development of an efficacious vaccine against P. falciparum.