Background. GMZ2 is a hybrid protein consisting of the N-terminal region of the glutamate-rich protein fused in frame to the C-terminal region of merozoite surface protein 3 (MSP3). GMZ2 formulated in Al(OH)3 has been tested in 3 published phase 1 clinical trials. The GMZ2/alum formulation showed good safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity, but whether antibodies elicited by vaccination are functional is not known. Methods. Serum samples prior to vaccination and 4 weeks after the last vaccination from the 3 clinical trials were used to perform a comparative assessment of biological activity against Plasmodium falciparum. Results. We showed that the maximum level of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies obtained by GMZ2 vaccination is independent of ethnicity, time under malaria-exposure, and vaccine dose and that GMZ2 elicits high levels of functionally active IgG antibodies. Both, malaria-naive adults and malaria-exposed preschool children elicit vaccine-specific antibodies with broad inhibitory activity against geographically diverse P. falciparum isolates. Peptide-mapping studies of IgG subclass responses identified IgG3 against a peptide derived from MSP3 as the strongest predictor of antibody-dependent cellular inhibition. Conclusions. These findings suggest that GMZ2 adjuvanted in Al(OH)3 elicits high levels of specific and functional antibodies with the capacity to control parasite multiplication.
Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2013, Vol 208, Issue 3, p. 479-88