Background One of the major issues concerning disease ecology and conservation is knowledge of the factors that influence the distribution of parasites and consequently disease outbreaks. This study aimed to investigate avian haemosporidian composition and the distribution of these parasites in three altitudinally separated great tit (Parus major) populations in western Switzerland over a three-year period. The objectives were to determine the lineage diversity of parasites occuring across the study populations and to investigate whether altitudinal gradients govern the distribution of haemosporidian parasites by lineage. Methods In this study molecular approaches (PCR and sequencing) were used to detect avian blood parasites (Plasmodium sp., Haemoproteus sp. and Leucocytozoon sp.) in populations of adult great tits caught on their nests during three consecutive breeding seasons. Results High levels of parasite prevalence (88-96%) were found across all of the study populations with no significant altitude effect. Altitude did, however, govern the distribution of parasites belonging to different genera, with Plasmodium parasites being more prevalent at lower altitudes, Leucocytozoon parasites more at high altitude and Haemoproteus parasite prevalence increasing with altitude. A total of 27 haemosporidian parasite lineages were recorded across all study sites, with diversity showing a positive correlation to altitude. Parasites belonging to lineage SGS1 (P. relictum) and PARUS4 and PARUS19 (Leucocytozoon sp.) dominated lower altitudes. SW2 (P. polare) was the second most prevalent lineage of parasite detected overall and these parasites were responsible for 68% of infections at intermediate altitude, but were only documented at this one study site. Conclusions Avian haemosporidian parasites are not homogeneously distributed across host populations, but differ by altitude. This difference is most probably brought about by environmental factors influencing vector prevalence and distribution. The high occurrence of co-infection by different genera of parasites might have pronounced effects on host fitness and should consequently be investigated more rigorously.
Haemosporidians (Haemosporida) are cosmopolitan in birds. Over 250 species of these blood parasites have been described and named; however, molecular markers remain unidentified for the great majority of them. This is unfortunate because linkage between DNA sequences and identifications based on morphological species can provide important information about patterns of transmission, virulence, and evolutionary biology of these organisms. There is an urgent need to remedy this because few experts possess the knowledge to identify haemosporidian species and few laboratories are involved in training these taxonomic skills. Here, we describe new mitochondrial cytochrome b markers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection of four widespread species of avian Haemoproteus (Haemoproteus hirundinis, Haemoproteus parabelopolskyi, Haemoproteus pastoris, Haemoproteus syrnii) and 1 species of Plasmodium (Plasmodium circumflexum). Illustrations of blood stages of the reported species are given, and morphological and phylogenetic analyses identify the DNA lineages that are associated with these parasites. This study indicates that morphological characters, which have been traditionally used in taxonomy of avian haemosporidian parasites, have a phylogenetic value. Perspectives on haemosporidian diagnostics using microscopic and PCR-based methods are discussed, particularly the difficulties in detection of light parasitemia, coinfections, and abortive parasite development. We emphasize that sensitive PCR amplifies more infections than can be transmitted; it should be used carefully in epidemiology studies, particularly in wildlife parasitology research. Because molecular studies are describing remarkably more parasite diversity than previously expected, the need for traditional taxonomy and traditional biological knowledge is becoming all the more crucial. The linkage of molecular and morphological approaches is worth more of the attention of researchers because this approach provides new knowledge for better understanding insufficiently investigated lethal diseases caused by haemosporidian infections, particularly on the exoerythrocytic (tissue) and vector stages. That requires close collaboration between researchers from different fields with a common interest. PMID:24728557
Valki?nas, Gediminas; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Ilg?nas, Mikas; Bukauskait?, Dovil?; Dimitrov, Dimitar; Bernotien?, Rasa; Zehtindjiev, Pavel; Ilieva, Mihaela; Iezhova, Tatjana A
Despite the ecological significance and appeal of birds of prey, many aspects of their biology remain poorly known, including the diversity of parasites infecting them in the wild. We studied the diversity and prevalence of haemosporidian parasites infecting the two species of kites of the genus Milvus, aiming to describe the phylogenetic relationships among them and with other haemosporidians, as well as their distribution in the two host species. Black kites, Milvus migrans, harboured a more diverse community of parasites, including three haplotypes of each of the three genera Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon, which also occurred at a higher prevalence than in red kites. In red kites, Milvus milvus only three haplotypes of Leucocytozoon were found. Kite parasites were not closely related to one another nor were they kite-specific: their diversity spanned various branches of the haemosporidian phylogenetic tree, and their closest relatives were found in other species (including various avian orders), although some Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus haplotypes clustered within apparently raptor-specific parasite clades. Remarkably, Plasmodium spp. and Haemoproteus spp. infected adult black kites only, an observation which supports the hypothesis that they are transmitted at the African wintering grounds, while Leucocytozoon spp. is putatively transmitted only in Europe. Intercontinental migration of the black kite might explain the divergence of parasite diversity between these two sister species. PMID:23376529
Pérez-Rodríguez, Antón; de la Puente, Javier; Onrubia, Alejandro; Pérez-Tris, Javier
Background Previous studies have shown that haemosporidian parasites (Haemoproteus (Parahaemoproteus) and Plasmodium) infecting passerine birds have an evolutionary history of host switching with little cospeciation, in particular at low taxonomic levels (e.g., below the family level), which is suggested as the main speciation mechanism of this group of parasites. Recent studies have characterized diverse clades of haemosporidian parasites (H. (Haemoproteus) and H. (Parahaemoproteus)) infecting non-passerine birds (e.g., Columbiformes, Pelecaniiformes). Here, we explore the cospeciation history of H. (Haemoproteus) and H. (Parahaemoproteus) parasites with their non-passerine hosts. Methods We sequenced the mtDNA cyt b gene of both haemosporidian parasites and their avian non-passerine hosts. We built Bayesian phylogenetic hypotheses and created concensus phylograms that were subsequently used to conduct cospeciation analyses. We used both a global cospeciation test, PACo, and an event-cost algorithm implemented in CoRe-PA. Results The global test suggests that H. (Haemoproteus) and H. (Parahaemoproteus) parasites have a diversification history dominated by cospeciation events particularly at the family level. Host-parasite links from the PACo analysis show that host switching events are common within families (i.e., among genera and among species within genera), and occasionally across different orders (e.g., Columbiformes to Pelecaniiformes). Event-cost analyses show that haemosporidian coevolutionary history is dominated by host switching and some codivergence, but with duplication events also present. Genetic lineages unique to raptor species (e.g., FALC11) commonly switch between Falconiformes and Strigiformes. Conclusions Our results corroborate previous findings that have detected a global cospeciation signal at the family taxonomic level, and they also support a history of frequent switching closer to the tips of the host phylogeny, which seems to be the main diversification mechanism of haemosporidians. Such dynamic host-parasite associations are relevant to the epidemiology of emerging diseases because low parasite host specificity is a prerequisite for the emergence of novel diseases. The evidence on host distributions suggests that haemosporidian parasites have the potential to rapidly develop novel host-associations. This pattern has also been recorded in fish-monogenean interactions, suggesting a general diversification mechanism for parasites when host choice is not restricted by ecological barriers.
The degree to which avian haemosporidian parasites can exploit different vectors as a definitive host has ecological implications for their transmission and biogeography. Studies targeting haemosporidian parasites using precise molecular detection methods are almost lacking in Central Europe, however. Here, we utilized PCR-based molecular methods to detect avian haemosporidians in insect vectors in the Czech Republic. Nine lineages of parasites belonging to three genera, Haemoproteus, Plasmodium, and Leucocytozoon, were detected in pooled samples of insect individuals, of which three lineages had not yet been discovered in previous studies. All three Leucocytozoon lineages were found exclusively in black flies, while five Haemoproteus lineages were found in biting midges. The most abundant insect species Culicoides kibunensis harbored three Haemoproteus lineages, and the second-most numerous species Culicoides segnis even four. The positive mosquitoes of Culex pipiens complex hosted two parasite lineages, one Plasmodium and one Haemoproteus, the latter of which, however, could suggest the aberrant development of this parasite in an unusual invertebrate host. The co-occurrence of Haemoproteus ROFI1 and TURDUS2 lineages in both insects and birds at the same study plot suggests a transmission of these lineages during breeding season of birds. PMID:23224608
Synek, Petr; Munclinger, Pavel; Albrecht, Tomáš; Votýpka, Jan
A review of the life history of Plasmodium malariae, the quartan malaria parasite of humans, is presented. Much of the information is based on data obtained from induced infections in humans who were given malaria therapy for the treatment of neurosyphilis between 1940 and 1963. Prepatent periods (i.e., the time until the first day of parasite detection) fever episodes, and maximum parasitemias as a result of infection with P. malariae were obtained and are presented. Experimental and known vectors of the parasite are also discussed. Splenectomized chimpanzees and New World monkeys are readily infected and serve as sources of parasites and antigens for diagnostic and molecular studies. South American monkeys are naturally infected with a parasite known as Plasmodium brasilianum. This parasite appears to be P. malariae that has adapted from humans to grow in monkeys, probably within the last 500 years. Infection with P. malariae is associated with the production of immune complexes in the kidneys and the associated nephrotic syndrome. The essential lesions are a thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and endocapillary cell proliferation. Studies of monkeys infected with P. malariae indicate the same pathology as that demonstrated in humans.
Collins, William E.; Jeffery, Geoffrey M.
Humans are infected by four recognized species of malaria parasites. The last of these to be recognized and described is Plasmodium ovale. Like the other malaria parasites of primates, this parasite is only transmitted via the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The prepatent period in the human ranges from 12 to 20 days. Some forms in the liver have delayed development, and relapse may occur after periods of up to 4 years after infection. The developmental cycle in the blood lasts approximately 49 h. An examination of records from induced infections indicated that there were an average of 10.3 fever episodes of ?101°F and 4.5 fever episodes of ?104°F. Mean maximum parasite levels were 6,944/?l for sporozoite-induced infections and 7,310/?l for trophozoite-induced infections. Exoerythrocytic stages have been demonstrated in the liver of humans, chimpanzees, and Saimiri monkeys following injection of sporozoites. Many different Anopheles species have been shown to be susceptible to infection with P. ovale, including A. gambiae, A. atroparvus, A. dirus, A. freeborni, A. albimanus, A. quadrimaculatus, A. stephensi, A. maculatus, A. subpictus, and A. farauti. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay has been developed to detect mosquitoes infected with P. ovale using a monoclonal antibody directed against the circumsporozoite protein. Plasmodium ovale is primarily distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It has also been reported from numerous islands in the western Pacific. In more recent years, there have been reports of its distribution on the Asian mainland. Whether or not it will become a major public health problem there remains to be seen. The diagnosis of P. ovale is based primarily on the characteristics of the blood stages and its differentiation from P. vivax. The sometimes elliptical shape of the infected erythrocyte is often diagnostic when combined with other, subtler differences in morphology. The advent of molecular techniques, primarily PCR, has made diagnostic confirmation possible. The development of techniques for the long-term frozen preservation of malaria parasites has allowed the development diagnostic reference standards for P. ovale. Infections in chimpanzees are used to provide reference and diagnostic material for serologic and molecular studies because this parasite has not been shown to develop in other nonhuman primates, nor has it adapted to in vitro culture. There is no evidence to suggest that P. ovale is closely related phylogenetically to any other of the primate malaria parasites that have been examined.
Collins, William E.; Jeffery, Geoffrey M.
Habitat alteration can disrupt host–parasite interactions and lead to the emergence of new diseases in wild populations. The cerrado habitat of Brazil is being fragmented and degraded rapidly by agriculture and urbanization. We screened 676 wild birds from three habitats (intact cerrado, disturbed cerrado and transition area Amazonian rainforest-cerrado) for the presence of haemosporidian parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) to determine whether different habitats were associated with differences in the prevalence and diversity of infectious diseases in natural populations. Twenty one mitochondrial lineages, including 11 from Plasmodium and 10 from Haemoproteus were identified. Neither prevalence nor diversity of infections by Plasmodium spp. or Haemoproteus spp. differed significantly among the three habitats. However, 15 of the parasite lineages had not been previously described and might be restricted to these habitats or to the region. Six haemosporidian lineages previously known from other regions, particularly the Caribbean Basin, comprised 50–80% of the infections in each of the samples, indicating a regional relationship between parasite distribution and abundance.
Belo, Nayara O.; Pinheiro, Renato T.; Reis, Elivania S.; Ricklefs, Robert E.; Braga, Erika M.
Understanding the origin of invasive parasites and ecological transmission barriers on the distribution of mosquito-borne pathogens is enriched by molecular phylogenetic approaches now that large databases are becoming available. Here we assess the biogeographical relationships among haemosporidian blood parasites and an avian host, the New Zealand bellbird (Meliphagidae, Anthornis melanura). Four Plasmodium haplotypes were identified among 93 infected bellbirds (693 screened) using nested PCR of a mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene fragment. The most common lineage, LIN1 (11%), is confined to northern New Zealand and falls within a known clade of Plasmodium (subgenus Novyella) sp. infecting Australian meliphagids. LIN1 differs within that clade by 4 9% sequence divergence suggestive of an endemic lineage to New Zealand. The most widespread lineage, LIN2 (2%), is an exact match with a global cosmopolitan (P. elongatum GRW06). Two rare lineages, LIN3 and LIN4 are less abundant, geographically restricted within New Zealand and have <1% sequence divergence with P. (Novyella) sp. (AFTRU08) and P. relictum (LINOLI01) documented from Africa. For the first time, we provide invaluable information on possible rates of entry of invading parasites in New Zealand and their distribution from temperate to cold environments. PMID:21902870
Baillie, S M; Brunton, D H
This is the first report of a Plasmodium blood parasite found in the Galapagos Archipelago. Phylogenetic analyses place this parasite, recovered from endangered Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus), within the genus Plasmodium, and suggest a close relationship to some of the most dangerous lineages of Plasmodium that have been known to cause severe mortality and morbidity in captive penguin populations. Infectious
Iris I. Levin; Diana C. Outlaw; F. Hernán Vargas; Patricia G. Parker
Background Blood-sucking flying insects play a key role in the transmission of pathogens of vector-borne diseases. However, at least for the case of avian malaria parasites, the vast majority of studies focus on the interaction between parasites and vertebrate hosts, but there is a lack of information regarding the interaction between the parasites and the insect vectors. Here, we identified the presence of malaria and malaria-like parasite lineages harbored by the potential vector Culicoides circumscriptus (Kieffer). Also, we identified some nodes of the transmission network connecting parasite lineages, potential insect vectors and avian hosts by comparing Haemoproteus and Plasmodium lineages isolated from insects with those infecting wild birds in this and previous studies. Methods Using a molecular approach, we analysed the presence of blood parasites in a total of 97 biting midges trapped in the Doñana National Park (SW Spain) and surrounding areas. Also, 123 blood samples from 11 bird species were analyzed for the presence of blood parasite infections. Blood parasites Haemoproteus and Plasmodium were identified by amplification of a 478 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gen. Results Thirteen biting midges harboured blood parasites including six Haemoproteus and two Plasmodium lineages, supporting the potential role of these insects on parasite transmission. Moreover, ten (8.1%) birds carried blood parasites. Seven Plasmodium and one Haemoproteus lineages were isolated from birds. Overall, six new Haemoproteus lineages were described in this study. Also, we identified the transmission networks of some blood parasites. Two Haemoproteus lineages, hCIRCUM03 and GAGLA03, were identical to those isolated from Corvus monedula in southern Spain and Garrulus glandarius in Bulgaria, respectively. Furthermore, the new Haemoproteus lineage hCIRCUM05 showed a 99% similarity with a lineage found infecting captive penguins in Japan. Conclusions The comparison of the parasite lineages isolated in this study with those previously found infecting birds allowed us to identify some potential nodes in the transmission network of avian blood parasite lineages. These results highlight the complexity of the transmission networks of blood parasites in the wild that may involve a high diversity of susceptible birds and insect vectors.
Assessing vector-parasite relationship is important in understanding the emergence of vector-borne diseases and the evolution of parasite diversity. This study investigates avian Plasmodium parasites in mosquitoes collected from Kayseri province in Central Anatolian, Turkey and determines the haemosporidian parasite lineages from these mosquito species. A total of 6153 female mosquitos from 6 species were collected from 46 sites during June-August of 2008 and 2009. Each mosquito's head-thorax and abdomen were separated, categorized with respect to species and collection area and pooled for DNA extraction. A total of 1198 genomic DNA pools (599 thorax-head, 599 abdomen) were constituted of which 128 pools (59 thorax-head, 69 abdomen) were positive for avian haemosporidian parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) by Nested-PCR analysis. Culex pipens, Aedes vexans, Culex theileri and Culiseta annulata were positive with minimum infection rates (MIRs) of 16.22 and 18.15, 4.72 and 5.98, 5.18 and 10.36, 10.64 and 10.64 in their thorax-head and abdomen parts, respectively. No avian haemosporidian DNA was detected from Culex hortensis and Anopheles maculipennis. Phylogenetic analyses of the partial cytb gene of avian haemosporidian mt-DNA from 13 positive pools revealed that 11 lineages in four phylogenic groups were Plasmodium and the other two were Haemoproteus. Our results suggest that Cx. pipiens could probably be the major vector of avian Plasmodium in Central Turkey. This is the first report of molecular detection and characterization of avian Plasmodium lineages from mosquitoes in Turkey. PMID:22455723
Inci, A; Yildirim, A; Njabo, K Y; Duzlu, O; Biskin, Z; Ciloglu, A
An adult male white eared-pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) at a Japanese zoo exhibited lethargy and emaciation. Microscopic examination of a blood smear revealed a haemosporidian parasitic infection. Based on the morphological characteristics and molecular analysis of the parasite, it was identified as Plasmodium (Bennettinia) juxtanucleare. This is the first report of P. juxtanucleare infection in bird species belonging to the genus Crossoptilon. Caution against avian malaria infection is required for the conservation of endangered bird species in zoos. PMID:18319584
Murata, Koichi; Nii, Ryosuke; Sasaki, Emi; Ishikawa, Satoshi; Sato, Yukita; Sawabe, Kyoko; Tsuda, Yoshio; Matsumoto, Rei; Suda, Akemi; Ueda, Miya
Since the 1970's, the diversity of Plasmodium parasites in African great apes has been neglected. Surprisingly, P. reichenowi, a chimpanzee parasite, is the only such parasite to have been molecularly characterized. This parasite is closely phylogenetically related to P. falciparum, the principal cause of the greatest malaria burden in humans. Studies of malaria parasites from anthropoid primates may provide relevant phylogenetic information, improving our understanding of the origin and evolutionary history of human malaria species. In this study, we screened 130 DNA samples from chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) from Cameroon for Plasmodium infection, using cytochrome b molecular tools. Two chimpanzees from the subspecies Pan t. troglodytes presented single infections with Plasmodium strains molecularly related to the human malaria parasite P. ovale. These chimpanzee parasites and 13 human strains of P. ovale originated from a various sites in Africa and Asia were characterized using cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase 1 mitochondrial partial genes and nuclear ldh partial gene. Consistent with previous findings, two genetically distinct types of P. ovale, classical and variant, were observed in the human population from a variety of geographical locations. One chimpanzee Plasmodium strain was genetically identical, on all three markers tested, to variant P. ovale type. The other chimpanzee Plasmodium strain was different from P. ovale strains isolated from humans. This study provides the first evidence of possibility of natural cross-species exchange of P. ovale between humans and chimpanzees of the subspecies Pan t. troglodytes.
Duval, Linda; Nerrienet, Eric; Rousset, Dominique; Sadeuh Mba, Serge Alain; Houze, Sandrine; Fourment, Mathieu; Le Bras, Jacques; Robert, Vincent; Ariey, Frederic
This paper attempts to expand on the current knowledge regarding the evolutionary history of bat haemosporidian parasites. Using modern molecular tools as adjuncts to existing morphological descriptions, our understanding of the diversity of these parasites is discussed. The biogeography and host range distribution together with possible host-parasite interactions remain to be evaluated in more detail. Using a nested-PCR cytochrome b mitochondrial gene approach, we established a screening programme and survey of several months duration for haemosporidian parasites in four central African bat species living in an ecological community. The aim of the study was to describe parasites morphologically and molecularly, together with parasite prevalence variations over time, and evaluate parasite host-specificity in these sympatric cave bats. Over the survey period, Polychromophilus melanipherus was the only haemosporidian parasite identified in Miniopterus inflatus, with a continuous molecular prevalence of at least 60%. Molecular phylogenetic analyses show that P. melanipherus is a monophyletic group infecting Miniopterus bats which is, a sister group to P. murinus and Polychromophilus spp. This monophyletic group is composed of different cyt b haplotypes molecularly distantly related (but morphologically similar), circulating without geographic or host species distinction. This suggests that P. melanipherus is a species complex restricted to the family Miniopteridae. The phylogenetic analysis confirms that Polychromophilus parasites are distributed worldwide and supports the view that they are more closely related to avian haemosporidian parasites. PMID:22721902
Duval, Linda; Mejean, Cyndie; Maganga, Gael D; Makanga, Boris K; Mangama Koumba, Lilian B; Peirce, Michael A; Ariey, Frederic; Bourgarel, Mathieu
Background Serial blood passage of Plasmodium increases virulence, whilst mosquito transmission inherently regulates parasite virulence within the mammalian host. It is, therefore, imperative that all aspects of experimental malaria research are studied in the context of the complete Plasmodium life cycle. Methods Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi displays many characteristics associated with human Plasmodium infection of natural mosquito vectors and the mammalian host, and thus provides a unique opportunity to study the pathogenesis of malaria in a single infection setting. An optimized protocol that permits efficient and reproducible vector transmission of P. c. chabaudi via Anopheles stephensi was developed. Results and conclusions This protocol was utilized for mosquito transmission of genetically distinct P. c. chabaudi isolates, highlighting differential parasite virulence within the mosquito vector and the spectrum of host susceptibility to infection initiated via the natural route, mosquito bite. An apposite experimental system in which to delineate the pathogenesis of malaria is described in detail.
Malaria is the most important parasitic disease with global concern. Plasmodium knowlesi recently has emerged from its natural simian host as a significant cause of human malaria, particularly in Malaysian Borneo. Therefore, it has been added as the fifth human Plasmodium specie which is widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Recent developments of new molecular tools enhanced our understanding about the key features of this malaria parasite. Here, we review some of the ways in which molecular approaches might be used for epidemiology of P. knowlesi and finally lead to an efficient control of malaria.
Hakimi, Hassan; Kawai, Satoru; Kawazu, Shin-ichiro
Malaria is the most important parasitic disease with global concern. Plasmodium knowlesi recently has emerged from its natural simian host as a significant cause of human malaria, particularly in Malaysian Borneo. Therefore, it has been added as the fifth human Plasmodium specie which is widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Recent developments of new molecular tools enhanced our understanding about the key features of this malaria parasite. Here, we review some of the ways in which molecular approaches might be used for epidemiology of P. knowlesi and finally lead to an efficient control of malaria. PMID:24754022
Hakimi, Hassan; Kawai, Satoru; Kawazu, Shin-Ichiro
Malaria is a serious infectious disease that causes over one million deaths yearly. It is caused by a group of protozoan parasites in the genus Plasmodium. No effective vaccine is currently available and the elevated levels of resistance to drugs in use underscore the pressing need for novel antimalarial targets. In this review, we survey omics centered developments in Plasmodium biology, which have set the stage for a quantum leap in our understanding of the fundamental processes of the parasite life cycle and mechanisms of drug resistance and immune evasion.
Cai, Hong; Zhou, Zhan; Gu, Jianying; Wang, Yufeng
Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent and lethal of the malaria parasites infecting humans, yet the origin and evolutionary history of this important pathogen remain controversial. Here, we developed a novel polymerase chain reaction based single genome amplification strategy to identify and characterize Plasmodium spp. DNA sequences in fecal samples of wild-living apes. Among nearly 3,000 specimens collected from field sites throughout central Africa, we found Plasmodium infection in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), but not in eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei) or bonobos (Pan paniscus). Ape plasmodial infections were highly prevalent, widely distributed, and almost always comprised of mixed parasite species. Analysis of more than 1,100 mitochondrial, apicoplast and nuclear gene sequences from chimpanzees and gorillas revealed that 99% grouped within one of six host-specific lineages representing distinct Plasmodium species within the subgenus Laverania. One of these from western gorillas was comprised of parasites that were nearly identical to P. falciparum. In phylogenetic analyses of full-length mitochondrial sequences, human P. falciparum formed a monophyletic lineage within the gorilla parasite radiation. These findings indicate that P. falciparum is of gorilla and not of chimpanzee, bonobo or ancient human origin.
Liu, Weimin; Li, Yingying; Learn, Gerald H.; Rudicell, Rebecca S.; Robertson, Joel D.; Keele, Brandon F.; Ndjango, Jean-Bosco N.; Sanz, Crickette M.; Morgan, David B.; Locatelli, Sabrina; Gonder, Mary K.; Kranzusch, Philip J.; Walsh, Peter D.; Delaporte, Eric; Mpoudi-Ngole, Eitel; Georgiev, Alexander V.; Muller, Martin N.; Shaw, George M.; Peeters, Martine; Sharp, Paul M.; Rayner, Julian C.; Hahn, Beatrice H.
Heterogeneity in parasite virulence is one of several factors that have been proposed to contribute to the wide spectrum of disease severity in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We use observed age-structured patterns of disease to define a population structure of P. falciparum, where the latter contains several independently transmitted antigenic types or \\
Sunetra Gupta; Adrian V. S. Hill; Dominic Kwiatkowski; Alice M. Greenwood; Brian M. Greenwood; Karen P. Day
Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America but is absent from most of central Africa due to the near fixation of a mutation that inhibits the expression of its receptor, the Duffy antigen, on human erythrocytes. The emergence of this protective allele is not understood because P. vivax is believed to have originated in Asia. Here we show, using a non-invasive approach, that wild chimpanzees and gorillas throughout central Africa are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human P. vivax. Sequence analyses reveal that ape parasites lack host specificity and are much more diverse than human parasites, which form a monophyletic lineage within the ape parasite radiation. These findings indicate that human P. vivax is of African origin and likely selected for the Duffy-negative mutation. All extant human P. vivax parasites are derived from a single ancestor that escaped out of Africa.
Liu, Weimin; Li, Yingying; Shaw, Katharina S.; Learn, Gerald H.; Plenderleith, Lindsey J.; Malenke, Jordan A.; Sundararaman, Sesh A.; Ramirez, Miguel A.; Crystal, Patricia A.; Smith, Andrew G.; Bibollet-Ruche, Frederic; Ayouba, Ahidjo; Locatelli, Sabrina; Esteban, Amandine; Mouacha, Fatima; Guichet, Emilande; Butel, Christelle; Ahuka-Mundeke, Steve; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Ndjango, Jean-Bosco N.; Speede, Sheri; Sanz, Crickette M.; Morgan, David B.; Gonder, Mary K.; Kranzusch, Philip J.; Walsh, Peter D.; Georgiev, Alexander V.; Muller, Martin N.; Piel, Alex K.; Stewart, Fiona A.; Wilson, Michael L.; Pusey, Anne E.; Cui, Liwang; Wang, Zenglei; Farnert, Anna; Sutherland, Colin J.; Nolder, Debbie; Hart, John A.; Hart, Terese B.; Bertolani, Paco; Gillis, Amethyst; LeBreton, Matthew; Tafon, Babila; Kiyang, John; Djoko, Cyrille F.; Schneider, Bradley S.; Wolfe, Nathan D.; Mpoudi-Ngole, Eitel; Delaporte, Eric; Carter, Richard; Culleton, Richard L.; Shaw, George M.; Rayner, Julian C.; Peeters, Martine; Hahn, Beatrice H.; Sharp, Paul M.
Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America but is absent from most of central Africa due to the near fixation of a mutation that inhibits the expression of its receptor, the Duffy antigen, on human erythrocytes. The emergence of this protective allele is not understood because P. vivax is believed to have originated in Asia. Here we show, using a non-invasive approach, that wild chimpanzees and gorillas throughout central Africa are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human P. vivax. Sequence analyses reveal that ape parasites lack host specificity and are much more diverse than human parasites, which form a monophyletic lineage within the ape parasite radiation. These findings indicate that human P. vivax is of African origin and likely selected for the Duffy-negative mutation. All extant human P. vivax parasites are derived from a single ancestor that escaped out of Africa. PMID:24557500
Liu, Weimin; Li, Yingying; Shaw, Katharina S; Learn, Gerald H; Plenderleith, Lindsey J; Malenke, Jordan A; Sundararaman, Sesh A; Ramirez, Miguel A; Crystal, Patricia A; Smith, Andrew G; Bibollet-Ruche, Frederic; Ayouba, Ahidjo; Locatelli, Sabrina; Esteban, Amandine; Mouacha, Fatima; Guichet, Emilande; Butel, Christelle; Ahuka-Mundeke, Steve; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Ndjango, Jean-Bosco N; Speede, Sheri; Sanz, Crickette M; Morgan, David B; Gonder, Mary K; Kranzusch, Philip J; Walsh, Peter D; Georgiev, Alexander V; Muller, Martin N; Piel, Alex K; Stewart, Fiona A; Wilson, Michael L; Pusey, Anne E; Cui, Liwang; Wang, Zenglei; Färnert, Anna; Sutherland, Colin J; Nolder, Debbie; Hart, John A; Hart, Terese B; Bertolani, Paco; Gillis, Amethyst; LeBreton, Matthew; Tafon, Babila; Kiyang, John; Djoko, Cyrille F; Schneider, Bradley S; Wolfe, Nathan D; Mpoudi-Ngole, Eitel; Delaporte, Eric; Carter, Richard; Culleton, Richard L; Shaw, George M; Rayner, Julian C; Peeters, Martine; Hahn, Beatrice H; Sharp, Paul M
Plasmodium mackerrasae sp. n. parasitizes the Australian lizards Egernia cunninghami and E. striolata (Sauria: Scincidae). Described from an experimental host, E. whitei, it produces mature schizonts containing 6--12 nuclei arranged peripherally as a rosette, and round to oval gametocytes which are equal to or slightly smaller than host cell nuclei. Both schizonts and gametocytes parasitize all cells in the erythrocyte series. Presence of pigment in both asexual and sexual stages is correlated with maturity of the host cell. Asexual forms contain a single large vacuole, whereas mature gametocytes may show 1--4 vacuoles. Plasmodium mackerrasae resembles most closely P. sasai of Japan and P. tropiduri of tropical America. It differs from P. sasai by lacking fan-shaped schizonts and by having less heavily pigmented gametocytes, and from P. tropiduri by less variability in shape and greater vacuolation of the gametocytes. Host and geographic differences further support its distinction. PMID:480071
Telford, S R
The malarial parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum is a unicellular, intracellular blood parasite inhabiting the nucleated erythrocytes of chickens. This ultrastructural study on material prepared with improved freeze etching techniques emphasizes the third dim...
C. A. M. Meszoely G. F. Bahr R. L. Steere
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential metabolite utilized as a redox cofactor and enzyme substrate in numerous cellular processes. Elevated NAD+ levels have been observed in red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, but little is known regarding how the parasite generates NAD+. Here, we employed a mass spectrometry-based metabolomic approach to confirm that P. falciparum lacks the ability to synthesize NAD+ de novo and is reliant on the uptake of exogenous niacin. We characterized several enzymes in the NAD+ pathway and demonstrate cytoplasmic localization for all except the parasite nicotinamidase, which concentrates in the nucleus. One of these enzymes, the P. falciparum nicotinate mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (PfNMNAT), is essential for NAD+ metabolism and is highly diverged from the human homolog, but genetically similar to bacterial NMNATs. Our results demonstrate the enzymatic activity of PfNMNAT in vitro and demonstrate its ability to genetically complement the closely related Escherichia coli NMNAT. Due to the similarity of PfNMNAT to the bacterial enzyme, we tested a panel of previously identified bacterial NMNAT inhibitors and synthesized and screened twenty new derivatives, which demonstrate a range of potency against live parasite culture. These results highlight the importance of the parasite NAD+ metabolic pathway and provide both novel therapeutic targets and promising lead antimalarial compounds. PMID:24747974
O'Hara, Jessica K; Kerwin, Lewis J; Cobbold, Simon A; Tai, Jonathan; Bedell, Thomas A; Reider, Paul J; Llinás, Manuel
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential metabolite utilized as a redox cofactor and enzyme substrate in numerous cellular processes. Elevated NAD+ levels have been observed in red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, but little is known regarding how the parasite generates NAD+. Here, we employed a mass spectrometry-based metabolomic approach to confirm that P. falciparum lacks the ability to synthesize NAD+ de novo and is reliant on the uptake of exogenous niacin. We characterized several enzymes in the NAD+ pathway and demonstrate cytoplasmic localization for all except the parasite nicotinamidase, which concentrates in the nucleus. One of these enzymes, the P. falciparum nicotinate mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (PfNMNAT), is essential for NAD+ metabolism and is highly diverged from the human homolog, but genetically similar to bacterial NMNATs. Our results demonstrate the enzymatic activity of PfNMNAT in vitro and demonstrate its ability to genetically complement the closely related Escherichia coli NMNAT. Due to the similarity of PfNMNAT to the bacterial enzyme, we tested a panel of previously identified bacterial NMNAT inhibitors and synthesized and screened twenty new derivatives, which demonstrate a range of potency against live parasite culture. These results highlight the importance of the parasite NAD+ metabolic pathway and provide both novel therapeutic targets and promising lead antimalarial compounds.
O'Hara, Jessica K.; Kerwin, Lewis J.; Cobbold, Simon A.; Tai, Jonathan; Bedell, Thomas A.; Reider, Paul J.; Llinas, Manuel
The completion of many malaria parasite genomes provides great opportunities for genomewide characterization of gene expression and high-throughput genotyping. Substantial progress in malaria genomics and genotyping has been made recently, particularly the development of various microarray platforms for large-scale characterization of the Plasmodium falciparum genome. Microarray has been used for gene expression analysis, detection of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and copy number variation (CNV), characterization of chromatin modifications, and other applications. Here we discuss some recent advances in genetic mapping and genomic studies of malaria parasites, focusing on the use of high-throughput arrays for the detection of SNP and CNV in the P. falciparum genome. Strategies for genetic mapping of malaria traits are also discussed.
Jiang, Hongying; Yi, Ming; Mu, Jianbing; Stephens, Robert M.
The population structure of Plasmodium vivax remains elusive. The markers of choice for large-scale population genetic studies of eukaryotes, short tandem repeats known as microsatellites, have been recently reported to be less polymorphic in P. vivax. Here we investigate the microsatellite diversity and geographic structure in P. vivax, at both local and global levels, using 14 new markers consisting of tri- or tetranucleotide repeats. The local-level analysis, which involved 50 field isolates from Sri Lanka, revealed unexpectedly high diversity (average virtual heterozygosity [H(E)], 0.807) and significant multilocus linkage disequilibrium in this region of low malaria endemicity. Multiple-clone infections occurred in 60% of isolates sampled in 2005. The global-level analysis of field isolates or monkey-adapted strains identified 150 unique haplotypes among 164 parasites from four continents. Individual P. vivax isolates could not be unambiguously assigned to geographic populations. For example, we found relatively low divergence among parasites from Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, but substantial differentiation between parasites from the same continent (South Asia and Southeast Asia) or even from the same country (Brazil). Parasite relapses, which may extend the duration of P. vivax carriage in humans, are suggested to facilitate the spread of strains across continents, breaking down any pre-existing geographic structure. PMID:18226474
Karunaweera, Nadira D; Ferreira, Marcelo U; Munasinghe, Anusha; Barnwell, John W; Collins, William E; King, Christopher L; Kawamoto, Fumihiko; Hartl, Daniel L; Wirth, Dyann F
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax is responsible for 25-40% of the ~515 million annual cases of malaria worldwide. Although seldom fatal, the parasite elicits severe and incapacitating clinical symptoms and often relapses months after a primary infection has cleared. Despite its importance as a major human pathogen, P. vivax is little studied because it cannot be propagated in the laboratory except in non-human primates. We determined the genome sequence of P. vivax in order to shed light on its distinctive biologic features, and as a means to drive development of new drugs and vaccines. Here we describe the synteny and isochore structure of P. vivax chromosomes, and show that the parasite resembles other malaria parasites in gene content and metabolic potential, but possesses novel gene families and potential alternate invasion pathways not recognized previously. Completion of the P. vivax genome provides the scientific community with a valuable resource that can be used to advance scientific investigation into this neglected species.
Carlton, Jane M.; Adams, John H.; Silva, Joana C.; Bidwell, Shelby L.; Lorenzi, Hernan; Caler, Elisabet; Crabtree, Jonathan; Angiuoli, Samuel V.; Merino, Emilio F.; Amedeo, Paolo; Cheng, Qin; Coulson, Richard M. R.; Crabb, Brendan S.; del Portillo, Hernando A.; Essien, Kobby; Feldblyum, Tamara V.; Fernandez-Becerra, Carmen; Gilson, Paul R.; Gueye, Amy H.; Guo, Xiang; Kang'a, Simon; Kooij, Taco W. A.; Korsinczky, Michael; Meyer, Esmeralda V.-S.; Nene, Vish; Paulsen, Ian; White, Owen; Ralph, Stuart A.; Ren, Qinghu; Sargeant, Tobias J.; Salzberg, Steven L.; Stoeckert, Christian J.; Sullivan, Steven A.; Yamamoto, Marcio Massao; Hoffman, Stephen L.; Wortman, Jennifer R.; Gardner, Malcolm J.; Galinski, Mary R.; Barnwell, John W.; Fraser-Liggett, Claire M.
Malaria genetic variation has been extensively characterized, but the level of epigenetic plasticity remains largely unexplored. Here we provide a comprehensive characterization of transcriptional variation in the most lethal malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, based on highly accurate transcriptional analysis of isogenic parasite lines grown under homogeneous conditions. This analysis revealed extensive transcriptional heterogeneity within genetically homogeneous clonal parasite populations. We show that clonally variant expression controlled at the epigenetic level is an intrinsic property of specific genes and gene families, the majority of which participate in host-parasite interactions. Intrinsic transcriptional variability is not restricted to genes involved in immune evasion, but also affects genes linked to lipid metabolism, protein folding, erythrocyte remodeling, or transcriptional regulation, among others, indicating that epigenetic variation results in both antigenic and functional variation. We observed a general association between heterochromatin marks and clonally variant expression, extending previous observations for specific genes to essentially all variantly expressed gene families. These results suggest that phenotypic variation of functionally unrelated P. falciparum gene families is mediated by a common mechanism based on reversible formation of H3K9me3-based heterochromatin. In changing environments, diversity confers fitness to a population. Our results support the idea that P. falciparum uses a bet-hedging strategy, as an alternative to directed transcriptional responses, to adapt to common fluctuations in its environment. Consistent with this idea, we found that transcriptionally different isogenic parasite lines markedly differed in their survival to heat-shock mimicking febrile episodes and adapted to periodic heat-shock with a pattern consistent with natural selection of pre-existing parasites. PMID:22415456
Rovira-Graells, Núria; Gupta, Archna P; Planet, Evarist; Crowley, Valerie M; Mok, Sachel; Ribas de Pouplana, Lluís; Preiser, Peter R; Bozdech, Zbynek; Cortés, Alfred
Apicoplast, a nonphotosynthetic plastid derived from secondary symbiotic origin, is essential for the survival of malaria parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Elucidation of the evolution of the apicoplast genome in Plasmodium species is important to better understand the functions of the organelle. However, the complete apicoplast genome is available for only the most virulent human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Here, we obtained the near-complete apicoplast genome sequences from eight Plasmodium species that infect a wide variety of vertebrate hosts and performed structural and phylogenetic analyses. We found that gene repertoire, gene arrangement, and other structural attributes were highly conserved. Phylogenetic reconstruction using 30 protein-coding genes of the apicoplast genome inferred, for the first time, a close relationship between P. ovale and rodent parasites. This close relatedness was robustly supported using multiple evolutionary assumptions and models. The finding suggests that an ancestral host switch occurred between rodent and human Plasmodium parasites. PMID:22396524
Arisue, Nobuko; Hashimoto, Tetsuo; Mitsui, Hideya; Palacpac, Nirianne M Q; Kaneko, Akira; Kawai, Satoru; Hasegawa, Masami; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Horii, Toshihiro
Avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium) have a worldwide distribution except for Antarctica. They are transmitted exclusively by mosquito vectors (Diptera: Culicidae) and are of particular interest to health care research due to their phylogenetic relationship with human plasmodia and their ability to cause avian malaria, which is frequently lethal in non-adapted avian hosts. However, different features of avian Plasmodium spp, including their taxonomy and aspects of their life-history traits, need to be examined in more detail. Over the last 10 years, ecologists, evolutionary biologists and wildlife researchers have recognized the importance of studying avian malaria parasites and other related haemosporidians, which are the largest group of the order Haemosporida by number of species. These studies have included understanding the ecological, behavioral and evolutionary aspects that arise in this wildlife host-parasite system. Molecular tools have provided new and exiting opportunities for such research. This review discusses several emerging topics related to the current research of avian Plasmodium spp and some related avian haemosporidians. We also summarize some important discoveries in this field and emphasize the value of using both polymerase chain reaction-based and microscopy-based methods in parallel for wildlife studies. We will focus on the genus Plasmodium, with an emphasis on the distribution and pathogenicity of these parasites in wild birds in Brazil. PMID:21881752
Braga, Erika Martins; Silveira, Patricia; Belo, Nayara Oliveira; Valki?nas, Gediminas
Recent reports highlight the severity and the morbidity of disease caused by the long neglected malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax. Due to inherent difficulties in the laboratory-propagation of P. vivax, the biology of this parasite has not been adequately explored. While the proteome of P. falciparum, the causative agent of cerebral malaria, has been extensively explored from several sources, there is limited information on the proteome of P. vivax. We have, for the first time, examined the proteome of P. vivax isolated directly from patients without adaptation to laboratory conditions. We have identified 153 proteins from clinical P. vivax, majority of which do not show homology to any previously known gene products. We also report 29 new proteins that were found to be expressed in P. vivax for the first time. In addition, several proteins previously implicated as anti-malarial targets, were also found in our analysis. Most importantly, we found several unique proteins expressed by P. vivax.This study is an important step in providing insight into physiology of the parasite under clinical settings.
Chandran, Syama; Dandavate, Vrushali; Sayeed, Syed Khund; Rochani, Ankit; Acharya, Jyoti; Middha, Sheetal; Kochar, Sanjay; Kochar, Dhanpat; Ghosh, Susanta Kumar; Tatu, Utpal
Anthracene-polyamine conjugates inhibit the in vitro proliferation of the intraerythrocytic human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) in the nM to ?M range. The compounds are taken up into the intraerythrocytic parasite, where they arrest the parasite cell cycle. Both the anthracene and polyamine components of the conjugates play a role in their antiplasmodial effect.
Niemand, Jandeli; Burger, Pieter; Verlinden, Bianca K.; Reader, Janette; Joubert, Annie M.; Kaiser, Annette; Louw, Abraham I.; Kirk, Kiaran; Phanstiel, Otto
Background Malaria continues to be one of the most severe global infectious diseases, responsible for 1-2 million deaths yearly. The rapid evolution and spread of drug resistance in parasites has led to an urgent need for the development of novel antimalarial targets. Proteases are a group of enzymes that play essential roles in parasite growth and invasion. The possibility of designing specific inhibitors for proteases makes them promising drug targets. Previously, combining a comparative genomics approach and a machine learning approach, we identified the complement of proteases (degradome) in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and its sibling species [1-3], providing a catalog of targets for functional characterization and rational inhibitor design. Network analysis represents another route to revealing the role of proteins in the biology of parasites and we use this approach here to expand our understanding of the systems involving the proteases of P. falciparum. Results We investigated the roles of proteases in the parasite life cycle by constructing a network using protein-protein association data from the STRING database , and analyzing these data, in conjunction with the data from protein-protein interaction assays using the yeast 2-hybrid (Y2H) system , blood stage microarray experiments [6-8], proteomics [9-12], literature text mining, and sequence homology analysis. Seventy-seven (77) out of 124 predicted proteases were associated with at least one other protein, constituting 2,431 protein-protein interactions (PPIs). These proteases appear to play diverse roles in metabolism, cell cycle regulation, invasion and infection. Their degrees of connectivity (i.e., connections to other proteins), range from one to 143. The largest protease-associated sub-network is the ubiquitin-proteasome system which is crucial for protein recycling and stress response. Proteases are also implicated in heat shock response, signal peptide processing, cell cycle progression, transcriptional regulation, and signal transduction networks. Conclusions Our network analysis of proteases from P. falciparum uses a so-called guilt-by-association approach to extract sets of proteins from the proteome that are candidates for further study. Novel protease targets and previously unrecognized members of the protease-associated sub-systems provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying parasitism, pathogenesis and virulence.
An interesting element of eukaryotic genomes is the large quantity of non-coding intervening sequences commonly known as introns, which regularly interrupt functional genes and therefore must be removed prior to the use of genetic information by the cell. After splicing, the mature RNA is exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Any error in the process of recognition and removal of introns, or splicing, would lead to change in genetic message and thus has potentially catastrophic consequences. Thus splicing is a highly complex essential step in eukaryotic gene expression. It takes place in spliceosome, which is a dynamic RNA-protein complex made of snRNPs and non-snRNP proteins. The splicing process consists of following sequential steps: spliceosome formation, the first transesterification and second transesterification reactions, release of the mature mRNA and recycling of the snRNPs. The spliceosomal components produce a complex network of RNA-RNA, RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions and spliceosome experience remodeling during each splicing cycle. Helicases are essentially required at almost each step for resolution of RNA-RNA and/or RNA-protein interactions. RNA helicases share a highly conserved helicase domain which includes the motif DExD/H in the single letter amino acid code. This article will focus on members of the DExD/H-box proteins involved specially in splicing in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. PMID:21996352
Infectious diseases can cause deleterious effects on bird species, leading to population decline and extinction. Haemosporidia can be recognized by their negative effects on host fitness, including reproductive success and immune responses. In captivity, outbreaks of haemosporidian infection have been observed in birds in zoos and aviaries. The endemic Brazilian Atlantic rainforest species Aburria jacutinga is one of the most endangered species in the Cracidae family, and wild populations of this species are currently found mainly in conservation areas in only two Brazilian states. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of avian haemosporidia on hematological and biochemical parameters in two captive populations of A. jacutinga. Forty-two animals were assessed, and the haemosporidian prevalence was similar for males and females. The occurrence of haemosporidian infection in captive A. jacutinga observed in this study was similar to results found in other captive and wild birds in Brazil. We found three different lineages of haemosporidia. Two lineages were identified as Plasmodium sp., one of which was previously detected in Europe and Asia, and the other is a new lineage closely related to P. gallinaceum. A new third lineage was identified as Haemoproteus sp. We found no significant differences in hematological and biochemical values between infected and non-infected birds, and the haemosporidian lineage did not seem to have an impact on the clinical and physiological parameters of A. jacutinga. This is the first report on an evaluation of natural haemosporidian infections diagnosed by microscopic and molecular methods in A. jacutinga by hematology, blood biochemistry, and serum protein values. Determining physiological parameters, occurrence and an estimation of the impact of haemosporidia in endangered avian species may contribute to the management of species rehabilitation and conservation. PMID:23638382
Motta, Rafael Otávio Cançado; Romero Marques, Marcus Vinícius; Ferreira Junior, Francisco Carlos; Andery, Danielle de Assis; Horta, Rodrigo Santos; Peixoto, Renata Barbosa; Lacorte, Gustavo Augusto; Moreira, Patrícia de Abreu; Paes Leme, Fabíola de Oliveira; Melo, Marília Martins; Martins, Nelson Rodrigo da Silva; Braga, Erika Martins
Infectious diseases can cause deleterious effects on bird species, leading to population decline and extinction. Haemosporidia can be recognized by their negative effects on host fitness, including reproductive success and immune responses. In captivity, outbreaks of haemosporidian infection have been observed in birds in zoos and aviaries. The endemic Brazilian Atlantic rainforest species Aburria jacutinga is one of the most endangered species in the Cracidae family, and wild populations of this species are currently found mainly in conservation areas in only two Brazilian states. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of avian haemosporidia on hematological and biochemical parameters in two captive populations of A. jacutinga. Forty-two animals were assessed, and the haemosporidian prevalence was similar for males and females. The occurrence of haemosporidian infection in captive A. jacutinga observed in this study was similar to results found in other captive and wild birds in Brazil. We found three different lineages of haemosporidia. Two lineages were identified as Plasmodium sp., one of which was previously detected in Europe and Asia, and the other is a new lineage closely related to P. gallinaceum. A new third lineage was identified as Haemoproteus sp. We found no significant differences in hematological and biochemical values between infected and non-infected birds, and the haemosporidian lineage did not seem to have an impact on the clinical and physiological parameters of A. jacutinga. This is the first report on an evaluation of natural haemosporidian infections diagnosed by microscopic and molecular methods in A. jacutinga by hematology, blood biochemistry, and serum protein values. Determining physiological parameters, occurrence and an estimation of the impact of haemosporidia in endangered avian species may contribute to the management of species rehabilitation and conservation.
Ferreira Junior, Francisco Carlos; Andery, Danielle de Assis; Horta, Rodrigo Santos; Peixoto, Renata Barbosa; Lacorte, Gustavo Augusto; Moreira, Patricia de Abreu; Paes Leme, Fabiola de Oliveira; Melo, Marilia Martins; Martins, Nelson Rodrigo da Silva
Inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis and\\/or the perturbation of polyamine functionality have been exploited with success against\\u000a parasitic diseases such as Trypanosoma infections. However, when the classical polyamine biosynthesis inhibitor, ?-difluoromethylornithine, is used against the\\u000a human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, it results in only a cytostatic growth arrest. Polyamine metabolism in this parasite has unique properties not shared by\\u000a any other
K. Clark; J. Niemand; S. Reeksting; S. Smit; A. C. van Brummelen; M. Williams; A. I. Louw; L. Birkholtz
Malaria parasites are haploid for most of their life cycle, with zygote formation and meiosis occurring during the mosquito phase of development. The parasites can be analyzed genetically by transmitting mixtures of cloned parasites through mosquitoes to ...
