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Cyclic constrained immunoreactive peptides from crucial P. falciparum proteins: potential implications in malaria diagnostics

      Malaria is still a global challenge with significant morbidity and mortality, especially in the African, South-East Asian, and Latin American regions. Malaria diagnosis is a crucial pillar in the control and elimination efforts, often accomplished by the administration of mass-scale Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). The inherent limitations of RDTs- insensitivity in scenarios of low transmission settings and deletion of one of the target proteins- Histidine rich protein 2/3 (HRP-2/3) are evident from multiple reports, thus necessitating the need to explore novel diagnostic tools/targets. The present study used peptide microarray to screen potential epitopes from 13 antigenic proteins (CSP, EXP1, LSA1, TRAP, AARP, AMA1, GLURP, MSP1, MSP2, MSP3, MSP4, P48/45, HAP2) of P. falciparum. Three cyclic constrained immunoreactive peptides- C6 (EXP1), A8 (MSP2), B7 (GLURP) were identified from 5458 cyclic constrained peptides (in duplicate) against P. falciparum-infected sera. Peptides (C6, A8, B7- cyclic constrained) and (G11, DSQ, NQN- corresponding linear peptides) were fairly immunoreactive towards P. falciparum-infected sera in dot-blot assay. Using direct ELISA, cyclic constrained peptides (C6 and B7) were found to be specific to P. falciparum-infected sera. A substantial number of samples were tested and the peptides successfully differentiated the P. falciparum positive and negative samples with high confidence. In conclusion, the study identified 3 cyclic constrained immunoreactive peptides (C6, B7, and A8) from P. falciparum secretory/surface proteins and further validated for diagnostic potential of 2 peptides (C6 and B7) with field-collected P. falciparum-infected sera samples.

      Abbreviations:

      CSP (circumsporozoite protein), EXP1 (exported protein 1), LSA1 (liver stage antigen 1), TRAP (thromobospondin-related anonymous protein), AARP (apical asparagine rich protein), GLURP (glutamate rich protein), MSP1 (merozoite surface protein 1), MSP2 (merozoite surface protein 2), MSP3 (merozoite surface protein 3), MSP4 (merozoite surface protein 4)
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