HLA-A*201 restricted CD8+ T-lymphocyte responses to malaria: identification of new Plasmodium falciparum epitopes by IFN-g ELISPOT
The role of antigen specific CD8 T-lymphocytes in mediating protection against sporozoite-induced malaria has been well established in murine models. In humans, indirect evidence has accumulated suggesting a similar protective role for antigen-specific CD8 T-lymphocytes. Nevertheless, the low frequency of circulating specific cells together with the lack of sensitive methods to quantify them has hampered the direct assessment of their function. Using a combination of short-term cell culture and IFN-g ELISPOT, we studied CD8 T-lymphocyte responses to a panel of HLA-A*0201 binding peptides. In addition to confirming the response to already described epitopes, we also identified five new CD8 T-lymphocyte epitopes. These epitopes are presented in pre-erythrocytic stages gene products of Plasmodium falciparum 7G8 strain and correspond to the following protein segments: circumsporozoite (CS) 64-72, 104-113, 299-308 and 403-411; liver stage antigen (LSA-1) repeat region; sporozoite surface protein 2 or thrombospondin related anonymous protein (SSP2/TRAP) 78±88 and 504±513. Four of these peptides are conserved mongst all published sequences of P. falciparum strains. We conclude that the modified IFN-g ELISPOT assay is a sensitive technique to monitor antigen-speci®c CD8 T-lymphocyte responses in human malaria which may help in the improvement and assessment of the efficacy of malaria subunit vaccines.