D. Walliker I. A. Quakyi T. E. Wellems T. F. McCutchan A. Szarfman
Most Apicomplexa are obligatory intracellular parasites that multiply inside a so-called parasitophorous vacuole (PV) formed upon parasite entry into the host cell. Plasmodium, the agent of malaria and the Apicomplexa most deadly to humans, multiplies in both hepatocytes and erythrocytes in the mammalian host. Although much has been learned on how Apicomplexa parasites invade host cells inside a PV, little is known of how they rupture the PV membrane and egress host cells. Here, we characterize a Plasmodium protein, called LISP1 (liver-specific protein 1), which is specifically involved in parasite egress from hepatocytes. LISP1 is expressed late during parasite development inside hepatocytes and locates at the PV membrane. Intracellular parasites deficient in LISP1 develop into hepatic merozoites, which display normal infectivity to erythrocytes. However, LISP1-deficient liver-stage parasites do not rupture the membrane of the PV and remain trapped inside hepatocytes. LISP1 is the first Plasmodium protein shown by gene targeting to be involved in the lysis of the PV membrane.
Ishino, Tomoko; Boisson, Bertrand; Orito, Yuki; Lacroix, Celine; Bischoff, Emmanuel; Loussert, Celine; Janse, Chris; Menard, Robert; Yuda, Masao; Baldacci, Patricia
We review the principles of linkage analysis of experimental genetic crosses and their application to Plasmodium falciparum. Three experimental genetic crosses have been performed using the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. Linkage analysis of the progeny of these crosses has been used to identify parasite genes important in phenotypes such as drug resistance, parasite growth and virulence, and transmission to mosquitoes. The construction and analysis of genetic maps has been used to characterise recombination rates across the parasite genome and to identify hotspots of recombination.
Ranford-Cartwright, Lisa C.; Mwangi, Jonathan M.
Blood-feeding arthropod vectors are responsible for transmitting many parasites between vertebrate hosts. While arthropod vectors often feed on limited subsets of potential host species, little is known about the extent to which this influences the distribution of vector-borne parasites in some systems. Here, we test the hypothesis that different vector species structure parasite–host relationships by restricting access of certain parasites to a subset of available hosts. Specifically, we investigate how the feeding patterns of Culex mosquito vectors relate to distributions of avian malaria parasites among hosts in suburban Chicago, IL, USA. We show that Plasmodium lineages, defined by cytochrome b haplotypes, are heterogeneously distributed across avian hosts. However, the feeding patterns of the dominant vectors (Culex restuans and Culex pipiens) are similar across these hosts, and do not explain the distributions of Plasmodium parasites. Phylogenetic similarity of avian hosts predicts similarity in their Plasmodium parasites. This effect was driven primarily by the general association of Plasmodium parasites with particular host superfamilies. Our results suggest that a mosquito-imposed encounter rate does not limit the distribution of avian Plasmodium parasites across hosts. This implies that compatibility between parasites and their avian hosts structure Plasmodium host range.
Medeiros, Matthew C. I.; Hamer, Gabriel L.; Ricklefs, Robert E.
Infectious diseases threaten the health and survival of wildlife populations. Consequently, relationships between host diversity, host abundance, and parasite infection are important aspects of disease ecology and conservation research. Here, we report on the prevalence patterns of avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus infections and host relative abundance influence based on sampling 728 wild-caught birds representing 124 species at seven geographically widespread sites in southern China. The overall prevalence of two haemoprotozoan parasites, Plasmodium and Haemoproteus, was 29.5%, with 22.0% attributable to Haemoproteus and 7.8% to Plasmodium. Haemoproteus prevalence differed significantly among different avian host families, with the highest prevalence in Nectariniidae, Pycnonotidae and Muscicapidae, whereas Plasmodium prevalence varied significantly among host species. Seventy-nine mitochondrial lineages including 25 from Plasmodium and 54 from Haemoproteus were identified, 80% of which were described here for the first time. The phylogenetic relationships among these parasites indicated stronger host-species specificity for Haemoproteus than Plasmodium. Well-supported host-family (Timaliidae) specific clades were found in both Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. The Haemoproteus tree shows regional subclades, whereas the Plasmodium clades are “scattered” among different geographical regions. Interestingly, there were statistically significant variations in the prevalence of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus among the geographical regions. Furthermore, the prevalence of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus were not significantly correlated with host relative abundance. Further efforts will focus on exploring the relationships between parasite prevalence and sex, age, and immune defense of the host.
Zhang, Yanhua; Wu, Yuchun; Zhang, Qiang; Su, Dongdong; Zou, Fasheng
Multilocus genotyping of microbial pathogens has revealed a range of population structures, with some bacteria showing extensive recombination and others showing almost complete clonality. The population structure of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum has been harder to evaluate, since most studies have used a limited number of antigen-encoding loci that are known to be under strong selection. We describe length
Timothy J. C. Anderson; Bernhard Haubold; Jeff T. Williams; Jose G. Estrada-Franco; Lynne Richardson; Rene Mollinedo; Moses Bockarie; John Mokili; Sungano Mharakurwa; Neil French; Jim Whitworth; Ivan D. Velez; Alan H. Brockman; Francois Nosten; Marcelo U. Ferreira; Karen P. Day
BACKGROUND: Malaria, caused by the parasitic protist Plasmodium falciparum, represents a major public health problem in the developing world. The P. falciparum genome has been sequenced, which provides new opportunities for the identification of novel drug targets. Eukaryotic protein kinases (ePKs) form a large family of enzymes with crucial roles in most cellular processes; hence malarial ePKS represent potential drug
Pauline Ward; Leila Equinet; Jeremy Packer; Christian Doerig
BACKGROUND: Thick blood films are routinely used to diagnose Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Here, they were used to diagnose volunteers exposed to experimental malaria challenge. METHODS: The frequency with which blood films were positive at given parasite densities measured by PCR were analysed. The poisson distribution was used to calculate the theoretical likelihood of diagnosis. Further in vitro studies used serial
Philip Bejon; Laura Andrews; Angela Hunt-Cooke; Frances Sanderson; Sarah C Gilbert; Adrian VS Hill
The absorption and scattering properties of three developmental stages of protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum were studied both experimentally and theoretically. Experimentally, the light attenuation and forward scattering from parasites extracted from host erythrocyte cultures were measured with UV-visible spectroscopy. The measured spectra were interpreted theoretically with a model based on the core-shell Mie theory in terms of the structural and compositional characteristics of the protozoa. The model accurately reproduced the features of the measured spectra of all developmental stages. The results show that realistic quantitative estimates of the parasite size, nucleotide, and hemozoin contents can be derived from the UV-visible spectroscopy measurements. PMID:20062504
Serebrennikova, Yulia M; Patel, Janus; Garcia-Rubio, Luis H
Gene flow, and resulting degree of genetic differentiation among populations, will shape geographic genetic patterns and possibly local adaptation of parasites and their hosts. Some studies of Plasmodium falciparum in humans show substantial differentiation of the parasite in locations separated by only a few kilometers, a paradoxical finding for a parasite in a large, mobile host. We examined genetic differentiation of the malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum, and its lizard host, Sceloporus occidentalis, at 8 sites in northern California, with the use of variable microsatellite markers for both species. These lizards are small and highly territorial, so we expected local genetic differentiation of both parasite and lizard. Populations of P. mexicanum were found to be differentiated by analysis of 5 markers (F(st) values >0.05-0.10) over distances as short as 230-400 m, and greatly differentiated (F(st) values >0.25) for sites separated by approximately 10 km. In contrast, the lizard host had no, or very low, levels of differentiation for 3 markers, even for sites >40 km distant. Thus, gene flow for the lizard was great, but despite the mobility of the vertebrate host, the parasite was locally genetically distinct. This discrepancy could result if infected lizards move little, but their noninfected relatives were more mobile. Previous studies on the virulence of P. mexicanum for fence lizards support this hypothesis. However, changing prevalence of the parasite, without changes in density of the lizard, could also result in this pattern. PMID:19916631
Fricke, Jennifer M; Vardo-Zalik, Anne M; Schall, Jos J
To examine the site of action of antimalarial iron chelators, iron ligands were added to control erythrocytes and to erythrocytes parasitized with Plasmodium falciparum, and the concentration of intracellular labile iron was monitored with the fluorescent probe, calcein. The fluorescence of calcein quenches upon binding iron and increases upon releasing iron. The chelators included desferrioxamine B, 2',2'-bipyridyl, and aminophenol II, a compound that is being newly reported as having anti-plasmodial properties. Calcein-loaded parasitized cells displayed fluorescence predominantly within the cytosol of both rings and trophozoites. The addition of chelators to both control and parasitized erythrocytes led to significant increases of fluorescence (P < 0.001). Fluorescence was observed to increase within the parasite itself after addition of iron chelators, indicating that these agents bound labile iron within the plasmodium. The relative increases of fluorescence after addition of chelators were greater in control than parasitized erythrocytes (P < 0.05) as were the estimated labile iron concentrations (P < or = 0.001). These results suggest that (i) the anti-malarial action of iron chelators might result from the ability to reach the infected cell's parasite compartment and bind iron within the parasite cytosol, and (ii) the labile iron pool of the host red cell may be either utilized or stored during plasmodial growth. PMID:10413042
Loyevsky, M; John, C; Dickens, B; Hu, V; Miller, J H; Gordeuk, V R
Background Plasmodium has a complex cell biology and it is essential to dissect the cell-signalling pathways underlying its survival within the host. Methods Using the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) peptide substrate Abz-AIKFFARQ-EDDnp and Fluo4/AM, the effects of extracellular ATP on triggering proteolysis and Ca2+ signalling in Plasmodium berghei and Plasmodium yoelii malaria parasites were investigated. Results The protease activity was blocked in the presence of the purinergic receptor blockers suramin (50 ?M) and PPADS (50 ?M) or the extracellular and intracellular calcium chelators EGTA (5 mM) and BAPTA/AM (25, 100, 200 and 500 ?M), respectively for P. yoelii and P. berghei. Addition of ATP (50, 70, 200 and 250 ?M) to isolated parasites previously loaded with Fluo4/AM in a Ca2+-containing medium led to an increase in cytosolic calcium. This rise was blocked by pre-incubating the parasites with either purinergic antagonists PPADS (50 ?M), TNP-ATP (50 ?M) or the purinergic blockers KN-62 (10 ?M) and Ip5I (10 ?M). Incubating P. berghei infected cells with KN-62 (200 ?M) resulted in a changed profile of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) processing as revealed by western blot assays. Moreover incubating P. berghei for 17 h with KN-62 (10 ?M) led to an increase in rings forms (82% ± 4, n = 11) and a decrease in trophozoite forms (18% ± 4, n = 11). Conclusions The data clearly show that purinergic signalling modulates P. berghei protease(s) activity and that MSP1 is one target in this pathway.
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the majority of malaria-related deaths. Tools allowing the study of the basic biology of P. falciparum throughout the life cycle are critical to the development of new strategies to target the parasite within both human and mosquito hosts. We here present 3D7HT-GFP, a strain of P. falciparum constitutively expressing the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) throughout the life cycle, which has retained its capacity to complete sporogonic development. The GFP expressing cassette was inserted in the Pf47 locus. Using this transgenic strain, parasite tracking and population dynamics studies in mosquito stages and exo-erythrocytic schizogony is greatly facilitated. The development of 3D7HT-GFP will permit a deeper understanding of the biology of parasite-host vector interactions, and facilitate the development of high-throughput malaria transmission assays and thus aid development of new intervention strategies against both parasite and mosquito.
Talman, Arthur M.; Blagborough, Andrew M.; Sinden, Robert E.
BACKGROUND: The post-genomic era of malaria research provided unprecedented insights into the biology of Plasmodium parasites. Due to the large evolutionary distance to model eukaryotes, however, we lack a profound understanding of many processes in Plasmodium biology. One example is the cell nucleus, which controls the parasite genome in a development- and cell cycle-specific manner through mostly unknown mechanisms. To study this important organelle in detail, we conducted an integrative analysis of the P. falciparum nuclear proteome. RESULTS: We combined high accuracy mass spectrometry and bioinformatic approaches to present for the first time an experimentally determined core nuclear proteome for P. falciparum. Besides a large number of factors implicated in known nuclear processes, one-third of all detected proteins carry no functional annotation, including many phylum- or genus-specific factors. Importantly, extensive experimental validation using 30 transgenic cell lines confirmed the high specificity of this inventory, and revealed distinct nuclear localization patterns of hitherto uncharacterized proteins. Further, our detailed analysis identified novel protein domains potentially implicated in gene transcription pathways, and sheds important new light on nuclear compartments and processes including regulatory complexes, the nucleolus, nuclear pores, and nuclear import pathways. CONCLUSION: Our study provides comprehensive new insight into the biology of the Plasmodium nucleus and will serve as an important platform for dissecting general and parasite-specific nuclear processes in malaria parasites. Moreover, as the first nuclear proteome characterized in any protist organism, it will provide an important resource for studying evolutionary aspects of nuclear biology. PMID:23181666
Oehring, Sophie C; Woodcroft, Ben J; Moes, Suzette; Wetzel, Johanna; Dietz, Olivier; Pulfer, Andreas; Dekiwadia, Chaitali; Maeser, Pascal; Flueck, Christian; Witmer, Kathrin; Brancucci, Nicolas Mb; Niederwieser, Igor; Jenoe, Paul; Ralph, Stuart A; Voss, Till S
Background The post-genomic era of malaria research provided unprecedented insights into the biology of Plasmodium parasites. Due to the large evolutionary distance to model eukaryotes, however, we lack a profound understanding of many processes in Plasmodium biology. One example is the cell nucleus, which controls the parasite genome in a development- and cell cycle-specific manner through mostly unknown mechanisms. To study this important organelle in detail, we conducted an integrative analysis of the P. falciparum nuclear proteome. Results We combined high accuracy mass spectrometry and bioinformatic approaches to present for the first time an experimentally determined core nuclear proteome for P. falciparum. Besides a large number of factors implicated in known nuclear processes, one-third of all detected proteins carry no functional annotation, including many phylum- or genus-specific factors. Importantly, extensive experimental validation using 30 transgenic cell lines confirmed the high specificity of this inventory, and revealed distinct nuclear localization patterns of hitherto uncharacterized proteins. Further, our detailed analysis identified novel protein domains potentially implicated in gene transcription pathways, and sheds important new light on nuclear compartments and processes including regulatory complexes, the nucleolus, nuclear pores, and nuclear import pathways. Conclusion Our study provides comprehensive new insight into the biology of the Plasmodium nucleus and will serve as an important platform for dissecting general and parasite-specific nuclear processes in malaria parasites. Moreover, as the first nuclear proteome characterized in any protist organism, it will provide an important resource for studying evolutionary aspects of nuclear biology.
In nearly all non-photosynthetic cells, pantothenate (vitamin B5) transport and utilization are prerequisites for the synthesis of the universal essential cofactor Coenzyme A (CoA). Early studies showed that human malaria parasites rely on the uptake of pantothenate across the parasite plasma membrane for survival within erythrocytes. Recently, a P. falciparum candidate pantothenate transporter (PAT) was characterized by functional complementation in yeast. These studies revealed that PfPAT mediated survival of yeast cells in low pantothenate concentrations and restored sensitivity of yeast cells lacking pantothenate uptake to fenpropimorph. In addition, PfPAT was refractory to deletion in P. falciparum in vitro, but nothing is known about the in vivo functions of PAT in Plasmodium life cycle stages. Herein, we used gene-targeting techniques to delete PAT in Plasmodium yoelii. Parasites lacking PAT displayed normal asexual and sexual blood stage development compared to wild-type (WT) and WT-like p230p(-) parasites. However, progression from the ookinete to the oocyst stage and sporozoite formation were completely abolished in pat(-) parasites. These studies provide the first evidence for an essential role of a candidate pantothenate transport in malaria transmission to Anopheles mosquitoes. This will set the stage for the development of PAT inhibitors against multiple parasite life cycle stages.
Hart, Robert J.; Lawres, Lauren; Fritzen, Emma; Mamoun, Choukri Ben; Aly, Ahmed S. I.
As the only volant mammals, bats are captivating for their high taxonomic diversity, for their vital roles in ecosystems—particularly as pollinators and insectivores—and, more recently, for their important roles in the maintenance and transmission of zoonotic viral diseases. Genome sequences have identified evidence for a striking expansion of and positive selection in gene families associated with immunity. Bats have also been known to be hosts of malaria parasites for over a century, and as hosts, they possess perhaps the most phylogenetically diverse set of hemosporidian genera and species. To provide a molecular framework for the study of these parasites, we surveyed bats in three remote areas of the Upper Guinean forest ecosystem. We detected four distinct genera of hemosporidian parasites: Plasmodium, Polychromophilus, Nycteria, and Hepatocystis. Intriguingly, the two species of Plasmodium in bats fall within the clade of rodent malaria parasites, indicative of multiple host switches across mammalian orders. We show that Nycteria species form a very distinct phylogenetic group and that Hepatocystis parasites display an unusually high diversity and prevalence in epauletted fruit bats. The diversity and high prevalence of novel lineages of chiropteran hemosporidians underscore the exceptional position of bats among all other mammalian hosts of hemosporidian parasites and support hypotheses of pathogen tolerance consistent with the exceptional immunology of bats.
Schaer, Juliane; Perkins, Susan L.; Decher, Jan; Leendertz, Fabian H.; Fahr, Jakob; Weber, Natalie; Matuschewski, Kai
In nearly all non-photosynthetic cells, pantothenate (vitamin B5) transport and utilization are prerequisites for the synthesis of the universal essential cofactor Coenzyme A (CoA). Early studies showed that human malaria parasites rely on the uptake of pantothenate across the parasite plasma membrane for survival within erythrocytes. Recently, a P. falciparum candidate pantothenate transporter (PAT) was characterized by functional complementation in yeast. These studies revealed that PfPAT mediated survival of yeast cells in low pantothenate concentrations and restored sensitivity of yeast cells lacking pantothenate uptake to fenpropimorph. In addition, PfPAT was refractory to deletion in P. falciparum in vitro, but nothing is known about the in vivo functions of PAT in Plasmodium life cycle stages. Herein, we used gene-targeting techniques to delete PAT in Plasmodium yoelii. Parasites lacking PAT displayed normal asexual and sexual blood stage development compared to wild-type (WT) and WT-like p230p(-) parasites. However, progression from the ookinete to the oocyst stage and sporozoite formation were completely abolished in pat(-) parasites. These studies provide the first evidence for an essential role of a candidate pantothenate transport in malaria transmission to Anopheles mosquitoes. This will set the stage for the development of PAT inhibitors against multiple parasite life cycle stages. PMID:25012929
Hart, Robert J; Lawres, Lauren; Fritzen, Emma; Mamoun, Choukri Ben; Aly, Ahmed S I
Parasitized erythrocytes from mice infected with the murine malaria parasite Plasmodium vinckei vinckei showed a marked increase in the rate of influx of choline compared with erythrocytes from uninfected mice. In contrast, uninfected erythrocytes from P. vinckei-infected animals transported choline at the same rate as those from uninfected mice. The increased influx of choline into parasitized cells was via two discrete routes. One was a saturable pathway with a Km similar to that of the choline carrier of normal erythrocytes but a Vmax approx. 20-fold higher than that observed in uninfected cells. The other was a non-saturable pathway inhibited by furosemide. At choline concentrations within the normal physiological plasma concentration range, the former pathway contributed approx. two-thirds and the latter approx. one-third of the influx of choline into parasitized cells. The characteristics of the furosemide-sensitive pathway were similar to those of a broad-specificity pathway that is induced in human erythrocytes infected in vitro with Plasmodium falciparum. The results of this study rule out the possibility that the induced transport pathway of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes is an artifact arising in vitro from the long-term culture of parasitized cells and provide evidence that this pathway makes a significant contribution to the uptake of choline into the parasitized cells of malaria-infected animals.
Staines, H M; Kirk, K
Due to their rapid, potent action on young and mature intraerythrocytic stages, artemisinin derivatives are central to drug combination therapies for Plasmodium falciparum malaria. However, the evidence for emerging parasite resistance/tolerance to artemisinins in southeast Asia is of great concern. A better understanding of artemisinin-related drug activity and resistance mechanisms is urgently needed. A recent transcriptome study of parasites exposed to artesunate led us to identify a series of genes with modified levels of expression in the presence of the drug. The gene presenting the largest mRNA level increase, Pf10_0026 (PArt), encoding a hypothetical protein of unknown function, was chosen for further study. Immunodetection with PArt-specific sera showed that artesunate induced a dose-dependent increase of the protein level. Bioinformatic analysis showed that PArt belongs to a Plasmodium-specific gene family characterized by the presence of a tryptophan-rich domain with a novel hidden Markov model (HMM) profile. Gene disruption could not be achieved, suggesting an essential function. Transgenic parasites overexpressing PArt protein were generated and exhibited tolerance to a spike exposure to high doses of artesunate, with increased survival and reduced growth retardation compared to that of wild-type-treated controls. These data indicate the involvement of PArt in parasite defense mechanisms against artesunate. This is the first report of genetically manipulated parasites displaying a stable and reproducible decreased susceptibility to artesunate, providing new possibilities to investigate the parasite response to artemisinins.
Deplaine, Guillaume; Lavazec, Catherine; Bischoff, Emmanuel; Natalang, Onguma; Perrot, Sylvie; Guillotte-Blisnick, Micheline; Coppee, Jean-Yves; Pradines, Bruno; Mercereau-Puijalon, Odile; David, Peter H.
The apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic plastid of apicomplexan species, has an extremely reduced but highly conserved genome. Here, the apicoplast genome of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi (Pcc) isolate CB was characterized. Although the set of genes in the genome is identical, the copy number of some tRNA genes differs between Pcc and other Plasmodium species because the Pcc DNA has only one rRNA/tRNA gene cluster, which is normally duplicated in other species. The location of the duplicated trnR(ACG) and trnM implies that one of the duplicated clusters in the ancestral molecule has been lost due to an intramolecular recombination event. The Pcc DNA occurs in two isoforms with an internal inversion between them. The presence of a unique variant in the duplicated trnT gene suggests that the two isoforms are interconvertible. This is the first report of the complete nucleotide sequence of a Plasmodium apicoplast DNA.
Sato, Shigeharu; Sesay, Abdul K.; Holder, Anthony A.
This study was carried out to determine the human host preference and presence of Plasmodium parasite in field collected Anopheles mosquitoes among four villages around a military cantonment located in malaria endemic Sonitpur district of Assam, India. Encountered malaria vector mosquitoes were identified and tested for host preference and Plasmodium presence using PCR method. Human host preference was detected using simple PCR, whereas vectorial status for Plasmodium parasite was confirmed using first round PCR with genus specific primers and thereafter nested PCR with three Plasmodium species specific primers. Out of 1874 blood fed vector mosquitoes collected, 187 (10%) were processed for PCR, which revealed that 40.6% had fed on human blood; 9.2% of human blood fed mosquito were harbouring Plasmodium parasites, 71.4% of which were confirmed to Plasmodium falciparum. In addition to An. minimus, An. annularis and An. culicifacies were also found positive for malaria parasites. The present study exhibits the human feeding tendency of Anopheles vectors highlighting their malaria parasite transmission potential. The present study may serve as a model for understanding the human host preference of malaria vectors and detection of malaria parasite inside the anopheline vector mosquitoes in order to update their vectorial status for estimating the possible role of these mosquitoes in malaria transmission. The study has used PCR method and suggests that PCR-based method should be used in this entire malarious region to correctly report the vectorial position of different malaria vectors.
Dhiman, Sunil; Bhola, Rakesh Kumar; Goswami, Diganta; Rabha, Bipul; Kumar, Dinesh; Baruah, Indra; Singh, Lokendra
Malaria aminopeptidases are important in the generation and regulation of free amino acids that are used in protein anabolism and for maintaining osmotic stability within the infected erythrocyte. The intraerythrocytic development of malaria parasites is blocked when the activity of aminopeptidases is specifically inhibited by reagents such as bestatin. One of the major aminopeptidases of malaria parasites is a leucyl aminopeptidase of the M17 family. We reasoned that, when this enzyme was the target of bestatin inhibition, its overexpression in malaria cells would lead to a reduced sensitivity to the inhibitor. To address this supposition, transgenic Plasmodium falciparum parasites overexpressing the leucyl aminopeptidase were generated by transfection with a plasmid that housed the full-length gene. Transgenic parasites expressed a 65-kDa protein close to the predicted molecule size of 67.831 kDa for the introduced leucyl aminopeptidase, and immunofluorescence studies localized the protein to the cytosol, the location of the native enzyme. The product of the transgene was shown to be functionally active with cytosolic extracts of transgenic parasites exhibiting twice the leucyl aminopeptidase activity compared with wild-type parasites. In vitro inhibitor sensitivity assays demonstrated that the transgenic parasites were more resistant to bestatin (EC50 64 microM) compared with the parent parasites (EC50 25 microM). Overexpression of genes in malaria parasites would have general application in the identification and validation of targets for antimalarial drugs. PMID:16286469
Gardiner, Donald L; Trenholme, Katharine R; Skinner-Adams, Tina S; Stack, Colin M; Dalton, John P
Most human malaria deaths are caused by blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Cerebral malaria, the most life-threatening complication of the disease, is characterised by an accumulation of Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells (iRBC) at pigmented trophozoite stage in the microvasculature of the brain(2-4). This microvessel obstruction (sequestration) leads to acidosis, hypoxia and harmful inflammatory cytokines (reviewed in (5)). Sequestration is also found in most microvascular tissues of the human body(2, 3). The mechanism by which iRBC attach to the blood vessel walls is still poorly understood. The immortalized Human Brain microvascular Endothelial Cell line (HBEC-5i) has been used as an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier(6). However, Plasmodium falciparum iRBC attach only poorly to HBEC-5i in vitro, unlike the dense sequestration that occurs in cerebral malaria cases. We therefore developed a panning assay to select (enrich) various P. falciparum strains for adhesion to HBEC-5i in order to obtain populations of high-binding parasites, more representative of what occurs in vivo. A sample of a parasite culture (mixture of iRBC and uninfected RBC) at the pigmented trophozoite stage is washed and incubated on a layer of HBEC-5i grown on a Petri dish. After incubation, the dish is gently washed free from uRBC and unbound iRBC. Fresh uRBC are added to the few iRBC attached to HBEC-5i and incubated overnight. As schizont stage parasites burst, merozoites reinvade RBC and these ring stage parasites are harvested the following day. Parasites are cultured until enough material is obtained (typically 2 to 4 weeks) and a new round of selection can be performed. Depending on the P. falciparum strain, 4 to 7 rounds of selection are needed in order to get a population where most parasites bind to HBEC-5i. The binding phenotype is progressively lost after a few weeks, indicating a switch in variant surface antigen gene expression, thus regular selection on HBEC-5i is required to maintain the phenotype. In summary, we developed a selection assay rendering P. falciparum parasites a more "cerebral malaria adhesive" phenotype. We were able to select 3 out of 4 P. falciparum strains on HBEC-5i. This assay has also successfully been used to select parasites for binding to human dermal and pulmonary endothelial cells. Importantly, this method can be used to select tissue-specific parasite populations in order to identify candidate parasite ligands for binding to brain endothelium. Moreover, this assay can be used to screen for putative anti-sequestration drugs(7). PMID:22230803
Claessens, Antoine; Rowe, J Alexandra
Borrelidin, a structurally unique 18-membered macrolide, was found to express antimalarial activity against drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, with IC50 value of 0.93 ng/mL. However, it also displays strong cytotoxicity against human diploid embryonic MRC-5 cells. To investigate the issue of the cytotoxicity of borrelidin, borrelidin-based analogues were synthesized and their anti-Plasmodium properties were evaluated. In this communication, we report that a novel borrelidin analogue, bearing the CH2SPh moiety via a triazole linkage, was found to retain a potent antimalarial activity, against drug-sensitive and drug-resistant parasite strains, but possess only weak cytotoxicity against human cells. PMID:23499502
Sugawara, Akihiro; Tanaka, Toshiaki; Hirose, Tomoyasu; Ishiyama, Aki; Iwatsuki, Masato; Takahashi, Yoko; Otoguro, Kazuhiko; ?mura, Satoshi; Sunazuka, Toshiaki
Signaling pathways controlled by reversible protein phosphorylation (catalyzed by kinases and phosphatases) in the malaria parasite Plasmodium are of great interest, for both increased understanding of parasite biology and identification of novel drug targets. Here, we report a functional analysis in Plasmodium of an ancient bacterial Shewanella-like protein phosphatase (SHLP1) found only in bacteria, fungi, protists, and plants. SHLP1 is abundant in asexual blood stages and expressed at all stages of the parasite life cycle. shlp1 deletion results in a reduction in ookinete (zygote) development, microneme formation, and complete ablation of oocyst formation, thereby blocking parasite transmission. This defect is carried by the female gamete and can be rescued by direct injection of mutant ookinetes into the mosquito hemocoel, where oocysts develop. This study emphasizes the varied functions of SHLP1 in Plasmodium ookinete biology and suggests that it could be a novel drug target for blocking parasite transmission. PMID:23434509
Patzewitz, Eva-Maria; Guttery, David S; Poulin, Benoit; Ramakrishnan, Chandra; Ferguson, David J P; Wall, Richard J; Brady, Declan; Holder, Anthony A; Szö?r, Balázs; Tewari, Rita
Species of malaria parasite (phylum Apicomplexa: genus Plasmodium) have traditionally been described using the similarity species concept (based primarily on differences in morphological or life-history characteristics). The biological species concept (reproductive isolation) and phylogenetic species concept (based on monophyly) have not been used before in defining species of Plasmodium. Plasmodium azurophilum, described from Anolis lizards in the eastern Caribbean, is actually a two-species cryptic complex. The parasites were studied from eight islands, from Puerto Rico in the north to Grenada in the south. Morphology of the two species is very similar (differences are indistinguishable to the eye), but one infects only erythrocytes and the other only white blood cells. Molecular data for the cytochrome b gene reveal that the two forms are reproductively isolated; distinct haplotypes are present on each island and are never shared between the erythrocyte-infecting and leucocyte-infecting species. Each forms a monophyletic lineage indicating that they diverged before becoming established in the anoles of the eastern Caribbean. This comparison of the similarity, biological and phylogenetic species concepts for malaria parasites reveals the limited value of using only similarity measures in defining protozoan species.
Perkins, S L
Background Plasmodium parasites are causative agents of malaria which affects >500 million people and claims ~2 million lives annually. The completion of Plasmodium genome sequencing and availability of PlasmoDB database has provided a platform for systematic study of parasite genome. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are pivotal enzymes for protein translation and other vital cellular processes. We report an extensive analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum genome to identify and classify aaRSs in this organism. Results Using various computational and bioinformatics tools, we have identified 37 aaRSs in P. falciparum. Our key observations are: (i) fraction of proteome dedicated to aaRSs in P. falciparum is very high compared to many other organisms; (ii) 23 out of 37 Pf-aaRS sequences contain signal peptides possibly directing them to different cellular organelles; (iii) expression profiles of Pf-aaRSs vary considerably at various life cycle stages of the parasite; (iv) several PfaaRSs posses very unusual domain architectures; (v) phylogenetic analyses reveal evolutionary relatedness of several parasite aaRSs to bacterial and plants aaRSs; (vi) three dimensional structural modelling has provided insights which could be exploited in inhibitor discovery against parasite aaRSs. Conclusion We have identified 37 Pf-aaRSs based on our bioinformatics analysis. Our data reveal several unique attributes in this protein family. We have annotated all 37 Pf-aaRSs based on predicted localization, phylogenetics, domain architectures and their overall protein expression profiles. The sets of distinct features elaborated in this work will provide a platform for experimental dissection of this family of enzymes, possibly for the discovery of novel drugs against malaria.
The origin of Plasmodium falciparum, the etiological agent of the most dangerous forms of human malaria, remains controversial. Although investigations of homologous parasites in African Apes are crucial to resolve this issue, studies have been restricted to a chimpanzee parasite related to P. falciparum, P. reichenowi, for which a single isolate was available until very recently. Using PCR amplification, we
Sabrina Krief; Ananias A. Escalante; M. Andreina Pacheco; Lawrence Mugisha; Claudine André; Michel Halbwax; Anne Fischer; Jean-Michel Krief; John M. Kasenene; Mike Crandfield; Omar E. Cornejo; Jean-Marc Chavatte; Clara Lin; Franck Letourneur; Anne Charlotte Grüner; Thomas F. McCutchan; Laurent Rénia; Georges Snounou
Soft x-ray microscopy is a novel approach for investigation of intracellular organisms and subcellular structures with high spatial resolution. We used x-ray microscopy to investigate structural development of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites in normal and genetically abnormal erythrocytes and in infected erythrocytes treated with cysteine protease inhibitors. Investigations in normal red blood cells enabled us to recognize anomalies in parasite
Cathleen Magowan; John T. Brown; Joy Liang; John Heck; Ross L. Coppel; Narla Mohandas; Werner Meyer-Ilse
Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites and is responsible for high mortality in humans. This disease is caused by four different species of Plasmodium though the main source of mortality is Plasmodium falciparum. Humans have a number of genetic adaptations that act to combat Plasmodium. One adaptation is a deletion in the SLC4A1 gene that leads to Southeast Asian ovalocytosis (SAO). There is evidence that SAO erythrocytes are resistant to multiple Plasmodium species. Here we analyze SLC4A1 in 23 primates and mammals to test for differential selective pressures among different primate lineages. Because primates are infected with both human Plasmodium parasites and their relatives, this analysis can be used to test which human Plasmodium parasite is the likely target of SAO. A significantly different pattern of molecular evolution was found in humans and African apes, species that are infected by P. falciparum and its relatives. This effect was restricted to the cytosolic domain of the SLC4A1 gene. The evidence is consistent with a different selective regime operating on this gene domain in humans and African apes, when compared to other primates and mammals. Alternatively, this pattern is consistent with a relaxation of selection or weak adaptive evolution operating on a small number of amino acids. The adaptive interpretation of the results is consistent with the SAO allele of the SLC4A1 gene interacting with P. falciparum in humans, rather than other Plasmodium parasites. However, additional investigation of the relationship between SLC4A1 variants and Plasmodium in humans and African apes is required to test whether the different selective regime in humans and African apes is due to natural selection or relaxed constraint.
Steiper, Michael E.; Walsh, Fiona; Zichello, Julia M.
Autophagy is a catabolic pathway typically induced by nutrient starvation to recycle amino acids, but can also function in removing damaged organelles. In addition, this pathway plays a key role in eukaryotic development. To date, not much is known about the role of autophagy in apicomplexan parasites and more specifically in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Comparative genomic analysis has uncovered some, but not all, orthologs of autophagy-related (ATG) genes in the malaria parasite genome. Here, using a genome-wide in silico analysis, we confirmed that ATG genes whose products are required for vesicle expansion and completion are present, while genes involved in induction of autophagy and cargo packaging are mostly absent. We subsequently focused on the molecular and cellular function of P. falciparum ATG8 (PfATG8), an autophagosome membrane marker and key component of the autophagy pathway, throughout the parasite asexual and sexual erythrocytic stages. In this context, we showed that PfATG8 has a distinct and atypical role in parasite development. PfATG8 localized in the apicoplast and in vesicles throughout the cytosol during parasite development. Immunofluorescence assays of PfATG8 in apicoplast-minus parasites suggest that PfATG8 is involved in apicoplast biogenesis. Furthermore, treatment of parasite cultures with bafilomycin A1 and chloroquine, both lysosomotropic agents that inhibit autophagosome and lysosome fusion, resulted in dramatic morphological changes of the apicoplast, and parasite death. Furthermore, deep proteomic analysis of components associated with PfATG8 indicated that it may possibly be involved in ribophagy and piecemeal microautophagy of the nucleus. Collectively, our data revealed the importance and specificity of the autophagy pathway in the malaria parasite and offer potential novel therapeutic strategies.
Cervantes, Serena; Bunnik, Evelien M; Saraf, Anita; Conner, Christopher M; Escalante, Aster; Sardiu, Mihaela E; Ponts, Nadia; Prudhomme, Jacques; Florens, Laurence; Le Roch, Karine G
Malaria parasites generate vast quantities of heme during blood stage infection via hemoglobin digestion and limited de novo biosynthesis, but it remains unclear if parasites metabolize heme for utilization or disposal. Recent in vitro experiments with a heme oxygenase (HO)-like protein from Plasmodium falciparum suggested that parasites may enzymatically degrade some heme to the canonical HO product, biliverdin (BV), or its downstream metabolite, bilirubin (BR). To directly test for BV and BR production by P. falciparum parasites, we DMSO-extracted equal numbers of infected and uninfected erythrocytes and developed a sensitive LC-MS/MS assay to quantify these tetrapyrroles. We found comparable low levels of BV and BR in both samples, suggesting the absence of HO activity in parasites. We further tested live parasites by targeted expression of a fluorescent BV-binding protein within the parasite cytosol, mitochondrion, and plant-like plastid. This probe could detect exogenously added BV but gave no signal indicative of endogenous BV production within parasites. Finally, we recombinantly expressed and tested the proposed heme degrading activity of the HO-like protein, PfHO. Although PfHO bound heme and protoporphyrin IX with modest affinity, it did not catalyze heme degradation in vivo within bacteria or in vitro in UV absorbance and HPLC assays. These observations are consistent with PfHO's lack of a heme-coordinating His residue and suggest an alternative function within parasites. We conclude that P. falciparum parasites lack a canonical HO pathway for heme degradation and thus rely fully on alternative mechanisms for heme detoxification and iron acquisition during blood stage infection.
Sigala, Paul A.; Crowley, Jan R.; Hsieh, Samantha; Henderson, Jeffrey P.; Goldberg, Daniel E.
Malaria parasites generate vast quantities of heme during blood stage infection via hemoglobin digestion and limited de novo biosynthesis, but it remains unclear if parasites metabolize heme for utilization or disposal. Recent in vitro experiments with a heme oxygenase (HO)-like protein from Plasmodium falciparum suggested that parasites may enzymatically degrade some heme to the canonical HO product, biliverdin (BV), or its downstream metabolite, bilirubin (BR). To directly test for BV and BR production by P. falciparum parasites, we DMSO-extracted equal numbers of infected and uninfected erythrocytes and developed a sensitive LC-MS/MS assay to quantify these tetrapyrroles. We found comparable low levels of BV and BR in both samples, suggesting the absence of HO activity in parasites. We further tested live parasites by targeted expression of a fluorescent BV-binding protein within the parasite cytosol, mitochondrion, and plant-like plastid. This probe could detect exogenously added BV but gave no signal indicative of endogenous BV production within parasites. Finally, we recombinantly expressed and tested the proposed heme degrading activity of the HO-like protein, PfHO. Although PfHO bound heme and protoporphyrin IX with modest affinity, it did not catalyze heme degradation in vivo within bacteria or in vitro in UV absorbance and HPLC assays. These observations are consistent with PfHO's lack of a heme-coordinating His residue and suggest an alternative function within parasites. We conclude that P. falciparum parasites lack a canonical HO pathway for heme degradation and thus rely fully on alternative mechanisms for heme detoxification and iron acquisition during blood stage infection. PMID:22992734
Sigala, Paul A; Crowley, Jan R; Hsieh, Samantha; Henderson, Jeffrey P; Goldberg, Daniel E
Autophagy is a catabolic pathway typically induced by nutrient starvation to recycle amino acids, but can also function in removing damaged organelles. In addition, this pathway plays a key role in eukaryotic development. To date, not much is known about the role of autophagy in apicomplexan parasites and more specifically in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Comparative genomic analysis has uncovered some, but not all, orthologs of autophagy-related (ATG) genes in the malaria parasite genome. Here, using a genome-wide in silico analysis, we confirmed that ATG genes whose products are required for vesicle expansion and completion are present, while genes involved in induction of autophagy and cargo packaging are mostly absent. We subsequently focused on the molecular and cellular function of P. falciparum ATG8 (PfATG8), an autophagosome membrane marker and key component of the autophagy pathway, throughout the parasite asexual and sexual erythrocytic stages. In this context, we showed that PfATG8 has a distinct and atypical role in parasite development. PfATG8 localized in the apicoplast and in vesicles throughout the cytosol during parasite development. Immunofluorescence assays of PfATG8 in apicoplast-minus parasites suggest that PfATG8 is involved in apicoplast biogenesis. Furthermore, treatment of parasite cultures with bafilomycin A 1 and chloroquine, both lysosomotropic agents that inhibit autophagosome and lysosome fusion, resulted in dramatic morphological changes of the apicoplast, and parasite death. Furthermore, deep proteomic analysis of components associated with PfATG8 indicated that it may possibly be involved in ribophagy and piecemeal microautophagy of the nucleus. Collectively, our data revealed the importance and specificity of the autophagy pathway in the malaria parasite and offer potential novel therapeutic strategies. PMID:24275162
Cervantes, Serena; Bunnik, Evelien M; Saraf, Anita; Conner, Christopher M; Escalante, Aster; Sardiu, Mihaela E; Ponts, Nadia; Prudhomme, Jacques; Florens, Laurence; Le Roch, Karine G
In order to propagate within the mammalian host, malaria parasites must invade red blood cells (RBCs). This process offers a window of opportunity in which to target the parasite with drugs or vaccines. However, most of the studies relating to RBC invasion have analyzed the molecular interactions of parasite proteins with host cells under static conditions, and the dynamics of these interactions remain largely unstudied. Time-lapse imaging of RBC invasion is a powerful technique to investigate cell invasion and has been reported for Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium falciparum. However, experimental modification of genetic loci is laborious and time consuming for these species. We have established a system of time-lapse imaging for the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii, for which modification of genetic loci is quicker and simpler. We compared the kinetics of RBC invasion by P. yoelii with that of P. falciparum and found that the overall kinetics during invasion were similar, with some exceptions. The most striking of these differences is that, following egress from the RBC, the shape of P. yoelii merozoites gradually changes from flat elongated ovals to spherical bodies, a process taking about 60 sec. During this period merozoites were able to attach to and deform the RBC membrane, but were not able to reorient and invade. We propose that this morphological change of P. yoelii merozoites may be related to the secretion or activation of invasion-related proteins. Thus the P. yoelii merozoite appears to be an excellent model to analyze the molecular dynamics of RBC invasion, particularly during the morphological transition phase, which could serve as an expanded window that cannot be observed in P. falciparum.
Yahata, Kazuhide; Treeck, Moritz; Culleton, Richard; Gilberger, Tim-Wolf; Kaneko, Osamu
Molecules and cellular mechanisms that regulate the process of cell division in malaria parasites remain poorly understood. In this study we isolate and characterize the four Plasmodium falciparum centrins (PfCENs) and, by growth complementation studies, provide evidence for their involvement in cell division. Centrins are cytoskeleton proteins with key roles in cell division, including centrosome duplication, and possess four Ca(2+)-binding EF hand domains. By means of phylogenetic analysis, we were able to decipher the evolutionary history of centrins in eukaryotes with particular emphasis on the situation in apicomplexans and other alveolates. Plasmodium possesses orthologs of four distinct centrin paralogs traceable to the ancestral alveolate, including two that are unique to alveolates. By real time PCR and/or immunofluorescence, we determined the expression of PfCEN mRNA or protein in sporozoites, asexual blood forms, gametocytes, and in the oocysts developing inside mosquito mid-gut. Immunoelectron microscopy studies showed that centrin is expressed in close proximity with the nucleus of sporozoites and asexual schizonts. Furthermore, confocal and widefield microscopy using the double staining with alpha-tubulin and centrin antibodies strongly suggested that centrin is associated with the parasite centrosome. Following the episomal expression of the four PfCENs in a centrin knock-out Leishmania donovani parasite line that exhibited a severe growth defect, one of the PfCENs was able to partially restore Leishmania growth rate and overcome the defect in cytokinesis in such mutant cell line. To our knowledge, this study is the first characterization of a Plasmodium molecule that is involved in the process of cell division. These results provide the opportunity to further explore the role of centrins in cell division in malaria parasites and suggest novel targets to construct genetically modified, live attenuated malaria vaccines. PMID:18693242
Mahajan, Babita; Selvapandiyan, Angamuthu; Gerald, Noel J; Majam, Victoria; Zheng, Hong; Wickramarachchi, Thilan; Tiwari, Jawahar; Fujioka, Hisashi; Moch, J Kathleen; Kumar, Nirbhay; Aravind, L; Nakhasi, Hira L; Kumar, Sanjai
The high prevalence of Duffy negativity (lack of the Duffy blood group antigen) among human populations in sub-Saharan Africa has been used to argue that Plasmodium vivax originated on that continent. Here, we investigate the phylogenetic relationships among 10 species of Plasmodium that infect primates by using three genes, two nuclear (?-tubulin and cell division cycle 2) and a gene from the plastid genome (the elongation factor Tu). We find compelling evidence that P. vivax is derived from a species that inhabited macaques in Southeast Asia. Specifically, those phylogenies that include P. vivax as an ancient lineage from which all of the macaque parasites could originate are significantly less likely to explain the data. We estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor at four neutral gene loci from Asian and South American isolates (a minimum sample of seven isolates per locus). Our analysis estimates that the extant populations of P. vivax originated between 45,680 and 81,607 years ago. The phylogeny and the estimated time frame for the origination of current P. vivax populations are consistent with an “out of Asia” origin for P. vivax as hominoid parasite. The current debate regarding how the Duffy negative trait became fixed in Africa needs to be revisited, taking into account not only human genetic data but also the genetic diversity observed in the extant P. vivax populations and the phylogeny of the genus Plasmodium.
Escalante, Ananias A.; Cornejo, Omar E.; Freeland, Denise E.; Poe, Amanda C.; Durrego, Ester; Collins, William E.; Lal, Altaf A.
We have identified a conserved, repeated, and highly transcribed DNA element from the avian malarial parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum. The element produced multiple transcripts in both zygotes and asexual blood stages of this parasite. It was found to be highly conserved in all of five malarial species tested and hybridized at reduced stringency to other members of the phylum Apicomplexa, including the genera Babesia, Eimeria, Toxoplasma, and Theileria. The copy number of the element was about 15, and it had a circularly permuted restriction map with a repeat unit length of about 6.2 kilobases. It could be separated from the main genomic DNA by using sucrose gradients and agarose gels, and it migrated separately from the recognized Plasmodium chromosomes on pulse-field gels. In the accompanying paper (S. M. Aldritt, J. T. Joseph, and D. F. Wirth, Mol. Cell. Biol. 9:3614-3620, 1989), evidence is presented that element contains the mitochondrial genes for the protein cytochrome b and a fragment of the large rRNA. We postulate that this element is an episome in the mitochondria of the obligate parasites belonging to the phylum Apicomplexa. Images
Joseph, J T; Aldritt, S M; Unnasch, T; Puijalon, O; Wirth, D F
Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites that develop and mature inside an Anopheles mosquito initiate a malaria infection in humans. Here we report the first proteomic comparison of different parasite stages from the mosquito—early and late oocysts containing midgut sporozoites, and the mature, infectious salivary gland sporozoites. Despite the morphological similarity between midgut and salivary gland sporozoites, their proteomes are markedly different, in agreement with their increase in hepatocyte infectivity. The different sporozoite proteomes contain a large number of stage specific proteins whose annotation suggest an involvement in sporozoite maturation, motility, infection of the human host and associated metabolic adjustments. Analyses of proteins identified in the P. falciparum sporozoite proteomes by orthologous gene disruption in the rodent malaria parasite, P. berghei, revealed three previously uncharacterized Plasmodium proteins that appear to be essential for sporozoite development at distinct points of maturation in the mosquito. This study sheds light on the development and maturation of the malaria parasite in an Anopheles mosquito and also identifies proteins that may be essential for sporozoite infectivity to humans.
Mair, Gunnar R.; Vermunt, Adriaan M. W.; Douradinha, Bruno G.; van Noort, Vera; Huynen, Martijn A.; Luty, Adrian J. F.; Kroeze, Hans; Khan, Shahid M.; Sauerwein, Robert W.; Waters, Andrew P.; Mann, Matthias; Stunnenberg, Hendrik G.
Thaithong, S., Ranford-Cartwright, L. C., Siripoon, N., Harnyuttanakorn, P., Kanchanakhan, N. S., Seugorn, A., Rungsihirunrat, K., Cravo, P. V. L., and Beale, G. H. 2001. Plasmodium falciparum: Gene mutations and amplification of dihydrofolate reductase genes in parasites grown in vitro in presence of pyrimethamine. Experimental Parasitology98, 59–70. Samples of three pyrimethamine-sensitive clones of Plasmodium falciparum were grown for periods of
S. Thaithong; L. C. Ranford-Cartwright; N. Siripoon; P. Harnyuttanakorn; N. S. Kanchanakhan; A. Seugorn; K. Rungsihirunrat; P. V. L. Cravo; G. H. Beale
A new type of piroplasm, phylogenetically closest to Babesia microti-like parasites previously detected in Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris orientis), was identified in a rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) imported from China. After challenge with Plasmodium cynomolgi M strain blood-stage parasites, the rhesus monkey repeatedly showed markedly reduced levels of Plasmodium parasitemia when compared with animals not infected with this or-
Annemarie Voorberg-v; Clemens H. M. Kocken; Anne-Marie Zeeman; Alan W. Thomas
Differentiation of malaria parasites into sexual forms (gametocytes) in the vertebrate host and their subsequent development into gametes in the mosquito vector are crucial steps in the completion of the parasite's life cycle and transmission of the disease. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the sexual cycle are poorly understood. Although several signal transduction pathways have been implicated, a clear understanding of the pathways involved has yet to emerge. Here, we show that a Plasmodium berghei homologue of Plasmodium falciparum mitogen-activated kinase-2 (Pfmap-2), a gametocyte-specific mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), is required for male gamete formation. Parasites lacking Pbmap-2 are competent for gametocytogenesis, but exflagellation of male gametocytes, the process that leads to male gamete formation, is almost entirely abolished in mutant parasites. Consistent with this result, transmission of mutant parasites to mosquitoes is grossly impaired. This finding identifies a crucial role for a MAPK pathway in malaria transmission.
