Expert review of vaccines 2017 05 19() doi 10.1080/14760584.2017.1333426
Transgenic malaria parasites expressing foreign genes, for example fluorescent and luminescent proteins, are used extensively to interrogate parasite biology and host-parasite interactions associated with malaria pathology. Increasingly transgenic parasites are also exploited to advance malaria vaccine development. Areas Covered: We review how transgenic malaria parasites are used, in vitro and in vivo, to determine protective efficacy of different antigens and vaccination strategies and to determine immunological correlates of protection. We describe how chimeric rodent parasites expressing P. falciparum or P. vivax antigens are being used to directly evaluate and rank order human malaria vaccines before their advancement to clinical testing. In addition, we describe how transgenic human and rodent parasites are used to develop and evaluate live (genetically) attenuated vaccines. Expert Commentary: Transgenic rodent and human malaria parasites are being used to both identify vaccine candidate antigens and to evaluate both sub-unit and whole organism vaccines before they are advanced into clinical testing. Transgenic parasites combined with in vivo pre-clinical testing models (e.g. mice) are used to evaluate vaccine safety, potency and the durability of protection as well as to uncover critical protective immune responses and to refine vaccination strategies.