Malaria remains one of the world's most important infectious diseases and is responsible for enormous mortality and morbidity. Human infection with Plasmodium knowlesi is widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Merozoite surface protein-1₁₉ (MSP-1₁₉), which plays an important role in protective immunity against asexual blood stage malaria parasites, appears as a leading immunogenic antigen of Plasmodium sp. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of recombinant P. knowlesi MSP-1₁₉ (rMSP-1₁₉) for detection of malarial infection. rMSP-1₁₉ was expressed in Escherichia coli expression system and the purified rMSP-1₁₉ was evaluated with malaria, non-malaria and healthy human serum samples (n = 215) in immunoblots. The sensitivity of rMSP-1₁₉ for detection of P. knowlesi, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale infection was 95.5%, 75.0%, 85.7% and 100%, respectively. rMSP-1₁₉ did not react with all the non-malaria and healthy donor sera, which represents 100% specificity. The rMSP-1₁₉ could be used as a potential antigen in serodiagnosis of malarial infection in humans.
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