Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Cloning and expression in E. coli of the malarial sporozoite surface antigen gene from Plasmodium knowlesi


The malarial sporozoite, the infective stage found in the salivary gland of the insect vector, bears highly immunogenic surface antigen(s). Repeated exposure to irradiated sporozoites induces protection against malaria in several host species, including man1. Further, monoclonal antibodies that confer passive immunity react with the immunogenic surface determinants of different sporozoite species2–4. One approach to prevent malaria, therefore, would be to produce a vaccine that induces high titres of circulating antibodies against the sporozoite surface determinant(s). However, production of such a vaccine has not been possible since sporozoites cannot be cultivated in vitro and, therefore, only limited amounts of surface antigen may be obtained. To overcome this problem, we have prepared mRNA from Plasmodium knowlesi-infected mosquitoes to construct a cDNA library. From this library we have isolated a clone that expresses the sporozoite surface antigen as a β-lactamase fusion protein in the plasmid pBR322. This is the first potentially protective malarial antigen to be cloned by recombinant DNA technology.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Nussenzweig, R. S. in Immunity to Blood Parasites of Animals and Man (eds Miller, L., Pino, J. & McKelvey, J.) 75–87 (Plenum, New York, 1977).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Yoshida, N., Nussenzweig, R. S., Potocnjak, P., Nussenzweig, V. & Aikawa, M. O. Science 207, 71–73 (1980).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Cochrane, A., Santoro, F., Nussenzweig, V., Gwadz, R. & Nussenzweig, R. S. Proc natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 79, 5651–5655 (1982).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Nardin, E. H. et al. J. exp. Med. 156, 20–30 (1982).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Aviv, H. & Leder, P. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 69, 1408–1412 (1972).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Roman, R., Brooker, J. D., Seal, S. N. & Marcus, A. Nature 260, 359–360 (1978).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Steiner, D. F. et al. Prog. Cell Biol. 4, 175–202 (1980).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Cochrane, A. H., Nussenzweig, R. S. & Nardin, E. H. in Malaria Vol. 3 (ed. Kreier, J.) 163–202 (Academic, New York, 1980).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  9. Efstratiadis, A., Kafatos, F. C., Maxam, A. M. & Maniatis, T. Cell 7, 279–288 (1976).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Villa-Komaroff, L. et al. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 75, 3727–3721 (1978).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Dagert, M. & Erlich, S. D. Gene 6, 23–28 (1979).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Zavala, F., Gwadz, R. S., Collins, F. H., Nussenzweig, R. S. & Nussenzweig, V. Nature 299, 737–738 (1982).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Carbon, J., Clarke, L., Chinault, C., Ratzkin, B. & Walz, A. in Biochemistry and Genetics of Yeasts (eds Bacila, M., Horecker, B. L. & Styspani, A. O. M.) 425–443 (Academic, New York, 1978).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. Korman, A. J., Knudsen, P. J., Kaufman, J. F. & Strominger, J. L. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 79, 1844–1848 (1982).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Chirgwin, J. M., Przybyla, A. E., MacDonald, R. J. & Rutter, W. J. Biochemistry 18, 5294–5299 (1979).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Liu, C., Slate, D. L., Gravel, R. & Ruddle, F. H. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 76, 4503–4506 (1979).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Denhardt, D. Biochem. biophys. Res. Commun. 23, 641–652 (1966).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Roberts, B. E. & Paterson, B. M. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 70, 2330–2334 (1973).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Goldman, B. M. & Blobel, G. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 75, 5066–5070 (1978).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Laemmli, U. K. Nature 227, 680–685 (1970).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Yoshida, N., Totocynjak, P., Nussenzweig, V. & Nussenzweig, R. S. J. exp. Med. 154, 1225–1236 (1981).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ellis, J., Ozaki, L., Gwadz, R. et al. Cloning and expression in E. coli of the malarial sporozoite surface antigen gene from Plasmodium knowlesi. Nature 302, 536–538 (1983).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing