Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) have been raised against Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte stage protein extracts, in an effort to identify novel parasite antigens that might mediate malaria transmission-blocking immunity. mAb 1A1 identified Pfs2400, a sexual stage-specific antigen of greater than 2 megadaltons, that is associated with the outer leaflet of the parasitophorous vacuole membrane in mature circulating gametocyte-infected red blood cells. Upon induction of gametogenesis, Pfs2400 partitions between the gamete plasmalemma and the degenerating erythrocyte membrane. The antigen is no longer detectable in the fully emerged gamete. mAb 1A1 dramatically reduces the number of oocysts formed in P. falciparum gametocyte-fed mosquitoes. The cognate antigen is probably the product of the Pf11.1 gene (Scherf et al. 1988. EMBO [Eur. Mol. Biol. Organ.]J. 7:1129) on the basis that a peptide composed of two copies of the degenerate nine amino acid repeat sequence in the Pf11.1 protein, can inhibit binding of mAb1A1 to the native antigen. The mechanism of transmission inhibition mediated by the Pfs2400 is discussed.

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