Rangarajan, Radha; Bei, Amy K; Jethwaney, Deepa; Maldonado, Priscilla; Dorin, Dominique; Sultan, Ali A; Doerig, Christian
SUMMARY The most severe form of human malaria is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The primary antigenic and virulence determinant expressed on the surface of infected red blood cells is PfEMP1, a protein that mediates adhesion and sequestration of the parasites in deep tissue vascular beds. Different forms of PfEMP1 are encoded by different members of the multi-copy var gene family. Expression of var genes is mutually exclusive, and by switching which gene is expressed, parasites alter both their antigenic and virulence phenotypes. Regulation of var gene expression involves gene activation, silencing and cellular memory, and the details of the mechanisms that control this process are not understood. Here we provide evidence that active transcription is required for the maintenance of the cellular memory that marks a specific var gene to be stably expressed through numerous cell cycles. Forcing transfected parasites to express increasing numbers of unregulated episomal var promoters led to a corresponding down-regulation of the active var gene in the parasite’s genome, presumably by competing for the transcriptional machinery of the parasite and suggesting the existence of a limited nuclear factor that is required for var gene activation. This process allowed us to repress transcription of the active var gene without acting through the mechanism that controls mutually exclusive expression, and thus to investigate the role of transcription itself in maintaining epigenetic memory. When the competing episomes were removed, the parasites did not return to their previous var gene expression pattern, but rather displayed random var gene activation, demonstrating that the epigenetic imprint that controls var gene expression had been completely erased and thus linking active transcription to the maintenance of cellular memory.
Dzikowski, Ron; Deitsch, Kirk W.
Nutrient transporters play critical roles in parasite metabolism, but the membranes in which they reside have not been clearly defined. The transport of purine nutrients is crucial to the survival of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and nucleoside transport activity has been associated with a number of different membrane components within the parasitized erythrocyte. To determine the location of the PfNT1 nucleoside transporter, the first component of the nucleoside permeation pathway to be studied at the molecular level in P. falciparum (Carter, N. S., Ben Mamoun, C., Liu, W., Silva, E. O., Landfear, S. M., Goldberg, D. E., and Ullman, B. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 10683-10691), polyclonal antisera against the NH2-terminal 36 amino acids of PfNT1 were raised in rabbits. Western blot analysis of parasite lysates revealed that the antibodies were specific for PfNT1 and that the level of PfNT1 protein in the infected erythrocyte is regulated in a stage-specific fashion. The amount of PfNT1 polypeptide increases dramatically during the early trophozoite stage and reaches its maximal level in the late trophozoite and schizont stages. Deconvolution and immunoelectron microscopy using these monospecific antibodies revealed that PfNT1 localizes predominantly, if not exclusively, to the plasma membrane of the parasite and not to the parasitophorous vacuolar or erythrocyte membranes. PMID:11682491
Rager, N; Mamoun, C B; Carter, N S; Goldberg, D E; Ullman, B
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the majority of malaria-related deaths. Tools allowing the study of the basic biology of P. falciparum throughout the life cycle are critical to the development of new strategies to target the parasite within both human and mosquito hosts. We here present 3D7HT-GFP, a strain of P. falciparum constitutively expressing the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) throughout the life cycle, which has retained its capacity to complete sporogonic development. The GFP expressing cassette was inserted in the Pf47 locus. Using this transgenic strain, parasite tracking and population dynamics studies in mosquito stages and exo-erythrocytic schizogony is greatly facilitated. The development of 3D7HT-GFP will permit a deeper understanding of the biology of parasite-host vector interactions, and facilitate the development of high-throughput malaria transmission assays and thus aid development of new intervention strategies against both parasite and mosquito. PMID:20161781
Talman, Arthur M; Blagborough, Andrew M; Sinden, Robert E
SUMMARY Gametocyte maturation in Plasmodium falciparum is a critical step in the transmission of malaria. While the majority of parasites proliferate asexually in red blood cells, a small fraction of parasites undergo sexual conversion and mature over two weeks to become competent for transmission to a mosquito vector. Immature gametocytes sequester in deep tissues while mature stages must be able to circulate, pass the spleen and present themselves to the mosquito vector in order to complete transmission. Sequestration of asexual red blood cell stage parasites has been investigated in great detail. These studies have demonstrated that induction of cytoadherence properties through specific receptor-ligand interactions coincides with a significant increase in host cell stiffness. In contrast, the adherence and biophysical properties of gametocyte-infected red blood cells have not been studied systematically. Utilizing a transgenic line for 3D live imaging, in vitro capillary assays and 3D finite element whole cell modeling, we studied the role of cellular deformability in determining the circulatory characteristics of gametocytes. Our analysis shows that the red blood cell deformability of immature gametocytes displays an overall decrease followed by rapid restoration in mature gametocytes. Intriguingly, simulations suggest that along with deformability variations, the morphological changes of the parasite may play an important role in tissue distribution in vivo. Taken together we present a model, which suggests that mature but not immature gametocytes circulate in the peripheral blood for uptake in the mosquito blood meal and transmission to another human host thus ensuring long term survival of the parasite.
Aingaran, Mythili; Zhang, Rou; Law, Sue KaYee; Peng, Zhangli; Undisz, Andreas; Meyer, Evan; Diez-Silva, Monica; Burke, Thomas A.; Spielmann, Tobias; Lim, Chwee Teck; Suresh, Subra; Dao, Ming; Marti, Matthias
The most severe form of human malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The second messenger cAMP has been shown to be important for the parasite’s ability to infect the host’s liver, but its role during parasite growth inside erythrocytes, the stage responsible for symptomatic malaria, is less clear. The P. falciparum genome encodes two adenylyl cyclases, the enzymes that synthesize cAMP, PfAC? and PfAC?. We now show that one of these, PfAC?, plays an important role during the erythrocytic stage of the P. falciparum life cycle. Biochemical characterization of PfAC? revealed a marked pH dependence, and sensitivity to a number of small molecule inhibitors. These inhibitors kill parasites growing inside red blood cells. One particular inhibitor is selective for PfAC? relative to its human ortholog, soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC); thus, PfAC? represents a potential target for development of safe and effective antimalarial therapeutics.
Ramsey, Nicole; Hess, Kenneth C.; Deitsch, Kirk W.; Levin, Lonny R.; Buck, Jochen
Background Malaria causes over one million deaths annually, posing an enormous health and economic burden in endemic regions. The completion of genome sequencing of the causative agents, a group of parasites in the genus Plasmodium, revealed potential drug and vaccine candidates. However, genomics-driven target discovery has been significantly hampered by our limited knowledge of the cellular networks associated with parasite development and pathogenesis. In this paper, we propose an approach based on aligning neighborhood PPI subnetworks across species to identify network components in the malaria parasite P. falciparum. Results Instead of only relying on sequence similarities to detect functional orthologs, our approach measures the conservation between the neighborhood subnetworks in protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks in two species, P. falciparum and E. coli. 1,082 P. falciparum proteins were predicted as functional orthologs of known transcriptional regulators in the E. coli network, including general transcriptional regulators, parasite-specific transcriptional regulators in the ApiAP2 protein family, and other potential regulatory proteins. They are implicated in a variety of cellular processes involving chromatin remodeling, genome integrity, secretion, invasion, protein processing, and metabolism. Conclusions In this proof-of-concept study, we demonstrate that a subnetwork alignment approach can reveal previously uncharacterized members of the subnetworks, which opens new opportunities to identify potential therapeutic targets and provide new insights into parasite biology, pathogenesis and virulence. This approach can be extended to other systems, especially those with poor genome annotation and a paucity of knowledge about cellular networks.
Significant levels of cold IgM and IgG isohaemagglutinins were detected in the serum of rats infected with Plasmodium berghei KSP 11. Peak titres occurred 15 days after initial infection at the time when the parasitaemia was dropping rapidly, or 7 days after a second challenge infection. Infected reticulocytes were much more sensitive to agglutination than uninfected cells, but absorption experiments demonstrated isoantigenicity in the determinants involved. This result indicated that the presence of the parasite resulted in exposure of membrane isoantigens normally masked. Agglutination could be inhibited with fractions with pIs 7.7-7.8 obtained from parasitized reticulocytes. Formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde-fixed infected cells each gave distinct agglutination reactions, different from unfixed cells.
Brown, K. N.; Grundy, M. S.; Hills, L. A.; Jarra, W.
Parasitization by malaria-inducing Plasmodium falciparum leads to structural, biochemical, and mechanical modifications to the host red blood cells (RBCs). To study these modifications, we investigate two intrinsic indicators: the refractive index and membrane fluctuations in P. falciparum-invaded human RBCs (Pf-RBCs). We report experimental connections between these intrinsic indicators and pathological states. By employing two noninvasive optical techniques, tomographic phase microscopy and diffraction phase microscopy, we extract three-dimensional maps of refractive index and nanoscale cell membrane fluctuations in isolated RBCs. Our systematic experiments cover all intraerythrocytic stages of parasite development under physiological and febrile temperatures. These findings offer potential, and sufficiently general, avenues for identifying, through cell membrane dynamics, pathological states that cause or accompany human diseases.
Park, YongKeun; Diez-Silva, Monica; Popescu, Gabriel; Lykotrafitis, George; Choi, Wonshik; Feld, Michael S.; Suresh, Subra
Wild-living chimpanzees and gorillas harbor a multitude of Plasmodium species, including six of the subgenus Laverania, one of which served as the progenitor of Plasmodium falciparum. Despite the magnitude of this reservoir, it is unknown whether apes represent a source of human infections. Here, we used Plasmodium species-specific PCR, single-genome amplification, and 454 sequencing to screen humans from remote areas of southern Cameroon for ape Laverania infections. Among 1,402 blood samples, we found 1,000 to be Plasmodium mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) positive, all of which contained human parasites as determined by sequencing and/or restriction enzyme digestion. To exclude low-abundance infections, we subjected 514 of these samples to 454 sequencing, targeting a region of the mtDNA genome that distinguishes ape from human Laverania species. Using algorithms specifically developed to differentiate rare Plasmodium variants from 454-sequencing error, we identified single and mixed-species infections with P. falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, and/or Plasmodium ovale. However, none of the human samples contained ape Laverania parasites, including the gorilla precursor of P. falciparum. To characterize further the diversity of P. falciparum in Cameroon, we used single-genome amplification to amplify 3.4-kb mtDNA fragments from 229 infected humans. Phylogenetic analysis identified 62 new variants, all of which clustered with extant P. falciparum, providing further evidence that P. falciparum emerged following a single gorilla-to-human transmission. Thus, unlike Plasmodium knowlesi-infected macaques in southeast Asia, African apes harboring Laverania parasites do not seem to serve as a recurrent source of human malaria, a finding of import to ongoing control and eradication measures.
Sundararaman, Sesh A.; Liu, Weimin; Keele, Brandon F.; Learn, Gerald H.; Bittinger, Kyle; Mouacha, Fatima; Ahuka-Mundeke, Steve; Manske, Magnus; Sherrill-Mix, Scott; Li, Yingying; Malenke, Jordan A.; Delaporte, Eric; Laurent, Christian; Mpoudi Ngole, Eitel; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P.; Shaw, George M.; Rayner, Julian C.; Peeters, Martine; Sharp, Paul M.; Bushman, Frederic D.; Hahn, Beatrice H.
Amino acids derived from hemoglobin are essential to protein synthesis required for growth and development of the Plasmodium vivax malaria parasite. M17 leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) is a cytosolic metallo-exopeptidase that catalyzes the removal of amino acids from the peptide generated in the process of hemoglobin degradation. Inhibitors of the enzyme have shown promise as drugs against Plasmodium infections, implicating aminopeptidases as a novel potential anti-malarial chemotherapy target. In this study, we isolated a cDNA encoding a 68kDa P. vivax LAP (PvLAP). Deduced amino acid sequence of PvLAP exhibited significant sequence homology with LAP from Plasmodium falciparum. Biochemical analysis of the recombinant PvLAP protein produced in Escherichia coli demonstrated preferential substrate specificity for the fluorogenic peptide Leu-7-amido-4-methylcoumarin hydroxide and inhibition by EDTA, 1,10-phenanthroline, and bestatin, which are conserved characteristics of the M17 family of LAP. PvLAP was optimally active at slightly alkaline pH and its activity was dependent on divalent metal ions. Based on the biochemical properties and immunofluorescence localization, PvLAP is concluded to represent a LAP in P. vivax. The enzyme is most likely responsible for the catabolism of host hemoglobin and, hence, represents a potential target of both P. falciparum and P. vivax chemotherapy. PMID:19931315
Lee, Jung-Yub; Song, Su-Min; Seok, Ji-Woong; Jha, Bijay Kumar; Han, Eun-Taek; Song, Hyun-Ouk; Yu, Hak-Sun; Hong, Yeonchul; Kong, Hyun-Hee; Chung, Dong-Il
We present an attractive new system for the specific and sensitive detection of the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites. The system relies on isothermal conversion of single DNA cleavage-ligation events catalyzed specifically by the Plasmodium enzyme topoisomerase I to micrometer-sized products detectable at the single-molecule level. Combined with a droplet microfluidics lab-on-a-chip platform, this design allowed for sensitive, specific, and quantitative detection of all human-malaria-causing Plasmodium species in single drops of unprocessed blood with a detection limit of less than one parasite/?L. Moreover, the setup allowed for detection of Plasmodium parasites in noninvasive saliva samples from infected patients. During recent years malaria transmission has declined worldwide, and with this the number of patients with low-parasite density has increased. Consequently, the need for accurate detection of even a few parasites is becoming increasingly important for the continued combat against the disease. We believe that the presented droplet microfluidics platform, which has a high potential for adaptation to point-of-care setups suitable for low-resource settings, may contribute significantly to meet this demand. Moreover, potential future adaptation of the presented setup for the detection of other microorganisms may form the basis for the development of a more generic platform for diagnosis, fresh water or food quality control, or other purposes within applied or basic science. PMID:23121492
Juul, Sissel; Nielsen, Christine J F; Labouriau, Rodrigo; Roy, Amit; Tesauro, Cinzia; Jensen, Pia W; Harmsen, Charlotte; Kristoffersen, Emil L; Chiu, Ya-Ling; Frøhlich, Rikke; Fiorani, Paola; Cox-Singh, Janet; Tordrup, David; Koch, Jørn; Bienvenu, Anne-Lise; Desideri, Alessandro; Picot, Stephane; Petersen, Eskild; Leong, Kam W; Ho, Yi-Ping; Stougaard, Magnus; Knudsen, Birgitta R
Human malaria is an economically important disease caused by single-celled parasites of the Plasmodium genus whose biology displays great evolutionary adaptation to both its mammalian host and transmitting vectors. While the parasite has multiple life cycle stages, it is in the blood stage where clinical symptoms of the disease are manifested. Following erythrocyte entry, the parasite resides in the parasitophorous vacuole and actively transports its own proteins to the erythrocyte cytosol. This host-parasite "cross-talk" results in tremendous modifications of the infected erythrocyte imparting properties that allow it to adhere to the endothelium preventing splenic clearance. The Hsp70-J protein (DnaJ/Hsp40) molecular chaperone machinery, involved in cellular protein homeostasis, is being investigated as a novel drug target in various cellular systems including malaria. In Plasmodium the diverse chaperone complement is intimately involved in infected erythrocyte remodelling associated with the development and pathogenesis of malaria. In this review, we provide an overview of the Hsp70-J protein chaperone complement in Plasmodium falciparum and compare it with other Plasmodium species including the ones that serve as experimental study models for malaria. We propose that the unique traits possessed by this machinery not only provide avenues for drug targeting but also inform the evolutionary fitness of this parasite to its environment. PMID:22920898
Njunge, James M; Ludewig, Michael H; Boshoff, Aileen; Pesce, Eva-Rachele; Blatch, Gregory L
We present an attractive new system for the specific and sensitive detection of the malaria causing Plasmodium parasites. The system relies on isothermal conversion of single DNA cleavage-ligation events catalyzed specifically by the Plasmodium enzyme topoisomerase I to micrometer sized products detectable at the single-molecule level. Combined with a droplet-microfluidics Lab-on-a-Chip platform, this design allowed for sensitive, specific and quantitative detection of all human malaria causing Plasmodium species in single drops of unprocessed blood with a detection limit of less than one parasite/?L. Moreover, the setup allowed for detection of Plasmodium parasites in non-invasive saliva samples from infected patients. During recent years malaria transmission has declined worldwide and with this the number of patients with low-parasite density has increased. Consequently, the need for accurate detection of even a few parasites is becoming increasingly important for the continued combat against the disease. We believe that the presented droplet-microfluidics platform, which has a high potential for adaptation to point-of-care setups suitable for low-resource settings may contribute significantly to meet this demand. Moreover, potential future adaptation of the presented setup for the detection of other microorganisms may form the basis for the development of a more generic platform for diagnosis, fresh water- or food quality control or other purposes within applied or basic science.
Juul, Sissel; Nielsen, Christine J. F.; Labouriau, Rodrigo; Roy, Amit; Tesauro, Cinzia; Jensen, Pia W.; Harmsen, Charlotte; Kristoffersen, Emil L.; Chiu, Ya-Ling; Fr?hlich, Rikke; Fiorani, Paola; Cox-Singh, Janet; Tordrup, David; Koch, J?rn; Bienvenu, Anne-Lise; Desideri, Alessandro; Picot, Stephane; Petersen, Eskild; Leong, Kam W.; Ho, Yi-Ping; Stougaard, Magnus; Knudsen, Birgitta R.
Plasmodium mexicanum, a malaria parasite of lizards, exhibits substantial variation among infections in the life-history traits which define its blood-dwelling stages. Such variation in life histories among infections is common in Plasmodium and may influence the ecology and evolution of the parasite's transmission success and virulence. Insight into these issues requires identification of independent traits (some traits may be bound by developmental trade-offs) and the importance of genetic versus host effects producing the variation. We studied 11 life-history traits in 120 induced infections of P. mexicanum in its natural lizard host (20 each from six donor infections). The traits varied among infections and fell into three clusters: rate/peak (rate of increase and peak parasitaemia of asexuals and gametocytes), time (duration of pre-patent period and the infection's growth) and maturity (timing of first gametocytes). Thus, few life-history traits define an infection in the lizard's blood. Donor effects were significant for ten traits and two trait clusters (maturity was the exception) suggesting genetic differences among infections may influence the rate of increase and peak parasitaemia, but not the timing of the first production of gametocytes.
Eisen, R J; Schall, J J
Both verbal and mathematical models of parasite virulence predict that genetic diversity of microparasite infections will influence the level of costs suffered by the host. We tested this idea by manipulating the number of co-existing clones of Plasmodium mexicanum in its natural vertebrate host, the fence lizard Sceloporus occidentalis. We established replicate infections of P. mexicanum made up of 1, 2, 3, or >3 clones (scored using 3 microsatellite loci) to observe the influence of clone number on several measures of parasite virulence. Clonal diversity did not affect body growth or production of immature erythrocytes. Blood haemoglobin concentration was highest for the most genetically complex infections (equal to that of non-infected lizards), and blood glucose levels and rate of blood clotting was highest for the most diverse infections (with greater glucose and more rapid clotting than non-infected animals). Neither specific clones nor parasitaemia were associated with virulence. In this first experiment that manipulated the clonal diversity of a natural Plasmodium-host system, the cost of infection with 1 or 2 clones of P. mexicanum was similar to that previously reported for infected lizards, but the most complex infections had either no cost or could be beneficial for the host. PMID:18937882
Vardo-Zalik, A M; Schall, J J
Plasmodium sporozoite motility is essential for establishing malaria infections. It depends on initial adhesion to a substrate as well as the continuous turnover of discrete adhesion sites. Adhesion and motility are mediated by a dynamic actin cytoskeleton and surface proteins. The mode of adhesion formation and the integration of adhesion forces into fast and continuous forward locomotion remain largely unknown. Here, we use optical tweezers to directly trap individual parasites and probe adhesion formation. We find that sporozoites lacking the surface proteins TRAP and S6 display distinct defects in initial adhesion; trap(-) sporozoites adhere preferentially with their front end, while s6(-) sporozoites show no such preference. The cohesive strength of the initial adhesion site is differently affected by actin filament depolymerization at distinct adhesion sites along the parasite for trap(-) and s6(-) sporozoites. These spatial differences between TRAP and S6 in their functional interaction with actin filaments show that these proteins have nonredundant roles during adhesion and motility. We suggest that complex protein-protein interactions and signaling events govern the regulation of parasite gliding at different sites along the parasite. Investigating how these events are coordinated will be essential for our understanding of sporozoite gliding motility, which is crucial for malaria infection. Laser tweezers will be a valuable part of the toolset. PMID:22568891
Hegge, Stephan; Uhrig, Kai; Streichfuss, Martin; Kynast-Wolf, Gisela; Matuschewski, Kai; Spatz, Joachim P; Frischknecht, Friedrich
We designed the N-methylanthranilic-desferrioxamine (MA-DFO) as a fluorescent iron (III) chelator with improved membrane permeation properties. Upon binding of iron (III), MA-DFO fluorescence is quenched, thus allowing traceability of drug-iron (III) interactions. MA-DFO is well tolerated by mammalian cells in culture. Its antimalarial activity is pronounced: IC50 values on in vitro (24-h) growth of Plasmodium falciparum were 3 +/- 1 microM for MA-DFO compared with 30 +/- 8 for DFO. The onset of growth inhibition of rings or trophozoites occurs 2-4 h after exposure to 13 microM MA-DFO. This effect is commensurate with MA-DFO permeation into infected cells. In a 24-h exposure to MA-DFO or DFO, trophozoites take up either compound to approximately 10% of the external concentration, rings to 5%, and noninfected cells to < 1%. Red cells encapsulated with millimolar concentrations of DFO or MA-DFO fully support parasite invasion and growth. We conclude that extracellular MA-DFO and DFO gain selective access into parasites by bypassing the host. The rate-limiting step is permeation through the parasite membrane, which MA-DFO accomplishes faster than DFO, in accordance with its higher hydrophobicity. These views are consistent with the proposed duct, which apparently provides parasitized cells with a window to the external medium.
Loyevsky, M; Lytton, S D; Mester, B; Libman, J; Shanzer, A; Cabantchik, Z I
Background Malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Flow cytometry-based assays that take advantage of fluorescent protein (FP)-expressing malaria parasites have proven to be valuable tools for quantification and sorting of specific subpopulations of parasite-infected red blood cells. However, identification of rare subpopulations of parasites using green fluorescent protein (GFP) labelling is complicated by autofluorescence (AF) of red blood cells and low signal from transgenic parasites. It has been suggested that cell sorting yield could be improved by using filters that precisely match the emission spectrum of GFP. Methods Detection of transgenic Plasmodium falciparum parasites expressing either tdTomato or GFP was performed using a flow cytometer with interchangeable optical filters. Parasitaemia was evaluated using different optical filters and, after optimization of optics, the GFP-expressing parasites were sorted and analysed by microscopy after cytospin preparation and by imaging cytometry. Results A new approach to evaluate filter performance in flow cytometry using two-dimensional dot blot was developed. By selecting optical filters with narrow bandpass (BP) and maximum position of filter emission close to GFP maximum emission in the FL1 channel (510/20, 512/20 and 517/20; dichroics 502LP and 466LP), AF was markedly decreased and signal-background improve dramatically. Sorting of GFP-expressing parasite populations in infected red blood cells at 90 or 95% purity with these filters resulted in 50-150% increased yield when compared to the standard filter set-up. The purity of the sorted population was confirmed using imaging cytometry and microscopy of cytospin preparations of sorted red blood cells infected with transgenic malaria parasites. Discussion Filter optimization is particularly important for applications where the FP signal and percentage of positive events are relatively low, such as analysis of parasite-infected samples with in the intention of gene-expression profiling and analysis. The approach outlined here results in substantially improved yield of GFP-expressing parasites, and requires decreased sorting time in comparison to standard methods. It is anticipated that this protocol will be useful for a wide range of applications involving rare events.
Antimalarial therapy is a major contributor to declining malaria morbidity and mortality. However, the high toxicity and low bioavailability of current antimalarials and emerging drug resistance necessitates drug-delivery research. We have previously developed glyceryl-dilaurate nanolipid carriers (GDL-NLCs) for antimalarial drug delivery. Here, we show evidence that GDL-NLCs themselves selectively target Plasmodium-infected red blood cells (iRBCs), and cause severe parasite impairment. The glyceryl-dilaurate lipid-moiety was important in the targeting. GDL-NLCs localized to the parasite mitochondrion and uptake led to mitochondrial-membrane polarization and Ca(2+) ion accumulation, ROS release, and stage-specific iRBC lysis. GDL-NLC treatment also resulted in externalization of iRBC-membrane phosphatidylserine and enhanced iRBC clearance by macrophages. GDL-NLC uptake disrupted the parasite-induced tubulovesicular network, which is vital for nutrient import by the parasite. Laser optical trap studies revealed that GDL-NLCs also restored iRBC flexibility. Such restoration of iRBC flexibility may help mitigate the vasculature clogging that can lead to cerebral malaria. We demonstrate the suitability of GDL-NLCs for intravenous delivery of antimalarial combinations artemether-clindamycin and artemether-lumefantrine in the murine model. Complete parasite clearance was achieved at 5-20% of the therapeutic dose of these combinations. Thus, this nanostructured lipid formulation can solubilize lipophilic drugs, selectively target and impair the parasite-infected red cell, and therefore constitutes a potent delivery vehicle for antimalarials. PMID:24818881
Jain, Soniya A; Basu, Himanish; Prabhu, Priyanka S; Soni, Umangi; Joshi, Medha D; Mathur, Deepak; Patravale, Vandana B; Pathak, Sulabha; Sharma, Shobhona
Chloroquine (CQ) drug was withdrawn in 1998 as a first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria in Kenya. This was in response to resistance to the drug in Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite. Investigations were conducted to determine prevalence of CQ resistance genotypes in the parasites in Tiwi, a malaria endemic town in Kenya, before and about a decade after the withdrawal of the drug. Blood samples were collected and spotted on filter papers in 1999 and 2008 from 75 and 77 out-patients respectively with uncomplicated malaria. The sampling was conducted using finger pricking technique. DNA was extracted from individual spots in the papers and screened for the presence of P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (Pfcrt) and multi drug resistance (Pfmdr-1) markers using nested PCR. Nature of mutations (haplotypes) in the Pfcrt and Pfmdr-1 markers in the samples were confirmed using dot blot hybridization technique. Changes in pattern of CQ resistance in the parasite samples in 1999 and 2008 were assessed by Chi Square test. There was a significant (P<0.05) reduction in CQ resistant genotypes of the parasite between 1999 and 2008. Pfmdr and Pfcrt CQ resistant genotypes in 2008 reduced to 54.10 and 63.64% respectively, from 75.39 and 88.0% respectively in 1999. This reduction was accompanied by emergence of Pfcrt specific CQ sensitive (IEK) and intermediate/partially CQ resistant (MET) haplotypes. Results suggest significant reversal of the phenotype of the parasite from chloroquine resistant to wild/sensitive type. The novel haplotypes indicates transitional phase of the parasite to the wild type. Current prevalence of chloroquine resistant genotype is definitely above the threshold for efficacious re-introduction of chloroquine for treatment of malaria in Tiwi. PMID:22641431
Mang'era, Clarence M; Mbai, Fiona N; Omedo, Irene A; Mireji, Paul O; Omar, Sabah A
Reversible protein phosphorylation regulated by kinases and phosphatases controls many cellular processes. Although essential functions for the malaria parasite kinome have been reported, the roles of most protein phosphatases (PPs) during Plasmodium development are unknown. We report a functional analysis of the Plasmodium berghei protein phosphatome, which exhibits high conservation with the P. falciparum phosphatome and comprises 30 predicted PPs with differential and distinct expression patterns during various stages of the life cycle. Gene disruption analysis of P. berghei PPs reveals that half of the genes are likely essential for asexual blood stage development, whereas six are required for sexual development/sporogony in mosquitoes. Phenotypic screening coupled with transcriptome sequencing unveiled morphological changes and altered gene expression in deletion mutants of two N-myristoylated PPs. These findings provide systematic functional analyses of PPs in Plasmodium, identify how phosphatases regulate parasite development and differentiation, and can inform the identification of drug targets for malaria. PMID:25011111
Guttery, David S; Poulin, Benoit; Ramaprasad, Abhinay; Wall, Richard J; Ferguson, David J P; Brady, Declan; Patzewitz, Eva-Maria; Whipple, Sarah; Straschil, Ursula; Wright, Megan H; Mohamed, Alyaa M A H; Radhakrishnan, Anand; Arold, Stefan T; Tate, Edward W; Holder, Anthony A; Wickstead, Bill; Pain, Arnab; Tewari, Rita
Summary Reversible protein phosphorylation regulated by kinases and phosphatases controls many cellular processes. Although essential functions for the malaria parasite kinome have been reported, the roles of most protein phosphatases (PPs) during Plasmodium development are unknown. We report a functional analysis of the Plasmodium berghei protein phosphatome, which exhibits high conservation with the P. falciparum phosphatome and comprises 30 predicted PPs with differential and distinct expression patterns during various stages of the life cycle. Gene disruption analysis of P. berghei PPs reveals that half of the genes are likely essential for asexual blood stage development, whereas six are required for sexual development/sporogony in mosquitoes. Phenotypic screening coupled with transcriptome sequencing unveiled morphological changes and altered gene expression in deletion mutants of two N-myristoylated PPs. These findings provide systematic functional analyses of PPs in Plasmodium, identify how phosphatases regulate parasite development and differentiation, and can inform the identification of drug targets for malaria.
Guttery, David S.; Poulin, Benoit; Ramaprasad, Abhinay; Wall, Richard J.; Ferguson, David J.P.; Brady, Declan; Patzewitz, Eva-Maria; Whipple, Sarah; Straschil, Ursula; Wright, Megan H.; Mohamed, Alyaa M.A.H.; Radhakrishnan, Anand; Arold, Stefan T.; Tate, Edward W.; Holder, Anthony A.; Wickstead, Bill; Pain, Arnab; Tewari, Rita
Background Malaria is the most significant human parasitic disease, and yet understanding of the energy metabolism of the principle pathogen, Plasmodium falciparum, remains to be fully elucidated. Amino acids were shown to be essential nutritional requirements since early times and much of the current knowledge of Plasmodium energy metabolism is based on early biochemical work, performed using basic analytical techniques, carried out almost exclusively on human plasma with considerable inter-individual variability. Methods In order to further characterize the fate of amino acid metabolism in malaria parasite, multivariate analysis using statistical modelling of amino acid concentrations (aminogram) of plasma and liver were determined in host infected with rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium yoelii. Results and conclusion Comprehensive and statistical aminogram analysis revealed that P. yoelii infection caused drastic change of plasma and liver aminogram, and altered intra- and inter-correlation of amino acid concentration in plasma and liver. These findings of the interactions between amino acids and Plasmodium infection may provide insight to reveal the interaction between nutrients and parasites.
The thymus dependency of immunity to erythrocytic Plasmodium berghei (NYU-2) infection generated in response to injections of Formalin-killed mixed blood parasites was shown by the demonstration that the vaccine protected immunologically intact nu/+ mice, but not their athymic nu/nu littermates.
Murphy, J R; Carter, P B; MacDonald, T T
Background Vector susceptibility to Plasmodium infection is treated primarily as a vector trait, although it is a composite trait expressing the joint occurrence of the parasite and the vector with genetic contributions of both. A comprehensive approach to assess the specific contribution of genetic and environmental variation on “vector susceptibility” is lacking. Here we developed and implemented a simple scheme to assess the specific contributions of the vector, the parasite, and the environment to “vector susceptibility.” To the best of our knowledge this is the first study that employs such an approach. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted selection experiments on the vector (while holding the parasite “constant”) and on the parasite (while holding the vector “constant”) to estimate the genetic contributions of the mosquito and the parasite to the susceptibility of Anopheles stephensi to Plasmodium gallinaceum. We separately estimated the realized heritability of (i) susceptibility to parasite infection by the mosquito vector and (ii) parasite compatibility (transmissibility) with the vector while controlling the other. The heritabilities of vector and the parasite were higher for the prevalence, i.e., fraction of infected mosquitoes, than the corresponding heritabilities of parasite load, i.e., the number of oocysts per mosquito. Conclusions The vector's genetics (heritability) comprised 67% of “vector susceptibility” measured by the prevalence of mosquitoes infected with P. gallinaceum oocysts, whereas the specific contribution of parasite genetics (heritability) to this trait was only 5%. Our parasite source might possess minimal genetic diversity, which could explain its low heritability (and the high value of the vector). Notably, the environment contributed 28%. These estimates are relevant only to the particular system under study, but this experimental design could be useful for other parasite-host systems. The prospects and limitations of the genetic manipulation of vector populations to render the vector resistant to the parasite are better considered on the basis of this framework.
Hume, Jen C. C.; Hamilton, Howard; Lee, Kevin L.; Lehmann, Tovi
Summary Background Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum has been reported in Pailin, western Cambodia, detected as a slow parasite clearance rate in vivo. Emergence of this phenotype in western Thailand and possibly elsewhere threatens to compromise the effectiveness of all artemisinin-based combination therapies. Parasite genetics is associated with parasite clearance rate but does not account for all variation. We investigated contributions of both parasite genetics and host factors to the artemisinin-resistance phenotype in Pursat, western Cambodia. Methods Between June 19 and Nov 28, 2009, and June 26 and Dec 6, 2010, we enrolled patients aged 10 years or older with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, a density of asexual parasites of at least 10 000 per ?L of whole blood, no symptoms or signs of severe malaria, no other cause of febrile illness, and no chronic illness. We gave participants 4 mg/kg artesunate at 0, 24, and 48 h, 15 mg/kg mefloquine at 72 h, and 10 mg/kg mefloquine at 96 h. We assessed parasite density on thick blood films every 6 h until undetectable. The parasite clearance half-life was calculated from the parasite clearance curve. We genotyped parasites with 18 microsatellite markers and patients for haemoglobin E, ?-thalassaemia, and a mutation of G6PD, which encodes glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. To account for the possible effects of acquired immunity on half-life, we used three surrogates for increased likelihood of exposure to P falciparum: age, sex, and place of residence. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00341003. Findings We assessed 3504 individuals from all six districts of Pursat province seeking treatment for malaria symptoms. We enrolled 168 patients with falciparum malaria who met inclusion criteria. The geometric mean half-life was 5.85 h (95% CI 5.54–6.18) in Pursat, similar to that reported in Pailin (p=0.109). We identified two genetically different parasite clone groups: parasite group 1 (PG1) and parasite group 2 (PG2). Non-significant increases in parasite clearance half-life were seen in patients with haemoglobin E (0.55 h; p=0.078), those of male sex (0.96 h; p=0.064), and in 2010 (0.68 h; p=0.068); PG1 was associated with a significant increase (0.79 h; p=0.033). The mean parasite heritability of half-life was 0.40 (SD 0.17). Interpretation Heritable artemisinin resistance is established in a second Cambodian province. To accurately identify parasites that are intrinsically susceptible or resistant to artemisinins, future studies should explore the effect of erythrocyte polymorphisms and specific immune responses on half-life variation. Funding Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
Amaratunga, Chanaki; Sreng, Sokunthea; Suon, Seila; Phelps, Erika S; Stepniewska, Kasia; Lim, Pharath; Zhou, Chongjun; Mao, Sivanna; Anderson, Jennifer M; Lindegardh, Niklas; Jiang, Hongying; Song, Jianping; Su, Xin-zhuan; White, Nicholas J; Dondorp, Arjen M; Anderson, Tim J C; Fay, Michael P; Mu, Jianbing; Duong, Socheat; Fairhurst, Rick M
Background Assaying for the parasitic lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) is widely used as a rapid diagnostic test (RDT), but the efficacy of its serological effectiveness in diagnosis, that is antibody detection ability, is not known. The genetic variation of Korean isolates was analysed, and recombinant protein pLDH was evaluated as a serodiagnostic antigen for the detection of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Methods Genomic DNA was purified, and the pLDH gene of P. vivax was amplified from blood samples from 20 patients. The samples came from five epidemic areas: Bucheon-si, Gimpo-si, and Paju-si of Gyeonggi Province, Gangwha-gun of Incheon metropolitan city, and Cheorwon-gun of Gangwon Province, South Korea, from 2010 to 2011. The antigenicity of the recombinant protein pLDH was tested by western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results Sequence analysis of 20 Korean isolates of P. vivax showed that the open reading frame (ORF) of 951 nucleotides encoded a deduced protein of 316 amino acids (aa). This ORF showed 100% identity with the P. vivax Belem strain (DQ060151) and P. vivax Hainan strain (FJ527750), 89.6% homology with Plasmodium falciparum FCC1_HN (DQ825436), 90.2% homology with Plasmodium berghei (AY437808), 96.8% homology with Plasmodium knowlesi (JF958130), and 90.2% homology with Plasmodium reichenowi (AB122147). A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at nucleotide 456 (T to C) was also observed in the isolate from Bucheon, but it did not change in the amino acid sequence. The expressed recombinant protein had a molecular weight of approximately 32 kDa, as analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analysis. Of the 40 P. vivax patients, 34 (85.0%) were positive by ELISA. Conclusions The pLDH genes of 19 isolates of P. vivax were identical, except one for SNP at nucleotide 456. This observation indicates that this gene is relatively stable. Based on these results, the relationship between antibody production against pLDH and the pattern of disease onset should be investigated further before using pLDH for serodiagnosis.
BACKGROUND: Assaying for the parasitic lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) is widely used as a rapid diagnostic test (RDT), but the efficacy of its serological effectiveness in diagnosis, that is antibody detection ability, is not known. The genetic variation of Korean isolates was analysed, and recombinant protein pLDH was evaluated as a serodiagnostic antigen for the detection of Plasmodium vivax malaria. METHODS: Genomic DNA was purified, and the pLDH gene of P. vivax was amplified from blood samples from 20 patients. The samples came from five epidemic areas: Bucheon-si, Gimpo-si, and Paju-si of Gyeonggi Province, Gangwha-gun of Incheon metropolitan city, and Cheorwon-gun of Gangwon Province, South Korea, from 2010 to 2011. The antigenicity of the recombinant protein pLDH was tested by western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: Sequence analysis of 20 Korean isolates of P. vivax showed that the open reading frame (ORF) of 951 nucleotides encoded a deduced protein of 316 amino acids (aa). This ORF showed 100% identity with the P. vivax Belem strain (DQ060151) and P. vivax Hainan strain (FJ527750), 89.6% homology with Plasmodium falciparum FCC1_HN (DQ825436), 90.2% homology with Plasmodium berghei (AY437808), 96.8% homology with Plasmodium knowlesi (JF958130), and 90.2% homology with Plasmodium reichenowi (AB122147). A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at nucleotide 456 (T to C) was also observed in the isolate from Bucheon, but it did not change in the amino acid sequence. The expressed recombinant protein had a molecular weight of approximately 32 kDa, as analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analysis. Of the 40 P. vivax patients, 34 (85.0%) were positive by ELISA. CONCLUSIONS: The pLDH genes of 19 isolates of P. vivax were identical, except one for SNP at nucleotide 456. This observation indicates that this gene is relatively stable. Based on these results, the relationship between antibody production against pLDH and the pattern of disease onset should be investigated further before using pLDH for serodiagnosis. PMID:23688062
Shin, Hyun-Il; Kim, Jung-Yeon; Lee, Won-Ja; Sohn, Youngjoo; Lee, Sang-Wook; Kang, Yoon-Joong; Lee, Hyeong-Woo
Pregnant women are susceptible to Plasmodium falciparum parasites that sequester in the placenta. The massive accumulation of infected erythrocytes in the placenta has been suggested to trigger the deleterious effects of malaria in pregnant women and their offspring. The risk of malaria is also high during the postpartum period, although mechanisms underlying this susceptibility are not known. Here, we aimed to identify host factors contributing to the risk of postpartum infections and to determine the origin of postpartum parasites by comparing their genotypes with those present at the time of delivery. To address this, blood samples were collected at delivery (n = 402) and postpartum (n = 354) from Mozambican women enrolled in a trial of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). P. falciparum was detected by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), and the parasite merozoite surface protein 1 (msp-1) and msp-2 genes were genotyped. Fifty-seven out of 354 (16%) women were infected postpartum as assessed by qPCR, whereas prevalence by optical microscopy was only 4%. Risk of postpartum infection was lower in older women (odds ratio [OR] = 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.15 to 0.81) and higher in women with a placental infection at delivery (OR = 4.20, 95% CI = 2.19 to 8.08). Among 24 women with matched infections, 12 (50%) were infected postpartum with at least one parasite strain that was also present in their placentas. These results suggest that parasites infecting pregnant women persist after delivery and increase the risk of malaria during the postpartum period. Interventions that reduce malaria during pregnancy may translate into a lower risk of postpartum infection.
Serra-Casas, Elisa; Menendez, Clara; Dobano, Carlota; Bardaji, Azucena; Quinto, Llorencc; Ordi, Jaume; Sigauque, Betuel; Cistero, Pau; Mandomando, Inacio; Alonso, Pedro L.; Mayor, Alfredo
Background Malaria cases attributed to Plasmodium falciparum account for approximately 600,000 deaths yearly, mainly in African children. The gold standard method to diagnose malaria requires the visualization of the parasite in blood. The role of non-invasive diagnostic methods to diagnose malaria remains unclear. Methods A protocol was optimized to deplete highly abundant proteins from saliva to improve the dynamic range of the proteins identified and assess their suitability as candidate biomarkers of malaria infection. A starch-based amylase depletion strategy was used in combination with four different lectins to deplete glycoproteins (Concanavalin A and Aleuria aurantia for N-linked glycoproteins; jacalin and peanut agglutinin for O-linked glycoproteins). A proteomic analysis of depleted saliva samples was performed in 17 children with fever and a positive–malaria slide and compared with that of 17 malaria-negative children with fever. Results The proteomic signature of malaria-positive patients revealed a strong up-regulation of erythrocyte-derived and inflammatory proteins. Three P. falciparum proteins, PFL0480w, PF08_0054 and PFI0875w, were identified in malaria patients and not in controls. Aleuria aurantia and jacalin showed the best results for parasite protein identification. Conclusions This study shows that saliva is a suitable clinical specimen for biomarker discovery. Parasite proteins and several potential biomarkers were identified in patients with malaria but not in patients with other causes of fever. The diagnostic performance of these markers should be addressed prospectively.
Here, we fully characterize the genomes of 14 Plasmodium falciparum patient isolates taken recently from the Iquitos region using genome scanning, a microarray-based technique that delineates the majority of single-base changes, indels, and copy number variants distinguishing the coding regions of two clones. We show that the parasite population in the Peruvian Amazon bears a limited number of genotypes and low recombination frequencies. Despite the essentially clonal nature of some isolates, we see high frequencies of mutations in subtelomeric highly variable genes and internal var genes, indicating mutations arising during self-mating or mitotic replication. The data also reveal that one or two meioses separate different isolates, showing that P. falciparum clones isolated from different individuals in defined geographical regions could be useful in linkage analyses or quantitative trait locus studies. Through pairwise comparisons of different isolates we discovered point mutations in the apicoplast genome that are close to known mutations that confer clindamycin resistance in other species, but which were hitherto unknown in malaria parasites. Subsequent drug sensitivity testing revealed over 100-fold increase of clindamycin EC50 in strains harboring one of these mutations. This evidence of clindamycin-resistant parasites in the Amazon suggests that a shift should be made in health policy away from quinine + clindamycin therapy for malaria in pregnant women and infants, and that the development of new lincosamide antibiotics for malaria should be reconsidered.
Dharia, Neekesh V.; Plouffe, David; Bopp, Selina E.R.; Gonzalez-Paez, Gonzalo E.; Lucas, Carmen; Salas, Carola; Soberon, Valeria; Bursulaya, Badry; Kochel, Tadeusz J.; Bacon, David J.; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.
The Clp chaperones and proteases play an important role in protein homeostasis in the cell. They are highly conserved across prokaryotes and found also in the mitochondria of eukaryotes and the chloroplasts of plants. They function mainly in the disaggregation, unfolding and degradation of native as well as misfolded proteins. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the Clp chaperones and proteases in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The parasite contains four Clp ATPases, which we term PfClpB1, PfClpB2, PfClpC and PfClpM. One PfClpP, the proteolytic subunit, and one PfClpR, which is an inactive version of the protease, were also identified. Expression of all Clp chaperones and proteases was confirmed in blood-stage parasites. The proteins were localized to the apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic organelle that accommodates several important metabolic pathways in P. falciparum, with the exception of PfClpB2 (also known as Hsp101), which was found in the parasitophorous vacuole. Both PfClpP and PfClpR form mostly homoheptameric rings as observed by size-exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy. The X-ray structure of PfClpP showed the protein as a compacted tetradecamer similar to that observed for Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis ClpPs. Our data suggest the presence of a ClpCRP complex in the apicoplast of P. falciparum.
Bakkouri, Majida El; Pow, Andre; Mulichak, Anne; Cheung, Kevin L.Y.; Artz, Jennifer D.; Amani, Mehrnaz; Fell, Stuart; de Koning-Ward, Tania F.; Goodman, C. Dean; McFadden, Geoffrey I.; Ortega, Joaquin; Hui, Raymond; Houry, Walid A. (Toronto); (McMaster U.); (HWMRI); (Melbourne); (Deakin)
Red blood cells parasitized by Plasmodium falciparum can be distinguished from uninfected cells and characterized on the basis of reduced deformability. To enable improved and simplified analysis, we developed a microfluidic device to measure red blood cell deformability using precisely controlled pressure. Individual red blood cells are deformed through multiple funnel-shaped constrictions with openings ranging from 5 down to 1 ?m. Precisely controlled pressures are generated on-chip using a microfluidic circuit that attenuates an externally applied pressure by a factor of 100. The pressures required to squeeze each cell through the constriction are used as a readout to determine the intrinsic stiffness of each cell. Using this method, parasitized cells from ring through schizont stages were shown to be 1.5 to 200 times stiffer than uninfected cells. The measured deformability values of uninfected and parasitized cells showed clearly distinct distributions, demonstrating the potential of using this technique to study the pathophysiology of this disease, and the effect of potential drugs. PMID:22318405
Guo, Quan; Reiling, Sarah J; Rohrbach, Petra; Ma, Hongshen
Sequestration, the adherence of infected erythrocytes containing late developmental stages of the parasite (trophozoites and schizonts) to the endothelium of capillaries and venules, is characteristic of Plasmodium falciparum infections. We have studied two host factors, the spleen and antibody, that influence sequestration of P. falciparum in the squirrel monkey. Sequestration of trophozoite/schizont-infected erythrocytes that occurs in intact animals is reduced in splenectomized animals; in vitro, when infected blood is incubated with monolayers of human melanoma cells, trophozoite/schizont-infected erythrocytes from intact animals but not from splenectomized animals bind to the melanoma cells. The switch in cytoadherence characteristics of the infected erythrocytes from nonbinding to binding occurs with a cloned parasite. Immune serum can inhibit and reverse in vitro binding to melanoma cells of infected erythrocytes from intact animals. Similarly, antibody can reverse in vivo sequestration as shown by the appearance of trophozoite/schizont-infected erythrocytes in the peripheral blood of an intact animal after inoculation with immune serum. These results indicate that the spleen modulates the expression of parasite alterations of the infected erythrocyte membrane responsible for sequestration and suggest that the prevention and reversal of sequestration could be one of the effector mechanisms involved in antibody-mediated protection against P. falciparum malaria.
David, Peter H.; Hommel, Marcel; Miller, Louis H.; Udeinya, Iroka J.; Oligino, Lynette D.
Background Babesiosis is an emerging health risk in several parts of the world. However, little is known about the prevalence of Babesia in malaria-endemic countries. The area along the China-Myanmar border in Yunnan is a main endemic area of malaria in P.R. China, however, human infection with Babesia microti (B. microti) is not recognized in this region, and its profile of co-infection is not yet clear. Methods To understand its profile of co-infections with B. microti, our investigation was undertaken in the malaria-endemic area along the China-Myanmar border in Yunnan between April 2012 and June 2013. Four parasite species, including B. microti, Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum), P. vivax, and P. malariae, were identified among 449 suspected febrile persons detected by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay based on small subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (RNA) genes of B. microti and Plasmodium spp. Results Of all the collected samples from febrile patients, mono-infection with B. microti, P. vivax, P. falciparum, and P. malariae accounted for 1.8% (8/449), 9.8% (44/449), 2.9% (13/449), and 0.2% (1/449), respectively. The rate of mixed infections of B. microti with P. falciparum or P. vivax are both 0.2% (1/449), and mixed infections of P. falciparum and P. vivax accounted for 1.1% (5/449). Conclusions This report supports the hypothesis that babesiosis caused by B. microti is emerging along the China-Myanmar border in the Yunnan province, P.R. China, but it was ignored because of low parasitemia or mixed infection with Plasmodium spp. More sensitive and specific diagnosis methods are needed to find the rapid response mechanism of emergency for babesiosis and malaria co-prevalence areas.
