Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) is expressed on the surfaces of
Plasmodium falciparummerozoites and is thought to play an important role in the invasion of erythrocytes by malaria parasites. To select for peptides that mimic conformational B-cell epitopes on AMA1, we screened a phage display library of >108 individual peptides for peptides bound by a monoclonal anti-AMA1 antibody, 4G2dc1, known to inhibit P. falciparuminvasion of erythrocytes. The most reactive peptides, J1, J3, and J7, elicited antibody responses in rabbits that recognized the peptide immunogen and both recombinant and parasite AMA1. Human antibodies in plasma samples from individuals exposed to chronic malaria reacted with J1 and J7 peptides and were isolated using immobilized peptide immunoadsorbents. Both rabbit and human antibodies specific for J1 and J7 peptides were able to inhibit the invasion of erythrocytes by P. falciparummerozoites. This is the first example of phage-derived peptides that mimic an important epitope of a blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate, inducing and isolating functional protective antibodies. Our data support the use of J1 and J7 peptide mimics as in vitro correlates of protective immunity in future AMA1 vaccine trials.