We show here an effective and novel approach to engineer peptide-based vaccines using a chemically defined system, known as multiple peptide antigen systems (MAPs), to protect an inbred mouse strain from infection against rodent malaria. 10 mono- and di-epitope MAP models containing different arrangements and stoichiometry of functional B and/or T helper cell epitopes from the circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium berghei were used to immunize A/J mice. While these mice did not respond to the mono-epitope MAP bearing only the B or T epitope, very high titers of antibody and protective immunity against sporozoite challenge were elicited by di-epitope MAPs, particularly those with the B and T epitopes in tandem and present in equimolar amounts. These results, obtained in a well-defined rodent malaria model, indicate that MAPs may overcome some of the difficulties in the development of synthetic vaccines, not only for malaria but also for other infectious diseases.

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