The most critical bottleneck in the generation of recombinant Plasmodium berghei parasites is the mandatory in vivo cloning step following successful genetic manipulation. This study describes a new technique for rapid selection of recombinant P. berghei parasites. The method is based on flow cytometry to isolate isogenic parasite lines and represents a major advance for the field, in that it will speed the generation of recombinant parasites as well as cut down on animal use significantly. High expression of GFP during blood infection, a prerequisite for robust separation of transgenic lines by flow cytometry, was achieved. Isogenic recombinant parasite populations were isolated even in the presence of a 100-fold excess of wild-type (WT) parasites. Aquaglyceroporin (AQP) loss-of-function mutants and parasites expressing a tagged AQP were generated to validate this approach. aqp? parasites grow normally within the WT phenotypic range during blood infection of NMRI mice. Similarly, colonization of the insect vector and establishment of an infection after mosquito transmission were unaffected, indicating that AQP is dispensable for life cycle progression in vivo under physiological conditions, refuting its use as a suitable drug target. Tagged AQP localized to perinuclear structures and not the parasite plasma membrane. We suggest that flow-cytometric isolation of isogenic parasites overcomes the major roadblock towards a genome-scale repository of mutant and transgenic malaria parasite lines.
Kenthirapalan, Sanketha; Waters, Andrew P.; Matuschewski, Kai; Kooij, Taco W.A.
The life cycle of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, responsible for the most deadly form of human malaria, requires specialized protein expression for survival in the mammalian host and insect vector. To identify components of processes controlling gene expression during its life cycle, the malarial genome--along with seven crown eukaryote group genomes--was queried with a reference set of transcription-associated proteins (TAPs). Following clustering on the basis of sequence similarity of the TAPs with their homologs, and together with hidden Markov model profile searches, 156 P. falciparum TAPs were identified. This represents about a third of the number of TAPs usually found in the genome of a free-living eukaryote. Furthermore, the P. falciparum genome appears to contain a low number of sequences, which are highly conserved and abundant within the kingdoms of free-living eukaryotes, that contribute to gene-specific transcriptional regulation. However, in comparison with these other eukaryotic genomes, the CCCH-type zinc finger (common in proteins modulating mRNA decay and translation rates) was found to be the most abundant in the P. falciparum genome. This observation, together with the paucity of malarial transcriptional regulators identified, suggests Plasmodium protein levels are primarily determined by posttranscriptional mechanisms. PMID:15256513
Coulson, Richard M R; Hall, Neil; Ouzounis, Christos A
The genetic determinants of resistance to mefloquine in malaria parasites are unclear. Some studies have implied that amplification of, or mutations in, the multidrug resistance gene pfmdr1 in Plasmodium falciparum may be involved. Using the rodent malaria model Plasmodium chabaudi, we investigated the role of the orthologue of this gene, pcmdr1, in a stable mefloquine-resistant mutant, AS(15MF/3), selected from a sensitive clone. pcmdr1 exists as a single copy gene on chromosome 12 of the sensitive clone. In AS(15MF/3), the gene was found to have undergone duplication, with one copy translocating to chromosome 4. mRNA levels of pcmdr1 were higher in the mutant than in the parent sensitive clone. A partial genetic map of the translocation showed that other genes in addition to pcmdr1 had been cotranslocated. The sequences of both copies of pcmdr1 of AS(15MF/3) were identical to that of the parent sensitive clone. A cross was made between AS(15MF/3) and an unrelated mefloquine-sensitive clone, AJ. Phenotypic and molecular analysis of progeny clones showed that duplication and overexpression of the pcmdr1 gene was an important determinant of resistance. However, not all mefloquine-resistant progeny contained the duplicated gene, showing that at least one other gene was involved in resistance. PMID:12543682
Cravo, Pedro V L; Carlton, Jane M-R; Hunt, Paul; Bisoni, Laura; Padua, Rose Ann; Walliker, David
Aedeomyia squamipennis and Culex (Melanoconion) ocossa, two ubiquitous Neotropical mosquito species, are likely involved in the transmission of several bird pathogens in Gamboa, central Panama. However, knowledge on their eco-epidemiological profiles is still incomplete. Our goal in this study was to investigate temporal trends of vector density and their relationship with avian plasmodia prevalence. This information is central to identifying the risk posed by each vector species to the avian community locally. We found that A. squamipennis maintains stable population size across climatic seasons and thus maybe a more efficient vector of avian malaria than C. ocossa. In contrast, C. ocossa, which undergoes considerable population expansion in the rainy season and contraction in the dry season, is likely only an important avian malaria vector during part of the year. This is consistent with the larger number of parasite isolations and Plasmodium cyt b lineages recovered from A. squamipennis than from C. ocossa and might be explained by marked differences in their seasonality and host-feeding preferences. More Plasmodium PCR testing in mosquito communities from other areas of Panama might reveal additional vectors of avian plasmodia. PMID:23974324
Loaiza, Jose R; Miller, Matthew J
We examined geographically distinct isolates of Plasmodium vivax and categorized them according to developmental success in Anopheles albimanus. We found that parasites from Central America and Colombia form a group distinct from those of Asia. New World isolates have a distinct chromosomal translocation and an episomal variation in the open reading frame (ORF) 470 DNA sequence that distinguishes them from the other isolates tested. Old World types of P. vivax were introduced into the Americas, and a remnant of this lineage remains in P. simium. It is indistinguishable from Old World P. vivax to the extent determinable by using our encoded markers and the examination of its developmental pattern in mosquitoes. The cohesive characteristics that separate types of P. vivax are predictors of range and potential for transmission and hence require taxonomic distinction.
Li, J.; Collins, W. E.; Wirtz, R. A.; Rathore, D.; Lal, A.; McCutchan, T. F.
Malaria is a deadly infectious disease which affects millions of people each year in tropical regions. There is no effective vaccine available and the treatment is based on drugs which are currently facing an emergence of drug resistance and in this sense the search for new drug targets is indispensable. It is well established that vitamin biosynthetic pathways, such as the vitamin B6 de novo synthesis present in Plasmodium, are excellent drug targets. The active form of vitamin B6, pyridoxal 5-phosphate, is, besides its antioxidative properties, a cofactor for a variety of essential enzymes present in the malaria parasite which includes the ornithine decarboxylase (ODC, synthesis of polyamines), the aspartate aminotransferase (AspAT, involved in the protein biosynthesis), and the serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT, a key enzyme within the folate metabolism). PMID:24524072
Kronenberger, Thales; Lindner, Jasmin; Meissner, Kamila A; Zimbres, Flávia M; Coronado, Monika A; Sauer, Frank M; Schettert, Isolmar; Wrenger, Carsten
Lysine acetylation has emerged as a major post-translational modification involved in diverse cellular functions. Using a combination of immunoisolation and liquid chromatography coupled to accurate mass spectrometry, we determined the first acetylome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum during its active proliferation in erythrocytes with 421 acetylation sites identified in 230 proteins. Lysine-acetylated proteins are distributed in the nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondrion and apicoplast. Whereas occurrence of lysine acetylation in a similarly wide range of cellular functions suggests conservation of lysine acetylation through evolution, the Plasmodium acetylome also revealed significant divergence from those of other eukaryotes and even the closely related parasite Toxoplasma. This divergence is reflected in the acetylation of a large number of Plasmodium-specific proteins and different acetylation sites in evolutionarily conserved acetylated proteins. A prominent example is the abundant acetylation of proteins in the glycolysis pathway but relatively deficient acetylation of enzymes in the citrate cycle. Using specific transgenic lines and inhibitors, we determined that the acetyltransferase PfMYST and lysine deacetylases play important roles in regulating the dynamics of cytoplasmic protein acetylation. The Plasmodium acetylome provides an exciting start point for further exploration of functions of acetylation in the biology of malaria parasites. PMID:23796209
Miao, Jun; Lawrence, Matthew; Jeffers, Victoria; Zhao, Fangqing; Parker, Daniel; Ge, Ying; Sullivan, William J; Cui, Liwang
Summary Lysine acetylation has emerged as a major posttranslational modification involved in diverse cellular functions. Using a combination of immunoisolation and liquid chromatography coupled to accurate mass spectrometry, we determined the first acetylome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum during its active proliferation in erythrocytes with 421 acetylation sites identified in 230 proteins. Lysine-acetylated proteins are distributed in the nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondrion, and apicoplast. Whereas occurrence of lysine acetylation in a similarly wide range of cellular functions suggests conservation of lysine acetylation through evolution, the Plasmodium acetylome also revealed significant divergence from those of other eukaryotes and even the closely-related parasite Toxoplasma. This divergence is reflected in the acetylation of a large number of Plasmodium-specific proteins and different acetylation sites in evolutionarily conserved acetylated proteins. A prominent example is the abundant acetylation of proteins in the glycolysis pathway but relatively deficient acetylation of enzymes in the citrate cycle. Using specific transgenic lines and inhibitors, we determined that the acetyltransferase PfMYST and lysine deacetylases play important roles in regulating the dynamics of cytoplasmic protein acetylation. The Plasmodium acetylome provides an exciting start point for further exploration of functions of acetylation in the biology of malaria parasites.
Miao, Jun; Lawrence, Matthew; Jeffers, Victoria; Zhao, Fangqing; Parker, Daniel; Ge, Ying; Sullivan, William J.; Cui, Liwang
Plasmodium falciparum causes most of the one million annual deaths from malaria. Drug resistance is widespread and novel agents against new targets are needed to support combination-therapy approaches promoted by the World Health Organization. Plasmodium species are purine auxotrophs. Blocking purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) kills cultured parasites by purine starvation. DADMe-Immucillin-G (BCX4945) is a transition state analogue of human and Plasmodium PNPs, binding with picomolar affinity. Here, we test BCX4945 in Aotus primates, an animal model for Plasmodium falciparum infections. Oral administration of BCX4945 for seven days results in parasite clearance and recrudescence in otherwise lethal infections of P. falciparum in Aotus monkeys. The molecular action of BCX4945 is demonstrated in crystal structures of human and P. falciparum PNPs. Metabolite analysis demonstrates that PNP blockade inhibits purine salvage and polyamine synthesis in the parasites. The efficacy, oral availability, chemical stability, unique mechanism of action and low toxicity of BCX4945 demonstrate potential for combination therapies with this novel antimalarial agent. PMID:22096507
Cassera, María B; Hazleton, Keith Z; Merino, Emilio F; Obaldia, Nicanor; Ho, Meng-Chiao; Murkin, Andrew S; DePinto, Richard; Gutierrez, Jemy A; Almo, Steven C; Evans, Gary B; Babu, Yarlagadda S; Schramm, Vern L
In the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum, a multifunctional phosphoethanolamine methyltransferase (PfPMT) catalyzes the methylation of phosphoethanolamine (pEA) to phosphocholine for membrane biogenesis. This pathway is also found in plant and nematodes, but PMT from these organisms use multiple methyltransferase domains for the S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) reactions. Because PfPMT is essential for normal growth and survival of Plasmodium and is not found in humans, it is an antiparasitic target. Here we describe the 1.55 ? resolution crystal structure of PfPMT in complex with AdoMet by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion phasing. In addition, 1.19–1.52 ? resolution structures of PfPMT with pEA (substrate), phosphocholine (product), sinefungin (inhibitor), and both pEA and S-adenosylhomocysteine bound were determined. These structures suggest that domain rearrangements occur upon ligand binding and provide insight on active site architecture defining the AdoMet and phosphobase binding sites. Functional characterization of 27 site-directed mutants identifies critical active site residues and suggests that Tyr-19 and His-132 form a catalytic dyad. Kinetic analysis, isothermal titration calorimetry, and protein crystallography of the Y19F and H132A mutants suggest a reaction mechanism for the PMT. Not only are Tyr-19 and His-132 required for phosphobase methylation, but they also form a “catalytic” latch that locks ligands in the active site and orders the site for catalysis. This study provides the first insight on this antiparasitic target enzyme essential for survival of the malaria parasite; however, further studies of the multidomain PMT from plants and nematodes are needed to understand the evolutionary division of metabolic function in the phosphobase pathway of these organisms.
Lee, Soon Goo; Kim, Youngchang; Alpert, Tara D.; Nagata, Akina; Jez, Joseph M.
Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance 1 (pfmdr1) gene impact sensitivity to multiple antimalarials. In Africa, polymorphisms at N86Y and D1246Y are common and have various impacts on sensitivity to different drugs. To gain insight into the fitness consequences of these polymorphisms, we cultured parasites isolated from children with malaria in Tororo, Uganda, where the multiplicity of infection is high, and used pyrosequencing to follow polymorphism prevalences in culture over time. Of 71 cultures, parasites in 69 were successfully analyzed at N86Y and parasites in 68 were successfully analyzed at D1246Y over 3 to 36 days of culture. For position 86, the sequences of 39/69 (56.5%) parasites remained stable (>90% prevalence over 2 to 17 time points), with 82.1% of these being stable for the 86Y mutation. For position 1246, the sequences of 31/68 (45.6%) parasites remained stable, with 64.5% of these being stable for the wild-type D1246 sequence (P = 0.0002 for comparison of stable mutant genotypes for the two alleles). Defining allele selection as a ?15% change in prevalence between the first and last samples assessed, for position 86, 11 samples showed selection, with selection toward 86Y occurring in 72.7% of alleles; for position 1246, 14 samples showed selection, with selection toward D1246 occurring in 64.3% of alleles (P = 0.11 for comparison of selection of mutations at the two alleles). Among the 7 samples with selection at both alleles, 5 showed selection for both 86Y and D1246. Overall, consistent trends in the direction of selection were seen, although differences were not statistically significant. Our results suggest fitness advantages for parasites with the pfmdr1 86Y mutation and wild-type D1246, highlighting the complex interplay between drug resistance and fitness in malaria parasites. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00948896 and NCT00993031.)
Ochong, Edwin; Tumwebaze, Patrick K.; Byaruhanga, Oswald; Greenhouse, Bryan
Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) play a critical role in malaria case management, surveillance and case investigations. Test performance is largely determined by design and quality characteristics, such as detection sensitivity, specificity, and thermal stability. However, parasite characteristics such as variable or absent expression of antigens targeted by RDTs can also affect RDT performance. Plasmodium falciparum parasites lacking the PfHRP2 protein, the most common target antigen for detection of P. falciparum, have been reported in some regions. Therefore, accurately mapping the presence and prevalence of P. falciparum parasites lacking pfhrp2 would be an important step so that RDTs targeting alternative antigens, or microscopy, can be preferentially selected for use in such regions. Herein the available evidence and molecular basis for identifying malaria parasites lacking PfHRP2 is reviewed, and a set of recommended procedures to apply for future investigations for parasites lacking PfHRP2, is proposed.
Summary Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii are obligate intracellular apicomplexan parasites that rapidly invade and extensively modify host cells. Protein phosphorylation is one mechanism by which these parasites can control such processes. Here we present a phosphoproteome analysis of peptides enriched from schizont stage P. falciparum and T. gondii tachyzoites that are either “intracellular” or purified away from host material. Using liquid chromatography and tandem mass-spectrometry we identified over 5,000 and 10,000 previously unknown phosphorylation sites in P. falciparum and T. gondii respectively, revealing that protein phosphorylation is an extensively used regulation mechanism both within and beyond parasite boundaries. Unexpectedly both parasites have phosphorylated tyrosines and P. falciparum has unusual phosphorylation motifs that are apparently shaped by its A:T-rich genome. This dataset provides important information on the role of phosphorylation in the host-pathogen interaction, and clues to the evolutionary forces operating on protein phosphorylation motifs in both parasites.
Treeck, Moritz; Sanders, John L.; Elias, Joshua E.; Boothroyd, John C.
Background Resistance to anti-malarial drugs is a widespread problem for control programmes for this devastating disease. Molecular tests are available for many anti-malarial drugs and are useful tools for the surveillance of drug resistance. However, the correlation of treatment outcome and molecular tests with particular parasite markers is not perfect, due in part to individuals who are able to clear genotypically drug-resistant parasites. This study aimed to identify molecular markers in the human genome that correlate with the clearance of malaria parasites after drug treatment, despite the drug resistance profile of the protozoan as predicted by molecular approaches. Methods 3721 samples from five African countries, which were known to contain genotypically drug resistant parasites, were analysed. These parasites were collected from patients who subsequently failed to clear their infection following drug treatment, as expected, but also from patients who successfully cleared their infections with drug-resistant parasites. 67 human polymorphisms (SNPs) on 17 chromosomes were analysed using Sequenom's mass spectrometry iPLEX gold platform, to identify regions of the human genome, which contribute to enhanced clearance of drug resistant parasites. Results An analysis of all data from the five countries revealed significant associations between the phenotype of ability to clear drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum infection and human immune response loci common to all populations. Overall, three SNPs showed a significant association with clearance of drug-resistant parasites with odds ratios of 0.76 for SNP rs2706384 (95% CI 0.71-0.92, P = 0.005), 0.66 for SNP rs1805015 (95% CI 0.45-0.97, P = 0.03), and 0.67 for SNP rs1128127 (95% CI 0.45-0.99, P = 0.05), after adjustment for possible confounding factors. The first two SNPs (rs2706384 and rs1805015) are within loci involved in pro-inflammatory (interferon-gamma) and anti-inflammatory (IL-4) cytokine responses. The third locus encodes a protein involved in the degradation of misfolded proteins within the endoplasmic reticulum, and its role, if any, in the clearance phenotype is unclear. Conclusions The study showed significant association of three loci in the human genome with the ability of parasite to clear drug-resistant P. falciparum in samples taken from five countries distributed across sub-Saharan Africa. Both SNP rs2706384 and SNP1805015 have previously been reported to be associated with risk of malaria infection in African populations. The loci are involved in the Th1/Th2 balance, and the association of SNPs within these genes suggests a key role for antibody in the clearance of drug-resistant parasites. It is possible that patients able to clear drug-resistant infections have an enhanced ability to control parasite growth.
Plasmodium falciparum chemosensitivity to the various antimalarial drugs is presently determined in the laboratory by setting up multiple microcultures of the parasite and estimating the amount of growth inhibition caused by known concentrations of drug. ...
A. O. Ofulla A. S. Orago J. I. Githure J. P. Burans G. M. Aleman
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is able to synthesize de novo pyridoxal 5-phosphate (PLP), a crucial cofactor, during erythrocytic schizogony. However, the parasite possesses additionally a pyridoxine/pyridoxal kinase (PdxK) to activate B6 vitamers salvaged from the host. We describe a strategy whereby synthetic pyridoxyl-amino acid adducts are channelled into the parasite. Trapped upon phosphorylation by the plasmodial PdxK, these compounds block PLP-dependent enzymes and thus impair the growth of P. falciparum. The novel compound PT3, a cyclic pyridoxyl-tryptophan methyl ester, inhibited the proliferation of Plasmodium very efficiently (IC50-value of 14 µM) without harming human cells. The non-cyclic pyridoxyl-tryptophan methyl ester PT5 and the pyridoxyl-histidine methyl ester PHME were at least one order of magnitude less effective or completely ineffective in the case of the latter. Modeling in silico indicates that the phosphorylated forms of PT3 and PT5 fit well into the PLP-binding site of plasmodial ornithine decarboxylase (PfODC), the key enzyme of polyamine synthesis, consistent with the ability to abolish ODC activity in vitro. Furthermore, the antiplasmodial effect of PT3 is directly linked to the capability of Plasmodium to trap this pyridoxyl analog, as shown by an increased sensitivity of parasites overexpressing PfPdxK in their cytosol, as visualized by GFP fluorescence.
Bergmann, Barbel; Knockel, Julia; Walter, Rolf D.; Gehring, Heinz; Wrenger, Carsten
Premunition in Plasmodium spp. is the prevention of superinfection by novel genotypes entering an already established infection in a vertebrate host. Evidence for premunition was sought for the lizard malaria parasite, P. mexicanum, in its natural host, the fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis. Clonal diversity (= alleles for the haploid parasite) was determined with the use of 3 microsatellite markers. Both naturally infected lizards (N = 25) and previously noninfected lizards (N = 78) were inoculated intraperitoneally (IP) with blood from donor infections and followed over a 3-mo period. Compared to the success of clonal establishment in all the naive lizards (78/78 successful), clones entering preexisting infections had a significant disadvantage (9/25 successful). The number of preexisting clones (1-2 vs. 3-4) within recipient infections had no effect on the success of superinfection. Infections that excluded entering novel clones did not have higher initial asexual parasitemia, but had a higher initial density of gametocytes, suggesting they were older. Infections allowing superinfection experienced a higher final parasitemia. PMID:17539410
Vardo, Anne M; Kaufhold, Kimberly D; Schall, Jos J
Genetic diversity and population structure of Plasmodium vivax parasites can predict the origin and spread of novel variants within a population enabling population specific malaria control measures. We analyzed the genetic diversity and population structure of 425 P. vivax isolates from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Ethiopia using 12 trinucleotide and tetranucleotide microsatellite markers. All three parasite populations were highly polymorphic with 3-44 alleles per locus. Approximately 65% were multiple-clone infections. Mean genetic diversity (H(E)) was 0.7517 in Ethiopia, 0.8450 in Myanmar, and 0.8610 in Sri Lanka. Significant linkage disequilibrium was maintained. Population structure showed two clusters (Asian and African) according to geography and ancestry. Strong clustering of outbreak isolates from Sri Lanka and Ethiopia was observed. Predictive power of ancestry using two-thirds of the isolates as a model identified 78.2% of isolates accurately as being African or Asian. Microsatellite analysis is a useful tool for mapping short-term outbreaks of malaria and for predicting ancestry. PMID:20133999
Gunawardena, Sharmini; Karunaweera, Nadira D; Ferreira, Marcelo U; Phone-Kyaw, Myatt; Pollack, Richard J; Alifrangis, Michael; Rajakaruna, Rupika S; Konradsen, Flemming; Amerasinghe, Priyanie H; Schousboe, Mette L; Galappaththy, Gawrie N L; Abeyasinghe, Rabindra R; Hartl, Daniel L; Wirth, Dyann F
The molecular control of cell division and development in malaria parasites is far from understood. We previously showed that a Plasmodium gametocyte-specific NIMA-related protein kinase, nek-4, is required for completion of meiosis in the ookinete, the motile form that develops from the zygote in the mosquito vector. Here, we show that another NIMA-related kinase, Pfnek-2, is also predominantly expressed in gametocytes, and that Pfnek-2 is an active enzyme displaying an in vitro substrate preference distinct from that of Pfnek-4. A functional nek-2 gene is required for transmission of both Plasmodium falciparum and the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei to the mosquito vector, which is explained by the observation that disruption of the nek-2 gene in P. berghei causes dysregulation of DNA replication during meiosis and blocks ookinete development. This has implications (i) in our understanding of sexual development of malaria parasites and (ii) in the context of control strategies aimed at interfering with malaria transmission. PMID:19491095
Reininger, Luc; Tewari, Rita; Fennell, Clare; Holland, Zoe; Goldring, Dean; Ranford-Cartwright, Lisa; Billker, Oliver; Doerig, Christian
The PfCLAG9 has been extensively studied because their immunogenicity. Thereby, the gene product is important for therapeutics interventions and a potential vaccine candidate. Antibodies against synthetic peptides corresponding to selected sequences of the Plasmodium falciparum antigen PfCLAG9 were found in sera of falciparum malaria patients from Rondônia, in the Brazilian Amazon. Much higher antibody titres were found in semi-immune and immune asymptomatic parasite carriers than in subjects suffering clinical infections, corroborating original findings in Papua Guinea. However, sera of Plasmodium vivax patients from the same Amazon area, in particular from asymptomatic vivax parasite carriers, reacted strongly with the same peptides. Bioinformatic analyses revealed regions of similarity between P. falciparum Pfclag9 and the P. vivax ortholog Pvclag7. Indirect fluorescent microscopy analysis showed that antibodies against PfCLAG9 peptides elicited in BALB/c mice react with human red blood cells (RBCs) infected with both P. falciparum and P. vivax parasites. The patterns of reactivity on the surface of the parasitised RBCs are very similar. The present observations support previous findings that PfCLAG9 may be a target of protective immune responses and raises the possibility that the cross reactive antibodies to PvCLAG7 in mixed infections play a role in regulate the fate of Plasmodium mixed infections.
Costa, Joana D'Arc Neves; Zanchi, Fernando Berton; Rodrigues, Francisco Lurdevanhe da Silva; Honda, Eduardo Rezende; Katsuragawa, Tony Hiroschi; Pereira, Dhelio Batista; Taborda, Roger Lafontaine Mesquita; Tada, Mauro Shugiro; Ferreira, Ricardo de Godoi Mattos; Pereira-da-Silva, Luiz Hildebrando
The molecular control of cell division and development in malaria parasites is far from understood. We previously showed that a Plasmodium gametocyte-specific NIMA-related protein kinase, nek-4, is required for completion of meiosis in the ookinete, the motile form that develops from the zygote in the mosquito vector. Here, we show that another NIMA-related kinase, Pfnek-2, is also predominantly expressed in gametocytes, and that Pfnek-2 is an active enzyme displaying an in vitro substrate preference distinct from that of Pfnek-4. A functional nek-2 gene is required for transmission of both Plasmodium falciparum and the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei to the mosquito vector, which is explained by the observation that disruption of the nek-2 gene in P. berghei causes dysregulation of DNA replication during meiosis and blocks ookinete development. This has implications (i) in our understanding of sexual development of malaria parasites and (ii) in the context of control strategies aimed at interfering with malaria transmission.
Reininger, Luc; Tewari, Rita; Fennell, Clare; Holland, Zoe; Goldring, Dean; Ranford-Cartwright, Lisa; Billker, Oliver; Doerig, Christian
Background Malaria treatment efforts are hindered by the rapid emergence and spread of drug resistant parasites. Simple assays to monitor parasite drug response in direct patient samples (ex vivo) can detect drug resistance before it becomes clinically apparent, and can inform changes in treatment policy to prevent the spread of resistance. Methods Parasite drug responses to amodiaquine, artemisinin, chloroquine and mefloquine were tested in approximately 400 Plasmodium falciparum malaria infections in Thiès, Senegal between 2008 and 2011 using a DAPI-based ex vivo drug resistance assay. Drug resistance-associated mutations were also genotyped in pfcrt and pfmdr1. Results Parasite drug responses changed between 2008 and 2011, as parasites became less sensitive to amodiaquine, artemisinin and chloroquine over time. The prevalence of known resistance-associated mutations also changed over time. Decreased amodiaquine sensitivity was associated with sustained, highly prevalent mutations in pfcrt, and one mutation in pfmdr1 – Y184F – was associated with decreased parasite sensitivity to artemisinin. Conclusions Directly measuring ex vivo parasite drug response and resistance mutation genotyping over time are useful tools for monitoring parasite drug responses in field samples. Furthermore, these data suggest that the use of amodiaquine and artemisinin derivatives in combination therapies is selecting for increased drug tolerance within this population.
Background Previous comparative proteomic analysis on Plasmodium falciparum isolates of different adhesion properties suggested that protein phosphorylation varies between isolates with different cytoadherence properties. But the extent and dynamic changes in phosphorylation have not been systematically studied. As a baseline for these future studies, this paper examined changes in the phosphoproteome of parasitized red blood cells (pRBC). Methods Metabolic labelling with [35S] methionine on pRBC and 2D gel electrophoresis (2-DE) has previously been used to show the expression of parasite proteins and changes in protein iso-electric point (PI). 2-DE of different parasite strains was combined with immunoblotting using monoclonal antibodies specifically to phosphorylated serine/threonine and tyrosine, to obtain the phosphorylation profiles throughout the erythrocytic lifecycle. Affinity chromatography was used to purify/enrich phosphorylated proteins and these proteins from mature trophozoite stages which were identified using high-accuracy mass spectrometry and MASCOT search. Results 2D-immunoblots showed that P. falciparum infection greatly increased phosphorylation of a set of proteins in pRBC, the dominant size classes for phosphorylated tyrosine proteins were 95, 60, 50 and 30 kDa and for phosphorylated serine/threonine were 120, 95, 60, 50, 43, 40 and 30 kDa. The most abundant molecules from 2D-gel mapping of phosphorylated proteins in ItG infected RBCs were identified by MALDI-TOF. A proteomic overview of phosphorylated proteins in pRBC was achieved by using complementary phosphorylated protein enrichment techniques combined with nano-flow LC/MS/MS analysis and MASCOT MS/MS ions search with phosphorylation as variable modifications. The definite phosphoproteins of pRBC are reported and discussed. Conclusion Protein phosphorylation is a major process in P. falciparum-parasitized erythrocytes. Preliminary screens identified 170 P. falciparum proteins and 77 human proteins as phosphorylated protein in pRBC, while only 48 human proteins were identified in the corresponding fractions from uninfected RBC. Refinement of the search to include significant ion scores indicating a specific phospho-peptide identified 21 P. falciparum proteins and 14 human proteins from pRBC, 13 host proteins were identified from normal RBC. The results achieved by complementary techniques consistently reflect a reliable proteomic overview of pRBC.
Wu, Yang; Nelson, Morag M; Quaile, Andrew; Xia, Dong; Wastling, Jonathan M; Craig, Alister
Background The carbon metabolism of the blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum, comprising rapidly dividing asexual stages and non-dividing gametocytes, is thought to be highly streamlined, with glycolysis providing most of the cellular ATP. However, these parasitic stages express all the enzymes needed for a canonical mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and it was recently proposed that they may catabolize glutamine via an atypical branched TCA cycle. Whether these stages catabolize glucose in the TCA cycle and what is the functional significance of mitochondrial metabolism remains unresolved. Results We reassessed the central carbon metabolism of P. falciparum asexual and sexual blood stages, by metabolically labeling each stage with 13C-glucose and 13C-glutamine, and analyzing isotopic enrichment in key pathways using mass spectrometry. In contrast to previous findings, we found that carbon skeletons derived from both glucose and glutamine are catabolized in a canonical oxidative TCA cycle in both the asexual and sexual blood stages. Flux of glucose carbon skeletons into the TCA cycle is low in the asexual blood stages, with glutamine providing most of the carbon skeletons, but increases dramatically in the gametocyte stages. Increased glucose catabolism in the gametocyte TCA cycle was associated with increased glucose uptake, suggesting that the energy requirements of this stage are high. Significantly, whereas chemical inhibition of the TCA cycle had little effect on the growth or viability of asexual stages, inhibition of the gametocyte TCA cycle led to arrested development and death. Conclusions Our metabolomics approach has allowed us to revise current models of P. falciparum carbon metabolism. In particular, we found that both asexual and sexual blood stages utilize a conventional TCA cycle to catabolize glucose and glutamine. Gametocyte differentiation is associated with a programmed remodeling of central carbon metabolism that may be required for parasite survival either before or after uptake by the mosquito vector. The increased sensitivity of gametocyte stages to TCA-cycle inhibitors provides a potential target for transmission-blocking drugs.
Background Most malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) detect Plasmodium falciparum and an antigen common to the four species. Plasmodium vivax-specific RDTs target P. vivax-specific parasite lactate dehydrogenase (Pv-pLDH). Previous observations of false positive Pv-pLDH test lines in P. falciparum samples incited to the present study, which assessed P. vivax-specific RDTs for the occurrence of false positive Pv-pLDH lines in P. falciparum samples. Methods Nine P. vivax-specific RDTs were tested with 85 P. falciparum samples of high (?2%) parasite density. Mixed P. falciparum/P. vivax infections were ruled out by real-time PCR. The RDTs included two-band (detecting Pv-pLDH), three-band (detecting P. falciparum-antigen and Pv-pLDH) and four-band RDTs (detecting P. falciparum, Pv-pLDH and pan-pLDH). Results False positive Pv-pLDH lines were observed in 6/9 RDTs (including two- three- and four-band RDTs). They occurred in the individual RDT brands at frequencies ranging from 8.2% to 29.1%. For 19/85 samples, at least two RDT brands generated a false positive Pv-pLDH line. Sixteen of 85 (18.8%) false positive lines were of medium or strong line intensity. There was no significant relation between false positive results and parasite density or geographic origin of the samples. Conclusion False positive Pv-pLDH lines in P. falciparum samples with high parasite density occurred in 6/9 P. vivax-specific RDTs. This is of concern as P. falciparum and P. vivax are co-circulating in many regions. The diagnosis of life-threatening P. falciparum malaria may be missed (two-band Pv-pLDH RDT), or the patient may be treated incorrectly with primaquine (three- or four-band RDTs).
Circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a malaria antigen involved in sporozoite invasion of hepatocytes, and thus considered to have good vaccine potential. We evaluated the polymorphism of the Plasmodium vivax CS gene in 24 parasite isolates collected from malaria-endemic areas of Colombia. We sequenced 27 alleles, most of which (25/27) corresponded to the VK247 genotype and the remainder to the VK210 type. All VK247 alleles presented a mutation (Gly ? Asn) at position 28 in the N-terminal region, whereas the C-terminal presented three insertions: the ANKKAGDAG, which is common in all VK247 isolates; 12 alleles presented the insertion GAGGQAAGGNAANKKAGDAG; and 5 alleles presented the insertion GGNAGGNA. Both repeat regions were polymorphic in gene sequence and size. Sequences coding for B-, T-CD4(+), and T-CD8(+) cell epitopes were found to be conserved. This study confirms the high polymorphism of the repeat domain and the highly conserved nature of the flanking regions. PMID:21292878
Hernández-Martínez, Miguel Ángel; Escalante, Ananías A; Arévalo-Herrera, Myriam; Herrera, Sócrates
Phase-diverse X-ray coherent diffractive imaging (CDI) provides a route to high sensitivity and spatial resolution with moderate radiation dose. It also provides a robust solution to the well-known phase-problem, making on-line image reconstruction feasible. Here we apply phase-diverse CDI to a cellular sample, obtaining images of an erythrocyte infected by the sexual stage of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, with a radiation dose significantly lower than the lowest dose previously reported for cellular imaging using CDI. The high sensitivity and resolution allow key biological features to be identified within intact cells, providing complementary information to optical and electron microscopy. This high throughput method could be used for fast tomographic imaging, or to generate multiple replicates in two-dimensions of hydrated biological systems without freezing or fixing. This work demonstrates that phase-diverse CDI is a valuable complementary imaging method for the biological sciences and ready for immediate application. PMID:24209602
Jones, Michael W M; Dearnley, Megan K; van Riessen, Grant A; Abbey, Brian; Putkunz, Corey T; Junker, Mark D; Vine, David J; McNulty, Ian; Nugent, Keith A; Peele, Andrew G; Tilley, Leann
Background In eukaryotic organisms, gene expression is regulated at multiple levels during the processes of transcription and translation. The absence of a tight regulatory network for transcription in the human malaria parasite suggests that gene expression may largely be controlled at post-transcriptional and translational levels. Results In this study, we compare steady-state mRNA and polysome-associated mRNA levels of Plasmodium falciparum at different time points during its asexual cell cycle. For more than 30% of its genes, we observe a delay in peak transcript abundance in the polysomal fraction as compared to the steady-state mRNA fraction, suggestive of strong translational control. Our data show that key regulatory mechanisms could include inhibitory activity of upstream open reading frames and translational repression of the major virulence gene family by intronic transcripts. In addition, we observe polysomal mRNA-specific alternative splicing events and widespread transcription of non-coding transcripts. Conclusions These different layers of translational regulation are likely to contribute to a complex network that controls gene expression in this eukaryotic pathogen. Disrupting the mechanisms involved in such translational control could provide novel anti-malarial strategies.
Plasmodium vivax infection has been gaining attention because of its re-emergence in several parts of the world. Southeastern Turkey is one of the places in which persistent focal malaria caused exclusively by P. vivax parasites occurs. Although control and elimination studies have been underway for many years, no detailed study has been conducted to understand the mechanisms underlying the ineffective control of malaria in this region. Here, for the first time, using serologic markers we try to extract as much information as possible in this region to get a glimpse of P. vivax transmission. We conducted a sero-immunological study, evaluating antibody responses of individuals living in Sanliurfa to four different P. vivax antigens; three blood-stage antigens (PvMSP119, PvAMA1-ecto, and PvSERA4) and one pre-erythrocytic stage antigen (PvCSP). The results suggest that a prior history of malaria infection and age can be determining factors for the levels and sustainability of naturally acquired antibodies. Significantly higher antibody responses to all the studied antigens were observed in blood smear-negative individuals with a prior history of malaria infection. Moreover, these individuals were significantly older than blood smear-negative individuals with no prior history of infection. These data from an area of sole P. vivax-endemic region may have important implications for the global malaria control/elimination programs and vaccine design.
Yildiz Zeyrek, Fadile; Palacpac, Nirianne; Yuksel, Fehmi; Yagi, Masanori; Honjo, Kaori; Fujita, Yukiko; Arisue, Nobuko; Takeo, Satoru; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Horii, Toshihiro; Tsuboi, Takafumi; Ishii, Ken J.; Coban, Cevayir
The immune response to malaria parasites includes T cell responses that reduce parasites by effector T cell responses and by providing help for antibody responses. Some parasites are more sensitive to antibody and others are more sensitive to cell-mediated immunity. We demonstrate that cultured CD4+ T cells that produce interferon CD4+ and interleukin 2, but not interleukin 4, in response to stimulation with the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei can reduce but not eliminate parasites in vivo after adoptive transfer. Although cells can persist in vivo for up to 9 months in uninfected mice, infection results in elimination of up to 99% of specific T cells in different tissues, as judged by tracking T cells labeled with the fluorescent dye 5-(and-6)-carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester. T cells specific for ovalbumin are unaffected. In vivo activation and division of transferred T cells per se are not responsible for deletion because T cells positive for 5-(and -6)-carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester divide up to six times within 7 days in uninfected mice and are not deleted. Understanding the factors responsible for parasite-mediated specific deletion of T cells would enhance our knowledge of parasite immunity.
Hirunpetcharat, Chakrit; Good, Michael F.
The proteins P52 and P36 are expressed in the sporozoite stage of the murine malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. ?p52&p36 sporozoites lacking expression of both proteins are severely compromised in their capability to develop into liver stage parasites and abort development soon after invasion; presumably due to the absence of a parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM). However, a small proportion of P. berghei ?p52&p36 parasites is capable to fully mature in hepatocytes causing breakthrough blood stage infections. We have studied the maturation of replicating ?p52&p36 parasites in cultured Huh-7 hepatocytes. Approximately 50% of ?p52&p36 parasites developed inside the nucleus of the hepatocyte but did not complete maturation and failed to produce merosomes. In contrast cytosolic ?p52&p36 parasites were able to fully mature and produced infectious merozoites. These ?p52&p36 parasites developed into mature schizonts in the absence of an apparent parasitophorous vacuole membrane as shown by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. Merozoites derived from these maturing ?p52&p36 liver stages were infectious for C57BL/6 mice.
Ploemen, Ivo H. J.; Croes, Huib J.; van Gemert, Geert-Jan J.; Wijers-Rouw, Mietske; Hermsen, Cornelus C.; Sauerwein, Robert W.
Evolutionary theory predicts that virulence of parasites for mobile vector insects will be low for natural parasite-host associations that have coevolved. I determined virulence of the malaria parasite of lizards, Plasmodium mexicanum, for its vectors, two species of sand fly (Diptera: Psychodidae), Lutzomyia vexator (Coquillett 1907) and Lutzomyia stewarti (Mangabeira Fo & Galindo 1944), by measuring several life history traits. Developmental rate from egg to eclosion differed for the two species when noninfected. For both sand fly species, developmental rate for each stage (egg to larval hatching, larval period, pupal period) and life span were not altered by infection. Infected sand flies, however, produced fewer eggs. This reduction in fecundity may be a result of lower quality of the blood meal taken from infected lizards (lower concentration of hemoglobin). This report is the first measure of virulence of Plasmodium for an insect vector other than a mosquito and concords with both expectations of theory and previous studies on natural parasite-host associations that revealed low virulence. PMID:22238877
Schall, Jos J
Background Malaria parasites undergo, in the vertebrate host, a developmental switch from asexual replication to sexual differentiation leading to the formation of gametocytes, the only form able to survive in the mosquito vector. Regulation of the onset of the sexual phase remains largely unknown and represents an important gap in the understanding of the parasite’s complex biology. Methods The expression and function of the Nima-related kinase Pfnek-4 during the early sexual development of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum were investigated, using three types of transgenic Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 lines: (i) episomally expressing a Pfnek-4-GFP fusion protein under the control of its cognate pfnek-4 promoter; (ii) episomally expressing negative or positive selectable markers, yeast cytosine deaminase-uridyl phosphoribosyl transferase, or human dihydrofolate reductase, under the control of the pfnek-4 promoter; and (iii) lacking a functional pfnek-4 gene. Parasite transfectants were analysed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. In vitro growth rate and gametocyte formation were determined by Giemsa-stained blood smears. Results The Pfnek-4-GFP protein was found to be expressed in stage II to V gametocytes and, unexpectedly, in a subset of asexual-stage parasites undergoing schizogony. Culture conditions stimulating gametocyte formation resulted in significant increase of this schizont subpopulation. Moreover, sorted asexual parasites expressing the Pfnek-4-GFP protein displayed elevated gametocyte formation when returned to in vitro culture in presence of fresh red blood cells, when compared to GFP- parasites from the same initial population. Negative selection of asexual parasites expressing pfnek-4 showed a marginal reduction in growth rate, whereas positive selection caused a marked reduction in parasitaemia, but was not sufficient to completely abolish proliferation. Pfnek-4- clones are not affected in their asexual growth and produced normal numbers of stage V gametocytes. Conclusions The results indicate that Pfnek-4 is not strictly gametocyte-specific, and is expressed in a small subset of asexual parasites displaying high rate conversion to sexual development. Pfnek-4 is not required for erythrocytic schizogony and gametocytogenesis. This is the first study to report the use of a molecular marker for the sorting of sexually-committed schizont stage P. falciparum parasites, which opens the way to molecular characterization of this pre-differentiated subpopulation.
The evolution of drug resistance, a key challenge for our ability to treat and control infections, depends on two processes: de-novo resistance mutations, and the selection for and spread of resistant mutants within a population. Understanding the factors influencing the rates of these two processes is essential for maximizing the useful lifespan of drugs and, therefore, effective disease control. For malaria parasites, artemisinin-based drugs are the frontline weapons in the fight against disease, but reports from the field of slower parasite clearance rates during drug treatment are generating concern that the useful lifespan of these drugs may be limited. Whether slower clearance rates represent true resistance, and how this provides a selective advantage for parasites is uncertain. Here, we show that Plasmodium chabaudi malaria parasites selected for resistance to artesunate (an artemisinin derivative) through a step-wise increase in drug dose evolved slower clearance rates extremely rapidly. In single infections, these slower clearance rates, similar to those seen in the field, provided fitness advantages to the parasite through increased overall density, recrudescence after treatment and increased transmission potential. In mixed infections, removal of susceptible parasites by drug treatment led to substantial increases in the densities and transmission potential of resistant parasites (competitive release). Our results demonstrate the double-edged sword for resistance management: in our initial selection experiments, no parasites survived aggressive chemotherapy, but after selection, the fitness advantage for resistant parasites was greatest at high drug doses. Aggressive treatment of mixed infections resulted in resistant parasites dominating the pool of gametocytes, without providing additional health benefits to hosts. Slower clearance rates can evolve rapidly and can provide a strong fitness advantage during drug treatment in both single and mixed strain infections.
Pollitt, Laura C.; Huijben, Silvie; Sim, Derek G.; Salathe, Rahel M.; Jones, Matthew J.; Read, Andrew F.
The evolution of drug resistance, a key challenge for our ability to treat and control infections, depends on two processes: de-novo resistance mutations, and the selection for and spread of resistant mutants within a population. Understanding the factors influencing the rates of these two processes is essential for maximizing the useful lifespan of drugs and, therefore, effective disease control. For malaria parasites, artemisinin-based drugs are the frontline weapons in the fight against disease, but reports from the field of slower parasite clearance rates during drug treatment are generating concern that the useful lifespan of these drugs may be limited. Whether slower clearance rates represent true resistance, and how this provides a selective advantage for parasites is uncertain. Here, we show that Plasmodium chabaudi malaria parasites selected for resistance to artesunate (an artemisinin derivative) through a step-wise increase in drug dose evolved slower clearance rates extremely rapidly. In single infections, these slower clearance rates, similar to those seen in the field, provided fitness advantages to the parasite through increased overall density, recrudescence after treatment and increased transmission potential. In mixed infections, removal of susceptible parasites by drug treatment led to substantial increases in the densities and transmission potential of resistant parasites (competitive release). Our results demonstrate the double-edged sword for resistance management: in our initial selection experiments, no parasites survived aggressive chemotherapy, but after selection, the fitness advantage for resistant parasites was greatest at high drug doses. Aggressive treatment of mixed infections resulted in resistant parasites dominating the pool of gametocytes, without providing additional health benefits to hosts. Slower clearance rates can evolve rapidly and can provide a strong fitness advantage during drug treatment in both single and mixed strain infections. PMID:24763470
Pollitt, Laura C; Huijben, Silvie; Sim, Derek G; Salathé, Rahel M; Jones, Matthew J; Read, Andrew F
The C-terminal 19-kDa domain of Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 (PfMSP119) is an established target of protective antibodies. However, clinical trials of PfMSP142, a leading blood-stage vaccine candidate which contains the protective epitopes of PfMSP119, revealed suboptimal immunogenicity and efficacy. Based on proof-of-concept studies in the Plasmodium yoelii murine model, we produced a chimeric vaccine antigen containing recombinant PfMSP119 (rPfMSP119) fused to the N terminus of P. falciparum merozoite surface protein 8 that lacked its low-complexity Asn/Asp-rich domain, rPfMSP8 (?Asn/Asp). Immunization of mice with the chimeric rPfMSP1/8 vaccine elicited strong T cell responses to conserved epitopes associated with the rPfMSP8 (?Asn/Asp) fusion partner. While specific for PfMSP8, this T cell response was adequate to provide help for the production of high titers of antibodies to both PfMSP119 and rPfMSP8 (?Asn/Asp) components. This occurred with formulations adjuvanted with either Quil A or with Montanide ISA 720 plus CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) and was observed in both inbred and outbred strains of mice. PfMSP1/8-induced antibodies were highly reactive with two major alleles of PfMSP119 (FVO and 3D7). Of particular interest, immunization with PfMSP1/8 elicited higher titers of PfMSP119-specific antibodies than a combined formulation of rPfMSP142 and rPfMSP8 (?Asn/Asp). As a measure of functionality, PfMSP1/8-specific rabbit IgG was shown to potently inhibit the in vitro growth of blood-stage parasites of the FVO and 3D7 strains of P. falciparum. These data support the further testing and evaluation of this chimeric PfMSP1/8 antigen as a component of a multivalent vaccine for P. falciparum malaria. PMID:23897613
Alaro, James R; Partridge, Andrea; Miura, Kazutoyo; Diouf, Ababacar; Lopez, Ana M; Angov, Evelina; Long, Carole A; Burns, James M
The growth and proliferation of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are dependent on the parasite's ability to obtain essential nutrients. One nutrient for which the parasite has an absolute requirement is the water-soluble vitamin pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). In this study, a series of pantothenic acid analogs which retain the 2,4-dihydroxy-3,3-dimethylbutyramide core of pantothenic acid but deviate in structure from one another and from pantothenic acid in the nature of the substituent attached to the amide nitrogen were synthesized using an efficient single-step synthetic route. Eight of 10 analogs tested inhibited the proliferation of intraerythrocytic P. falciparum parasites in vitro, doing so with 50% inhibitory concentrations between 15 and 200 ?M. The compounds were generally selective, inhibiting the proliferation of a human cell line (the Jurkat cell line) only at concentrations severalfold higher than those required for inhibition of parasite growth. It was demonstrated that compounds in this series inhibited the phosphorylation of pantothenic acid by pantothenate kinase, the first step in the parasite's biosynthesis of the essential enzyme cofactor coenzyme A, doing so competitively, with Ki values in the nanomolar range.
Spry, Christina; Chai, Christina L. L.; Kirk, Kiaran; Saliba, Kevin J.
