Qualified Biolayer Interferometry Avidity Measurements Distinguish the Heterogeneity of Antibody Interactions with Plasmodium falciparum Circumsporozoite Protein Antigens [NOVEL IMMUNOLOGICAL METHODS]

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Ab avidity is a measure of the overall strength of Ab–Ag interactions and hence is important for understanding the functional efficiency of Abs. In vaccine evaluations, Ab avidity measurements can provide insights into immune correlates of protection and generate hypotheses regarding mechanisms of protection to improve vaccine design to achieve higher levels of efficacy. The commonly used Ab avidity assays require the use of chaotropic reagents to measure avidity index. In this study, using real-time detection of Ab–Ag binding by biolayer interferometry (BLI) technique, we have developed a qualified assay for measuring avidity of vaccine-induced Abs specific for Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP) Ags. Human mAb derived from plasmablasts of recipients of RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S), the most advanced malaria vaccine candidate, were used in the assay development to measure Ag-specific binding responses and rate constants of association and dissociation. The optimized BLI binding assay demonstrated 1) good precision (percentage of coefficient of variation <20), 2) high specificity, 3) a lower limit of detection and quantitation in the 0.3–3.3 nM range, and 4) a range of linearity up to 50–100 nM for the CSP Ags tested. Analysis of polyclonal sera of malaria vaccinees demonstrated the suitability of this method to distinguish among vaccinees and rank Ab responses by avidity. These results demonstrate that precise, specific, and sensitive BLI measurements of Ab avidity in polyclonal sera from malaria vaccinees can map Ab response heterogeneity and potentially help to determine the role of Ab avidity as an immune correlate of protection for vaccines.

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