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March 2023

A human antibody epitope map of Pfs230D1 derived from analysis of individuals vaccinated with a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine.

Tang WK, Coelho CH, Miura K, Nguemwo Tentokam BC, Salinas ND, Narum DL, Healy SA, Sagara I, Long CA, Duffy PE, Tolia NH.

Immunity. 2023 Feb 14;56(2):433-443.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2023.01.012. PMID: 36792576.


Pfs230 domain 1 (Pfs230D1) is an advanced malaria transmission-blocking vaccine antigen demonstrating high functional activity in clinical trials. However, the structural and functional correlates of transmission-blocking activity are not defined. Here, we characterized a panel of human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs) elicited in vaccinees immunized with Pfs230D1.  These hmAbs exhibited diverse transmission-reducing activity, yet all bound to Pfs230D1 with nanomolar affinity. We compiled epitope-binning data for seventeen hmAbs and structures of nine hmAbs complexes to construct a high-resolution epitope map and revealed that potent transmission-reducing hmAbs bound to one face of Pfs230D1, while non-potent hmAbs bound to the opposing side. The structure of Pfs230D1D2 revealed that non-potent transmission-reducing epitopes were occluded by the second domain. The mAb epitope map delineated binary hmAb combinations that synergized for extremely high-potency, transmission-reducing activity. This work provides a high-resolution guide for structure-based design of enhanced immunogens and informs diagnostics that measure the transmission-reducing response.