Nitric oxide (NO) has diverse biological functions. Numerous studies have documented NO’s biosynthetic pathway in a wide variety of organisms. Little is known, however, about NO production in intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum. Using diaminorhodamine-4-methyl acetoxymethylester (DAR-4M AM), a fluorescent indicator, we obtained direct evidence of NO and NO-derived reactive nitrogen species (RNS) production in intraerythrocytic P. falciparum parasites, as well as in isolated food vacuoles from trophozoite stage parasites. We preliminarily identified two gene sequences that might be implicated in NO synthesis in intraerythrocytic P. falciparum. We showed localization of the protein product of one of these two genes, a molecule that is structurally similar to a plant nitrate reductase, in trophozoite food vacuole membranes. We confirmed previous reports on the antiproliferative effect of NOS (nitric oxide synthase) inhibitors in P.falciparum cultures; however, we did not obtain evidence that NOS inhibitors had the ability to inhibit RNS production or that there is an active NOS in mature forms of the parasite. We concluded that a nitrate reductase activity produce NO and NO-derived RNS in or around the food vacuole in P. falciparum parasites. The food vacuole is a critical parasitic compartment involved in hemoglobin degradation, heme detoxification and a target for antimalarial drug action. Characterization of this relatively unexplored synthetic activity could provide important clues into poorly understood metabolic processes of the malaria parasite,
Ostera, Graciela; Tokumasu, Fuyuki; Oliveira, Fabiano; Sa, Juliana; Furuya, Tetsuya; Teixeira, Clarissa; Dvorak, James
The growth and proliferation of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are dependent on the parasite's ability to obtain essential nutrients. One nutrient for which the parasite has an absolute requirement is the water-soluble vitamin pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). In this study, a series of pantothenic acid analogs which retain the 2,4-dihydroxy-3,3-dimethylbutyramide core of pantothenic acid but deviate in structure from one another and from pantothenic acid in the nature of the substituent attached to the amide nitrogen were synthesized using an efficient single-step synthetic route. Eight of 10 analogs tested inhibited the proliferation of intraerythrocytic P. falciparum parasites in vitro, doing so with 50% inhibitory concentrations between 15 and 200 microM. The compounds were generally selective, inhibiting the proliferation of a human cell line (the Jurkat cell line) only at concentrations severalfold higher than those required for inhibition of parasite growth. It was demonstrated that compounds in this series inhibited the phosphorylation of pantothenic acid by pantothenate kinase, the first step in the parasite's biosynthesis of the essential enzyme cofactor coenzyme A, doing so competitively, with K(i) values in the nanomolar range. PMID:16251308
Spry, Christina; Chai, Christina L L; Kirk, Kiaran; Saliba, Kevin J
Background Antibodies are the main effector molecules in the defense against blood stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Understanding the mechanisms by which vaccine-induced anti-blood stage antibodies work in protecting against malaria is essential for vaccine design and testing. Methods The effects of MSP-1p42-specific antibodies on the development of blood stage parasites were studied using microscopy, flow cytometry and the pLDH assay. To determine allele-specific effects, if present, allele-specific antibodies and the various parasite clones representative of these alleles of MSP-1 were employed. Results The mode of action of anti-MSP-1p42 antibodies differs among the parasite clones tested: anti-MSP-1p42 sera act mainly through invasion-inhibitory mechanisms against FVO parasites, by either preventing schizonts from rupturing or agglutinating merozoites upon their release. The same antibodies do not prevent the rupture of 3D7 schizonts; instead they agglutinate merozoites and arrest the development of young parasites at the early trophozoite stage, thus acting through both invasion- and growth inhibitory mechanisms. The second key finding is that antibodies have access to the intra-erythrocytic parasite, as evidenced by the labeling of developing merozoites with fluorochrome-conjugated anti-MSP-1p42 antibodies. Access to the parasite through this route likely allows antibodies to exert their inhibitory activities on the maturing schizonts leading to their inability to rupture and be released as infectious merozoites. Conclusion The identification of various modes of action by which anti-MSP-1 antibodies function against the parasite during erythrocytic development emphasizes the importance of functional assays for evaluating malaria vaccines and may also open new avenues for immunotherapy and vaccine development.
Bergmann-Leitner, Elke S; Duncan, Elizabeth H; Angov, Evelina
Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODase) has been purified 400-fold from the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei to apparent homogeneity by Triton X-100 solubilization followed by anion-exchange, Cibacron Blue F3GA-agarose affinity, and gel filtration chromatography. The purified enzyme has a molecular mass of 52 +/- 2 kDa on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and of 55 +/- 6 kDa by gel filtration chromatography, and it has a pI of 8.2. It is active in monomeric form, contains 2.022 mol of iron and 1.602 acid-labile sulfurs per mole of enzyme, and does not contain a flavin cofactor. The purified DHODase exhibits optimal activity at pH 8.0 in the presence of the ubiquinone coenzyme CoQ6, CoQ7, CoQ9, or CoQ10. The Km values for L-DHO and CoQ6 are 7.9 +/- 2.5 microM and 21.6 +/- 5.5 microM, respectively. The kcat values for both substrates are 11.44 min-1 and 11.70 min-1, respectively. The reaction product orotate and an orotate analogue, 5-fluoroorotate, are competitive inhibitors of the enzyme-catalyzed reaction with Ki values of 30.5 microM and 34.9 microM, respectively. The requirement of the long-chain ubiquinones for activity supports the hypothesis of the linkage of pyrimidine biosynthesis to the electron transport system and oxygen utilization in malaria by DHODase via ubiquinones [Gutteridge, W. E., Dave, D., & Richards, W. H. G. (1979) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 582, 390-401]. PMID:1847078
Krungkrai, J; Cerami, A; Henderson, G B
The genes encoding enzymes involved in glutathione (GSH) metabolism may modulate responses to antimalarial drugs, but the role of most of them in antimalarial drug resistance has scarcely been investigated. Using an in silico/PCR combined approach, we have isolated from Plasmodium chabaudi, full sequences of five Plasmodium falciparum gene orthologues involved in GSH metabolism: the gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (Pc-gammagcs), glutathione-synthetase (Pc-gs), glutathione peroxidase (Pc-gpx), glutathione reductase (Pc-gr) and glutathione-S-transferase (Pc-gst). DNA sequencing of these genes from drug sensitive parasites, P. chabaudi AS (0CQ), and ones isolated from parasite lines that show genetically stable resistance to chloroquine (CQ) at low, intermediate and high levels, AS (3CQ), AS (15CQ) and AS (30CQ), respectively, revealed no point mutations in the resistant parasites. We used these sequences to design internal oligonucleotide primers to compare relative mRNA amounts of these genes between all P. chabaudi clones, in untreated mice or following CQ treatment with sub-curative doses, by real-time PCR. Analysis of three independent experiments revealed that transcription levels of the Pc-gammagcs, Pc-gs, Pc-gpx, Pc-gr and Pc-gst genes were not changed between chloroquine sensitive and resistant parasite clones, and that treatment with chloroquine did not induce an alteration in the expression of these genes in sensitive or resistant parasites. We concluded that chloroquine resistance in this species is determined by a mechanism that is independent of these genes, and most likely, of GSH metabolism. PMID:15138066
Ferreira, Isabel D; Nogueira, Fátima; Borges, Sofia T; do Rosário, Virgilio E; Cravo, Pedro
A Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) inhibitor that is potent (KI = 15 nM) and species-selective (>5,000-fold over the human enzyme) was identified by high-throughput screening. The substituted triazolopyrimidine and its structural analogs were produced by an inexpensive three-step synthesis and the series showed good association between PfDHODH inhibition and parasite toxicity. This study has identified the first nanomolar PfDHODH inhibitor with potent antimalarial activity in whole cells (EC50 = 79 nM).
Phillips, Margaret A.; Gujjar, Ramesh; Malmquist, Nicholas A.; White, John; El Mazouni, Farah; Baldwin, Jeffrey; Rathod, Pradipsinh K.
349 in vivo tests of the susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to chloroquine, 25 mg/kg, were analysed. In some surveys, standard in vitro tests were also carried out. The proportions of sensitive and resistant infections in different areas found by the 2 methods were similar, but, within a given area, correlation between the two methods was often poor. Two RI cases and one RII/RIII case were sensitive in vitro, and it is suggested that the extended in vivo test may sometimes be more sensitive than the in vitro test, and that even in endemic areas, where reinfection is possible, patency on day 14 will nearly always be due to resistance. Parasite density data were analysed by calculating the geometric mean of each day's parasite density as a percentage of the day 0 parasite density + 0.1. Most resistant and sensitive infections attained minimal values on day 4, and it is proposed that assessment of sensitivity based on parasite densities should use day 4 values. Contrasts between materials were more clearly defined statistically when comparisons were based on ranking in vivo test classifications, than when based on day 4 parasitaemia. It is therefore suggested that, for epidemiological purposes, extension of tests to at least 14 d is more important than parasite counting. Parasitaemia above 20-25% of the day 0 value on day 2 in a severely ill patient, or persistent patency on day 4 in a symptomatic patient, are both indications for a change of treatment. PMID:3051548
Schapira, A; Almeida Franco, L T; Averkiev, L; Omawale; Schwalbach, J F; Suleimanov, G
A major virulence factor of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1), a variant protein expressed on the infected erythrocyte surface. PfEMP1 is responsible for adherence of infected erythrocytes to the endothelium and plays an important role in pathogenesis. Mutually exclusive transcription and switched expression of one of 60 var genes encoding PfEMP1 in each parasite genome provides a mechanism for antigenic variation. We report the identification of a parasite protein, designated PfSET10, which localizes exclusively to the perinuclear active var gene expression site. PfSET10 is a histone 3 lysine 4 methyltransferase required to maintain the active var gene in a poised state during division for reactivation in daughter parasites, and as such is required for P. falciparum antigenic variation. PfSET10 likely maintains the transcriptionally permissive chromatin environment of the active var promoter and thus retains memory for heritable transmission of epigenetic information during parasite division. PMID:22264509
Volz, Jennifer C; Bártfai, Richard; Petter, Michaela; Langer, Christine; Josling, Gabrielle A; Tsuboi, Takafumi; Schwach, Frank; Baum, Jake; Rayner, Julian C; Stunnenberg, Henk G; Duffy, Michael F; Cowman, Alan F
The production of fully functional human red cells in vitro from haematopoietic stem cells (hHSCs) has been successfully achieved. Recently, the use of hHSCs from cord blood represented a major improvement to develop the continuous culture system for Plasmodium vivax. Here, we demonstrated that CD34+hHSCs from peripheral blood and bone marrow can be expanded and differentiated to reticulocytes using a novel stromal cell. Moreover, these reticulocytes and mature red blood cells express surface markers for entrance of malaria parasites contain adult haemoglobin and are also permissive to invasion by P. vivax and Plasmodium falciparum parasites.
Fernandez-Becerra, Carmen; Lelievre, Joel; Ferrer, Mireia; Anton, Nuria; Thomson, Richard; Peligero, Cristina; Almela, Maria Jesus; Lacerda, Marcus VG; Herreros, Esperanza; del Portillo, Hernando A
It is generally accepted that the combination of both Plasmodium falciparum parasite and human host factors is involved in the pathogenesis of complicated severe malaria, including cerebral malaria (CM). Among parasite products, the malarial pigment haemozoin (HZ) has been shown to impair the functions of mononuclear and endothelial cells. Different CM models were associated with enhanced levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), a family of proteolytic enzymes able to disrupt subendothelial basement membrane and tight junctions and shed, activate, or inactivate cytokines, chemokines, and other MMPs through cleavage from their precursors. Among MMPs, a good candidate for targeted therapy might be MMP-9, whose mRNA and protein expression enhancement as well as direct proenzyme activation by HZ have been recently investigated in a series of studies by our group and others. In the present paper the role of HZ and MMP-9 in complicated malaria, as well as their interactions, will be discussed. PMID:21760809
Prato, Mauro; Giribaldi, Giuliana
The antimalarial trioxanes, exemplified by the naturally occurring sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin and its semi-synthetic derivatives, contain an endoperoxide pharmacophore that lends tremendous potency against Plasmodium parasites. Despite decades of research, their mechanism of action remains unresolved. A leading model of anti-plasmodial activity hypothesizes that iron-mediated cleavage of the endoperoxide bridge generates cytotoxic drug metabolites capable of damaging cellular macromolecules. To probe the malarial targets of the endoperoxide drugs, we studied the distribution of fluorescent dansyl trioxane derivatives in living, intraerythrocytic-stage P. falciparum parasites using microscopic imaging. The fluorescent trioxanes rapidly accumulated in parasitized erythrocytes, localizing within digestive vacuole-associated neutral lipid bodies of trophozoites and schizonts, and surrounding the developing merozoite membranes. Artemisinin pre-treatment significantly reduced fluorescent labeling of neutral lipid bodies, while iron chelation increased non-specific cytoplasmic localization. To further explore the effects of endoperoxides on cellular lipids, we used an oxidation-sensitive BODIPY lipid probe to show the presence of artemisinin-induced peroxyl radicals in parasite membranes. Lipid extracts from artemisinin-exposed parasites contained increased amounts of free fatty acids and a novel cholesteryl ester. The cellular accumulation patterns and effects on lipids were entirely endoperoxide-dependent, as inactive dioxolane analogs lacking the endoperoxide moiety failed to label neutral lipid bodies or induce oxidative membrane damage. In the parasite digestive vacuole, neutral lipids closely associate with heme and promote hemozoin formation. We propose that the trioxane artemisinin and its derivatives are activated by heme-iron within the neutral lipid environment where they initiate oxidation reactions that damage parasite membranes.
Hartwig, Carmony L.; Rosenthal, Andrew S.; Angelo, John D'; Griffin, Carol E.; Posner, Gary H.; Cooper, Roland A.
Within mixed-genotype infections of malaria parasites (Plasmodium), the number of genetic clones present is associated with variation in important life history traits of the infection, including virulence. Although the number of clones present is important, how the proportion of those clones varies over time is poorly known. Clonal proportions of the lizard malaria parasite, Plasmodium mexicanum, were assessed in naturally infected free-ranging lizards followed in a mark-recapture program over as long as two warm seasons, the typical life span of the lizard. Clonal proportions were determined by amplifying two microsatellite markers, a method previously verified for accuracy. Most blood samples had been stored for over a decade, so a verification test determined that these samples had not degraded. Although the environment experienced by the parasite (its host) varies over the seasons and transmission occurs over the entire warm season, 68 % of infections were stable over time, harboring a single clone (37 % of infections) or multiple clones changing only 1-12 % maximum comparing any two samples (31 % of infections). The maximum change seen in any infection (comparing any two sample periods) was only 30 %. A new clone entered three infections (only once successfully), and a clone was lost in only three infections. These results mirror those seen for a previous study of experimentally induced infections that showed little change in relative proportions over time. The results of this study, the first look at how clonal proportions vary over time for any malaria parasite of a nonhuman vertebrate host for natural infections, were surprising because experimental studies show clones of P. mexicanum appear to interact, yet relative proportions of clones typically remain constant over time. PMID:24647987
Hicks, Nathan D; Schall, Jos J
Within genetically diverse infections of malaria parasites ( Plasmodium spp.), the relative proportions of genetic clones in the vertebrate host's blood can influence clonal competition, transmission success, gametocyte sex ratio, and virulence. Clonal proportions depend on establishment success of each clone when they enter a new host and on subsequent differences in rates of asexual replication and clearance. Both of these life history traits could be influenced by clone genotype. To assess genetic (clonal) influences on both establishment success and later changes in relative proportion for the lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum , 7 naturally infected fence lizards harboring a single clone of P. mexicanum served as donors to initiate replicate experimental infections containing each of the clones and combinations of 2 clones. Measured were relative establishment success of each clone, change in relative proportions over time, and rate of increase of parasite density and total parasitemia. Relative clonal proportions were determined using microsatellite markers. Rates of increase in the parasitemia and degree of change in relative proportions were not correlated, so both rapidly and slowly growing infections could show either little or substantial change in clonal proportions over time. There was a significant clone effect on establishment efficiency but not on later changes in relative proportions. These results argue for a combination of genetic and environmental (host) effects on the success of P. mexicanum clones in genetically complex infections. The maintenance of genetic variation for establishment success, but not subsequent replication rate or shifts in relative proportion, suggests trade-offs between these traits during life history evolution of malaria parasites. PMID:23841469
Hicks, Nathan D; Schall, Jos J
Malaria parasites have a complex life cycle, during which they undergo significant biological changes to adapt to different hosts and changing environments. Plasmodium falciparum, the species responsible for the deadliest form of human malaria, maintains this complex life cycle with a relatively small number of genes. Alternative splicing (AS) is an important post-transcriptional mechanisms that enables eukaryotic organisms to expand their protein repertoire out of relatively small number of genes. SR proteins are major regulators of AS in higher eukaryotes. Nevertheless, the regulation of splicing as well as the AS machinery in Plasmodium spp. are still elusive. Here, we show that PfSR1, a putative P. falciparum SR protein, can mediate RNA splicing in vitro. In addition, we show that PfSR1 functions as an AS factor in mini-gene in vivo systems similar to the mammalian SR protein SRSF1. Expression of PfSR1-myc in P. falciparum shows distinct patterns of cellular localization during intra erythrocytic development. Furthermore, we determine that the predicted RS domain of PfSR1 is essential for its localization to the nucleus. Finally, we demonstrate that proper regulation of pfsr1 is required for parasite proliferation in human RBCs and over-expression of pfsr1 influences AS activity of P. falciparum genes in vivo. PMID:22885299
Eshar, Shiri; Allemand, Eric; Sebag, Ariel; Glaser, Fabian; Muchardt, Christian; Mandel-Gutfreund, Yael; Karni, Rotem; Dzikowski, Ron
Malaria parasites have a complex life cycle, during which they undergo significant biological changes to adapt to different hosts and changing environments. Plasmodium falciparum, the species responsible for the deadliest form of human malaria, maintains this complex life cycle with a relatively small number of genes. Alternative splicing (AS) is an important post-transcriptional mechanisms that enables eukaryotic organisms to expand their protein repertoire out of relatively small number of genes. SR proteins are major regulators of AS in higher eukaryotes. Nevertheless, the regulation of splicing as well as the AS machinery in Plasmodium spp. are still elusive. Here, we show that PfSR1, a putative P. falciparum SR protein, can mediate RNA splicing in vitro. In addition, we show that PfSR1 functions as an AS factor in mini-gene in vivo systems similar to the mammalian SR protein SRSF1. Expression of PfSR1-myc in P. falciparum shows distinct patterns of cellular localization during intra erythrocytic development. Furthermore, we determine that the predicted RS domain of PfSR1 is essential for its localization to the nucleus. Finally, we demonstrate that proper regulation of pfsr1 is required for parasite proliferation in human RBCs and over-expression of pfsr1 influences AS activity of P. falciparum genes in vivo.
Eshar, Shiri; Allemand, Eric; Sebag, Ariel; Glaser, Fabian; Muchardt, Christian; Mandel-Gutfreund, Yael; Karni, Rotem; Dzikowski, Ron
In the Democratic Republic of East Timor, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria coexist, but limited information is available about the latter species. Consequently, the prevalence of P. vivax and of its corresponding antifolate resistance-associated mutations in the pvdhfr and pvdhps genes was assessed here. Blood samples were collected from 650 individuals distributed among six districts, over two different periods, by either passive case detection (PCD) or active case detection (ACD). As expected, malaria was over-represented in the PCD sample (26% PCD vs 5% ACD), because the infection increases medical care seeking. Additionally, the relative frequency of P. vivax infections in symptomatic individuals (37%) was twice as high as the one in the asymptomatic sampling group (18%), suggesting that that this parasite is accounting for a significant proportion malaria-attributed morbidity. The frequency of specific sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance-associated mutations genes was ascertained in P. vivax positive samples by PCR-RFLP. Although no mutants were detected in codons 383 and 553 of pvdhps, 48%, 76% and 82% of P. vivax-infected samples harbored the dhfr 33L, 58R and 117N mutations, respectively. Additionally, the frequency of parasites carrying both pvdhfr 58R and 117N mutant alleles accounted for a third of all genotypes analyzed, most likely due to inadvertent SP use in the past. In conclusion, evidence-based information is provided to promote optimized drug deployment and limit the evolution of resistance to antifolate resistance in P. vivax from East Timor. PMID:20412783
de Almeida, Afonso; Rosário, Virgílio E do; Henriques, Gisela; Arez, Ana Paula; Cravo, Pedro
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is absolutely dependent on the acquisition of host pantothenate for its development within human erythrocytes. Although the biochemical properties of this transport have been characterized, the molecular identity of the parasite-encoded pantothenate transporter remains unknown. Here we report the identification and functional characterization of the first protozoan pantothenate transporter, PfPAT, from P. falciparum. We show using cell biological, biochemical, and genetic analyses that this transporter is localized to the parasite plasma membrane and plays an essential role in parasite intraerythrocytic development. We have targeted PfPAT to the yeast plasma membrane and showed that the transporter complements the growth defect of the yeast fen2? pantothenate transporter-deficient mutant and mediates the entry of the fungicide drug, fenpropimorph. Our studies in P. falciparum revealed that fenpropimorph inhibits the intraerythrocytic development of both chloroquine- and pyrimethamine-resistant P. falciparum strains with potency equal or better than that of currently available pantothenate analogs. The essential function of PfPAT and its ability to deliver both pantothenate and fenpropimorph makes it an attractive target for the development and delivery of new classes of antimalarial drugs.
Augagneur, Yoann; Jaubert, Lise; Schiavoni, Matthieu; Pachikara, Niseema; Garg, Aprajita; Usmani-Brown, Sahar; Wesolowski, Donna; Zeller, Skye; Ghosal, Abhisek; Cornillot, Emmanuel; Said, Hamid M.; Kumar, Priti; Altman, Sidney; Ben Mamoun, Choukri
BackgroundWe previously identified by genetic mapping an Anopheles gambiae chromosome region with strong influence over the outcome of malaria parasite infection in nature. Candidate gene studies in the genetic interval, including functional tests using the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei, identified a novel leucine-rich repeat gene, APL1, with functional activity against P. berghei.Principal FindingsManual reannotation now reveals APL1 to be
Michelle M. Riehle; Jiannong Xu; Brian P. Lazzaro; Susan M. Rottschaefer; Boubacar Coulibaly; Madjou Sacko; Oumou Niare; Isabelle Morlais; Sekou F. Traore; Kenneth D. Vernick; Matthew W. Hahn
This study showed that intra-erythrocytic Plasmodium vinckei parasites taken from either normal, irradiated, nude or splenectomized mice 7–8 hr after the injection of a small dose of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) incorporate hypoxanthine more slowly in an in vitro assay than parasites from saline-treated controls. The incorporation by parasites of isoleucine, which was also measured in some experiments, was similarly affected. However, this cytostatic effect on parasite metabolism was found to be markedly reduced in experiments with mice which had received an intravenous injection of silica dust 28–30 hr before being injected with LPS. These findings indicate that macrophages, being radioresistant and silica-sensitive, are the source of the cytostatic effect. The present results also imply that T cells are not required in the response, and they show that the host cells mediating this response are not restricted to the spleen. It was also shown that an intravenous injection of a small dose of LPS into mice infected with P. vinckei 24 hr previously, could temporarily arrest the rise in parasitaemia in these animals, thereby prolonging their survival. This protection afforded by LPS was also found to be radioresistant and T-independent. It is suggested that the effect on parasitaemia seen in vivo and the cytostatic effect in vitro are both due to the release of a soluble factor from macrophages which is ultimately capable of causing intra-erythrocytic parasite death. P. vinckei-infected mice exhibited symptoms of endotoxaemia following the injection of LPS. However, no clear relationship was noted between the severity of the illness in the host and the cytostatic effect on the parasites.
Rzepczyk, Christine M.
East Coast fever (ECF) is a tick-borne disease caused by the parasite Theileria parva which infects cattle. In Sub-Saharan Africa it leads to enormous economic costs. After a bite of a tick, sporozoites invade the host lymphocytes and develop into schizonts. At this stage the parasite transforms host lymphocytes resulting in the clonal expansion of infected lymphocytes. Animals develop a lymphoma like disorder after infection which is rapidly fatal. Hitherto, a few drugs of the quinone type can cure the disease. However, therapy can only be successful after early diagnosis. The genera Theileria and Plasmodium, which includes the causative agent of human malaria, are closely related apicomplexan parasites. Enzymes of the hypusine pathway, a posttranslational modification in eukaryotic initiation factor EIF-5A, have shown to be druggable targets in Plasmodium. We identified the first enzyme of the hypusine pathway from T. parva, the deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS), which is located on chromosome 2 of the Muguga strain. Transcription is significantly increased in schizonts. The expressed T. parva DHS reveals an open reading frame (ORF) of 370 amino acids after expression in Escherichia coli Rosetta cells with a molecular size of 41.26kDa and a theoretical pI of 5.26. Screening of the Malaria Box which consists of 400 active compounds resulted in a novel heterocyclic compound with a guanyl spacer which reduced the activity of T. parva DHS to 45%. In sum, the guanyl residue seems to be an important lead structure for inhibition of Theileria DHS. Currently, more different guanyl analogues from the Malaria Box are tested in inhibitor experiments to determine their efficacy. PMID:24909679
Njuguna, James T; von Koschitzky, Imke; Gerhardt, Heike; Lämmerhofer, Michael; Choucry, Ali; Pink, Mario; Schmitz-Spahnke, Simone; Bakheit, Mohammed A; Strube, Christina; Kaiser, Annette
Background The acquisition of complex transcriptional regulatory abilities and epigenetic machinery facilitated the transition of the ancestor of apicomplexans from a free-living organism to an obligate parasite. The ability to control sophisticated gene expression patterns enabled these ancient organisms to evolve several differentiated forms, invade multiple hosts and evade host immunity. How these abilities were acquired remains an outstanding question in protistan biology. Results In this work, we study SET domain bearing genes that are implicated in mediating immune evasion, invasion and cytoadhesion pathways of modern apicomplexans, including malaria parasites. We provide the first conclusive evidence of a horizontal gene transfer of a Histone H4 Lysine 20 (H4K20) modifier, Set8, from an animal host to the ancestor of apicomplexans. Set8 is known to contribute to the coordinated expression of genes involved in immune evasion in modern apicomplexans. We also show the likely transfer of a H3K36 methyltransferase (Ashr3 from plants), possibly derived from algal endosymbionts. These transfers appear to date to the transition from free-living organisms to parasitism and coincide with the proposed horizontal acquisition of cytoadhesion domains, the O-glycosyltransferase that modifies these domains, and the primary family of transcription factors found in apicomplexan parasites. Notably, phylogenetic support for these conclusions is robust and the genes clearly are dissimilar to SET sequences found in the closely related parasite Perkinsus marinus, and in ciliates, the nearest free-living organisms with complete genome sequences available. Conclusions Animal and plant sources of epigenetic machinery provide new insights into the evolution of parasitism in apicomplexans. Along with the horizontal transfer of cytoadhesive domains, O-linked glycosylation and key transcription factors, the acquisition of SET domain methyltransferases marks a key transitional event in the evolution to parasitism in this important protozoan lineage.
Analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum genome reveals a limited number of putative autophagy genes, specifically the four genes involved in ATG8 lipidation, an essential step in formation of autophagosomes. In yeast, Atg8 lipidation requires the E1-type ligase Atg7, an E2-type ligase Atg3, and a cysteine protease Atg4. These four putative P. falciparum ATG (PfATG) genes are transcribed during the parasite’s erythrocytic stages. PfAtg7 has relatively low identity and similarity to yeast Atg7 (14.7% and 32.2%, respectively), due primarily to long insertions typical of P. falciparum. Excluding the insertions the identity and similarity are higher (38.0% and 70.8%, respectively). This and the fact that key residues are conserved, including the catalytic cysteine and ATP binding domain, we hypothesize that PfAtg7 is the activating enzyme of PfAtg8. To assess the role of PfAtg7 we have generated two transgenic parasite lines. In one, the PfATG7 locus was modified to introduce a C-terminal hemagglutinin tag. Western blotting reveals two distinct protein species, one migrating near the predicted 150 kDa and one at approximately 65 kDa. The second transgenic line introduces an inducible degradation domain into the PfATG7 locus, allowing us to rapidly attenuate PfAtg7 protein levels. Corresponding species are also observed in this parasite line at approximately 200 kDa and 100 kDa. Upon PfATG7 attenuation parasites exhibit a slow growth phenotype indicating the essentiality of this putative enzyme for normal growth.
Walker, Dawn M.; Mahfooz, Najmus; Kemme, Katherine A.; Patel, Viral C.; Spangler, Maribeth; Drew, Mark E.
Previous investigations on the mechanism by which the host mounts an immune response against the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have not resolved whether cell-mediated responses, in the absence of circulating anti-Plasmodial antibodies, can effect the destruction of the intraerythrocytic parasite. We report that the intraerythrocytic parasite P. falciparum is lethally susceptible to the imposition of oxygen-dependent and oxygen-independent factor(s) released by interferon-gamma-activated, monocyte-derived human macrophages. In addition, trophozoite-schizont stage intraerythrocytic parasites were killed on exposure to small amounts of H2O2 generated in cell-free enzyme assays. Although parasiticidal activity was markedly enhanced by the addition of lactoperoxidase and KI, killing was abrogated by the addition of catalase. The ability of freshly isolated human monocytes, monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM), and lymphokine-activated MDM to kill or inhibit the growth and multiplication of the malaria parasites was assessed. Parasites were killed when exposed to monocytes or lymphokine-activated MDM, but not when exposed to nonactivated macrophages. The capacity to activate MDM for microbicidal activity was abrogated on neutralization of crude lymphokines or recombinant interferon-gamma with a monoclonal antibody prepared against interferon-gamma. The intraerythrocytic parasites surviving the cytotoxicity assay were inhibited in their development and appeared to be degenerating, a characteristic of "crisis" forms. Killing of P. falciparum correlated positively with the magnitude of the oxidative response, as evidenced by the reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium to formazan in the mononuclear phagocytes, and by the detection of secreted H2O2. Of particular interest was the observation that only the later developing stage of the intracellular parasite triggered the respiratory burst in the absence of antibody. A role for oxygen-independent parasiticidal factors was suggested by the finding that lymphokine-activated macrophages from a patient with chronic granulomatous disease were able to partially inhibit the growth of P. falciparum, although oxidative metabolism in these cells was impaired. PMID:6431003
Ockenhouse, C F; Schulman, S; Shear, H L
Plasmodium knowlesi has a relatively broad host range extending to humans, in whom it causes zoonotic malaria. Recent studies have shown that human infection with P. knowlesi is widely distributed in forested areas of Southeast Asia. In the present study, we evaluated commercial rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for human malaria to assess their reactivity and sensitivity in detecting P. knowlesi parasites using blood samples obtained from infected monkeys. The blood samples were assayed using two commercial RDTs based on immunochromatographic assays: (i) the OptiMAL-IT, designed to detect parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) of both P. falciparum and other plasmodia, and (ii) the Entebe Malaria Cassette (MC), designed to detect P. falciparum-specific histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) and P. vivax-specific pLDH. Interestingly, when the P. knowlesi-infected blood samples were examined with the RDTs, OptiMAL test results were interpreted as falciparum malaria-positive, while Entebe MC test results were interpreted as vivax malaria-positive. The sensitivities of both tests in detecting P. knowlesi parasite were similar to those for P. falciparum and higher than P. vivax. Thus, commercial RDTs based on detection of pLDH should be used with great caution, and should not replace conventional microscopy in the diagnosis of suspected cases of P. knowlesi malaria. PMID:19527797
Kawai, Satoru; Hirai, Makoto; Haruki, Kosuke; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Chigusa, Yuichi
Erythrocytes infected with a knobby variant of Plasmodium falciparum selectively bind IgG autoantibodies in normal human serum. Quantification of membrane-bound IgG, by use of 125I-labeled protein A, revealed that erythrocytes infected with the knobby variant bound 30 times more protein A than did noninfected erythrocytes; infection with a knobless variant resulted in less than a 2-fold difference compared with noninfected erythrocytes. IgG binding to knobby erythrocytes appeared to be related to parasite development, since binding of 125I-labeled protein A to cells bearing young trophozoites (less than 20 hr after parasite invasion) was similar to binding to uninfected erythrocytes. By immunoelectron microscopy, the membrane-bound IgG on erythrocytes infected with the knobby variant was found to be preferentially associated with the protuberances (knobs) of the plasma membrane. The removal of aged or senescent erythrocytes from the peripheral circulation is reported to involve the binding of specific antibodies to an antigen (senescent antigen) related to the major erythrocyte membrane protein band 3. Since affinity-purified autoantibodies against band 3 specifically bound to the plasma membrane of erythrocytes infected with the knobby variant of P. falciparum, it is clear that the malaria parasite induces expression of senescent antigen. Images
Winograd, E; Greenan, J R; Sherman, I W
Infections of the lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum are often genetically complex within their fence lizard host (Sceloporus occidentalis) harbouring two or more clones of parasite. The role of clonal diversity in transmission success was studied for P. mexicanum by feeding its sandfly vectors (Lutzomyia vexator and Lutzomyia stewarti) on experimentally infected lizards. Experimental infections consisted of one, two, three or more clones, assessed using three microsatellite markers. After 5days, vectors were dissected to assess infection status, oocyst burden and genetic composition of the oocysts. A high proportion (92%) of sandflies became infected and carried high oocyst burdens (mean of 56 oocysts) with no influence of clonal diversity on these two measures of transmission success. Gametocytemia was positively correlated with transmission success and the more common vector (L. vexator) developed more oocysts on midguts. A high proportion ( approximately 74%) of all alleles detected in the lizard blood was found in infected vectors. The relative proportion of clones within mixed infections, determined by peak heights on pherograms produced by the genetic analyser instrument, was very similar for the lizard's blood and infections in the vectors. These results demonstrate that P. mexicanum achieves high transmission success, with most clones making the transition from vertebrate-to-insect host, and thus explains in part the high genetic diversity of the parasite among all hosts at the study site. PMID:19523471
Vardo-Zalik, A M
The majority of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) detect Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2), encoded by the pfhrp2 gene. Recently, P. falciparum isolates from Peru were found to lack pfhrp2 leading to false-negative RDT results. We hypothesized that pfhrp2-deleted parasites in Peru derived from a single genetic event. We evaluated the parasite population structure and pfhrp2 haplotype of samples collected between 1998 and 2005 using seven neutral and seven chromosome 8 microsatellite markers, respectively. Five distinct pfhrp2 haplotypes, corresponding to five neutral microsatellite-based clonal lineages, were detected in 1998-2001; pfhrp2 deletions occurred within four haplotypes. In 2003-2005, outcrossing among the parasite lineages resulted in eight population clusters that inherited the five pfhrp2 haplotypes seen previously and a new haplotype; pfhrp2 deletions occurred within four of these haplotypes. These findings indicate that the genetic origin of pfhrp2 deletion in Peru was not a single event, but likely occurred multiple times.
Akinyi, Sheila; Hayden, Tonya; Gamboa, Dionicia; Torres, Katherine; Bendezu, Jorge; Abdallah, Joseph F.; Griffing, Sean M.; Quezada, Wilmer Marquino; Arrospide, Nancy; De Oliveira, Alexandre Macedo; Lucas, Carmen; Magill, Alan J.; Bacon, David J.; Barnwell, John W.; Udhayakumar, Venkatachalam
The majority of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) detect Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2), encoded by the pfhrp2 gene. Recently, P. falciparum isolates from Peru were found to lack pfhrp2 leading to false-negative RDT results. We hypothesized that pfhrp2-deleted parasites in Peru derived from a single genetic event. We evaluated the parasite population structure and pfhrp2 haplotype of samples collected between 1998 and 2005 using seven neutral and seven chromosome 8 microsatellite markers, respectively. Five distinct pfhrp2 haplotypes, corresponding to five neutral microsatellite-based clonal lineages, were detected in 1998-2001; pfhrp2 deletions occurred within four haplotypes. In 2003-2005, outcrossing among the parasite lineages resulted in eight population clusters that inherited the five pfhrp2 haplotypes seen previously and a new haplotype; pfhrp2 deletions occurred within four of these haplotypes. These findings indicate that the genetic origin of pfhrp2 deletion in Peru was not a single event, but likely occurred multiple times. PMID:24077522
Akinyi, Sheila; Hayden, Tonya; Gamboa, Dionicia; Torres, Katherine; Bendezu, Jorge; Abdallah, Joseph F; Griffing, Sean M; Quezada, Wilmer Marquiño; Arrospide, Nancy; De Oliveira, Alexandre Macedo; Lucas, Carmen; Magill, Alan J; Bacon, David J; Barnwell, John W; Udhayakumar, Venkatachalam
Preventing relapses of Plasmodium vivax malaria through a radical cure depends on use of the 8-aminoquinoline primaquine, which is associated with safety and compliance issues. For future malaria eradication strategies, new, safer radical curative compounds that efficiently kill dormant liver stages (hypnozoites) will be essential. A new compound with potential radical cure activity was identified using a low-throughput assay of in vitro-cultured hypnozoite forms of Plasmodium cynomolgi (an excellent and accessible model for Plasmodium vivax). In this assay, primary rhesus hepatocytes are infected with P. cynomolgi sporozoites, and exoerythrocytic development is monitored in the presence of compounds. Liver stage cultures are fixed after 6 days and stained with anti-Hsp70 antibodies, and the relative proportions of small (hypnozoite) and large (schizont) forms relative to the untreated controls are determined. This assay was used to screen a series of 18 known antimalarials and 14 new non-8-aminoquinolines (preselected for blood and/or liver stage activity) in three-point 10-fold dilutions (0.1, 1, and 10 ?M final concentrations). A novel compound, designated KAI407 showed an activity profile similar to that of primaquine (PQ), efficiently killing the earliest stages of the parasites that become either primary hepatic schizonts or hypnozoites (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50] for hypnozoites, KAI407, 0.69 ?M, and PQ, 0.84 ?M; for developing liver stages, KAI407, 0.64 ?M, and PQ, 0.37 ?M). When given as causal prophylaxis, a single oral dose of 100 mg/kg of body weight prevented blood stage parasitemia in mice. From these results, we conclude that KAI407 may represent a new compound class for P. vivax malaria prophylaxis and potentially a radical cure.
Zeeman, Anne-Marie; van Amsterdam, Sandra M.; McNamara, Case W.; Voorberg-van der Wel, Annemarie; Klooster, Els J.; van den Berg, Alexander; Remarque, Edmond J.; Plouffe, David M.; van Gemert, Geert-Jan; Luty, Adrian; Sauerwein, Robert; Gagaring, Kerstin; Borboa, Rachel; Chen, Zhong; Kuhen, Kelli; Glynne, Richard J.; Chatterjee, Arnab K.; Nagle, Advait; Roland, Jason; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.; Leroy, Didier; Campo, Brice; Diagana, Thierry T.; Yeung, Bryan K. S.; Thomas, Alan W.
The cell cycle of Plasmodium is unique among major eukaryotic cell cycle models. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are thought to be the key molecular switches that regulate cell cycle progression in the parasite. However, little information is available about Plasmodium CDKs. The present study was performed to investigate the effects of a CDK inhibitor, olomoucine, on the erythrocytic growth of Plasmodium falciparum. This agent inhibited the growth of the parasite at the trophozoite/schizont stage. Furthermore, we characterized the Plasmodium CDK homolog, P. falciparum cdc2-related kinase-1 (Pfcrk-1), which is a potential target of olomoucine. We synthesized a functional kinase domain of Pfcrk-1 as a GST fusion protein using a wheat germ protein expression system, and examined its phosphorylation activity. The activity of this catalytic domain was higher than that of GST-GFP control, but the same as that of a kinase-negative mutant of Pfcrk-1. After the phosphatase treatment, the labeling of [?-(32)P]ATP was abolished. Recombinant human cyclin proteins were added to these kinase reactions, but there were no differences in activity. This report provides important information for the future investigation of Plasmodium CDKs. PMID:23688804
Iwanaga, Tatsuya; Sugi, Tatsuki; Kobayashi, Kyousuke; Takemae, Hitoshi; Gong, Haiyan; Ishiwa, Akiko; Murakoshi, Fumi; Recuenco, Frances C; Horimoto, Taisuke; Akashi, Hiroomi; Kato, Kentaro
Recently it was reported that 19.8% of the patients with rheumatoid factor, who had no previous history of malaria and had not visited endemic regions for at least the past five years, generated false-positive results in two rapid malaria tests that capture two different plasmodium antigens. This intriguing finding supports the hypothesis presented, suggesting systemic lupus erythematosus and possibly several
Naturally acquired protective immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria takes years to develop. It relies mainly on Abs, particularly IgG specific for Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) proteins on the infected erythrocyte surface. It is only partially understood why acquisition of clinical protection takes years to develop, but it probably involves a range of immune-evasive parasite features, not least of which are PfEMP1 polymorphism and clonal variation. Parasite-induced subversion of immunological memory and expansion of "atypical" memory B cells may also contribute. In this first, to our knowledge, longitudinal study of its kind, we measured B cell subset composition, as well as PfEMP1-specific Ab levels and memory B cell frequencies, in Ghanaian women followed from early pregnancy up to 1 y after delivery. Cell phenotypes and Ag-specific B cell function were assessed three times during and after pregnancy. Levels of IgG specific for pregnancy-restricted, VAR2CSA-type PfEMP1 increased markedly during pregnancy and declined after delivery, whereas IgG levels specific for two PfEMP1 proteins not restricted to pregnancy did not. Changes in VAR2CSA-specific memory B cell frequencies showed typical primary memory induction among primigravidae and recall expansion among multigravidae, followed by contraction postpartum in all. No systematic changes in the frequencies of memory B cells specific for the two other PfEMP1 proteins were identified. The B cell subset analysis confirmed earlier reports of high atypical memory B cell frequencies among residents of P. falciparum-endemic areas, and indicated an additional effect of pregnancy. Our study provides new knowledge regarding immunity to P. falciparum malaria and underpins efforts to develop PfEMP1-based vaccines against this disease. PMID:24760153
Ampomah, Paulina; Stevenson, Liz; Ofori, Michael F; Barfod, Lea; Hviid, Lars
Naturally acquired protective immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria takes years to develop. It relies mainly on Abs, particularly IgG specific for Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) proteins on the infected erythrocyte surface. It is only partially understood why acquisition of clinical protection takes years to develop, but it probably involves a range of immune-evasive parasite features, not least of which are PfEMP1 polymorphism and clonal variation. Parasite-induced subversion of immunological memory and expansion of “atypical” memory B cells may also contribute. In this first, to our knowledge, longitudinal study of its kind, we measured B cell subset composition, as well as PfEMP1-specific Ab levels and memory B cell frequencies, in Ghanaian women followed from early pregnancy up to 1 y after delivery. Cell phenotypes and Ag-specific B cell function were assessed three times during and after pregnancy. Levels of IgG specific for pregnancy-restricted, VAR2CSA-type PfEMP1 increased markedly during pregnancy and declined after delivery, whereas IgG levels specific for two PfEMP1 proteins not restricted to pregnancy did not. Changes in VAR2CSA-specific memory B cell frequencies showed typical primary memory induction among primigravidae and recall expansion among multigravidae, followed by contraction postpartum in all. No systematic changes in the frequencies of memory B cells specific for the two other PfEMP1 proteins were identified. The B cell subset analysis confirmed earlier reports of high atypical memory B cell frequencies among residents of P. falciparum–endemic areas, and indicated an additional effect of pregnancy. Our study provides new knowledge regarding immunity to P. falciparum malaria and underpins efforts to develop PfEMP1-based vaccines against this disease.
Ampomah, Paulina; Stevenson, Liz; Ofori, Michael F.; Barfod, Lea
Background The population dynamics of Plasmodium sporogony within mosquitoes consists of an early phase where parasite abundance decreases during the transition from gametocyte to oocyst, an intermediate phase where parasite abundance remains static as oocysts, and a later phase where parasite abundance increases during the release of progeny sporozoites from oocysts. Sporogonic development is complete when sporozoites invade the mosquito salivary glands. The dynamics and efficiency of this developmental sequence were determined in laboratory strains of Anopheles dirus, Anopheles minimus and Anopheles sawadwongporni mosquitoes for Plasmodium vivax parasites circulating naturally in western Thailand. Methods Mosquitoes were fed blood from 20 symptomatic Thai adults via membrane feeders. Absolute densities were estimated for macrogametocytes, round stages (= female gametes/zygotes), ookinetes, oocysts, haemolymph sporozoites and salivary gland sporozoites. From these census data, five aspects of population dynamics were analysed; 1) changes in life-stage prevalence during early sporogony, 2) kinetics of life-stage formation, 3) efficiency of life-stage transitions, 4) density relationships between successive life-stages, and 5) parasite aggregation patterns. Results There was no difference among the three mosquito species tested in total losses incurred by P. vivax populations during early sporogony. Averaged across all infections, parasite populations incurred a 68-fold loss in abundance, with losses of ca. 19-fold, 2-fold and 2-fold at the first (= gametogenesis/fertilization), second (= round stage transformation), and third (= ookinete migration) life-stage transitions, respectively. However, total losses varied widely among infections, ranging from 6-fold to over 2,000-fold loss. Losses during gametogenesis/fertilization accounted for most of this variability, indicating that gametocytes originating from some volunteers were more fertile than those from other volunteers. Although reasons for such variability were not determined, gametocyte fertility was not correlated with blood haematocrit, asexual parasitaemia, gametocyte density or gametocyte sex ratio. Round stages and ookinetes were present in mosquito midguts for up to 48 hours and development was asynchronous. Parasite losses during fertilization and round stage differentiation were more influenced by factors intrinsic to the parasite and/or factors in the blood, whereas ookinete losses were more strongly influenced by mosquito factors. Oocysts released sporozoites on days 12 to 14, but even by day 22 many oocysts were still present on the midgut. The per capita production was estimated to be approximately 500 sporozoites per oocyst and approximately 75% of the sporozoites released into the haemocoel successfully invaded the salivary glands. Conclusion The major developmental bottleneck in early sporogony occurred during the transition from macrogametocyte to round stage. Sporozoite invasion into the salivary glands was very efficient. Information on the natural population dynamics of sporogony within malaria-endemic areas may benefit intervention strategies that target early sporogony (e.g., transmission blocking vaccines, transgenic mosquitoes).
Zollner, Gabriela E; Ponsa, Narong; Garman, Gabriel W; Poudel, Shreekanta; Bell, Jeffrey A; Sattabongkot, Jetsumon; Coleman, Russell E; Vaughan, Jefferson A
The var gene family of Plasmodium falciparum encodes the immunodominant variant surface antigens PfEMP1. These highly polymorphic proteins are important virulence factors that mediate cytoadhesion to a variety of host tissues, causing sequestration of parasitized red blood cells in vital organs, including the brain or placenta. Acquisition of variant-specific antibodies correlates with protection against severe malarial infections; however, understanding the relationship between gene expression and infection outcome is complicated by the modular genetic architectures of var genes that encode varying numbers of antigenic domains with differential binding specificities. By analyzing the domain architectures of fully sequenced var gene repertoires we reveal a significant, non-random association between the number of domains comprising a var gene and their sequence conservation. As such, var genes can be grouped into those that are short and diverse and genes that are long and conserved, suggesting gene length as an important characteristic in the classification of var genes. We then use an evolutionary framework to demonstrate how the same evolutionary forces acting on the level of an individual gene may have also shaped the parasite's gene repertoire. The observed associations between sequence conservation, gene architecture and repertoire structure can thus be explained by a trade-off between optimizing within-host fitness and minimizing between-host immune selection pressure. Our results demonstrate how simple evolutionary mechanisms can explain var gene structuring on multiple levels and have important implications for understanding the multifaceted epidemiology of P. falciparum malaria. PMID:22511852
Buckee, Caroline O; Recker, Mario
A mutated form of truncated proplasmepsin 1 (proPfPM1) from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, proPfPM1 K110pN, was generated and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The automaturation process was carried out at pH 4.0 and 4.5, and the optimal catalytic pH of the resulting mature PfPM1 was determined to be pH 5.5. This mature PfPM1 showed comparable binding affinity to peptide substrates and inhibitors with the naturally occurring form isolated from parasites. The S3-S3' subsite preferences of the recombinant mature PfPM1 were explored using combinatorial chemistry based peptide libraries. On the basis of the results, a peptidomimetic inhibitor (compound 1) was designed and yielded 5-fold selectivity for binding to PfPM1 versus the homologous human cathepsin D (hcatD). The 2.8 A structure of the PfPM2-compound 1 complex is reported. Modeling studies were conducted using a series of peptidomimetic inhibitors (compounds 1-6, Table 3) and three plasmepsins: the crystal structure of PfPM2, and homology derived models of PfPM1 and PfPM4. PMID:19271776
Liu, Peng; Marzahn, Melissa R; Robbins, Arthur H; Gutiérrez-de-Terán, Hugo; Rodríguez, David; McClung, Scott H; Stevens, Stanley M; Yowell, Charles A; Dame, John B; McKenna, Robert; Dunn, Ben M
Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent human malaria parasite in the Americas. Previous studies have contrasted the genetic diversity of parasite populations in the Americas with those in Asia and Oceania, concluding that New World populations exhibit low genetic diversity consistent with a recent introduction. Here we used an expanded sample of complete mitochondrial genome sequences to investigate the diversity of P. vivax in the Americas as well as in other continental populations. We show that the diversity of P. vivax in the Americas is comparable to that in Asia and Oceania, and we identify several divergent clades circulating in South America that may have resulted from independent introductions. In particular, we show that several haplotypes sampled in Venezuela and northeastern Brazil belong to a clade that diverged from the other P. vivax lineages at least 30,000 years ago, albeit not necessarily in the Americas. We propose that, unlike in Asia where human migration increases local genetic diversity, the combined effects of the geographical structure and the low incidence of vivax malaria in the Americas has resulted in patterns of low local but high regional genetic diversity. This could explain previous views that P. vivax in the Americas has low genetic diversity because these were based on studies carried out in limited areas. Further elucidation of the complex geographical pattern of P. vivax variation will be important both for diversity assessments of genes encoding candidate vaccine antigens and in the formulation of control and surveillance measures aimed at malaria elimination. PMID:23733143
Taylor, Jesse E; Pacheco, M Andreína; Bacon, David J; Beg, Mohammad A; Machado, Ricardo Luiz; Fairhurst, Rick M; Herrera, Socrates; Kim, Jung-Yeon; Menard, Didier; Póvoa, Marinete Marins; Villegas, Leopoldo; Mulyanto; Snounou, Georges; Cui, Liwang; Zeyrek, Fadile Yildiz; Escalante, Ananias A
A mutated form of truncated proplasmepsin 1 (proPfPM1) from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, proPfPM1 K110pN, was generated and overexpressed in E. coli. The auto-maturation process was carried out at pH 4.0 and 4.5, and the optimal catalytic pH of the resulting mature PfPM1 was determined to be pH 5.5. This mature PfPM1 showed comparable binding affinity to peptide substrates and inhibitors with the naturally-occurring form isolated from parasites. The S3-S3’ subsite preferences of the recombinant mature PfPM1 were explored using combinatorial chemistry based peptide libraries. Based on the results, a peptidomimetic inhibitor (compound 1) was designed and yielded 5-fold selectivity for binding to PfPM1 versus the homologous human cathepsin D (hcatD). The 2.8 Å structure of the PfPMP2-compound 1 complex is reported. Modeling studies were conducted using a series of peptidomimetic inhibitors (compounds 1–6, Table 3) and three plasmepsins: the crystal structure of PfPM2, and homology derived models of PfPM1 and PfPM4.
