Background. Malaria pathogenicity is determined, in part, by the adherence of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes to the microvasculature mediated via specific interactions between PfEMP1 variant domains to host endothelial receptors. Naturally acquired antibodies against specific PfEMP1 variants can play an important role in clinical protection against malaria. Methods. We evaluated IgG responses against a repertoire of PfEMP1 CIDR domain variants to determine the rate and order of variant-specific antibody acquisition and their association with protection against febrile malaria in a prospective cohort study conducted in an area of intense, seasonal malaria transmission. Results. Using longitudinal data, we found that IgG to the pathogenic domain variants CIDRα1.7 and CIDRα1.8 were acquired the earliest. Furthermore, IgG to CIDRγ3 was associated with reduced prospective risk of febrile malaria and recurrent malaria episodes. Conclusion. This study provides evidence that acquisition of IgG antibodies to PfEMP1 variants is ordered and demonstrates that antibodies to CIDRα1 domains are acquired the earliest in children residing in an area of intense, seasonal malaria transmission. Future studies will need to validate these findings in other transmission settings and determine the functional activity of these naturally acquired CIDR variant-specific antibodies. Funding. Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health.
Nyamekye Obeng-Adjei, Daniel B. Larremore, Louise Turner, Aissata Ongoiba, Shanping Li, Safiatou Doumbo, Takele B. Yazew, Kassoum Kayentao, Louis H Miller, Boubacar Traore, Susan K. Pierce, Caroline O. Buckee, Thomas Lavstsen, Peter D. Crompton, Tuan M. Tran