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Many viral coat proteins retain the ability to assemble into virus-like particles when produced as recombinant proteins. These small particles are highly immunogenic, and in many cases can be used to carry epitopes or antigens from other pathogens. Most particle-forming proteins can tolerate only small additions or alterations to their sequence, but Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) and the yeast-derived Ty particle are exceptionel in their ability to form particles with long N- or C-terminal extensions. Both have been used to produce hybrid particles carrying Plasmodium sequences. These have been shown to be highly immunogenic in animal studies and also in human phase I trials, in the case of HBsAg. Recently, six out of seven human volunteers were protected against sporozoite challenge by a recombinant HBsAg particle vaccine, the most encouraging result to date for any pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine. Here, Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill review the prospects for the future development of protein particle vaccines against malaria.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Parasitol Today

Publication Date

08/1997

Volume

13

Pages

302 - 306