Efficient Measurement of Opsonising Antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum Merozoites

Danika L. Hill, Emily M. Eriksson, Amandine B. Carmagnac, Danny W. Wilson, Alan F. Cowman, Diana S. Hansen, Louis Schofield

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Antibodies targeting merozoites are important in protection from malaria. Therefore, merozoite surface proteins are attractive vaccine candidates. There is a need for robust functional assays to investigate mechanisms of acquired immunity and vaccine efficacy. To date, the study of merozoite phagocytosis has been confounded by the complexity and variability of in vitro assays. Methodology/Principal findings: We have developed a new flow cytometry-based merozoite phagocytosis assay. An optimized merozoite preparation technique produced high yields of merozoites separated from haemozoin. Phagocytosis by the undifferentiated THP-1 monocytic cell line was mediated only by Fc Receptors, and was therefore ideal for studying opsonising antibody responses. The assay showed robust phagocytosis with highly diluted immune sera and strong inter-assay correlation. The assay effectively measured differences in opsonisation-dependent phagocytosis among individuals. Conclusions/Significance: This highly reproducible assay has potential applications in assessing the role of opsonic phagocytosis in naturally acquired immunity and vaccine trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51692
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

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