Liu, Peng; Marzahn, Melissa R.; Robbins, Arthur H.; Gutierrez-de-Teran, Hugo; Rodriguez, David; McClung, Scott; Stevens, Stanley M.; Yowell, Charles A.; Dame, John B.; McKenna, Robert; Dunn, Ben M.
Phylogenetic analyses of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb), apicoplast caseinolytic protease C (clpC), and 18S rRNA sequences of Plasmodium isolates from chimpanzees along with those of the virulent human malaria parasite P. falciparum showed that the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) malaria parasites, assigned by Rich et al. (2009; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106, 14902–14907) to P. reichenowi, constitute a paraphyletic assemblage. The assumption that P. falciparum diverged from P. reichenowi as recently as 5,000–50,000 years ago would require a rate of synonymous substitution/site/year in cytb and clpC on the order of 10?5–10?6, several orders of magnitude higher than any known from eukaryotic organelle genomes, and would imply an unrealistically recent timing of the most recent common ancestor of P. falciparum mitochondrial genomes. The available data are thus most consistent with the hypothesis that P. reichenowi (in the strict sense) and P. falciparum co-speciated with their hosts about 5–7 million years ago.
Hughes, Austin L.; Verra, Federica
The combination of piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin has recently become the official first-line therapy in several Southeast Asian countries. The pharmacokinetic mismatching of these drugs, whose plasma half-lives are ?20 days and ?1 h, respectively, implies that recrudescent or new infections emerging shortly after treatment cessation will encounter piperaquine as a monotherapy agent. This creates substantial selection pressure for the emergence of resistance. To elucidate potential resistance determinants, we subjected cloned Plasmodium falciparum Dd2 parasites to continuous piperaquine pressure in vitro (47 nM; ?2-fold higher than the Dd2 50% inhibitory concentration [IC50]). The phenotype of outgrowth parasites was assayed in two clones, revealing an IC50 against piperaquine of 2.1 ?M and 1.7 ?M, over 100-fold greater than that of the parent. To identify the genetic determinant of resistance, we employed comparative whole-genome hybridization analysis. Compared to the Dd2 parent, this analysis found (in both resistant clones) a novel single-nucleotide polymorphism in P. falciparum crt (pfcrt), deamplification of an 82-kb region of chromosome 5 (that includes pfmdr1), and amplification of an adjacent 63-kb region of chromosome 5. Continued propagation without piperaquine selection pressure resulted in “revertant” piperaquine-sensitive parasites. These retained the pfcrt polymorphism and further deamplified the chromosome 5 segment that encompasses pfmdr1; however, these two independently generated revertants both lost the neighboring 63-kb amplification. These results suggest that a copy number variation event on chromosome 5 (825600 to 888300) is associated with piperaquine resistance. Transgene expression studies are underway with individual genes in this segment to evaluate their contribution to piperaquine resistance.
Eastman, Richard T.; Dharia, Neekesh V.; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.; Fidock, David A.
The thymidylate cycle in Plasmodium falciparum is essential for cell growth and replication, and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), a key enzyme in this cycle, is the target of important antimalarial drugs such as pyrimethamine and cycloguanil. Following previous work, where we found no evidence of upregulation of the dhfr-ts gene upon challenge with pyrimethamine, we investigated the expression at the protein level of the bifunctional gene product, which also carries thymidylate synthase (TS) activity. Challenge of parasite cultures with fluoro-substituted bases that are specific TS inhibitors at levels close to the IC(50) resulted in five to seven-fold increases in enzyme level, as monitored by both DHFR and TS activities, while pyrimethamine and another DHFR-binding inhibitor, WR99210, induced smaller but still significant increases of approximately three-fold. However, when parasites were challenged with tetracycline, an antimalarial not directed at the folate pathway, although an increase was consistently seen above untreated controls, this was at a level of approximately 1.8-fold. These increases reflect enhanced synthesis of the DHFR-TS enzyme, rather than liberation of a latent activity, as they were completely abolished if cultures were pre-incubated with cycloheximide to block de novo protein synthesis. Moreover, none of the above antimalarial drugs was found to significantly alter absolute levels of the dhfr-ts mRNA under the conditions of challenge used. We conclude that, in common with mammalian systems, where a similar phenomenon has been reported, malaria parasites are able to significantly relieve translational constraint when faced with antifolate drug challenge. The data indicate that there is a specific component in addition to a low-level non-specific increment, and that binding to the TS domain of the DHFR-TS protein appears to be better able to relieve this constraint than binding to the DHFR domain. PMID:15138068
Nirmalan, Niroshini; Sims, Paul F G; Hyde, John E
Background Recent studies in Southeast Asia have demonstrated substantial zoonotic transmission of Plasmodium knowlesi to humans. Microscopically, P. knowlesi exhibits several stage-dependent morphological similarities to P. malariae and P. falciparum. These similarities often lead to misdiagnosis of P. knowlesi as either P. malariae or P. falciparum and PCR-based molecular diagnostic tests are required to accurately detect P. knowlesi in humans. The most commonly used PCR test has been found to give false positive results, especially with a proportion of P. vivax isolates. To address the need for more sensitive and specific diagnostic tests for the accurate diagnosis of P. knowlesi, we report development of a new single-step PCR assay that uses novel genomic targets to accurately detect this infection. Methodology and Significant Findings We have developed a bioinformatics approach to search the available malaria parasite genome database for the identification of suitable DNA sequences relevant for molecular diagnostic tests. Using this approach, we have identified multi-copy DNA sequences distributed in the P. knowlesi genome. We designed and tested several novel primers specific to new target sequences in a single-tube, non-nested PCR assay and identified one set of primers that accurately detects P. knowlesi. We show that this primer set has 100% specificity for the detection of P. knowlesi using three different strains (Nuri, H, and Hackeri), and one human case of malaria caused by P. knowlesi. This test did not show cross reactivity with any of the four human malaria parasite species including 11 different strains of P. vivax as well as 5 additional species of simian malaria parasites. Conclusions The new PCR assay based on novel P. knowlesi genomic sequence targets was able to accurately detect P. knowlesi. Additional laboratory and field-based testing of this assay will be necessary to further validate its utility for clinical diagnosis of P. knowlesi.
Lucchi, Naomi W.; Poorak, Mitra; Oberstaller, Jenna; DeBarry, Jeremy; Srinivasamoorthy, Ganesh; Goldman, Ira; Xayavong, Maniphet; da Silva, Alexandre J.; Peterson, David S.; Barnwell, John W.; Kissinger, Jessica; Udhayakumar, Venkatachalam
The combination of piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin has recently become the official first-line therapy in several Southeast Asian countries. The pharmacokinetic mismatching of these drugs, whose plasma half-lives are ~20 days and ~1 h, respectively, implies that recrudescent or new infections emerging shortly after treatment cessation will encounter piperaquine as a monotherapy agent. This creates substantial selection pressure for the emergence of resistance. To elucidate potential resistance determinants, we subjected cloned Plasmodium falciparum Dd2 parasites to continuous piperaquine pressure in vitro (47 nM; ~2-fold higher than the Dd2 50% inhibitory concentration [IC(50)]). The phenotype of outgrowth parasites was assayed in two clones, revealing an IC(50) against piperaquine of 2.1 ?M and 1.7 ?M, over 100-fold greater than that of the parent. To identify the genetic determinant of resistance, we employed comparative whole-genome hybridization analysis. Compared to the Dd2 parent, this analysis found (in both resistant clones) a novel single-nucleotide polymorphism in P. falciparum crt (pfcrt), deamplification of an 82-kb region of chromosome 5 (that includes pfmdr1), and amplification of an adjacent 63-kb region of chromosome 5. Continued propagation without piperaquine selection pressure resulted in "revertant" piperaquine-sensitive parasites. These retained the pfcrt polymorphism and further deamplified the chromosome 5 segment that encompasses pfmdr1; however, these two independently generated revertants both lost the neighboring 63-kb amplification. These results suggest that a copy number variation event on chromosome 5 (825600 to 888300) is associated with piperaquine resistance. Transgene expression studies are underway with individual genes in this segment to evaluate their contribution to piperaquine resistance. PMID:21576453
Eastman, Richard T; Dharia, Neekesh V; Winzeler, Elizabeth A; Fidock, David A
Growing evidence indicates that the protein regulators governing protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) activity have crucial functions because their deletion drastically affects cell growth and division. PP1 has been found to be essential in Plasmodium falciparum, but little is known about its regulators. In this study, we have identified a homolog of Inhibitor-3 of PP1, named PfI3. NMR analysis shows that PfI3 belongs to the disordered protein family. High affinity interaction of PfI3 and PfPP1 is demonstrated in vitro using several methods, with an apparent dissociation constant K(D) of 100 nm. We further show that the conserved (41)KVVRW(45) motif is crucial for this interaction as the replacement of the Trp(45) by an Ala(45) severely decreases the binding to PfPP1. Surprisingly, PfI3 was unable to rescue a yeast strain deficient in I3 (Ypi1). This lack of functional orthology was supported as functional assays in vitro have revealed that PfI3, unlike yeast I3 and human I3, increases PfPP1 activity. Reverse genetic approaches suggest an essential role of PfI3 in the growth and/or survival of blood stage parasites because attempts to obtain knock-out parasites were unsuccessful, although the locus of PfI3 is accessible. The main localization of a GFP-tagged PfI3 in the nucleus of all blood stage parasites is compatible with a regulatory role of PfI3 on the activity of nuclear PfPP1. PMID:22128182
Fréville, Aline; Landrieu, Isabelle; García-Gimeno, M Adelaida; Vicogne, Jérôme; Montbarbon, Muriel; Bertin, Benjamin; Verger, Alexis; Kalamou, Hadidjatou; Sanz, Pascual; Werkmeister, Elisabeth; Pierrot, Christine; Khalife, Jamal
Epitopes of the circumsporozoite (CS) protein of Plasmodium falciparum, the most pathogenic species of the malaria parasite, have been shown to elicit protective immunity in experimental animals and human volunteers. The mechanisms of immunity include parasite-neutralizing antibodies that can inhibit parasite motility in the skin at the site of infection and in the bloodstream during transit to the hepatocyte host cell and also block interaction with host cell receptors on hepatocytes. In addition, specific CD4+ and CD8+ cellular mechanisms target the intracellular hepatic forms, thus preventing release of erythrocytic stage parasites from the infected hepatocyte and the ensuing blood stage cycle responsible for clinical disease. An innovative method for producing particle vaccines, layer-by-layer (LbL) fabrication of polypeptide films on solid CaCO3 cores, was used to produce synthetic malaria vaccines containing a tri-epitope CS peptide T1BT* comprising the antibody epitope of the CS repeat region (B) and two T-cell epitopes, the highly conserved T1 epitope and the universal epitope T*. Mice immunized with microparticles loaded with T1BT* peptide developed parasite-neutralizing antibodies and malaria-specific T-cell responses including cytotoxic effector T-cells. Protection from liver stage infection following challenge with live sporozoites from infected mosquitoes correlated with neutralizing antibody levels. Although some immunized mice with low or undetectable neutralizing antibodies were also protected, depletion of T-cells prior to challenge resulted in the majority of mice remaining resistant to challenge. In addition, mice immunized with microparticles bearing only T-cell epitopes were not protected, demonstrating that cellular immunity alone was not sufficient for protective immunity. Although the microparticles without adjuvant were immunogenic and protective, a simple modification with the lipopeptide TLR2 agonist Pam3Cys increased the potency and efficacy of the LbL vaccine candidate. This study demonstrates the potential of LbL particles as promising malaria vaccine candidates using the T1BT* epitopes from the P. falciparum CS protein.
Powell, Thomas J.; Tang, Jie; DeRome, Mary E.; Mitchell, Robert A.; Jacobs, Andrea; Deng, Yanhong; Palath, Naveen; Cardenas, Edwin; Boyd, James G.; Nardin, Elizabeth
The intraerythrocytic malaria parasite exerts tight control over its ionic composition. In this study, a combination of fluorescent ion indicators and 36Cl? flux measurements was used to investigate the transport of Cl? and the Cl?-dependent transport of “H+-equivalents” in mature (trophozoite stage) parasites, isolated from their host erythrocytes. Removal of extracellular Cl?, resulting in an outward [Cl?] gradient, gave rise to a cytosolic alkalinization (i.e. a net efflux of H+-equivalents). This was reversed on restoration of extracellular Cl?. The flux of H+-equivalents was inhibited by 4,4?-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2?-disulfonic acid and, when measured in ATP-depleted parasites, showed a pronounced dependence on the pH of the parasite cytosol; the flux was low at cytosolic pH values < 7.2 but increased steeply with cytosolic pH at values > 7.2. 36Cl? influx measurements revealed the presence of a Cl? uptake mechanism with characteristics similar to those of the Cl?-dependent H+-equivalent flux. The intracellular concentration of Cl? in the parasite was estimated to be ?48 mm in situ. The data are consistent with the intraerythrocytic parasite having in its plasma membrane a 4,4?-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2?-disulfonic acid-sensitive transporter that, under physiological conditions, imports Cl? together with H+-equivalents, resulting in an intracellular Cl? concentration well above that which would occur if Cl? ions were distributed passively in accordance with the parasite's large, inwardly negative membrane potential.
Henry, Roselani I.; Cobbold, Simon A.; Allen, Richard J. W.; Khan, Asif; Hayward, Rhys; Lehane, Adele M.; Bray, Patrick G.; Howitt, Susan M.; Biagini, Giancarlo A.; Saliba, Kevin J.; Kirk, Kiaran
Abstract. A controlled randomized,trial of antihelminthic,treatment,was undertaken,in 1996–1997 in a rural area of Madagascar,where,populations,were,simultaneously,infected with Ascaris lumbricoides,and,Plasmodium,falciparum. Levamisole was administered bimonthly to 164 subjects, randomized on a family basis, whereas 186 were controls. While levamisole,proved,to be highly effective in reducing,Ascaris egg loads in the treated group,(P , at all bimonthly visits), subjects more than 5 years of age, treated with
Laurent Brutus; Laurence Watier; Valérie Briand; Virginie Hanitrasoamampionona; Hélène Razanatsoarilala; Michel Cot
BACKGROUND: The development of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to chloroquine (CQ) has limited its use in many malaria endemic areas of the world. However, despite recent drug policy changes to adopt the more effective artemisinin-based combination (ACT) in Africa and in the Southern African region, in 2007 Swaziland still relied on CQ as first-line anti-malarial drug. METHODS: Parasite DNA was amplified
Sabelo V Dlamini; Khalid Beshir; Colin J Sutherland
We have previously shown that orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) and orotidine 5?-monophosphate decarboxylase (OMPDC) in human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum form an enzyme complex, containing two subunits each of OPRT and OMPDC. To enable further characterization, we expressed and purified P. falciparum OPRT–OMPDC enzyme complex in Escherichia coli. The OPRT and OMPDC activities of the enzyme complex co-eluted in the chromatographic
Panan Kanchanaphum; Jerapan Krungkrai
The rock agama, Laudakia caucasia Eichwald (Agamidae) is host to Plasmodium caucasica sp. n. and Saurocytozoon agamidorum sp. n. in western Pakistan. Plasmodium caucasica is characterized by very large meronts, 11-21 by 8-17 microm that produce 32-67 merozoites, which nearly fill the host erythrocyte, and smaller, ovoid to elongate gametocytes, 6-14 by 2.5-6 microm, with length by width (LW) 21-55 microm2, and L/W ratio 1.0-4.0. Host cells are usually mature erythrocytes. In Azerbaijan, P. caucasica parasitizes immature erythroid cells. Dimensions of meronts are 10-16 by 6-12 microm, and merozoite numbers are 12-44. Gametocytes are 6-14 by 3-6 microm, with LW 31-56 microm2, and L/W ratio 1.0-4.0. Saurocytozoon agamidorum sp. n. gametocytes are 6.5-13 microm in diameter, with LW 35-79 microm2, and L/W ratio 1.0-2.2. They occupy lymphocytes as host cells, which are greatly distorted by gametocyte presence and often show nuclei nearly divided into two portions, one portion at each end of the cell. Haemocystidium grahami (Shortt, 1922), redescribed from material found in L. caucasia from Azerbaijan, has rounded to elongate gametocytes, 8-19.5 by 4-8 microm, LW 60.5-102 microm2, and L/W ratio 1.0-4.5. The prominent light golden pigment granules often coalesce to nearly cover the surface of the gametocyte. The presence of P. caucasica and S. agamidorum extends the range of the two genera in saurian hosts throughout much of the southern Asia mainland. PMID:23951929
Telford, Sam R
Protozoan parasites and other microorganisms use various pathways to communicate within their own populations and to manipulate their outside environments, with the ultimate goal of balancing the rate of growth and transmission. In higher eukaryotes, including humans, circulating extracellular vesicles are increasingly recognized as key mediators of physiological and pathological processes. Recent evidence suggests that protozoan parasites, including those responsible for major human diseases such as malaria and Chagas disease, use similar machinery. Indeed, intracellular and extracellular protozoan parasites secrete extracellular vesicles to promote growth and induce transmission, to evade the host immune system, and to manipulate the microenvironment. In this review we will discuss the general pathways of extracellular vesicle biogenesis and their functions in protozoan infections. PMID:24406102
Mantel, Pierre-Yves; Marti, Matthias
Malaria is a major global parasitic disease and a cause of enormous mortality and morbidity. Widespread drug resistance against currently available antimalarials warrants the identification of novel drug targets and development of new drugs. Malarial proteases are a group of molecules that serve as potential drug targets because of their essentiality for parasite life cycle stages and feasibility of designing specific inhibitors against them. Proteases belonging to various mechanistic classes are found in P. falciparum, of which serine proteases are of particular interest due to their involvement in parasite-specific processes of egress and invasion. In P. falciparum, a number of serine proteases belonging to chymotrypsin, subtilisin, and rhomboid clans are found. This review focuses on the potential of P. falciparum serine proteases as antimalarial drug targets.
Background The conventional clinical case definition of cerebral malaria (CM) is imprecise but specificity is improved by a definitive clinical feature such as retinopathy or confirming sequestration of parasites in a post-mortem examination of the brain. A full autopsy is often not possible, since it is costly and may encounter resistance of the deceased's family. Methods We have assessed the use of a cytological smear of brain tissue, obtained post-mortem by supraorbital sampling, for the purpose of quantifying cerebral sequestration in children with fatal malaria in Blantyre, Malawi. We have compared this method to histological quantification of parasites at autopsy. Results The number of parasites present on cytological smears correlated with the proportion of vessels parasitized as assessed by histology of fixed and stained brain tissue. Use of cytological results in addition to the standard clinical case definition increases the specificity of the clinical case definition alone from 48.3% to 100% with a minimal change in sensitivity. Conclusions Post-mortem supraorbital sampling of brain tissue improves the specificity of the diagnosis of fatal cerebral malaria and provides accurate quantitative estimates of cerebral sequestration. This tool can be of great value in clinical, pathogenetic, and epidemiological research studies on cerebral malaria.
Milner, Danny A.; Valim, Clarissa; Luo, Robert; Playforth, Krupa B.; Kamiza, Steve; Molyneux, Malcolm E.; Seydel, Karl B.; Taylor, Terrie E.
An immunomodulatory role of arthropod saliva has been well documented, but evidence for an effect on Plasmodium sp. infectiousness remains controversial. Mosquito saliva may orient the immune response toward a Th2 profile, thereby priming a Th2 response against subsequent antigens, including Plasmodium. Orientation toward a Th1 versus a Th2 profile promotes IgG and IgE proliferation, respectively, where the former is crucial for the development of an efficient antiparasite immune response. Here we assessed the direct effect of mosquito bites on the density of Plasmodium falciparum asexual parasites and the prevalence of gametocytes in chronic, asymptomatic infections in a longitudinal cohort study of seasonal transmission. We additionally correlated these parasitological measures with IgE and IgG antiparasite and anti-salivary gland extract titers. The mosquito biting density was positively correlated with the asexual parasite density but not asexual parasite prevalence and was negatively correlated with gametocyte prevalence. Individual anti-salivary gland IgE titers were also negatively correlated with gametocyte carriage and were strongly positively correlated with antiparasite IgE titers, consistent with the hypothesis that mosquito bites predispose individuals to develop an IgE antiparasite response. We provide evidence that mosquito bites have an impact on asymptomatic infections and differentially so for the production of asexual and sexual parasites. An increased research focus on the immunological impact of mosquito bites during asymptomatic infections is warranted, to establish whether strategies targeting the immune response to saliva can reduce the duration of infection and the onward transmission of the parasite.
Lawaly, Ramatoulaye; Konate, Lassana; Marrama, Laurence; Dia, Ibrahima; Diallo, Diawo; Diene Sarr, Fatoumata; Schneider, Bradley S.; Casademont, Isabelle; Diallo, Mawlouth; Brey, Paul T.; Sakuntabhai, Anavaj; Mecheri, Salah
Erythrocyte labeling by random and cohort techniques was used to study erythrocyte survival in normal chickens and in chickens infected with Plasmodium gallinaceum. White Leghorn chickens, eight weeks of age, were used in this series of experiments. In chickens given P. gallinaceum on the day following erythrocyte labeling there was destruction of labeled erythrocytes at a much more rapid rate than would result from normal ageing processes. Chickens given P. gallinaceum 12, 18 and 21 days after the labeling of the erythrocytes failed to show any greater destruction of the labeled red cells beyond that resulting from normal senescence. This result indicates that erythrocytes over 12 days of age are not destroyed by P. gallinaceum.
Swann, A. I.
Part of the topoisomerase I (TopoI)-encoding gene from Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) was isolated by PCR from cDNA using oligodeoxyribonucleotides modelled on the highly conserved regions of sequence from other species. The entire TopoI gene was obtained by screening a Pf K1 HindIII-EcoRI genomic library in lambda NM1149 with a random-labeled heterologous probe from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae TopoI gene. DNA sequence analysis revealed an open reading frame of 2520 nt encoding a deduced protein of 839 amino acids (aa) with no detectable introns. The Pf TopoI aa sequence has about 40% identity with most eukaryotic TopoI homologues. The gene is located as a single copy on chromosome 5 and Northern analysis identified a transcript of 3.8 kb. PMID:7557466
Tosh, K; Kilbey, B
Plasmodium vivax is the world's most widely distributed malaria parasite and a potential cause of morbidity and mortality for approximately 2.85 billion people living mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Despite this dramatic burden, very few vaccines have been assessed in humans. The clinically relevant vectors modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and the chimpanzee adenovirus ChAd63 are promising delivery systems for malaria vaccines due to their safety profiles and proven ability to induce protective immune responses against Plasmodium falciparum thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) in clinical trials. Here, we describe the development of new recombinant ChAd63 and MVA vectors expressing P. vivax TRAP (PvTRAP) and show their ability to induce high antibody titers and T cell responses in mice. In addition, we report a novel way of assessing the efficacy of new candidate vaccines against P. vivax using a fully infectious transgenic Plasmodium berghei parasite expressing P. vivax TRAP to allow studies of vaccine efficacy and protective mechanisms in rodents. Using this model, we found that both CD8+ T cells and antibodies mediated protection against malaria using virus-vectored vaccines. Our data indicate that ChAd63 and MVA expressing PvTRAP are good preerythrocytic-stage vaccine candidates with potential for future clinical application.
Bauza, Karolis; Malinauskas, Tomas; Pfander, Claudia; Anar, Burcu; Jones, E. Yvonne; Billker, Oliver; Hill, Adrian V. S.
Plasmodium vivax is the world's most widely distributed malaria parasite and a potential cause of morbidity and mortality for approximately 2.85 billion people living mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Despite this dramatic burden, very few vaccines have been assessed in humans. The clinically relevant vectors modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) and the chimpanzee adenovirus ChAd63 are promising delivery systems for malaria vaccines due to their safety profiles and proven ability to induce protective immune responses against Plasmodium falciparum thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) in clinical trials. Here, we describe the development of new recombinant ChAd63 and MVA vectors expressing P. vivax TRAP (PvTRAP) and show their ability to induce high antibody titers and T cell responses in mice. In addition, we report a novel way of assessing the efficacy of new candidate vaccines against P. vivax using a fully infectious transgenic Plasmodium berghei parasite expressing P. vivax TRAP to allow studies of vaccine efficacy and protective mechanisms in rodents. Using this model, we found that both CD8+ T cells and antibodies mediated protection against malaria using virus-vectored vaccines. Our data indicate that ChAd63 and MVA expressing PvTRAP are good preerythrocytic-stage vaccine candidates with potential for future clinical application. PMID:24379295
Bauza, Karolis; Malinauskas, Tomas; Pfander, Claudia; Anar, Burcu; Jones, E Yvonne; Billker, Oliver; Hill, Adrian V S; Reyes-Sandoval, Arturo
Background Malaria and schistosomiasis are endemic and co-exist in the same geographic areas, even co-infecting the same host. Previous studies have reported that concomitant infection with Schistosoma japonicum could offer protection against experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) in mice. This study was performed to evaluate whether alterations in parasite density could alter this protective effect. Methods Mice were inoculated with 100 or 200?S. japonicum cercariae followed by infection with high or low density of Plasmodium berghei ANKA strain eight weeks after the first infection. Then, parasitaemia, survival rate and blood–brain-barrier (BBB) damage were assessed. Interferon-gamma (IFN-?), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-13, IL-10, and TGF-? levels were determined in splenocyte supernatants using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cell surface/intracellular staining and flow cytometry were used to analyse the level of CD4+/CD8+ T cells, CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs, IL-10-secreting Tregs, and IL-10+Foxp3-CD4+ T cells in the spleen, and CD4+/CD8+ T cells infiltrating the brain. Results Co-infection with low density P. berghei and increased S. japonicum cercariae significantly increased the levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, TGF-? and Tregs, but significantly decreased the levels of IFN-? and the percentage of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells in the spleen and CD8+ T cell infiltration in the brain. Increased worm loads also significantly decreased mortality and BBB impairment during ECM. When challenged with higher numbers of P. berghei and increased cercariae, the observed cytokine changes were not statistically significant. The corresponding ECM mortality and BBB impairment also remained unchanged. Conclusions This study demonstrates that protection for ECM depends on the numbers of the parasites, S. japonicum and P. berghei, during co-infection. Alterations in the regulatory response appear to play a key role in this adaptation.
Elevated levels of regulatory T cells following Plasmodium infection are a well-reported phenomenon that can influence both protective and pathological anti-parasite responses, and might additionally impact on vaccine responses in acutely malaria infected individuals. The mechanisms underlying their induction or expansion by the parasite, however, are incompletely understood. In a previous study, Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells (iRBCs) were shown to induce effector-cytokine producing Foxp3int CD4+ T cells, as well as regulatory Foxp3hi CD4+ T cells in vitro. The aim of the present study was to determine the contribution of parasite components to the induction of Foxp3 expression in human CD4+ T cells. Using the surface PfEMP1-deficient parasite line 1G8, we demonstrate that induction of Foxp3hi and Foxp3int CD4+ T cells is independent of PfEMP1 expression on iRBCs. We further demonstrate that integrity of iRBCs is no requirement for the induction of Foxp3 expression. Finally, transwell experiments showed that induction of Foxp3 expression, and specifically the generation of Foxp3hi as opposed to Foxp3int CD4 T cells, can be mediated by soluble parasite components smaller than 20 nm and thus likely distinct from the malaria pigment hemozoin. These results suggest that the induction of Foxp3hi T cells by P. falciparum is largely independent of two key immune modulatory parasite components, and warrant future studies into the nature of the Foxp3hi inducing parasite components to potentially allow their exclusion from vaccine formulations.
Scholzen, Anja; Cooke, Brian M.; Plebanski, Magdalena
Plasmodium falciparum causes the deadliest form of human malaria. Its virulence is attributed to its ability to modify the infected RBC and to evade human immune attack through antigenic variation. Antigenic variation is achieved through tight regulation of antigenic switches between variable surface antigens named "P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein-1" encoded by the var multicopy gene family. Individual parasites express only a single var gene at a time, maintaining the remaining var genes in a transcriptionally silent state. Strict pairing between var gene promoters and a second promoter within an intron found in each var gene is required for silencing and counting of var genes by the mechanism that controls mutually exclusive expression. We have identified and characterized insulator-like DNA elements that are required for pairing var promoters and introns and thus are essential for regulating silencing and mutually exclusive expression. These elements, found in the regulatory regions of each var gene, are bound by distinct nuclear protein complexes. Any alteration in the specific, paired structure of these elements by either deletion or insertion of additional elements results in an unregulated var gene. We propose a model by which silencing and mutually exclusive expression of var genes is regulated by the precise arrangement of insulator-like DNA pairing elements. PMID:23197831
Avraham, Inbar; Schreier, Jeremy; Dzikowski, Ron
In a 3-year study, we examined landscape features (aspect, slope, sun exposure, canopy cover, type of ground cover, and nearest water source) that were potentially related to prevalence of infection with Plasmodium mexicanum in fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) within a 4.5 ha study area in northern California, USA. Logistic regression analysis showed that ground cover type was the primary mediator of the probability of P. mexicanum infection. Infected lizards were captured more often in rock and/or leaf litter locations than in grassy ones. In another experiment, the study area was divided into 9 sites (0.07-0.33 ha), and infection prevalence was calculated for each. Three sites with high (> 30%) infection prevalence had significantly more rocky outcrops and leaf litter than those with low (< 20%) or moderate (20-30%) infection prevalence (N = 3 sites each). We conclude that lizard site selection may influence the probability of exposure to infected vectors and thus the likelihood of P. mexicanum infection. We also demonstrate that studies at different spatial scales may be required to understand fully the relationship between landscape features and parasite distribution. PMID:11393823
Eisen, R J; Wright, N M
Two hundred and three Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Jazan area, southwest Saudi Arabia, were typed for Pfcrt, Pfmdr1, dhps, and dhfr mutations associated with resistance to chloroquine, mefloquine, halofantrine, artemisinin, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and the neutral polymorphic gene Pfg377. A large proportion (33%) of isolates harbored double mutant dhfr genotype (51I,59C,108N). However, only one isolate contained mutation dhps-437G. For Pfcrt, almost all examined isolates (163; 99%) harbored the mutant genotype (72C,73V,74I,75E,76T), whereas only 49 (31%) contained the mutant Pfmdr1 genotype (86Y,184F,1034S,1042N), 109 (66%) harbored the single mutant genotype (86N,184F,1034S,1042N), and no mutations were seen in codons 1034, 1042, and 1246. Nonetheless, three new single-nucleotide polymorphisms were detected at codons 182, 192, and 102. No differences were seen in distribution of drug resistance genes among Saudis and expatriates. There was a limited multiplicity (5%), mean number of clones (1.05), and two dominant multilocus genotypes among infected individuals in Jazan. A pattern consistent with limited cross-mating and recombination among local parasite was apparent.
Bin Dajem, Saad M.; Al-Farsi, Hissa M.; Al-Hashami, Zainab S.; Al-Sheikh, Adel Ali H.; Al-Qahtani, Ahmed; Babiker, Hamza A.
Discovering the mechanisms by which cell signaling controls the cell cycle of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is fundamental to designing more effective antimalarials. To better understand the impacts of melatonin structure and function on the cell cycle of P. falciparum, we have synthesized two families of structurally-related melatonin compounds (7-11 and 12-16). All synthesized melatonin analogs were assayed in P. falciparum culture and their antimalarial activities were measured by flow cytometry. We have found that the chemical modification of the carboxamide group attached at C-3 position of the indole ring of melatonin (6) was crucial for the action of the indole-related compounds on the P. falciparum cell cycle. Among the melatonin derivatives, only the compounds 12, 13 and 14 were capable of inhibiting the P. falciparum growth in low micromolar IC50. These results open good perspectives for the development of new drugs with novel mechanisms of action. PMID:24699367
Schuck, Desirée C; Jordão, Alessandro K; Nakabashi, Myna; Cunha, Anna C; Ferreira, Vitor F; Garcia, Célia R S
Summary Immunity induced by Plasmodium vivax infections leads to memory T cell recruitment and activation during subsequent infections. Here, we investigated the role of regulator T cells (Treg) in coordination with the host immune response during P. vivax infection. Our results showed a significant increase in the percentage of FOXP3+ Treg, IL-10 secreting Type I Treg (Tr1) and IL-10 levels in patients with acute P. vivax infection as compared to those found in either naïve or immune controls. The concurrent increase in the Treg population could also be reproduced in vitro using PBMC from naïve controls stimulated with crude antigens extracted from P. vivax-infected red blood cells. Acute P. vivax infections were associated with a significant decrease in the numbers of DC, indicating a general immunosuppression during P.vivax infections. However, unlike P. falciparum infections, we found that the ratio between myeloid DC (MDC) and plamacytoid (PDC) was significantly lower in acute P. vivax patients than that of naïve and immune controls. Moreover, the reduction of PDC may be partly responsible for the poor antibody responses during P. vivax infections. Taken together, these results suggest that P. vivax parasites interact with DC, which alters MDC/PDC ratio that potentially leads to Treg activation and IL-10 release.
Jangpatarapongsa, Kulachart; Chootong, Patchanee; Sattabongkot, Jetsumon; Chotivanich, Kesinee; Sirichaisinthop, Jeeraphat; Tungpradabkul, Sumalee; Hisaeda, Hajime; Troye-Blomberg, Marita; Cui, Liwang; Udomsangpetch, Rachanee
Two hundred and three Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Jazan area, southwest Saudi Arabia, were typed for Pfcrt, Pfmdr1, dhps, and dhfr mutations associated with resistance to chloroquine, mefloquine, halofantrine, artemisinin, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and the neutral polymorphic gene Pfg377. A large proportion (33%) of isolates harbored double mutant dhfr genotype (51I,59C,108N). However, only one isolate contained mutation dhps-437G. For Pfcrt, almost all examined isolates (163; 99%) harbored the mutant genotype (72C,73V,74I,75E,76T), whereas only 49 (31%) contained the mutant Pfmdr1 genotype (86Y,184F,1034S,1042N), 109 (66%) harbored the single mutant genotype (86N,184F,1034S,1042N), and no mutations were seen in codons 1034, 1042, and 1246. Nonetheless, three new single-nucleotide polymorphisms were detected at codons 182, 192, and 102. No differences were seen in distribution of drug resistance genes among Saudis and expatriates. There was a limited multiplicity (5%), mean number of clones (1.05), and two dominant multilocus genotypes among infected individuals in Jazan. A pattern consistent with limited cross-mating and recombination among local parasite was apparent. PMID:22556074
Bin Dajem, Saad M; Al-Farsi, Hissa M; Al-Hashami, Zainab S; Al-Sheikh, Adel Ali H; Al-Qahtani, Ahmed; Babiker, Hamza A
The human erythrocyte contains an abundance of the thiol-dependant peroxidase Peroxiredoxin-2 (Prx2), which protects the cell from the pro-oxidant environment it encounters during its 120 days of life in the blood stream. In malarial infections, the Plasmodium parasite invades red cells and imports Prx2 during intraerythrocytic development, presumably to supplement in its own degradation of peroxides generated during cell metabolism, especially hemoglobin (Hb) digestion. Here we demonstrate that an irreversible Prx2 inhibitor, Conoidin A (2,3-bis(bromomethyl)-1,4-dioxide-quinoxaline; BBMQ), has potent cytocidal activity against cultured P. falciparum. Parasite growth was also inhibited in red cells that were treated with BBMQ and then washed prior to parasite infection. These cells remained susceptible to merozoite invasion, but failed to support normal intraerythrocytic development. In addition the potency of chloroquine (CQ), an antimalarial drug that prevents the detoxification of Hb-derived heme, was significantly enhanced in the presence of BBMQ. CQ IC50 values decreased an order of magnitude when parasites were either co-incubated with BBMQ, or introduced into BBMQ-pretreated cells; these effects were equivalent for both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive parasite lines. Together these results indicate that treatment of red cells with BBMQ renders them incapable of supporting parasite growth and increases parasite sensitivity to CQ. We also propose that molecules such as BBMQ that target host cell proteins may constitute a novel host-directed therapeutic approach for treating malaria.
Brizuela, Mariana; Huang, Hong Ming; Smith, Clare; Burgio, Gaetan; Foote, Simon J.; McMorran, Brendan J.
The human erythrocyte contains an abundance of the thiol-dependant peroxidase Peroxiredoxin-2 (Prx2), which protects the cell from the pro-oxidant environment it encounters during its 120 days of life in the blood stream. In malarial infections, the Plasmodium parasite invades red cells and imports Prx2 during intraerythrocytic development, presumably to supplement in its own degradation of peroxides generated during cell metabolism, especially hemoglobin (Hb) digestion. Here we demonstrate that an irreversible Prx2 inhibitor, Conoidin A (2,3-bis(bromomethyl)-1,4-dioxide-quinoxaline; BBMQ), has potent cytocidal activity against cultured P. falciparum. Parasite growth was also inhibited in red cells that were treated with BBMQ and then washed prior to parasite infection. These cells remained susceptible to merozoite invasion, but failed to support normal intraerythrocytic development. In addition the potency of chloroquine (CQ), an antimalarial drug that prevents the detoxification of Hb-derived heme, was significantly enhanced in the presence of BBMQ. CQ IC50 values decreased an order of magnitude when parasites were either co-incubated with BBMQ, or introduced into BBMQ-pretreated cells; these effects were equivalent for both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive parasite lines. Together these results indicate that treatment of red cells with BBMQ renders them incapable of supporting parasite growth and increases parasite sensitivity to CQ. We also propose that molecules such as BBMQ that target host cell proteins may constitute a novel host-directed therapeutic approach for treating malaria. PMID:24699133
Brizuela, Mariana; Huang, Hong Ming; Smith, Clare; Burgio, Gaetan; Foote, Simon J; McMorran, Brendan J
The pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium spp. are increasingly recognised as ideal targets for prophylactic vaccines and drug treatments. Intense research efforts in the last decade have been focused on in vitro culture and in vivo detection and quantification of liver stage parasites to assess the effects of candidate vaccines or drugs. Typically, the onset of blood stage parasitaemia is used as a surrogate endpoint to estimate the efficacy of vaccines and drugs targeting pre-erythrocytic parasite stages in animal models. However, this provides no information on the parasite burden in the liver after vaccination or treatment and therefore does not detect partial efficacy of any vaccine or drug candidates. Herein, we describe a quantitative RT-PCR method adapted to detect and quantitate Plasmodium yoelii liver stages in mice with increased sensitivity even after challenge with as few as 50 cryopreserved sporozoites (corresponding to approximately 5-10 freshly isolated sporozoites). We have validated our quantitative RT-PCR assay according to the MIQE (Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments) guidelines and established high reproducibility and accuracy. Our assay provides a rapid and reproducible assessment of liver stage parasite burden in rodent malaria models, thereby facilitating the evaluation of the efficacy of anti-malarial drugs or prophylactic vaccines with high precision and efficacy. PMID:24098596
Schussek, Sophie; Groves, Penny L; Apte, Simon H; Doolan, Denise L
Characterization of simian malarial parasite (Plasmodium knowlesi)-induced putrescine transport in rhesus monkey erythrocytes. A novel putrescine conjugate arrests in vitro growth of simian malarial parasite (Plasmodium knowlesi) and cures multidrug resistant murine malaria (Plasmodium yoelii) infection in vivo.
A stage-dependent increase in the level of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine during intraerythrocytic growth of Plasmodium knowlesi in rhesus monkey erythrocytes was observed. Further, intraerythrocytic P. knowlesi-induced putrescine influx was found in trophozoite stage-infected erythrocytes and process was time- and temperature-dependent and showed saturable kinetics. Characteristics of induced putrescine influx appears in infected erythrocytes to be close to the normal erythrocytes in terms of affinity of putrescine to the putrescine transporter (Km 34.6 +/- 3.8 microM as normal erythrocytes and Km 37.2 +/- 5.2 microM in infected erythrocytes). However, the difference involves the significant increase in the putrescine influx rate after infection (Vmax = 4.21 nmol/min/10(10) normal erythrocytes, compared with 11.6 nmol/min/10(10) infected erythrocytes). Energy dependence, involvement of -SH group, and noninterference by amino acid, spermidine, and spermine in the putrescine influx process clearly demonstrate the presence of a distinct transporter for putrescine in infected erythrocytes. A putrescine conjugate N1,N4-bis(7-chloroquinoline-4-yl)butane-1, 4-diamine (BCBD) was synthesized, which inhibits the putrescine influx in the P. knowlesi infected erythrocytes (Ki of 43.2 microM) as well as in vitro growth of P. knowlesi (IC50 value, 7.64 +/- 0.97 ng/ml BCBD, 10.8 +/- 0.45 ng/ml chloroquine). Addition of exogenous polyamines failed to reverse the inhibitory effect of BCBD in vitro. Administration of BCBD (24 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneal, twice a day for 4 days) cured the Swiss mice infected with multidrug-resistant infection of Plasmodium yoelii. Therefore, inhibition of putrescine transport in malaria-infected erythrocytes offers a lead in the search of a new class of chemotherapeutic molecules against malaria. PMID:9153195
Singh, S; Puri, S K; Singh, S K; Srivastava, R; Gupta, R C; Pandey, V C
The treatment of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes with chloroquine leads to accumulation of ferriprotoporphyrin IX bound to particular parasite proteins and to the inhibition of the parasite's 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase.
Ferriprotoporphyrin IX (FPIX) is a potentially toxic product of hemoglobin digestion by intra-erythrocytic malaria parasites. It is detoxified by biomineralization or through degradation by glutathione. Both processes are inhibited by the antimalarial drug chloroquine, leading to the accumulation of FPIX in the membranes of the infected cell and their consequent permeabilization. It is shown here that treatment of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes with chloroquine also leads to the binding of FPIX to a subset of parasite proteins. Parasite enzymes such as aldolase, pyrimidine nucleaside monophosphate kinase and pyrimidine 5'-nucleotidase were inhibited by FPIX in vitro, but only the activity of 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase was reduced significantly in cells after drug treatment. Additional proteins were extracted from parasite cytosol by their ability to bind FPIX. Sequencing of these proteins identified heat shock proteins 90 and 70, enolase, elongation factor 1-alpha, phoshoglycerate kinase, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, L-lactate dehydrogenase and gametocytogenesis onset-specific protein. The possible involvement of these proteins in the antimalarial mode of action of chloroquine is discussed. It is concluded that drug-induced binding of FPIX to parasite glycolytic enzymes could underlie the demonstrable inhibition of glycolysis by chloroquine. The inhibition of 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase could explain the reduction of the activity of the hexose monophosphate shunt by the drug. Inhibition of both processes is deleterious to parasite survival. Binding of FPIX to other proteins is probably inconsequential to the rapid killing of the parasite by chloroquine. PMID:12669348
Famin, O; Ginsburg, H
A Bacterial Phosphatase-Like Enzyme of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum Possesses Tyrosine Phosphatase Activity and Is Implicated in the Regulation of Band 3 Dynamics during Parasite Invasion
Eukaryotic parasites of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria by invading and developing within host erythrocytes. Here, we demonstrate that PfShelph2, a gene product of Plasmodium falciparum that belongs to the Shewanella-like phosphatase (Shelph) subfamily, selectively hydrolyzes phosphotyrosine, as shown for other previously studied Shelph family members. In the extracellular merozoite stage, PfShelph2 localizes to vesicles that appear to be distinct from those of rhoptry, dense granule, or microneme organelles. During invasion, PfShelph2 is released from these vesicles and exported to the host erythrocyte. In vitro, PfShelph2 shows tyrosine phosphatase activity against the host erythrocyte protein Band 3, which is the most abundant tyrosine-phosphorylated species of the erythrocyte. During P. falciparum invasion, Band 3 undergoes dynamic and rapid clearance from the invasion junction within 1 to 2 s of parasite attachment to the erythrocyte. Release of Pfshelph2 occurs after clearance of Band 3 from the parasite-host cell interface and when the parasite is nearly or completely enclosed in the nascent vacuole. We propose a model in which the phosphatase modifies Band 3 in time to restore its interaction with the cytoskeleton and thus reestablishes the erythrocyte cytoskeletal network at the end of the invasion process.
Fernandez-Pol, Sebastian; Slouka, Zdenek; Bhattacharjee, Souvik; Fedotova, Yana; Freed, Stefan; An, Xiuli; Holder, Anthony A.; Campanella, Estela; Low, Philip S.
Abstract. We present high-resolution optical tomographic images of human red blood cells (RBC) parasitized by malaria-inducing Plasmodium falciparum (Pf)-RBCs. Three-dimensional (3-D) refractive index (RI) tomograms are reconstructed by recourse to a diffraction algorithm from multiple two-dimensional holograms with various angles of illumination. These 3-D RI tomograms of Pf-RBCs show cellular and subcellular structures of host RBCs and invaded parasites in fine detail. Full asexual intraerythrocytic stages of parasite maturation (ring to trophozoite to schizont stages) are then systematically investigated using optical diffraction tomography algorithms. These analyses provide quantitative information on the structural and chemical characteristics of individual host Pf-RBCs, parasitophorous vacuole, and cytoplasm. The in situ structural evolution and chemical characteristics of subcellular hemozoin crystals are also elucidated.
Kim, Kyoohyun; Yoon, HyeOk; Diez-Silva, Monica; Dao, Ming; Dasari, Ramachandra R.; Park, YongKeun
We present high-resolution optical tomographic images of human red blood cells (RBC) parasitized by malaria-inducing Plasmodium falciparum (Pf)-RBCs. Three-dimensional (3-D) refractive index (RI) tomograms are reconstructed by recourse to a diffraction algorithm from multiple two-dimensional holograms with various angles of illumination. These 3-D RI tomograms of Pf-RBCs show cellular and subcellular structures of host RBCs and invaded parasites in fine detail. Full asexual intraerythrocytic stages of parasite maturation (ring to trophozoite to schizont stages) are then systematically investigated using optical diffraction tomography algorithms. These analyses provide quantitative information on the structural and chemical characteristics of individual host Pf-RBCs, parasitophorous vacuole, and cytoplasm. The in situ structural evolution and chemical characteristics of subcellular hemozoin crystals are also elucidated.
Kim, Kyoohyun; Yoon, HyeOk; Diez-Silva, Monica; Dao, Ming; Dasari, Ramachandra R.; Park, YongKeun
The intracellular development of the erythrocytic stage of the malarial parasite (merozoite) is initiated by the attachment of the parasite to the erythrocyte surface. This paper describes an assay system to investigate Plasmodium falciparum merozoite entry into the host cell and reports on three observations regarding this interaction. (a) Merozoites do not invade human erythrocytes treated with either trypsin or neuraminidase, and both enzymes partially cleave glycophorin A, the major erythrocyte surface sialoglycoprotein. (b) A membrane protein fraction containing glycophorin A will, at low concentrations, inhibit the invasion of isolated merozoites into erythrocytes; no other fractions of membrane proteins have appreciable effects on the reinvasion. (c) Merozoites do not reinvade erythrocytes preincubated with F ab' fragments of antibody prepared against glycophorin A. Together, these three observations imply a role for glycophorin A in the attachment of the malarial parasite to the erythrocyte surface.
The Clpchaperones and proteases play an important role in protein homeostasis in the cell. They are highly conserved across prokaryotes and found also in the mitochondria of eukaryotes and the chloroplasts of plants. They function mainly in the disaggregation, unfolding and degradation of native as well as misfolded proteins. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the Clpchaperones and proteases in the humanmalariaparasitePlasmodiumfalciparum. The parasite contains four Clp ATPases, which we term PfClpB1, PfClpB2, PfClpC and PfClpM. One PfClpP, the proteolytic subunit, and one PfClpR, which is an inactive version of the protease, were also identified. Expression of all Clpchaperones and proteases was confirmed in blood-stage parasites. The proteins were localized to the apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic organelle that accommodates several important metabolic pathways in P. falciparum, with the exception of PfClpB2 (also known as Hsp101), which was found in the parasitophorous vacuole. Both PfClpP and PfClpR form mostly homoheptameric rings as observed by size-exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy. The X-ray structure of PfClpP showed the protein as a compacted tetradecamer similar to that observed for Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis ClpPs. Our data suggest the presence of a ClpCRP complex in the apicoplast of P. falciparum.
M El Bakkouri; A Pow; A Mulichak; K Cheung; J Artz; M Amani; S Fell; T de Koning-Ward; C Goodman; et al.
