Structure of the malaria vaccine candidate Pfs48/45 and its recognition by transmission blocking antibodies.
Ko K-T., Lennartz F., Mekhaiel D., Guloglu B., Marini A., Deuker DJ., Long CA., Jore MM., Miura K., Biswas S., Higgins MK.
An effective malaria vaccine remains a global health priority and vaccine immunogens which prevent transmission of the parasite will have important roles in multi-component vaccines. One of the most promising candidates for inclusion in a transmission-blocking malaria vaccine is the gamete surface protein Pfs48/45, which is essential for development of the parasite in the mosquito midgut. Indeed, antibodies which bind Pfs48/45 can prevent transmission if ingested with the parasite as part of the mosquito bloodmeal. Here we present the structure of full-length Pfs48/45, showing its three domains to form a dynamic, planar, triangular arrangement. We reveal where transmission-blocking and non-blocking antibodies bind on Pfs48/45. Finally, we demonstrate that antibodies which bind across this molecule can be transmission-blocking. These studies will guide the development of future Pfs48/45-based vaccine immunogens.