Journal article

CSP--a model for in vivo presentation of Plasmodium berghei sporozoite antigens by hepatocytes

One target of protective immunity against the Plasmodium liver stage in BALB/c mice is represented by the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), and mainly involves its recognition by IFN-γ producing specific CD8+T-cells. In a previous in vitro study we showed that primary hepatocytes from BALB/c mice process Plasmodium berghei (Pb) CSP (PbCSP) and present CSP-derived peptides to specific H-2k(d) restricted CD8+T-cells with subsequent killing of the presenting cells. We now extend these observations to an in vivo infection model in which infected hepatocytes and antigen specific T-cell clones are transferred into recipient mice inducing protection from sporozoite (SPZ) challenge. In addition, using a similar protocol, we suggest the capacity of hepatocytes in priming of naïve T-cells to provide protection, as further confirmed by induction of protection after depletion of cross-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) by cytochrome c (cyt c) treatment or using traversal deficient parasites. Our results clearly show that hepatocytes present Plasmodium CSP to specific-primed CD8+T-cells, and could also prime naïve T-cells, leading to protection from infection. These results could contribute to a better understanding of liver stage immune response and design of malaria vaccines.


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