Now, 27 years following the cloning of malaria antigens with the promise of the rapid development of a malaria vaccine, we face significant obstacles that are belatedly being addressed. Poor immunogenicity of subunit vaccine antigens and significant antigenic diversity of target epitopes represent major hurdles for which there are no clear strategies for a way forward within the current paradigm. Thus, a different paradigm - a vaccine that uses the whole organism - is now being examined. Although most advances in this approach relate to a vaccine for the pre-erythrocytic stages (sporozoites, liver stages), this opinion paper will outline the possibilities of developing a whole parasite vaccine for the blood stage and address some of the challenges for this strategy, which are entirely different to the challenges for a subunit vaccine. It is the view of the author that both vaccine paradigms should be pursued, but that success will come more quickly using the paranormal approach of exposing individuals to ultra-low doses of whole attenuated or killed parasites. PMID:21514227
Good, Michael F
Although CD8(+) T cells do not contribute to protection against the blood stage of Plasmodium infection, there is mounting evidence that they are principal mediators of murine experimental cerebral malaria (ECM). At present, there is no direct evidence that the CD8(+) T cells mediating ECM are parasite-specific or, for that matter, whether parasite-specific CD8(+) T cells are generated in response to blood-stage infection. To resolve this and to define the cellular requirements for such priming, we generated transgenic P. berghei parasites expressing model T cell epitopes. This approach was necessary as MHC class I-restricted antigens to blood-stage infection have not been defined. Here, we show that blood-stage infection leads to parasite-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses. Furthermore, we show that P. berghei-expressed antigens are cross-presented by the CD8alpha(+) subset of dendritic cells (DC), and that this induces pathogen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) capable of lysing cells presenting antigens expressed by blood-stage parasites. Finally, using three different experimental approaches, we provide evidence that CTL specific for parasite-expressed antigens contribute to ECM. PMID:18799734
Lundie, Rachel J; de Koning-Ward, Tania F; Davey, Gayle M; Nie, Catherine Q; Hansen, Diana S; Lau, Lei Shong; Mintern, Justine D; Belz, Gabrielle T; Schofield, Louis; Carbone, Francis R; Villadangos, Jose A; Crabb, Brendan S; Heath, William R
Development of new drugs is one of the strategies for malaria control. The biosynthesis of several isoprenoids in Plasmodium falciparum was recently described. Interestingly, some intermediates and final products biosynthesized by this pathway in mammals differ from those biosynthesized in P. falciparum. These facts prompted us to evaluate various terpenes, molecules with a similar chemical structure to the intermediates of the isoprenoids pathway, as potential antimalarial drugs. Different terpenes and S-farnesylthiosalicylic acid were tested on cultures of the intraerythrocytic stages of P. falciparum, and the 50% inhibitory concentrations for each one were found: farnesol, 64 microM; nerolidol, 760 nM; limonene, 1.22 mM; linalool, 0.28 mM; and S-farnesylthiosalicylic acid, 14 microM. All the terpenes tested inhibited dolichol biosynthesis in the trophozoite and schizont stages when [1-(n)-(3)H]farnesyl pyrophosphate triammonium salt ([(3)H]FPP) was used as precursor. Farnesol, nerolidol, and linalool showed stronger inhibitory activity on the biosynthesis of the isoprenic side chain of the benzoquinone ring of ubiquinones in the schizont stage. Treatment of schizont stages with S-farnesylthiosalicylic acid led to a decrease in intensity of the band corresponding a p21(ras) protein. The inhibitory effect of terpenes and S-farnesylthiosalicylic acid on the biosynthesis of both dolichol and the isoprenic side chain of ubiquinones and the isoprenylation of proteins in the intraerythrocytic stages of P. falciparum appears to be specific, because overall protein biosynthesis was not affected. Combinations of some terpenes or S-farnesylthiosalicylic acid tested in this work with other antimalarial drugs, like fosmidomycin, could be a new strategy for the treatment of malaria. PMID:15215101
Rodrigues Goulart, Herbert; Kimura, Emília A; Peres, Valnice J; Couto, Alicia S; Aquino Duarte, Fulgencio A; Katzin, Alejandro M
Antifolate antimalarials, such as pyrimethamine, have experienced a dramatic reduction in therapeutic efficacy as resistance has evolved in multiple malaria species. We present evidence from one such species, Plasmodium vivax, which has experienced sustained selection for pyrimethamine resistance at the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) locus since the 1970s. Using a transgenic Saccharomyces cerevisiae model expressing the P. vivax DHFR enzyme, we assayed growth rate and resistance of all 16 combinations of four DHFR amino acid substitutions. These substitutions were selected based on their known association with drug resistance, both in natural isolates and in laboratory settings, in the related malaria species P. falciparum. We observed a strong correlation between the resistance phenotypes for these 16 P. vivax alleles and previously observed resistance data for P. falciparum, which was surprising since nucleotide diversity levels and common polymorphic variants of DHFR differ between the two species. Similar results were observed when we expressed the P. vivax alleles in a transgenic bacterial system. This suggests common constraints on enzyme evolution in the orthologous DHFR proteins. The interplay of negative trade-offs between the evolution of novel resistance and compromised endogenous function varies at different drug dosages, and so too do the major trajectories for DHFR evolution. In simulations, it is only at very high drug dosages that the most resistant quadruple mutant DHFR allele is favored by selection. This is in agreement with common polymorphic DHFR data in P. vivax, from which this quadruple mutant is missing. We propose that clinical dosages of pyrimethamine may have historically been too low to select for the most resistant allele, or that the fitness cost of the most resistant allele was untenable without a compensatory mutation elsewhere in the genome. PMID:24071997
Jiang, Pan-Pan; Corbett-Detig, Russell B; Hartl, Daniel L; Lozovsky, Elena R
Malaria drug resistance contributes to up to a million annual deaths. Judicious deployment of new antimalarials and vaccines could benefit from an understanding of early molecular events that promote the evolution of parasites. Continuous in vitro challenge of Plasmodium falciparum parasites with a novel dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) inhibitor reproducibly selected for resistant parasites. Genome-wide analysis of independently-derived resistant clones revealed a two-step strategy to evolutionary success. Some haploid blood-stage parasites first survive antimalarial pressure through fortuitous DNA duplications that always included the DHODH gene. Independently-selected parasites had different sized amplification units but they were always flanked by distant A/T tracks. Higher level amplification and resistance was attained using a second, more efficient and more accurate, mechanism for head-to-tail expansion of the founder unit. This second homology-based process could faithfully tune DNA copy numbers in either direction, always retaining the unique DNA amplification sequence from the original A/T-mediated duplication for that parasite line. Pseudo-polyploidy at relevant genomic loci sets the stage for gaining additional mutations at the locus of interest. Overall, we reveal a population-based genomic strategy for mutagenesis that operates in human stages of P. falciparum to efficiently yield resistance-causing genetic changes at the correct locus in a successful parasite. Importantly, these founding events arise with precision; no other new amplifications are seen in the resistant haploid blood stage parasite. This minimizes the need for meiotic genetic cleansing that can only occur in sexual stage development of the parasite in mosquitoes.
Ahyong, Vida; Patrapuvich, Rapatbhorn; White, John; Gujjar, Ramesh; Phillips, Margaret A.; DeRisi, Joseph; Rathod, Pradipsinh K.
Circumsporozoite protein (CSP) of Plasmodium falciparum is a protective human malaria vaccine candidate. There is an urgent need for models that can rapidly down-select novel CSP-based vaccine candidates. In the present study, the mouse-mosquito transmission cycle of a transgenic Plasmodium berghei malaria parasite stably expressing a functional full-length P. falciparum CSP was optimized to consistently produce infective sporozoites for protection studies. A minimal sporozoite challenge dose was established, and protection was defined as the absence of blood-stage parasites 14 days after intravenous challenge. The specificity of protection was confirmed by vaccinating mice with multiple CSP constructs of differing lengths and compositions. Constructs that induced high NANP repeat-specific antibody titers in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were protective, and the degree of protection was dependent on the antigen dose. There was a positive correlation between antibody avidity and protection. The antibodies in the protected mice recognized the native CSP on the parasites and showed sporozoite invasion inhibitory activity. Passive transfer of anti-CSP antibodies into naive mice also induced protection. Thus, we have demonstrated the utility of a mouse efficacy model to down-select human CSP-based vaccine formulations.
Porter, Michael D.; Nicki, Jennifer; Pool, Christopher D.; DeBot, Margot; Illam, Ratish M.; Brando, Clara; Bozick, Brooke; De La Vega, Patricia; Angra, Divya; Spaccapelo, Roberta; Crisanti, Andrea; Murphy, Jittawadee R.; Bennett, Jason W.; Schwenk, Robert J.; Ockenhouse, Christian F.
Widespread drug resistance calls for the urgent development of new antimalarials that target novel steps in the life cycle of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The essential subtilisin-like serine protease SUB1 of Plasmodium merozoites plays a dual role in egress from and invasion into host erythrocytes. It belongs to a new generation of attractive drug targets against which specific potent inhibitors are actively searched. We characterize here the P. vivax SUB1 enzyme and show that it displays a typical auto-processing pattern and apical localization in P. vivax merozoites. To search for small PvSUB1 inhibitors, we took advantage of the similarity of SUB1 with bacterial subtilisins and generated P. vivax SUB1 three-dimensional models. The structure-based virtual screening of a large commercial chemical compounds library identified 306 virtual best hits, of which 37 were experimentally confirmed inhibitors and 5 had Ki values of <50 ?m for PvSUB1. Interestingly, they belong to different chemical families. The most promising competitive inhibitor of PvSUB1 (compound 2) was equally active on PfSUB1 and displayed anti-P. falciparum and Plasmodium berghei activity in vitro and in vivo, respectively. Compound 2 inhibited the endogenous PfSUB1 as illustrated by the inhibited maturation of its natural substrate PfSERA5 and inhibited parasite egress and subsequent erythrocyte invasion. These data indicate that the strategy of in silico screening of three-dimensional models to select for virtual inhibitors combined with stringent biological validation successfully identified several inhibitors of the PvSUB1 enzyme. The most promising hit proved to be a potent cross-inhibitor of PlasmodiumSUB1, laying the groundwork for the development of a globally active small compound antimalarial.
Bouillon, Anthony; Giganti, David; Benedet, Christophe; Gorgette, Olivier; Petres, Stephane; Crublet, Elodie; Girard-Blanc, Christine; Witkowski, Benoit; Menard, Didier; Nilges, Michael; Mercereau-Puijalon, Odile; Stoven, Veronique; Barale, Jean-Christophe
Natural killer (NK) cells have different roles in the host response against Plasmodium-induced malaria depending on the stage of infection. Liver NK cells have a protective role during the initial hepatic stage of infection by production of the TH1-type cytokines IFN-? and TNF-?. In the subsequent erythrocytic stage of infection, NK cells also induce protection through Th1-type cytokines but, in addition, may also promote development of cerebral malaria via CXCR3-induction on CD8(+) T cells resulting in migration of these cells to the brain. We have recently shown that the regulatory Ly49E NK receptor is expressed on liver NK cells in particular. The main objective of this study was therefore to examine the role of Ly49E expression in the immune response upon Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection, for which we compared wild type (WT) to Ly49E knockout (KO) mice. We show that the parasitemia was higher at the early stage, i.e. at days 6-7 of Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection in Ly49E KO mice, which correlated with lower induction of CD69, IFN-? and TNF-? in DX5(-) liver NK cells at day 5 post-infection. At later stages, these differences faded. There was also no difference in the kinetics and the percentage of cerebral malaria development and in lymphocyte CXCR3 expression in WT versus Ly49E KO mice. Collectively, we show that the immune response against Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection is not drastically affected in Ly49E KO mice. Although NK cells play a crucial role in Plasmodium infection and Ly49E is highly expressed on liver NK cells, the Ly49E NK receptor only has a temporarily role in the immune control of this parasite. PMID:24498110
Filtjens, Jessica; Foquet, Lander; Taveirne, Sylvie; Van Ammel, Els; Vanhees, Mandy; Van Acker, Aline; Kerre, Tessa; Taghon, Tom; Vandekerckhove, Bart; Plum, Jean; Van den Steen, Philippe E; Leclercq, Georges
Natural killer (NK) cells have different roles in the host response against Plasmodium-induced malaria depending on the stage of infection. Liver NK cells have a protective role during the initial hepatic stage of infection by production of the TH1-type cytokines IFN-? and TNF-?. In the subsequent erythrocytic stage of infection, NK cells also induce protection through Th1-type cytokines but, in addition, may also promote development of cerebral malaria via CXCR3-induction on CD8+ T cells resulting in migration of these cells to the brain. We have recently shown that the regulatory Ly49E NK receptor is expressed on liver NK cells in particular. The main objective of this study was therefore to examine the role of Ly49E expression in the immune response upon Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection, for which we compared wild type (WT) to Ly49E knockout (KO) mice. We show that the parasitemia was higher at the early stage, i.e. at days 6–7 of Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection in Ly49E KO mice, which correlated with lower induction of CD69, IFN-? and TNF-? in DX5? liver NK cells at day 5 post-infection. At later stages, these differences faded. There was also no difference in the kinetics and the percentage of cerebral malaria development and in lymphocyte CXCR3 expression in WT versus Ly49E KO mice. Collectively, we show that the immune response against Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection is not drastically affected in Ly49E KO mice. Although NK cells play a crucial role in Plasmodium infection and Ly49E is highly expressed on liver NK cells, the Ly49E NK receptor only has a temporarily role in the immune control of this parasite.
Filtjens, Jessica; Foquet, Lander; Taveirne, Sylvie; Van Ammel, Els; Vanhees, Mandy; Van Acker, Aline; Kerre, Tessa; Taghon, Tom; Vandekerckhove, Bart; Plum, Jean; Van den Steen, Philippe E.; Leclercq, Georges
Locally varying selection on pathogens may be due to differences in drug pressure, host immunity, transmission opportunities between hosts, or the intensity of between-genotype competition within hosts. Highly recombining populations of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum throughout West Africa are closely related, as gene flow is relatively unrestricted in this endemic region, but markedly varying ecology and transmission intensity should cause distinct local selective pressures. Genome-wide analysis of sequence variation was undertaken on a sample of 100 P. falciparum clinical isolates from a highly endemic region of the Republic of Guinea where transmission occurs for most of each year and compared with data from 52 clinical isolates from a previously sampled population from The Gambia, where there is relatively limited seasonal malaria transmission. Paired-end short-read sequences were mapped against the 3D7 P. falciparum reference genome sequence, and data on 136,144 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained. Within-population analyses identifying loci showing evidence of recent positive directional selection and balancing selection confirm that antimalarial drugs and host immunity have been major selective agents. Many of the signatures of recent directional selection reflected by standardized integrated haplotype scores were population specific, including differences at drug resistance loci due to historically different antimalarial use between the countries. In contrast, both populations showed a similar set of loci likely to be under balancing selection as indicated by very high Tajima’s D values, including a significant overrepresentation of genes expressed at the merozoite stage that invades erythrocytes and several previously validated targets of acquired immunity. Between-population FST analysis identified exceptional differentiation of allele frequencies at a small number of loci, most markedly for five SNPs covering a 15-kb region within and flanking the gdv1 gene that regulates the early stages of gametocyte development, which is likely related to the extreme differences in mosquito vector abundance and seasonality that determine the transmission opportunities for the sexual stage of the parasite.
Mobegi, Victor A.; Duffy, Craig W.; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Loua, Kovana M.; Laman, Eugene; Nwakanma, Davis C.; MacInnis, Bronwyn; Aspeling-Jones, Harvey; Murray, Lee; Clark, Taane G.; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P.; Conway, David J.
Background Clinical malaria has proven an elusive burden to enumerate. Many cases go undetected by routine disease recording systems. Epidemiologists have, therefore, frequently defaulted to actively measuring malaria in population cohorts through time. Measuring the clinical incidence of malaria longitudinally is labour-intensive and impossible to undertake universally. There is a need, therefore, to define a relationship between clinical incidence and the easier and more commonly measured index of infection prevalence: the "parasite rate". This relationship can help provide an informed basis to define malaria burdens in areas where health statistics are inadequate. Methods Formal literature searches were conducted for Plasmodium falciparum malaria incidence surveys undertaken prospectively through active case detection at least every 14 days. The data were abstracted, standardized and geo-referenced. Incidence surveys were time-space matched with modelled estimates of infection prevalence derived from a larger database of parasite prevalence surveys and modelling procedures developed for a global malaria endemicity map. Several potential relationships between clinical incidence and infection prevalence were then specified in a non-parametric Gaussian process model with minimal, biologically informed, prior constraints. Bayesian inference was then used to choose between the candidate models. Results The suggested relationships with credible intervals are shown for the Africa and a combined America and Central and South East Asia regions. In both regions clinical incidence increased slowly and smoothly as a function of infection prevalence. In Africa, when infection prevalence exceeded 40%, clinical incidence reached a plateau of 500 cases per thousand of the population per annum. In the combined America and Central and South East Asia regions, this plateau was reached at 250 cases per thousand of the population per annum. A temporal volatility model was also incorporated to facilitate a closer description of the variance in the observed data. Conclusion It was possible to model a relationship between clinical incidence and P. falciparum infection prevalence but the best-fit models were very noisy reflecting the large variance within the observed opportunistic data sample. This continuous quantification allows for estimates of the clinical burden of P. falciparum of known confidence from wherever an estimate of P. falciparum prevalence is available.
Patil, Anand P; Okiro, Emelda A; Gething, Peter W; Guerra, Carlos A; Sharma, Surya K; Snow, Robert W; Hay, Simon I
Locally varying selection on pathogens may be due to differences in drug pressure, host immunity, transmission opportunities between hosts, or the intensity of between-genotype competition within hosts. Highly recombining populations of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum throughout West Africa are closely related, as gene flow is relatively unrestricted in this endemic region, but markedly varying ecology and transmission intensity should cause distinct local selective pressures. Genome-wide analysis of sequence variation was undertaken on a sample of 100 P. falciparum clinical isolates from a highly endemic region of the Republic of Guinea where transmission occurs for most of each year and compared with data from 52 clinical isolates from a previously sampled population from The Gambia, where there is relatively limited seasonal malaria transmission. Paired-end short-read sequences were mapped against the 3D7 P. falciparum reference genome sequence, and data on 136,144 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained. Within-population analyses identifying loci showing evidence of recent positive directional selection and balancing selection confirm that antimalarial drugs and host immunity have been major selective agents. Many of the signatures of recent directional selection reflected by standardized integrated haplotype scores were population specific, including differences at drug resistance loci due to historically different antimalarial use between the countries. In contrast, both populations showed a similar set of loci likely to be under balancing selection as indicated by very high Tajima's D values, including a significant overrepresentation of genes expressed at the merozoite stage that invades erythrocytes and several previously validated targets of acquired immunity. Between-population FST analysis identified exceptional differentiation of allele frequencies at a small number of loci, most markedly for five SNPs covering a 15-kb region within and flanking the gdv1 gene that regulates the early stages of gametocyte development, which is likely related to the extreme differences in mosquito vector abundance and seasonality that determine the transmission opportunities for the sexual stage of the parasite. PMID:24644299
Mobegi, Victor A; Duffy, Craig W; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Loua, Kovana M; Laman, Eugene; Nwakanma, Davis C; MacInnis, Bronwyn; Aspeling-Jones, Harvey; Murray, Lee; Clark, Taane G; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P; Conway, David J
The ERD2 gene product in mammalian cells and yeast is a receptor required for protein retention in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER); immunolocalization studies indicate that the protein is concentrated in the cis Golgi. We have identified a homologue of ERD2 in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum (PfERD2). The deduced protein sequence is 42% identical to mammalian and yeast homologues and bears striking homology in its proposed tertiary structure. PfERD2 is tightly confined to a single focus of staining in the perinuclear region as seen by indirect immunofluorescence. This is redistributed by brefeldin A (BFA) to a diffuse pattern similar to that of parasite BiP, a marker for the ER; removal of the drug results in recovery of the single focus, consistent with the localization of PfERD2 to the parasite Golgi and its participation in a retrograde transport pathway to the ER. Sphingomyelin synthesis is a second resident activity of the cis Golgi whose organization is sensitive to BFA in mammalian cells. Within the parasite it again localizes to a perinuclear region but does not reorganize upon BFA treatment. The results strongly suggest that these two activities are in distinct compartments of the Golgi in the malaria parasite. Images
Elmendorf, H G; Haldar, K
Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ubiquitous ribonucleoprotein complex that targets proteins to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in eukaryotes. Here we report that Plasmodium falciparum SRP is composed of six polypeptides; SRP9, SRP14, SRP19, SRP54, SRP68 and SRP72 and a 303nt long SRP RNA. We generated four transgenic parasite lines expressing SRP-GFP chimeric proteins and co-localization studies showed the nucleo-cytoplasmic localization for these proteins. The evaluation of the effect of known SRP and nuclear import/export inhibitors on P. falciparum revealed that ivermectin, an inhibitor of importin ?/? mediated nuclear import inhibited the nuclear import of PfSRP polypeptides at submicromolar concentration, thereby killing the parasites. These findings provide insights into dynamic structure of P. falciparum SRP and also raise the possibility that ivermectin could be used in combination with other antimalarial agents to control the disease.
Panchal, M; Rawat, K; Kumar, G; Kibria, K M; Singh, S; Kalamuddin, Md; Mohmmed, A; Malhotra, P; Tuteja, R
Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ubiquitous ribonucleoprotein complex that targets proteins to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in eukaryotes. Here we report that Plasmodium falciparum SRP is composed of six polypeptides; SRP9, SRP14, SRP19, SRP54, SRP68 and SRP72 and a 303nt long SRP RNA. We generated four transgenic parasite lines expressing SRP-GFP chimeric proteins and co-localization studies showed the nucleo-cytoplasmic localization for these proteins. The evaluation of the effect of known SRP and nuclear import/export inhibitors on P. falciparum revealed that ivermectin, an inhibitor of importin ?/? mediated nuclear import inhibited the nuclear import of PfSRP polypeptides at submicromolar concentration, thereby killing the parasites. These findings provide insights into dynamic structure of P. falciparum SRP and also raise the possibility that ivermectin could be used in combination with other antimalarial agents to control the disease. PMID:24434517
Panchal, M; Rawat, K; Kumar, G; Kibria, K M; Singh, S; Kalamuddin, Md; Mohmmed, A; Malhotra, P; Tuteja, R
Licochalcone A, isolated from Chinese licorice roots, inhibited the in vitro growth of both chloroquine-susceptible (3D7) and chloroquine-resistant (Dd2) Plasmodium falciparum strains in a [3H]hypoxanthine uptake assay. The growth inhibition of the chloroquine-resistant strain by licochalcone A was similar to that of the chloroquine-susceptible strain. To examine the activity of licochalcone A on the different asexual blood stages of the parasite, licochalcone A was added to highly synchronized cultures containing rings, trophozoites, and schizonts. The growth of the parasites at all stages was inhibited by licochalcone A. The in vivo activity of licochalcone A was tested in a mouse model of infection with P. yoelii. Licochalcone A administered either intraperitoneally or orally for 3 to 6 days protected the mice from the otherwise lethal P. yoelii infection. These results demonstrate that licochalcone A exhibits potent antimalarial activity and might be developed into a new antimalarial drug.
Chen, M; Theander, T G; Christensen, S B; Hviid, L; Zhai, L; Kharazmi, A
Background The transmission of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum from the human to the mosquito is mediated by dormant sexual precursor cells, the gametocytes, which become activated in the mosquito midgut. Because gametocytes are the only parasite stages able to establish an infection in the mosquito, they play a crucial role in spreading the tropical disease. The human-to-mosquito transmission triggers important molecular changes in the gametocytes, which initiate gametogenesis and prepare the parasite for life-cycle progression in the insect vector. Results To better understand gene regulations during the initial phase of malaria parasite transmission, we focused on the transcriptome changes that occur within the first half hour of parasite development in the mosquito. Comparison of mRNA levels of P. falciparum gametocytes before and 30 min following activation using suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) identified 126 genes, which changed in expression during gametogenesis. Among these, 17.5% had putative functions in signaling, 14.3% were assigned to cell cycle and gene expression, 8.7% were linked to the cytoskeleton or inner membrane complex, 7.9% were involved in proteostasis and 6.4% in metabolism, 12.7% were cell surface-associated proteins, 11.9% were assigned to other functions, and 20.6% represented genes of unknown function. For 40% of the identified genes there has as yet not been any protein evidence. For a subset of 27 genes, transcript changes during gametogenesis were studied in detail by real-time RT-PCR. Of these, 22 genes were expressed in gametocytes, and for 15 genes transcript expression in gametocytes was increased compared to asexual blood stage parasites. Transcript levels of seven genes were particularly high in activated gametocytes, pointing at functions downstream of gametocyte transmission to the mosquito. For selected genes, a regulated expression during gametogenesis was confirmed on the protein level, using quantitative confocal microscopy. Conclusions The obtained transcriptome data demonstrate the regulations of gene expression immediately following malaria parasite transmission to the mosquito. Our findings support the identification of proteins important for sexual reproduction and further development of the mosquito midgut stages and provide insights into the genetic basis of the rapid adaption of Plasmodium to the insect vector.
Serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) was applied to the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum to characterize the comprehensive transcriptional profile of erythrocytic stages. A SAGE library of ?8335 tags representing 4866 different genes was generated from 3D7 strain parasites. Basic local alignment search tool analysis of high abundance SAGE tags revealed that a majority (88%) corresponded to 3D7 sequence, and despite the low complexity of the genome, 70% of these highly abundant tags matched unique loci. Characterization of these suggested the major metabolic pathways that are used by the organism under normal culture conditions. Furthermore several tags expressed at high abundance (30% of tags matching to unique loci of the 3D7 genome) were derived from previously uncharacterized open reading frames, demonstrating the use of SAGE in genome annotation. The open platform “profiling” nature of SAGE also lead to the important discovery of a novel transcriptional phenomenon in the malarial pathogen: a significant number of highly abundant tags that were derived from annotated genes (17%) corresponded to antisense transcripts. These SAGE data were validated by two independent means, strand specific reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Northern analysis, where antisense messages were detected in both asexual and sexual stages. This finding has implications for transcriptional regulation of Plasmodium gene expression.
Patankar, Swati; Munasinghe, Anusha; Shoaibi, Azadeh; Cummings, Leda M.; Wirth, Dyann F.
Previous reports have shown that ?? T cells are important for the elimination of malaria parasites in humans and mice. However, how ?? T cells are involved in protective immunity against blood-stage malaria remains unknown. We infected ?? T-cell–deficient (TCR?-KO) mice and control wild-type mice with Plasmodium berghei XAT, which is a nonlethal strain. Although infected red blood cells were eliminated within 30 d after infection, TCR?-KO mice could not clear the infected red blood cells, showed high parasitemia, and eventually died. Therefore, ?? T cells are essential for clearance of the parasites. Here, we found that ?? T cells play a key role in dendritic cell activation after Plasmodium infection. On day 5 postinfection, ?? T cells produced IFN-? and expressed CD40 ligand during dendritic cell activation. These results suggest that ?? T cells enhance dendritic cell activation via IFN-? and CD40 ligand–CD40 signaling. This hypothesis is supported strongly by the fact that in vivo induction of CD40 signaling prevented the death of TCR?-KO mice after infection with P. berghei XAT. This study improves our understanding of protective immunity against malaria and provides insights into ?? T-cell–mediated protective immunity against various infectious diseases.
Inoue, Shin-Ichi; Niikura, Mamoru; Takeo, Satoru; Mineo, Shoichiro; Kawakami, Yasushi; Uchida, Akihiko; Kamiya, Shigeru; Kobayashi, Fumie
Plasmodium falciparum spends most of its asexual life cycle within human erythrocytes, where proliferation and maturation occur. Development into the mature forms of P. falciparum causes severe symptoms due to its distinctive sequestration capability. However, the physiological roles and the molecular mechanisms of signaling pathways that govern development are poorly understood. Our previous study showed that P. falciparum exhibits stage-specific spontaneous Calcium (Ca(2+)) oscillations in ring and early trophozoites, and the latter was essential for parasite development. In this study, we show that luzindole (LZ), a selective melatonin receptor antagonist, inhibits parasite growth. Analyses of development and morphology of LZ-treated P. falciparum revealed that LZ severely disrupted intraerythrocytic maturation, resulting in parasite death. When LZ was added at ring stage, the parasite could not undergo further development, whereas LZ added at the trophozoite stage inhibited development from early into late schizonts. Live-cell Ca(2+) imaging showed that LZ treatment completely abolished Ca(2+) oscillation in the ring forms while having little effect on early trophozoites. Further, the melatonin-induced cAMP increase observed at ring and late trophozoite stage was attenuated by LZ treatment. These suggest that a complex interplay between IP3-Ca(2+) and cAMP signaling pathways is involved in intraerythrocytic development of P. falciparum. PMID:24607908
Furuyama, Wakako; Enomoto, Masahiro; Mossaad, Ehab; Kawai, Satoru; Mikoshiba, Katsuhiko; Kawazu, Shin-ichiro
Pregnancy-associated malaria, a manifestation of severe malaria, is the cause of up to 200,000 infant deaths a year, through the effects of placental insufficiency leading to growth restriction and preterm delivery. Development of a vaccine is one strategy for control. Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells accumulate in the placenta through specific binding of pregnancy-associated parasite variants that express the VAR2CSA antigen to chondroitin sulphate A on the surface of syncytiotrophoblast cells. Parasite accumulation, accompanied by an inflammatory infiltrate, disrupts the cytokine balance of pregnancy with the potential to cause placental damage and compromise foetal growth. Multigravid women develop immunity towards VAR2CSA-expressing parasites in a gravidity-dependent manner which prevents unfavourable pregnancy outcomes. Although current vaccine design, targeting VAR2CSA antigens, has succeeded in inducing antibodies artificially, this candidate may not provide protection during the first trimester and may only protect those women living in areas endemic for malaria. It is concluded that while insufficient information about placental-parasite interactions is presently available to produce an effective vaccine, incremental progress is being made towards achieving this goal.
Kane, Elizabeth G.; Taylor-Robinson, Andrew W.
Samples of three pyrimethamine-sensitive clones of Plasmodium falciparum were grown for periods of 22-46 weeks in media containing stepwise increases in pyrimethamine concentrations and were seen to develop up to 1000-fold increases in resistance to the drug. With clone T9/94RC17, the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) gene was sequenced from 10 uncloned populations and 29 pure clones, all having increased resistance to pyrimethamine, and these sequences were compared with the sequence of the original pyrimethamine-sensitive clone. No changes in amino acid sequence were found to have occurred. Some resistant clones obtained by this method were then examined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and the results indicated that there had been an increase in the size of chromosome 4. This was confirmed by hybridization of Southern blots with a chromosome 4-specific probe, the vacuolar ATPase subunit B gene, and a probe to DHFR. Dot-blotting with an oligonucleotide probe to DHFR confirmed that there had been increases up to 44-fold in copy number of the DHFR gene in the resistant strains. Resistant clones obtained by this procedure were then grown in medium lacking pyrimethamine for a period of nearly 2 years, and reversion nearly to the level of pyrimethamine sensitivity of the original clone T9/94RC17 was found to occur after about 16 months. Correspondingly, the chromosome 4 of the reverted population reverted to a size like that of the original sensitive clone T9/94RC17. The procedure of growing parasites in stepwise increases of pyrimethamine concentration was repeated with two other pyrimethamine-sensitive clones: TM4CB8-2.2.3 and G112CB1.1. (The DHFR gene of these clones encodes serine at position 108, in place of threonine as in clone T9/94RC17, and it was thought that this difference might conceivably affect the rate of mutation to asparagine at this position). Clones TM4CB8-2.2.3 and G112CB1.1 also responded by developing gradually increased resistance to pyrimethamine. However, in clone TM4CB8-2.2.3 a single mutation from Ile to Met at position 164 in the DHFR gene sequence was identified, and in clone G112CB1.1 there was a single mutation from Ala to Ser at position 16, but no mutations at position 108 were obtained in any of the clones studied here. In addition, chromosome 4 of clone TM4CB8-2.2.3 increased in size, presumably due to amplification of the DHFR gene. No increase in size was seen in clone G112CB1.1. We conclude that whereas some mutations producing changes in the amino acid sequence of the DHFR molecule may occur occasionally in clones or populations of P. falciparum grown in vitro in the presence of pyrimethamine, amplification of the DHFR gene following adaptation to growth in medium containing pyrimethamine occurs as a regular feature. The bearing of these findings on the development of pyrimethamine-resistant forms of malaria parasites in endemic areas is discussed. PMID:11465989
Thaithong, S; Ranford-Cartwright, L C; Siripoon, N; Harnyuttanakorn, P; Kanchanakhan, N S; Seugorn, A; Rungsihirunrat, K; Cravo, P V; Beale, G H
Parasites have developed a variety of physiological functions necessary for existence within the specialized environment of the host. Regarding energy metabolism, which is an essential factor for survival, parasites adapt to low oxygen tension in host mammals using metabolic systems that are very different from that of the host. The majority of parasites do not use the oxygen available within
Kiyoshi Kita; Hiroko Hirawake; Hiroko Miyadera; Hisako Amino; Satoru Takeo
Background Combination treatments, preferably containing an artemisinin derivative, are recommended to improve efficacy and prevent Plasmodium falciparum drug resistance. Artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and artesunate-amodiaquine (AA) are efficacious regimens that have been widely adopted in sub-Saharan Africa. However, most study designs ignore the effects of these regimens on peripheral parasitaemia in the first 24 hours of therapy. The study protocol was designed to evaluate more closely the early effects and the standard measures of efficacies of these two regimens. Methods In an open label, randomized controlled clinical trial, children aged 12 months to 132 months were randomized to receive AL (5-14 kg, one tablet; 15-24 kg, two tablets and 25-34 kg, three tablets twice daily) or artesunate (4 mg/kg daily) plus amodiaquine (10 mg/kg daily) for three days. Peripheral blood smears were made hourly in the first 4 hours, 8 h, 16 h, 24 h, and daily on days 2-7, and on days 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 for microscopic identification and quantification of Plasmodium falciparum. Results A total of 193 children were randomized to receive either AL (97) or AA (96). In children that received both medications, early response of peripheral parasitaemia showed that 42% of children who received AL and 36.7% of those who received AA had an immediate rise in peripheral parasitaemia (0-4 h after treatment) followed by a rapid fall. The rise in parasitaemia was significant and seems to suggest a mobilization of asexual parasites from the deep tissues to the periphery. Days 3, 7, 14, 28, and 42 cure rates in the per protocol (PP) population were > 90% in both groups of children. Both drug combinations were well tolerated with minimal side effects. Conclusion The study showed the high efficacy of AL and AA in Nigerian children. In addition the study demonstrated the mobilisation of asexual parasites from the deep to the periphery in the early hours of commencing ACT treatment in a subset of patients in both study groups. It is unclear whether the early parasite dynamics discovered in this study play any role in the development of drug resistance and thus it is important to further evaluate this discovery. It may be useful for studies investigating delay in parasite clearance of artemisinin derivatives as a way of monitoring the development of resistance to artemisinin to assess the early effects of the drugs on the parasites.
Malaria is still a major threat in many parts of the world with resistance spreading to almost all classes of antimalarials. The limited arsenal of available antimalarial drugs emphasizes the urgent need for novel antimalarial compounds. Owing to the fact that novel leads from nature have traditionally played a pivotal role in the development of various classes of antimalarials, we investigated a set of eight naturally occurring dietary flavonoids and their analogues for their antiplasmodial activity on clinical field isolates in southeastern Bangladesh and culture-adapted chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant parasite clones. Except for taxifolin, all the other flavonoids had 50% inhibitory concentrations below 14 ?M, both in the field and laboratory-adapted parasites. Neither of the flavonoids showed any activity correlation with chloroquine. The quercetin analogue rutin (7.10?±?10.32 ?M) was the most active substance in field isolates as well as laboratory-adapted cultures (3.53?±?13.34 ?M in 3D7 and 10.38?±?15.08 ?M in K1), providing the first evidence of its activity against Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Thus, our results provide important evidence of the antimalarial activity of flavonoids in traditional use and thus warrant further investigation of these compounds as potential antiplasmodial agents. PMID:22215188
Ganesh, Deepa; Fuehrer, Hans-Peter; Starzengrüber, Peter; Swoboda, Paul; Khan, Wasif Ali; Reismann, Johannes A B; Mueller, Milena S K; Chiba, Peter; Noedl, Harald
Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites pose a threat to effective drug control, even to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Here we used linkage group selection and Solexa whole-genome resequencing to investigate the genetic basis of resistance to component drugs of ACTs. Using the rodent malaria parasite P. chabaudi, we analyzed the uncloned progeny of a genetic backcross between the mefloquine-, lumefantrine-, and artemisinin-resistant mutant AS-15MF and a genetically distinct sensitive clone, AJ, following drug treatment. Genomewide scans of selection showed that parasites surviving each drug treatment bore a duplication of a segment of chromosome 12 (translocated to chromosome 04) present in AS-15MF. Whole-genome resequencing identified the size of the duplicated segment and its position on chromosome 4. The duplicated fragment extends for ?393 kbp and contains over 100 genes, including mdr1, encoding the multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein homologue 1. We therefore show that resistance to chemically distinct components of ACTs is mediated by the same genetic mutation, highlighting a possible limitation of these therapies.
Borges, Sofia; Cravo, Pedro; Creasey, Alison; Fawcett, Richard; Modrzynska, Katarzyna; Rodrigues, Louise; Martinelli, Axel; Hunt, Paul
Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites pose a threat to effective drug control, even to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Here we used linkage group selection and Solexa whole-genome resequencing to investigate the genetic basis of resistance to component drugs of ACTs. Using the rodent malaria parasite P. chabaudi, we analyzed the uncloned progeny of a genetic backcross between the mefloquine-, lumefantrine-, and artemisinin-resistant mutant AS-15MF and a genetically distinct sensitive clone, AJ, following drug treatment. Genomewide scans of selection showed that parasites surviving each drug treatment bore a duplication of a segment of chromosome 12 (translocated to chromosome 04) present in AS-15MF. Whole-genome resequencing identified the size of the duplicated segment and its position on chromosome 4. The duplicated fragment extends for ?393 kbp and contains over 100 genes, including mdr1, encoding the multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein homologue 1. We therefore show that resistance to chemically distinct components of ACTs is mediated by the same genetic mutation, highlighting a possible limitation of these therapies. PMID:21709099
Borges, Sofia; Cravo, Pedro; Creasey, Alison; Fawcett, Richard; Modrzynska, Katarzyna; Rodrigues, Louise; Martinelli, Axel; Hunt, Paul
We have previously shown that orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) and orotidine 5'-monophosphate decarboxylase (OMPDC) in human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum form an enzyme complex, containing two subunits each of OPRT and OMPDC. To enable further characterization, we expressed and purified P. falciparum OPRT-OMPDC enzyme complex in Escherichia coli. The OPRT and OMPDC activities of the enzyme complex co-eluted in the chromatographic columns used during purification. Kinetic parameters (K(m), k(cat) and k(cat)/K(m)) of the enzyme complex were 5- to 125-folds higher compared to the monofunctional enzyme. Interestingly, pyrophosphate was a potent inhibitor to the enzyme complex, but had a slightly inhibitory effect for the monofunctional enzyme. The enzyme complex resisted thermal inactivation at higher temperature than the monofunctional OPRT and OMPDC. The result suggests that the OPRT-OMPDC enzyme complex might have kinetic benefits and thermal stability significantly different from the monofunctional enzyme. PMID:19800871
Kanchanaphum, Panan; Krungkrai, Jerapan
Within hours after the ingestion of a blood meal, the mosquito midgut epithelium synthesizes a chitinous sac, the peritrophic matrix. Plasmodium ookinetes traverse the peritrophic matrix while escaping the mosquito midgut. Chitinases (EC 22.214.171.124) are critical for parasite invasion of the midgut: the presence of the chitinase inhibitor, allosamidin, in an infectious blood meal prevents oocyst development. A chitinase gene, PgCHT1, recently has been identified in the avian malaria parasite P. gallinaceum. We used the sequence of PgCHT1 to identify a P. falciparum chitinase gene, PfCHT1, in the P. falciparum genome database. PfCHT1 differs from PgCHT1 in that the P. falciparum gene lacks proenzyme and chitin-binding domains. PfCHT1 was expressed as an active recombinant enzyme in Escherichia coli. PfCHT1 shares with PgCHT1 a substrate preference unique to Plasmodium chitinases: the enzymes cleave tri- and tetramers of GlcNAc from penta- and hexameric oligomers and are unable to cleave smaller native chitin oligosaccharides. The pH activity profile of PfCHT1 and its IC50 (40 nM) to allosamidin are distinct from endochitinase activities secreted by P. gallinaceum ookinetes. Homology modeling predicts that PgCHT1 has a novel pocket in the catalytic active site that PfCHT1 lacks, which may explain the differential sensitivity of PfCHT1 and PgCHT1 to allosamidin. PfCHT1 may be the ortholog of a second, as yet unidentified, chitinase gene of P. gallinaceum. These results may allow us to develop novel strategies of blocking human malaria transmission based on interfering with P. falciparum chitinase.
Vinetz, Joseph M.; Dave, Sanat K.; Specht, Charles A.; Brameld, Kenneth A.; Xu, Bo; Hayward, Rhian; Fidock, David A.
Malaria parasites retain a relict plastid (apicoplast) from a photosynthetic ancestor shared with dinoflagellate algae. The apicoplast is a useful drug target; blocking housekeeping pathways such as genome replication and translation in the organelle kills parasites and protects against malaria. The apicoplast of Plasmodium falciparum encodes 30 proteins and a suite of rRNAs and tRNAs that facilitate their expression. orf105 is a hypothetical apicoplast gene that would encode a small protein (PfOrf105) with a predicted C-terminal transmembrane domain. We produced antisera to a predicted peptide within PfOrf105. Western blot analysis confirmed expression of orf105 and immunofluorescence localised the gene product to the apicoplast. Pforf105 encodes a membrane protein that has an apparent mass of 17.5 kDa and undergoes substantial turnover during the 48-hour asexual life cycle of the parasite in blood stages. The effect of actinonin, an antimalarial with a putative impact on post-translational modification of apicoplast proteins like PfOrf105, was examined. Unlike other drugs perturbing apicoplast housekeeping that induce delayed death, actinonin kills parasites immediately and has an identical drug exposure phenotype to the isopentenyl diphosphate synthesis blocker fosmidomycin. Open reading frames of similar size to PfOrf105, which also have predicted C-terminal trans membrane domains, occur in syntenic positions in all sequenced apicoplast genomes from Phylum Apicomplexa. We therefore propose to name these genes ycf93 (hypothetical chloroplast reading frame 93) according to plastid gene nomenclature convention for conserved proteins of unknown function.
Goodman, Christopher D.; McFadden, Geoffrey I.
The M17 leucine aminopeptidase of the intraerythrocytic stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (PfLAP) plays a role in releasing amino acids from host hemoglobin that are used for parasite protein synthesis, growth, and development. This enzyme represents a target at which new antimalarials could be designed since metalloaminopeptidase inhibitors prevent the growth of the parasites in vitro and in vivo. A study on the metal ion binding characteristics of recombinant P. falciparum M17 leucine aminopeptidase (rPfLAP) shows that the active site of this exopeptidase contains two metal-binding sites, a readily exchangeable site (site 1) and a tight binding site (site 2). The enzyme retains activity when the metal ion is removed from site 1, while removal of metal ions from both sites results in an inactive apoenzyme that cannot be reactivated by the addition of divalent metal cations. The metal ion at site 1 is readily exchangeable with several divalent metal ions and displays a preference in the order of preference Zn(2+) > Mn(2+) > Co(2+) > Mg(2+). While it is likely that native PfLAP contains a Zn(2+) in site 2, the metal ion located in site 1 may be dependent on the type and concentration of metal ions in the cytosolic compartment of the parasite. Importantly, the type of metal ion present at site 1 influences not only the catalytic efficiency of the enzyme for peptide substrates but also the mode of binding by bestatin, a metal-chelating inhibitor of M17 aminopeptidases with antimalarial activity. PMID:19408962
Maric, Selma; Donnelly, Sheila M; Robinson, Mark W; Skinner-Adams, Tina; Trenholme, Katharine R; Gardiner, Donald L; Dalton, John P; Stack, Colin M; Lowther, Jonathan
Malaria parasites retain a relict plastid (apicoplast) from a photosynthetic ancestor shared with dinoflagellate algae. The apicoplast is a useful drug target; blocking housekeeping pathways such as genome replication and translation in the organelle kills parasites and protects against malaria. The apicoplast of Plasmodium falciparum encodes 30 proteins and a suite of rRNAs and tRNAs that facilitate their expression. orf105 is a hypothetical apicoplast gene that would encode a small protein (PfOrf105) with a predicted C-terminal transmembrane domain. We produced antisera to a predicted peptide within PfOrf105. Western blot analysis confirmed expression of orf105 and immunofluorescence localised the gene product to the apicoplast. Pforf105 encodes a membrane protein that has an apparent mass of 17.5 kDa and undergoes substantial turnover during the 48-hour asexual life cycle of the parasite in blood stages. The effect of actinonin, an antimalarial with a putative impact on post-translational modification of apicoplast proteins like PfOrf105, was examined. Unlike other drugs perturbing apicoplast housekeeping that induce delayed death, actinonin kills parasites immediately and has an identical drug exposure phenotype to the isopentenyl diphosphate synthesis blocker fosmidomycin. Open reading frames of similar size to PfOrf105, which also have predicted C-terminal trans membrane domains, occur in syntenic positions in all sequenced apicoplast genomes from Phylum Apicomplexa. We therefore propose to name these genes ycf93 (hypothetical chloroplast reading frame 93) according to plastid gene nomenclature convention for conserved proteins of unknown function. PMID:24705170
Goodman, Christopher D; McFadden, Geoffrey I
We report two improved assays for in vitro and in vivo screening of chemicals with potential anti-malarial activity against the blood stages of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodiumberghei. These assays are based on the determination of luciferase activity (luminescence) in small blood samples containing transgenic blood stage parasites that express luciferase under the control of a promoter that is either
B. Franke-Fayard; D. Djokovic; M. W. Dooren; J. Ramesar; A. P. Waters; M. O. Falade; M. Kranendonk; A. Martinelli; P. Cravo; C. J. Janse
Combining Parasite Lactate Dehydrogenase-Based and Histidine-Rich Protein 2-Based Rapid Tests To Improve Specificity for Diagnosis of Malaria Due to Plasmodium knowlesi and Other Plasmodium Species in Sabah, Malaysia.
Plasmodium knowlesi causes severe and fatal malaria in Malaysia. Microscopic misdiagnosis is common and may delay appropriate treatment. P. knowlesi can cross-react with "species-specific" parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) monoclonal antibodies used in rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to detect P. falciparum and P. vivax. At one tertiary-care hospital and two district hospitals in Sabah, we prospectively evaluated two combination RDTs for malaria diagnosis by using both a pan-Plasmodium-pLDH (pan-pLDH)/P. falciparum-specific-pLDH (Pf-pLDH) RDT (OptiMAL-IT) and a non-P. falciparum VOM-pLDH/Pf-HRP2 RDT (CareStart). Differential cross-reactivity among these combinations was hypothesized to differentiate P. knowlesi from other Plasmodium monoinfections. Among 323 patients with PCR-confirmed P. knowlesi (n = 193), P. falciparum (n = 93), and P. vivax (n = 37) monoinfections, the VOM-pLDH individual component had the highest sensitivity for nonsevere (35%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 27 to 43%) and severe (92%; CI, 81 to 100%) P. knowlesi malaria. CareStart demonstrated a P. knowlesi sensitivity of 42% (CI, 34 to 49%) and specificity of 74% (CI, 65 to 82%), a P. vivax sensitivity of 83% (CI, 66 to 93%) and specificity of 71% (CI, 65 to 76%), and a P. falciparum sensitivity of 97% (CI, 90 to 99%) and specificity of 99% (CI, 97 to 100%). OptiMAL-IT demonstrated a P. knowlesi sensitivity of 32% (CI, 25 to 39%) and specificity of 21% (CI, 15 to 29%), a P. vivax sensitivity of 60% (CI, 42 to 75%) and specificity of 97% (CI, 94 to 99%), and a P. falciparum sensitivity of 82% (CI, 72 to 89%) and specificity of 39% (CI, 33 to 46%). The combination of CareStart plus OptiMAL-IT for P. knowlesi using predefined criteria gave a sensitivity of 25% (CI, 19 to 32%) and specificity of 97% (CI, 92 to 99%). Combining two RDT combinations was highly specific for P. knowlesi malaria diagnosis; however, sensitivity was poor. The specificity of pLDH RDTs was decreased for P. vivax and P. falciparum because of P. knowlesi cross-reactivity and cautions against their use alone in areas where P. knowlesi malaria is endemic. Sensitive P. knowlesi-specific RDTs and/or alternative molecular diagnostic tools are needed in areas where P. knowlesi malaria is endemic. PMID:24696029
Grigg, Matthew J; William, Timothy; Barber, Bridget E; Parameswaran, Uma; Bird, Elspeth; Piera, Kim; Aziz, Ammar; Dhanaraj, Prabakaran; Yeo, Tsin W; Anstey, Nicholas M
The detection and quantification of Plasmodium falciparum in studies of malaria endemicity primarily relies upon microscopy. High-throughput quantitative methods with less subjectivity and greater reliability are needed for investigational studies. The staining of parasitized erythrocytes with YOYO-1 for flow cytometry bears great potential as a tool for assessing malaria parasite burden. Capillary blood was collected from children presenting to the pediatric ward of the Manhiça District Hospital in Mozambique for parasitemia assessment by thick and thin blood films, flow cytometry (YOYO-1530/585), and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Whole blood was fixed and stained with YOYO-1 for acquisition on a cytometer to assess the frequency of infected erythrocyte events. qRT-PCR was used as the gold standard for the detection of P. falciparum. The YOYO-1530/585 method was as sensitive and specific as conventional microscopy (area under the receiver operating characteristic, 0.9 for both methods). The interrater mean difference for YOYO-1530/585 was near zero. Parasite density using flow cytometry and complete blood counts returned density estimates with a mean difference 2.2 times greater than results by microscopy (confidence interval, 1.46 to 3.60) but with limits of agreement between 10 times lower and 50 times higher than those of microscopy. The YOYO-1530/585 staining pattern was established exactly as demonstrated in animal models, but the assay was limited by the lack of appropriate negative-control samples for establishing background levels and the definition of positives in areas in which malaria is endemic. YOYO-1530/585 is a high-throughput tool with great potential if the limitations of negative controls and heterogeneous levels of background signal can be overcome.
