A novel Fasciclin Related Adhesive Protein (FRAP) from Plasmodium and related parasites is provided as a target for therapeutic intervention in diseases caused by the parasites. FRAP has been shown to play a critical role in adhesion to, or invasion into, host cells by the parasite. Furthermore, FRAP catalyzes the neutralization of heme by the parasite, by promoting its polymerization into hemozoin. This invention provides methods and compositions for therapies based on the administration of protein, DNA or cell-based vaccines and/or antibodies based on FRAP, or antigenic epitopes of FRAP, either alone or in combination with other parasite antigens. Methods for the development of compounds that inhibit the catalytic activity of FRAP, and diagnostic and laboratory methods utilizing FRAP are also provided.
STATEMENT OF FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made, in part, with government support under Grant No. DE-FC36-01GO11086 awarded by the Department of Energy, and No. DAAD19-02-1-0278 awarded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The government has certain rights in the invention.