• Interaction of PfEMP1 with the Human Immune System and the Prospect of PfEMP1-based Vaccine for Malaria

      St. John, Paul; Elliott, David; Magale, Hussein Issak; Lybarger, Lonnie; Ernst, Kacey (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      Malaria is a leading cause of death in some developing countries. The malaria parasite has been around for over a century, and has coevolved with humans. Coming up with an effective vaccine for P. falciparum will save millions of lives and reduce the morbidity and mortality of malaria globally. Understanding the role of exported parasite proteins i.e PfEMP1 a virulence factor and major cause of malarial pathogenesis, has been of great interest to vaccine researchers in the last decade. The focus of this review is to provide a literature review on PfEMP1s, their interaction with the human immune system, and their role in helping P. falciparum parasite to evade the immune system. This review will primarily focus on the intra-erythrocytic stage, which is the stage that results in the symptoms of malaria. A review is necessary to understand the antigenic variation of PfEMP1s, and how PfEMP1s challenge the different arms of the immune response, both the innate and adaptive. This review is unique in touching on the major parts of the immune system's interaction with the PfEMP1 antigen. Furthermore, the review explores the discussion of future research and therapeutic opportunities based on our knowledge of PfEMP1 antigens.