Campo, Joseph J.; Aponte, John J.; Nhabomba, Augusto J.; Sacarlal, Jahit; Angulo-Barturen, Inigo; Jimenez-Diaz, Maria Belen; Alonso, Pedro L.; Dobano, Carlota
Plasmodium falciparum reticulocyte binding-like homologous protein 5 (PfRH5) is an essential merozoite ligand that binds with its erythrocyte receptor, basigin. PfRH5 is an attractive malaria vaccine candidate, as it is expressed by a wide number of P. falciparum strains, cannot be genetically disrupted, and exhibits limited sequence polymorphisms. Viral vector-induced PfRH5 antibodies potently inhibited erythrocyte invasion. However, it has been a challenge to generate full-length recombinant PfRH5 in a bacterial-cell-based expression system. In this study, we have produced full-length recombinant PfRH5 in Escherichia coli that exhibits specific erythrocyte binding similar to that of the native PfRH5 parasite protein and also, importantly, elicits potent invasion-inhibitory antibodies against a number of P. falciparum strains. Antibasigin antibodies blocked the erythrocyte binding of both native and recombinant PfRH5, further confirming that they bind with basigin. We have thus successfully produced full-length PfRH5 as a functionally active erythrocyte binding recombinant protein with a conformational integrity that mimics that of the native parasite protein and elicits potent strain-transcending parasite-neutralizing antibodies. P. falciparum has the capability to develop immune escape mechanisms, and thus, blood-stage malaria vaccines that target multiple antigens or pathways may prove to be highly efficacious. In this regard, antibody combinations targeting PfRH5 and other key merozoite antigens produced potent additive inhibition against multiple worldwide P. falciparum strains. PfRH5 was immunogenic when immunized with other antigens, eliciting potent invasion-inhibitory antibody responses with no immune interference. Our results strongly support the development of PfRH5 as a component of a combination blood-stage malaria vaccine.
Reddy, K. Sony; Pandey, Alok K.; Singh, Hina; Sahar, Tajali; Emmanuel, Amlabu; Chitnis, Chetan E.; Chauhan, Virander S.
PFGCN20 is a member of the ATP-binding cassette family of proteins that is closely related to the yeast translational regulator Gcn20p. We have generated a polyclonal antibody against the N-terminal region of PFGCN20 and studied the cellular localization of PFGCN20 throughout the erythrocytic life cycle of Plasmodium falciparum. PFGCN20 was found to be present at all stages and a pronounced export of PFGCN20 into the erythrocyte was observed in the trophozoite and schizont stages. In the indirect immunofluorescence assay, PFGCN20 was found to display significant colocalization with antigens detected by the monoclonal antibody 41E11. In contrast, there was only a minimal overlap of PFGCN20 localization with EMP2 and HRP2. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated a pronounced accumulation of PFGCN20 in the lumen of the parasitophorous vacuole and deconvolution fluorescence microscopy showed membrane association with selective regions of a tubovesicular network in the red cell. We also observed a concentration of PFGCN20 in electron-dense plaques just underneath the parasite's plasma membrane and an association of PFGCN20 with cytoplasmic vesicular structures within the parasite. The observed export of PFGCN20 and its association with the tubovesicular network in host red cells, may be indicative of the fact that PFGCN20 functions as ATP-binding subunit of an unknown multimeric ABC-transporter. The cytoplasmic localization of PFGCN20 in the parasite, however, suggests that the involvement of PFGCN20 in translational regulation or other cytoplasmic biological functions cannot be ruled out. PMID:9879889
Bozdech, Z; VanWye, J; Haldar, K; Schurr, E
Background Areas endemic for malaria and Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection largely overlap geographically. A recent study has suggested the existence of an interaction between the two pathogens in symptomatic co-infected individuals on the South-American continent. We examined this issue in a hyperendemic area for both pathogens in sub-Saharan Africa. Methodology and Findings Pre-transfusion samples from a retrospective cohort of 154 blood transfusion recipients were screened for both serological and molecular markers of HBV and Plasmodium genomes using species-specific nested PCR and quantitative real-time PCR. Thirty-seven individuals met exclusion criteria and were subsequently eliminated from further analysis. Of 117 participants, 90% of recipients exhibited evidence of exposure to HBV, 42% with HBsAg and/or HBV DNA and 48% anti-HBc reactive without detectable HBV DNA. Plasmodium genome prevalence by NAT was 50%. Parasitemic individuals were significantly younger than non-parasitemic individuals (P?=?0.04). Parasitemia level was not significantly lower in individuals with HBV DNA positive infections compared to those with HBV DNA negative exposures. HBV DNA load was not significantly different in parasitemic and non-parasitemic individuals. Conclusion The data presented suggests that, in sub-Saharan Africa, asymptomatic co-infections with these two ubiquitous pathogens do not appear to significantly affect each other and evolve independently.
Freimanis, Graham Lee; Owusu-Ofori, Shirley; Allain, Jean-Pierre
Atg8 is a ubiquitin-like autophagy protein in eukaryotes that is covalently attached (lipidated) to the elongating autophagosomal membrane. Autophagy is increasingly appreciated as a target in diverse diseases from cancer to eukaryotic parasitic infections. Some of the autophagy machinery is conserved in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium. Although Atg8's function in the parasite is not well understood, it is essential for Plasmodium growth and survival and partially localizes to the apicoplast, an indispensable organelle in apicomplexans. Here, we describe the identification of inhibitors from the Malaria Medicine Venture Malaria Box against the interaction of PfAtg8 with its E2-conjugating enzyme, PfAtg3, by surface plasmon resonance. Inhibition of this protein-protein interaction prevents PfAtg8 lipidation with phosphatidylethanolamine. These small molecule inhibitors share a common scaffold and have activity against both blood and liver stages of infection by Plasmodium falciparum. We have derivatized this scaffold into a functional platform for further optimization. PMID:24786226
Hain, Adelaide U P; Bartee, David; Sanders, Natalie G; Miller, Alexia S; Sullivan, David J; Levitskaya, Jelena; Meyers, Caren Freel; Bosch, Jürgen
We report two improved assays for in vitro and in vivo screening of chemicals with potential anti-malarial activity against the blood stages of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodiumberghei. These assays are based on the determination of luciferase activity (luminescence) in small blood samples containing transgenic blood stage parasites that express luciferase under the control of a promoter that is either schizont-specific (ama-1) or constitutive (eef1alphaa). Assay 1, the in vitro drug luminescence (ITDL) assay, measured the success of schizont maturation in the presence of candidate drugs quantifying luciferase activity in mature schizonts only (ama-1 promoter). The ITDL assay generated drug-inhibition curves and EC(50) values comparable to those obtained with standard in vitro drug-susceptibility assays. The second assay, the in vivo drug-luminescence (IVDL) assay, measured parasite growth in vivo in a standard 4-day suppressive drug test, monitored by measuring the constitutive luciferase activity of circulating parasites (eef1alphaa promoter). The IVDL assay generates growth-curves that are identical to those obtained by manual counting of parasites in Giemsa-stained smears. The reading of luminescence assays is rapid, requires a minimal number of handling steps and no experience with parasite morphology or handling fluorescence-activated cell sorters, produces no radioactive waste and test-plates can be stored for prolonged periods before processing. Both tests are suitable for use in larger-scale in vitro and in vivo screening of drugs. The standard methodology of anti-malarial drug screening and validation, which includes testing in rodent models of malaria, can be improved by the incorporation of such assays. PMID:18590736
Franke-Fayard, B; Djokovic, D; Dooren, M W; Ramesar, J; Waters, A P; Falade, M O; Kranendonk, M; Martinelli, A; Cravo, P; Janse, C J
Effects of transmission reduction by insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) on parasite genetics population structure: I. The genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum parasites by microsatellite markers in western Kenya
Background Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) reduce malaria transmission and are an important prevention tool. However, there are still information gaps on how the reduction in malaria transmission by ITNs affects parasite genetics population structure. This study examined the relationship between transmission reduction from ITN use and the population genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum in an area of high ITN coverage in western Kenya. Methods Parasite genetic diversity was assessed by scoring eight single copy neutral multilocus microsatellite (MS) markers in samples collected from P. falciparum-infected children (< five years) before introduction of ITNs (1996, baseline, n = 69) and five years after intervention (2001, follow-up, n = 74). Results There were no significant changes in overall high mixed infections and unbiased expected heterozygosity between baseline (%MA = 94% and He = 0.75) and follow up (%MA = 95% and He = 0.79) years. However, locus specific analysis detected significant differences for some individual loci between the two time points. Pfg377 loci, a gametocyte-specific MS marker showed significant increase in mixed infections and He in the follow up survey (%MA = 53% and He = 0.57) compared to the baseline (%MA = 30% and He = 0.29). An opposite trend was observed in the erythrocyte binding protein (EBP) MS marker. There was moderate genetic differentiation at the Pfg377 and TAA60 loci (FST = 0.117 and 0.137 respectively) between the baseline and post-ITN parasite populations. Further analysis revealed linkage disequilibrium (LD) of the microsatellites in the baseline (14 significant pair-wise tests and ISA = 0.016) that was broken in the follow up parasite population (6 significant pairs and ISA = 0.0003). The locus specific change in He, the moderate population differentiation and break in LD between the baseline and follow up years suggest an underlying change in population sub-structure despite the stability in the overall genetic diversity and multiple infection levels. Conclusions The results from this study suggest that although P. falciparum population maintained an overall stability in genetic diversity after five years of high ITN coverage, there was significant locus specific change associated with gametocytes, marking these for further investigation.
Background Malaria remains a disease of devastating global impact, killing more than 800,000 people every year—the vast majority being children under the age of 5. While effective therapies are available, if malaria is to be eradicated a broader range of small molecule therapeutics that are able to target the liver and the transmissible sexual stages are required. These new medicines are needed both to meet the challenge of malaria eradication and to circumvent resistance. Methods and Findings Little is known about the wider stage-specific activities of current antimalarials that were primarily designed to alleviate symptoms of malaria in the blood stage. To overcome this critical gap, we developed assays to measure activity of antimalarials against all life stages of malaria parasites, using a diverse set of human and nonhuman parasite species, including male gamete production (exflagellation) in Plasmodium falciparum, ookinete development in P. berghei, oocyst development in P. berghei and P. falciparum, and the liver stage of P. yoelii. We then compared 50 current and experimental antimalarials in these assays. We show that endoperoxides such as OZ439, a stable synthetic molecule currently in clinical phase IIa trials, are strong inhibitors of gametocyte maturation/gamete formation and impact sporogony; lumefantrine impairs development in the vector; and NPC-1161B, a new 8-aminoquinoline, inhibits sporogony. Conclusions These data enable objective comparisons of the strengths and weaknesses of each chemical class at targeting each stage of the lifecycle. Noting that the activities of many compounds lie within achievable blood concentrations, these results offer an invaluable guide to decisions regarding which drugs to combine in the next-generation of antimalarial drugs. This study might reveal the potential of life-cycle–wide analyses of drugs for other pathogens with complex life cycles. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Delves, Michael; Plouffe, David; Scheurer, Christian; Meister, Stephan; Wittlin, Sergio; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.; Sinden, Robert E.; Leroy, Didier
Protective immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria acquired after natural exposure is largely antibody mediated. IgG-specific P. falciparum EMP1 (PfEMP1) proteins on the infected erythrocyte surface are particularly important. The transient antibody responses and the slowly acquired protective immunity probably reflect the clonal antigenic variation and allelic polymorphism of PfEMP1. However, it is likely that other immune-evasive mechanisms are also involved, such as interference with formation and maintenance of immunological memory. We measured PfEMP1-specific antibody levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and memory B-cell frequencies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay in a cohort of P. falciparum-exposed nonpregnant Ghanaian women. The antigens used were a VAR2CSA-type PfEMP1 (IT4VAR04) with expression restricted to parasites infecting the placenta, as well as two commonly recognized PfEMP1 proteins (HB3VAR06 and IT4VAR60) implicated in rosetting and not pregnancy restricted. This enabled, for the first time, a direct comparison in the same individuals of immune responses specific for a clinically important parasite antigen expressed only during well-defined periods (pregnancy) to responses specific for comparable antigens expressed independent of pregnancy. Our data indicate that PfEMP1-specific B-cell memory is adequately acquired even when antigen exposure is infrequent (e.g., VAR2CSA-type PfEMP1). Furthermore, immunological memory specific for VAR2CSA-type PfEMP1 can be maintained for many years without antigen reexposure and after circulating antigen-specific IgG has disappeared. The study provides evidence that natural exposure to P. falciparum leads to formation of durable B-cell immunity to clinically important PfEMP1 antigens. This has encouraging implications for current efforts to develop PfEMP1-based vaccines.
Ampomah, Paulina; Stevenson, Liz; Ofori, Michael F.; Barfod, Lea
Indole compounds are involved in a range of functions in many organisms. In the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, melatonin and other tryptophan derivatives are able to modulate its intraerythrocytic cycle, increasing the schizont population as well as parasitemia, likely through ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) gene regulation. In plants, melatonin regulates root development, in a similar way to that described for indoleacetic acid, suggesting that melatonin and indoleacetic acid could co-participate in some physiological processes due to structural similarities. In the present work, we evaluate whether the chemical structure similarity found in indoleacetic acid and melatonin can lead to similar effects in Arabidopsis thaliana lateral root formation and P. falciparum cell cycle modulation, as well as in the UPS of gene regulation, by qRT-PCR. Our data show that P. falciparum is not able to respond to indoleacetic acid either in the modulation of the intraerythrocytic cycle or in the gene regulation mediated by the UPS as observed for melatonin. The similarities of these indole compounds are not sufficient to confer synergistic functions in P. falciparum cell cycle modulation, but could interplay in A. thaliana lateral root formation. PMID:24102716
Koyama, Fernanda C; Carvalho, Thais L G; Alves, Eduardo; da Silva, Henrique B; de Azevedo, Mauro F; Hemerly, Adriana S; Garcia, Célia R S
Malaria transmission occurs by intradermal deposition of Plasmodium sporozoites during the infectious bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. After formation in midgut-associated oocysts sporozoites actively enter mosquito salivary glands and subsequently invade host hepatocytes where they transform into clinically silent liver stages. To date, two sporozoite-specific transmembrane proteins have been identified that perform vital functions in natural malaria transmission. The sporozoite invasin TRAP drives sporozoite motility and target cell entry whereas the adhesin MAEBL mediates sporozoite recognition of and attachment to salivary glands. Here, we demonstrate that the sporozoite-specific transmembrane protein S6 is required for efficient malaria transmission to the vertebrate host. Targeted deletion of S6 results in severe impairment of sporozoite gliding motility and invasion of mosquito salivary glands. During sporozoite maturation S6 expression is tightly regulated by transcriptional and translational control. We propose that S6 functions together with TRAP/MIC2 family invasins to direct fast, efficient and specific cell entry and, ultimately, life cycle progression of the malaria sporozoite.
Steinbuechel, Marion; Matuschewski, Kai
Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains one of the world's leading causes of human suffering and poverty. Each year, the disease takes 1–3 million lives, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. The adhesion of infected erythrocytes (IEs) to vascular endothelium or placenta is the key event in the pathogenesis of severe P. falciparum infection. In pregnant women, the parasites express a single and unique member of the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) family named VAR2CSA, which is associated with the ability of the IEs to adhere specifically to chondroitin sulphate A (CSA) in the placenta. Several Duffy-binding-like domains from VAR2CSA molecules have been shown in vitro to bind to CSA, but it has also been demonstrated that Duffy-binding-like domains from PfEMP1 proteins other than VAR2CSA can bind CSA. In addition, the specificity of the binding of VAR2CSA domains to glycosaminoglycans does not match that of VAR2CSA-expressing IEs. This has led to speculation that the domains of native VAR2CSA need to come together to form a specific binding site or that VAR2CSA might bind to CSA through a bridging molecule. Here, we describe the expression and purification of the complete extracellular region of VAR2CSA secreted at high yields from insect cells. Using surface plasmon resonance, we demonstrate that VAR2CSA alone binds with nanomolar affinity to human chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan and with significantly weaker affinity to other glycosaminoglycans, showing a specificity similar to that observed for IEs. Antibodies raised against full-length VAR2CSA completely inhibit recombinant VAR2CSA binding, as well as parasite binding to chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan. This is the first study to describe the successful production and functionality of a full-length PfEMP1. The specificity of the binding and anti-adhesion potency of induced IgG, together with high-yield production, encourages the use of full-length PfEMP1 in vaccine development strategies.
Khunrae, Pongsak; Dahlback, Madeleine; Nielsen, Morten A.; Andersen, Gorm; Ditlev, Sisse B.; Resende, Mafalda; Pinto, Vera V.; Theander, Thor G.; Higgins, Matthew K.; Salanti, Ali
Background Rapid diagnostic test (RDT) is an important tool for parasite-based malaria diagnosis. High specificity of RDTs to distinguish an active Plasmodium falciparum infection from residual antigens from a previous infection is crucial in endemic areas where residents are repeatedly exposed to malaria. The efficiency of two RDTs based on histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) antigens were studied and compared with two microscopy techniques (Giemsa and acridine orange-stained blood smears) and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for assessment of initial clearance and detection of recurrent P. falciparum infections after artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in a moderately high endemic area of rural Tanzania. Methods In this exploratory study 53 children?42) and seven (two to 14) days for HRP2 and LDH-based RDTs, two (one to seven) and two (one to 14) days for Giemsa and acridine orange-stained blood smear and two (one to 28) days for real-time PCR. RDT specificity against Giemsa-stained blood smear microscopy was 21% for HRP2 on day 14, reaching 87% on day 42, and ?96% from day 14 to 42 for LDH. There was no significant correlation between parasite density at enrolment and duration of HRP2 positivity (r?=?0.13, p?=?0.34). Recurrent malaria infections occurred in ten (19%) children. The HRP2 and LDH-based RDTs did not detect eight and two of the recurrent infections, respectively. Conclusion The LDH-based RDT was superior to HRP2-based for monitoring of treatment outcome and detection of recurrent infections after ACT in this moderately high transmission setting. The results may have implications for the choice of RDT devices in similar transmission settings for improved malaria case management. Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT01843764
The merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) is the principal surface antigen of the blood stage form of the Plasmodium parasite. Antibodies recognizing MSP1 are frequently detected following Plasmodium infection, making this protein a significant component of malaria vaccines and diagnostic tests. Although the MSP1 gene sequence has been reported for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, this gene has not been identified for the other two major human-infectious species, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale. MSP1 genes from these two species were isolated from Cameroon blood donor samples. The genes are similar in size to known MSP1 genes and encode proteins with interspecies conserved domains homologous to those identified in other Plasmodium species. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis of all available Plasmodium MSP1 amino acid sequences clearly shows that the Po and Pm MSP1 sequences are truly unique within the Plasmodium genus and not simply Pf or Pv variants. PMID:20519591
Birkenmeyer, Larry; Muerhoff, A Scott; Dawson, George J; Desai, Suresh M
Malaria remains a global problem in the light of chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum. New compounds are needed for the development of novel antimalarial drugs. Seed, leaf, and fruit skin extracts of Lansium domesticum, a common fruit tree in South-East Asia, are used by indigenous tribes in Sabah, Malaysia for treating malaria. The skin and aqueous leaf extracts of the tree were found to reduce parasite populations of the drug sensitive strain (3D7) and the chloroquine-resistant strain (T9) of P. falciparum equally well. The skin extracts were also found to interrupt the lifecycle of the parasite. The data reported here indicate that extracts of L. domesticum are a potential source for compounds with activity towards chloroquine-resistant strains of P. falciparum. PMID:12576213
Yapp, Donald T T; Yap, S Y
The Clinical-Grade 42-Kilodalton Fragment of Merozoite Surface Protein 1 of Plasmodium falciparum Strain FVO Expressed in Escherichia coli Protects Aotus nancymai against Challenge with Homologous Erythrocytic-Stage Parasites
A 42-kDa fragment from the C terminus of major merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) is among the leading malaria vaccine candidates that target infection by asexual erythrocytic-stage malaria parasites. The MSP142 gene fragment from the Vietnam-Oak Knoll (FVO) strain of Plasmodium falciparum was expressed as a soluble protein in Escherichia coli and purified according to good manufacturing practices. This clinical-grade recombinant protein retained some important elements of correct structure, as it was reactive with several functional, conformation-dependent monoclonal antibodies raised against P. falciparum malaria parasites, it induced antibodies (Abs) that were reactive to parasites in immunofluorescent Ab tests, and it induced strong growth and invasion inhibitory antisera in New Zealand White rabbits. The antigen quality was further evaluated by vaccinating Aotus nancymai monkeys and challenging them with homologous P. falciparum FVO erythrocytic-stage malaria parasites. The trial included two control groups, one vaccinated with the sexual-stage-specific antigen of Plasmodium vivax, Pvs25, as a negative control, and the other vaccinated with baculovirus-expressed MSP142 (FVO) as a positive control. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) Ab titers induced by E. coli MSP142 were significantly higher than those induced by the baculovirus-expressed antigen. None of the six monkeys that were vaccinated with the E. coli MSP142 antigen required treatment for uncontrolled parasitemia, but two required treatment for anemia. Protective immunity in these monkeys correlated with the ELISA Ab titer against the p19 fragment and the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domain 2 fragment of MSP142, but not the MSP142 protein itself or the EGF-like domain 1 fragment. Soluble MSP142 (FVO) expressed in E. coli offers excellent promise as a component of a vaccine against erythrocytic-stage falciparum malaria.
Darko, Christian A.; Angov, Evelina; Collins, William E.; Bergmann-Leitner, Elke S.; Girouard, Autumn S.; Hitt, Stacy L.; McBride, Jana S.; Diggs, Carter L.; Holder, Anthony A.; Long, Carole A.; Barnwell, John W.; Lyon, Jeffrey A.
BACKGROUND: The wide use of gametocytocidal artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) lead to a reduction of Plasmodium falciparum transmission in several African endemic settings. An increased impact on malaria burden may be achieved through the development of improved transmission-blocking formulations, including molecules complementing the gametocytocidal effects of artemisinin derivatives and\\/or acting on Plasmodium stages developing in the vector. Azadirachtin, a limonoid
Leonardo Lucantoni; Rakiswendé S Yerbanga; Giulio Lupidi; Luciano Pasqualini; Fulvio Esposito; Annette Habluetzel
Combination of Drug Level Measurement and Parasite Genotyping Data for Improved Assessment of Amodiaquine and Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine Efficacies in Treating Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Gabonese Children
Many African countries currently use a sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine combination (SP) or amodiaquine (AQ) to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Both drugs represent the last inexpensive alternatives to chloroquine. However, resistant P. falciparum populations are largely reported in Africa, and it is compul- sory to know the present situation of resistance. The in vivo World Health Organization standard 28-day test was used
Agnes Aubouy; Mohamed Bakary; Annick Keundjian; Bernard Mbomat; Jean Ruffin Makita; Florence Migot-Nabias; Michel Cot; Jacques Le Bras; Philippe Deloron
Intracellular parasites use various strategies to invade cells and to subvert cellular signaling pathways and, thus, to gain a foothold against host defenses. Efficient cell entry, ability to exploit intracellular niches, and persistence make these parasites treacherous pathogens. Most intracellular parasites gain entry via host-mediated processes, but apicomplexans use a system of adhesion-based motility called ``gliding'' to actively penetrate host cells. Actin polymerization-dependent motility facilitates parasite migration across cellular barriers, enables dissemination within tissues, and powers invasion of host cells. Efficient invasion has brought widespread success to this group, which includes Toxoplasma, Plasmodium, and Cryptosporidium.
Sibley, L. D.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is the second most prevalent malaria parasite affecting more than 75 million people each year, mostly in South America and Asia. In addition to major morbidity this parasite is associated with relapses and a reduction in birthweight. The emergence and spread of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is a major factor in the resurgence of this parasite.
Mallika Imwong; Sasithon Pukrittayakamee; Anne Charlotte Grüner; Laurent Rénia; Frank Letourneur; Sornchai Looareesuwan; Nicholas J White; Georges Snounou
We propose a general theory of clonal reproduction for parasitic protozoa, which has important medical and biological consequences. Many parasitic protozoa have been assumed to reproduce sexually, because of diploidy and occasional sexuality in the laboratory. However, a population genetic analysis of extensive data on biochemical polymorphisms indicates taht the two fundamental consequences of sexual reproduction (i.e., segregation and recombination)
Michel Tibayrenc; Finn Kjellberg; Francisco J. Ayala
Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA-1) of Plasmodium falciparum is a leading candidate antigen for inclusion in a malaria subunit vaccine. Its ectodomain can be divided into three subdomains, each with disulfide bond-stabilized structures. Since the majority of antibodies raised against the ectodomain appear to recognize strain-specific epitopes in domain I, we attempted to develop a vaccine formulation which directs the
Markus S. Mueller; Annabelle Renard; Francesca Boato; Denise Vogel; Martin Naegeli; Rinaldo Zurbriggen; John A. Robinson; Gerd Pluschke
To investigate the potential for use of a well-established strain of Plasmodium falciparum as a reference strain for infected red blood cell (IRBC) surface reactivity, we monitored the binding of specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) from immune individuals to the reference Knob-positive FCR3 strain by flow cytometry. To permit interassay comparison for 162 plasma samples drawn after the rainy season, a
Antoine-Marie Diatta; Laurence Marrama; Adama Tall; Jean-Francois Trape; Alioune Dieye; Olivier Garraud; Odile Mercereau-Puijalon; Ronald Perraut
The Plasmodium spp. parasites that cause malaria are transmitted to humans by Anopheles spp. mosquitoes. Scientists have now amassed a great body of knowledge about the parasite, its mosquito vector and human host. Yet this year there will be 300–500 million new malaria infections and 1–3 million deaths caused by the disease. We believe that integrated analyses of genome sequence,
G. Mani Subramanian; Frank H. Collins; J. Craig Venter; Stephen L. Hoffman
Antibodies to Escherichia coli-Expressed C-Terminal Domains of Plasmodium falciparum Variant Surface Antigen 2-Chondroitin Sulfate A (VAR2CSA) Inhibit Binding of CSA-Adherent Parasites to Placental Tissue
Placental malaria (PM) is characterized by infected erythrocytes (IEs) that selectively bind to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) and sequester in placental tissue. Variant surface antigen 2-CSA (VAR2CSA), a Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) protein family member, is expressed on the surface of placental IEs and mediates adherence to CSA on the surface of syncytiotrophoblasts. This transmembrane protein contains 6 Duffy binding-like (DBL) domains which might contribute to the specific adhesive properties of IEs. Here, we use laboratory isolate 3D7 VAR2CSA DBL domains expressed in Escherichia coli to generate antibodies specific for this protein. Flow cytometry results showed that antibodies generated against DBL4?, DBL5?, DBL6?, and tandem double domains of DBL4-DBL5 and DBL5-DBL6 all bind to placental parasite isolates and to lab strains selected for CSA binding but do not bind to children's parasites. Antisera to DBL4? and to DBL5? inhibit maternal IE binding to placental tissue in a manner comparable to that for plasma collected from multigravid women. These antibodies also inhibit binding to CSA of several field isolates derived from pregnant women, while antibodies to double domains do not enhance the functional immune response. These data support DBL4? and DBL5? as vaccine candidates for pregnancy malaria and demonstrate that E. coli is a feasible tool for the large-scale manufacture of a vaccine based on these VAR2CSA domains.
Saveria, Tracy; Oleinikov, Andrew V.; Wiliamson, Kathryn; Chaturvedi, Richa; Lograsso, Joe; Keitany, Gladys J.; Fried, Michal
Background. Recent studies have shown that the inflammatory process, including the biomarker production, and the intense activation of innate immune responses are greater in the malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax than other species. Here, we examined the levels of serum biomarkers and their interaction during acute malaria. Material and Methods. Blood samples were collected from P. vivax-infected patients at admission and from healthy donors. Levels of serum biomarkers were measured by Cytometric Bead Assay or ELISA. Results. P. vivax infection triggered the production of both inflammatory and regulatory biomarkers. Levels of IL-6, CXCL-8, IFN-?, IL-5, and IL-10 were higher in P. vivax-infected patients than in healthy donors. On the other hand, malaria patients produced lower levels of TNF-?, IL-12p70, and IL-2 than healthy individuals. While the levels of IL-10 and IL-6 were found independent on the number of malaria episodes, higher levels of these cytokines were seen in patients with higher parasite load. Conclusion. A mixed pattern of proinflammatory and regulatory biomarkers is produced in P. vivax malaria. Analysis of biomarker network suggests that IL-10 and IL-6 are a robust axis in malaria patients and that this interaction seems to be associated with the parasite load.
Guimaraes da Costa, Allyson; do Valle Antonelli, Lis Ribeiro; Augusto Carvalho Costa, Pedro; Paulo Diniz Pimentel, Joao; Garcia, Nadja Pinto; Monteiro Tarrago, Andrea; Socorro Lopes dos Santos, Maria do Perpetuo; Nogueira, Paulo Afonso; Hekcmann, Maria Izabel Ovellar; Sadahiro, Aya; Teixeira-Carvalho, Andrea; Martins-Filho, Olindo Assis; Malheiro, Adriana
Background The wide use of gametocytocidal artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) lead to a reduction of Plasmodium falciparum transmission in several African endemic settings. An increased impact on malaria burden may be achieved through the development of improved transmission-blocking formulations, including molecules complementing the gametocytocidal effects of artemisinin derivatives and/or acting on Plasmodium stages developing in the vector. Azadirachtin, a limonoid (tetranortriterpenoid) abundant in neem (Azadirachta indica, Meliaceae) seeds, is a promising candidate, inhibiting Plasmodium exflagellation in vitro at low concentrations. This work aimed at assessing the transmission-blocking potential of NeemAzal®, an azadirachtin-enriched extract of neem seeds, using the rodent malaria in vivo model Plasmodium berghei/Anopheles stephensi. Methods Anopheles stephensi females were offered a blood-meal on P. berghei infected, gametocytaemic BALB/c mice, treated intraperitoneally with NeemAzal, one hour before feeding. The transmission-blocking activity of the product was evaluated by assessing oocyst prevalence, oocyst density and capacity to infect healthy mice. To characterize the anti-plasmodial effects of NeemAzal® on early midgut stages, i.e. zygotes and ookinetes, Giemsa-stained mosquito midgut smears were examined. Results NeemAzal® completely blocked P. berghei development in the vector, at an azadirachtin dose of 50 mg/kg mouse body weight. The totally 138 examined, treated mosquitoes (three experimental replications) did not reveal any oocyst and none of the healthy mice exposed to their bites developed parasitaemia. The examination of midgut content smears revealed a reduced number of zygotes and post-zygotic forms and the absence of mature ookinetes in treated mosquitoes. Post-zygotic forms showed several morphological alterations, compatible with the hypothesis of an azadirachtin interference with the functionality of the microtubule organizing centres and with the assembly of cytoskeletal microtubules, which are both fundamental processes in Plasmodium gametogenesis and ookinete formation. Conclusions This work demonstrated in vivo transmission blocking activity of an azadirachtin-enriched neem seed extract at an azadirachtin dose compatible with 'druggability' requisites. These results and evidence of anti-plasmodial activity of neem products accumulated over the last years encourage to convey neem compounds into the drug discovery & development pipeline and to evaluate their potential for the design of novel or improved transmission-blocking remedies.
The causative agent of malaria, Plasmodium, has to undergo complex developmental transitions and survive attacks from the mosquito's innate immune system to achieve transmission from one host to another through the vector. Here we discuss recent findings on the role of the mosquito's innate immune signaling pathways in preventing infection by the Plasmodium parasite, the identification and mechanistic description of novel anti-parasite molecules, the role that natural bacteria harbored in the mosquito midgut might play in this immune defense, and the crucial parasite and vector molecules that mediate midgut infection.
Cirimotich, Chris M.; Dong, Yuemei; Garver, Lindsey S.; Sim, Shuzhen
Assessing parasite specificity to vector is crucial to understanding the emergence of vector-borne diseases and the evolution of parasite diversity. Avian malaria parasites have a cosmopolitan distribution and broad avian host range, which together predict they are vector generalists, but little is known about parasite-vector associations in the wild. We tested this prediction by asking if 5 different mosquito species, known to feed on birds and abundant in the northeastern United States, were naturally infected in the field with identical avian Plasmodium spp. lineages. Mosquitoes were not pooled but rather analyzed individually, and, possibly as a result, lineage diversity was higher than reported in previous avian malaria vector studies. Plasmodium spp. lineages were rare in Aedes canadensis and absent in Aedes aurifer and Culiseta melanura. We sequenced a standard Plasmodium cytochrome b marker from Culex pipiens pipiens, Culex restuans, and Ae. canadensis. Most Plasmodium clades were shared by Cx. pipiens and Cx. restuans. In addition, 4 individual lineages were shared by both mosquito species, including the most common lineage. One Plasmodium clade, however, was only found in Cx. restuans. We therefore found limited support for our prediction that avian Plasmodium spp. vector breadth accompanies host breadth. The association of both Culex species with most Plasmodium clades, and the presence of a single parasite lineage in 3 mosquito species representing 2 genera, suggests that avian Plasmodium species are not tightly coevolved with vector species. PMID:19697968
Kimura, M; Darbro, J M; Harrington, L C
Plasmodium sporozoites are transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes and infect hepatocytes, where a single sporozoite replicates into thousands of merozoites inside a parasitophorous vacuole. The nature of the Plasmodium-host cell interface, as well as the interactions occurring between these two organisms, remains largely unknown. Here we show that highly dynamic hepatocyte actin reorganization events occur around developing Plasmodium berghei parasites inside human hepatoma cells. Actin reorganization is most prominent between 10 to 16 hours post infection and depends on the actin severing and capping protein, gelsolin. Live cell imaging studies also suggest that the hepatocyte cytoskeleton may contribute to parasite elimination during Plasmodium development in the liver.
Gomes-Santos, Carina S. S.; Itoe, Maurice A.; Afonso, Cristina; Henriques, Ricardo; Gardner, Rui; Sepulveda, Nuno; Simoes, Pedro D.; Raquel, Helena; Almeida, Antonio Paulo; Moita, Luis F.; Frischknecht, Friedrich; Mota, Maria M.
Plasmodium sporozoites are transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes and infect hepatocytes, where a single sporozoite replicates into thousands of merozoites inside a parasitophorous vacuole. The nature of the Plasmodium-host cell interface, as well as the interactions occurring between these two organisms, remains largely unknown. Here we show that highly dynamic hepatocyte actin reorganization events occur around developing Plasmodium berghei parasites inside human hepatoma cells. Actin reorganization is most prominent between 10 to 16 hours post infection and depends on the actin severing and capping protein, gelsolin. Live cell imaging studies also suggest that the hepatocyte cytoskeleton may contribute to parasite elimination during Plasmodium development in the liver. PMID:22238609
Gomes-Santos, Carina S S; Itoe, Maurice A; Afonso, Cristina; Henriques, Ricardo; Gardner, Rui; Sepúlveda, Nuno; Simões, Pedro D; Raquel, Helena; Almeida, António Paulo; Moita, Luis F; Frischknecht, Friedrich; Mota, Maria M
Background Exchange transfusion (ET) has remained a controversial adjunct therapy for the treatment of severe malaria. In order to assess the relative contribution of ET to parasite clearance in severe malaria, all patients receiving ET as an adjunct treatment to parenteral quinine or to artesunate were compared with patients treated with parenteral treatment with quinine or artesunate but who did not receive ET. ET was executed using a standardized manual isovolumetric exchange protocol. Methods All patients in the Rotterdam Malaria Cohort treated for severe P. falciparum malaria at the Institute for Tropical Diseases of the Harbour Hospital between 1999 and 2011 were included in this retrospective follow-up study. Both a two-stage approach and a log-linear mixed model approach were used to estimate parasite clearance times (PCTs) in patients with imported malaria. Severe malaria was defined according to WHO criteria. Results A total of 87 patients with severe malaria was included; 61 received intravenous quinine, whereas 26 patients received intravenous artesunate. Thirty-nine patients received ET as an adjunct treatment to either quinine (n?=?23) or artesunate (n?=?16). Data from 84 of 87 patients were suitable for estimation of parasite clearance rates. PCTs were significantly shorter after administration of artesunate as compared with quinine. In both models, ET did not contribute significantly to overall parasite clearance. Conclusion Manual exchange transfusion does not significantly contribute to parasite clearance in artesunate-treated individuals. There may be a small effect of ET on parasite clearance under quinine treatment. Institution of ET to promote parasite clearance in settings where artesunate is available is not recommended, at least not with manually executed exchange procedures.
Plasmodium falciparum lacks the de novo purine biosynthesis pathway and relies entirely on the salvage pathway to meet its purine nucleotide requirements. The entire flux for purine nucleotide biosynthesis in the parasite is believed to be through hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT), with the enzymes, adenosine kinase and adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT) being unannotated in the Plasmodium genome database. This manuscript reports on the studies carried out to explore bypass mechanisms, if any, for AMP synthesis in the intraerythrocyitc stages of the parasite life cycle. Uptake and subsequent incorporation of radiolabel adenine in the nucleotide pool of saponin released erythrocyte free parasites implicated the role of parasite encoded enzymes in adenine metabolism. To explore the route for AMP synthesis in the parasite, we have monitored adenine mediated supplementation of metabolic viability in saponin released hadacidin (N-formyl-N-hydroxyglycine) treated parasites. Our results implicate the role of an APRT like activity that enables parasite survival when the flux through the HGPRT pathway is blocked. PMID:20093117
Mehrotra, Sonali; Bopanna, Monnanda P; Bulusu, Vinay; Balaram, Hemalatha
A representative of a new class of potent antimalarials with an unknown mode of action was recently described. To identify the molecular target of this class of antimalarials, we employed a photo-reactive affinity capture method to find parasite proteins specifically interacting with the capture compound in living parasitized cells. The capture reagent retained the antimalarial properties of the parent molecule (ACT-213615) and accumulated within parasites. We identified several proteins interacting with the capture compound and established a functional interaction between ACT-213615 and PfMDR1. We surmise that PfMDR1 may play a role in the antimalarial activity of the piperazine-containing compound ACT-213615. PMID:23754276
Brunner, Ralf; Ng, Caroline L; Aissaoui, Hamed; Akabas, Myles H; Boss, Christoph; Brun, Reto; Callaghan, Paul S; Corminboeuf, Olivier; Fidock, David A; Frame, Ithiel J; Heidmann, Bibia; Le Bihan, Amélie; Jenö, Paul; Mattheis, Corinna; Moes, Suzette; Müller, Ingrid B; Paguio, Michelle; Roepe, Paul D; Siegrist, Romain; Voss, Till; Welford, Richard W D; Wittlin, Sergio; Binkert, Christoph
Circumstantial evidence in human malaria suggests that elimination of parasites by drug treatment meets higher success rates in individuals having some background immunity. In this study, using the rodent malaria model Plasmodium chabaudi, we show that drug-resistant parasites can be cleared by drugs when the host is partially immune. Malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum is still a major cause of
PEDRO CRAVO; RICHARD CULLETON; PAUL HUNT; DAVID WALLIKER; MARGARET J. MACKINNON
About 2.5 million people die of Plasmodium falciparum malaria every year. Fatalities are associated with systemic and organ-specific inflammation initiated by a parasite toxin. Recent studies show that glycosylphos- phatidylinositol (GPI) functions as the dominant parasite toxin in the context of infection. GPIs also serve as membrane anchors for several of the most important surface antigens of parasite invasive stages.
Mauro Delorenzi; Adrienne Sexton; Hosam Shams-Eldin; Ralph T. Schwarz; Terry Speed; Louis Schofield
Defining mechanisms by which Plasmodium virulence is regulated is central to understanding the pathogenesis of human malaria. Serial blood passage of Plasmodium through rodents1-3, primates4 or humans5 increases parasite virulence, suggesting that vector transmission regulates Plasmodium virulence within the mammalian host. In agreement, disease severity can be modified by vector transmission6-8, which is assumed to ‘reset’ Plasmodium to its original character3. However, direct evidence that vector transmission regulates Plasmodium virulence is lacking. Here we utilise mosquito transmission of serially blood passaged (SBP) Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi9 to interrogate regulation of parasite virulence. Analysis of SBP P.c. chabaudi before and after mosquito transmission demonstrates that vector transmission intrinsically modifies the asexual blood-stage parasite, which in turn, modifies the elicited mammalian immune response, which in turn, attenuates parasite growth and associated pathology. Attenuated parasite virulence associates with modified expression of the pir multi-gene family. Vector transmission of Plasmodium therefore regulates gene expression of probable variant antigens in the erythrocytic cycle, modifies the elicited mammalian immune response, and thus regulates parasite virulence. These results place the mosquito at the centre of our efforts to dissect mechanisms of protective immunity to malaria for the development of an effective vaccine.
Spence, Philip J.; Jarra, William; Levy, Prisca; Reid, Adam J.; Chappell, Lia; Brugat, Thibaut; Sanders, Mandy; Berriman, Matthew; Langhorne, Jean
Defining mechanisms by which Plasmodium virulence is regulated is central to understanding the pathogenesis of human malaria. Serial blood passage of Plasmodium through rodents, primates or humans increases parasite virulence, suggesting that vector transmission regulates Plasmodium virulence within the mammalian host. In agreement, disease severity can be modified by vector transmission, which is assumed to 'reset' Plasmodium to its original character. However, direct evidence that vector transmission regulates Plasmodium virulence is lacking. Here we use mosquito transmission of serially blood passaged (SBP) Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi to interrogate regulation of parasite virulence. Analysis of SBP P.?c.?chabaudi before and after mosquito transmission demonstrates that vector transmission intrinsically modifies the asexual blood-stage parasite, which in turn modifies the elicited mammalian immune response, which in turn attenuates parasite growth and associated pathology. Attenuated parasite virulence associates with modified expression of the pir multi-gene family. Vector transmission of Plasmodium therefore regulates gene expression of probable variant antigens in the erythrocytic cycle, modifies the elicited mammalian immune response, and thus regulates parasite virulence. These results place the mosquito at the centre of our efforts to dissect mechanisms of protective immunity to malaria for the development of an effective vaccine. PMID:23719378
Spence, Philip J; Jarra, William; Lévy, Prisca; Reid, Adam J; Chappell, Lia; Brugat, Thibaut; Sanders, Mandy; Berriman, Matthew; Langhorne, Jean
Cultivation of both human and non-human species of Plasmodium spp., the causal agent of malaria, has been a major research success, leading to a greater understanding of the parasite. Efforts at cultivating the organisms in vitro are complicated by the parasites' alternating between a human host and an arthropod vector, each having its own set of physiological, metabolic, and nutritional parameters. Life cycle stages of the four species that infect humans have been established in vitro. Of these four, P. falciparum remains the only species for which all stages have been cultured in vitro; different degrees of success have been achieved with the other human Plasmodium spp. The life cycle includes the exoerythrocytic stage (within liver cells), the erythrocytic stage (within erythrocytes or precursor reticulocytes), and the sporogonic stage (within the vector). Culture media generally consist of a basic tissue culture medium (e.g., minimal essential medium or RPMI 1640) to which serum and erythrocytes are added. Most of the efforts have been directed toward the stage found in the erythrocyte. This stage has been cultivated in petri plates or other growth vessels in a candle jar to generate elevated CO2 levels or in a more controlled CO2 atmosphere. Later developments have employed continuous-flow systems to reduce the labor-intensive nature of medium changing. The exoerythrocytic and sporogonic life cycle stages have also been cultivated in vitro. A number of avian, rodent, and simian malarial parasites have also been established in vitro. Although cultivation is of great help in understanding the biology of Plasmodium, it does not lend itself to use for diagnostic purposes.
Schuster, Frederick L.
Circulation CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been associated with the delicate balancing between control of overwhelming acute malaria infection and prevention of immune pathology due to disproportionate inflammatory responses to erythrocytic stage of the parasite. While the role of Tregs has been well-documented in murine models and P. falciparum infection, the phenotype and function of Tregs in P. vivax infection is still poorly characterized. In the current study, we demonstrated that patients with acute P. vivax infection presented a significant augmentation of circulating Tregs producing anti-inflammatory (IL-10 and TGF-?) as well as pro-inflammatory (IFN-?, IL-17) cytokines, which was further positively correlated with parasite burden. Surface expression of GITR molecule and intracellular expression of CTLA-4 were significantly upregulated in Tregs from infected donors, presenting also a positive association between either absolute numbers of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+GITR+ or CD4+CD25+FoxP3+CTLA-4+ and parasite load. Finally, we demonstrate a suppressive effect of Treg cells in specific T cell proliferative responses of P. vivax infected subjects after antigen stimulation with Pv-AMA-1. Our findings indicate that malaria vivax infection lead to an increased number of activated Treg cells that are highly associated with parasite load, which probably exert an important contribution to the modulation of immune responses during P. vivax infection.
Bueno, Lilian Lacerda; Morais, Cristiane Guimaraes; Araujo, Fernanda Fortes; Gomes, Juliana Assis Silva; Correa-Oliveira, Rodrigo; Soares, Irene Silva; Lacerda, Marcus Vinicius; Fujiwara, Ricardo Toshio; Braga, Erika Martins
Background.?Parasite clearance time after artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) may be increasing in Asian and African settings. The association between parasite clearance following ACT and transmissibility is currently unknown. Methods.?We determined parasite clearance dynamics by duplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) in samples collected in the first 3 days after treatment of uncomplicated malaria with ACT. Gametocyte carriage was determined by Pfs25 quantitative nucleic acid sequence–based amplification assays; infectiousness to mosquitoes by membrane-feeding assays on day 7 after treatment. Results.?Residual parasitemia was detected by qPCR in 31.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 24.6–39.8) of the children on day 3 after initiation of treatment. Residual parasitemia was associated with a 2-fold longer duration of gametocyte carriage (P = .0007), a higher likelihood of infecting mosquitoes (relative risk, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.17–3.24; P = .015), and a higher parasite burden in mosquitoes (incidence rate ratio, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.61–5.31; P < .001). Children with residual parasitemia were also significantly more likely to experience microscopically detectable parasitemia during follow-up (relative risk, 11.25; 95% CI, 4.08–31.01; P < .001). Conclusions.?Residual submicroscopic parasitemia is common after ACT and is associated with a higher transmission potential. Residual parasitemia may also have consequences for individual patients because of its higher risk of recurrent parasitemia.
Beshir, Khalid B.; Sutherland, Colin J.; Sawa, Patrick; Drakeley, Chris J.; Okell, Lucy; Mweresa, Collins K.; Omar, Sabah A.; Shekalaghe, Seif A.; Kaur, Harparkash; Ndaro, Arnold; Chilongola, Jaffu; Schallig, Henk D. F. H.; Sauerwein, Robert W.; Hallett, Rachel L.; Bousema, Teun
Plasmodium cynomolgi, a malaria parasite of Asian Old World monkeys, is the sister taxon of Plasmodium vivax, the most prevalent human malaria species outside Africa. Since P. cynomolgi shares many phenotypic, biologic and genetic characteristics of P. vivax, we generated draft genome sequences of three P. cynomolgi strains and performed comparative genomic analysis between them and P. vivax, as well as a third previously sequenced simian parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi. Here we show that genomes of the monkey malaria clade can be characterized by CNVs in multigene families involved in evasion of the human immune system and invasion of host erythrocytes. We identify genome-wide SNPs, microsatellites, and CNVs in the P. cynomolgi genome, providing a map of genetic variation for mapping parasite traits and studying parasite populations. The P. cynomolgi genome is a critical step in developing a model system for P. vivax research, and to counteract the neglect of P. vivax.
Tachibana, Shin-Ichiro; Sullivan, Steven A.; Kawai, Satoru; Nakamura, Shota; Kim, Hyunjae R.; Goto, Naohisa; Arisue, Nobuko; Palacpac, Nirianne M. Q.; Honma, Hajime; Yagi, Masanori; Tougan, Takahiro; Katakai, Yuko; Kaneko, Osamu; Mita, Toshihiro; Kita, Kiyoshi; Yasutomi, Yasuhiro; Sutton, Patrick L.; Shakhbatyan, Rimma; Horii, Toshihiro; Yasunaga, Teruo; Barnwell, John W.; Escalante, Ananias A.; Carlton, Jane M.; Tanabe, Kazuyuki
1. Methods of recovering adequate amounts of Plasmodium knowlesi from the monkey (Macaca, mulatta) for biochemical studies and in vitro cultivation are described. Concentrates of red blood cells parasitized with P. knowlesi can be obtained by differential sedimentation of parasitized blood because of physical and chemical changes produced by the parasites in the host cell and the plasma of the blood. 2. Two different techniques, the rocker-dilution and the rocker-perfusion methods, are described for the cultivation of malarial parasites. Details of the apparatus, assembly, and sterilization are given, as well as methods of counting and evaluating parasites. 3. In a series of 235 control experiments for 20 to 24 hours using three types of apparatus, the average rate of multiplication was 3.9. Each technique has specific value for studying the various aspects of metabolism, nutrition, and the action of antimalarial drugs.
Geiman, Quentin M.; Anfinsen, Christian B.; McKee, Ralph W.; Ormsbee, Richard A.; Ball, Eric G.
The course of infection of a malaria parasite (Plasmodium mexicanum) is highly variable in its host, the fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis). However, a seasonal trend is superimposed on this variation such that gametocyte production is intensified during mid- to late summer. Host testosterone levels follow a similar seasonal fluctuation and are variable among individual lizards. We sought to determine if testosterone levels affect seasonal and among-host variation in 11 P. mexicanum life history traits: rate of increase in level of infection (3 measures), peak parasitemia (3 measures), duration of increase (3 measures), time to detectable infection, and timing of production of gametocytes. We followed the course of infection in 125 male S. occidentalis, each randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: castrated, castrated and implanted with exogenous testosterone, sham implanted, and unmanipulated controls. Median values for the 11 life history traits did not differ among treatment groups, and variances were homogeneous among the treatment groups for 10/11 traits. However, elevated testosterone significantly reduced the variation in timing of the onset of gametocyte production. Therefore, testosterone does not appear to be a primary regulator of P. mexicanum life history, yet testosterone may have some effect on when gametocytes first become detectable. PMID:11128477
Eisen, R J; DeNardo, D F
In previous studies of the infection of rats by P. berghei Anka, we have shown that primary blood stage infection induced the expansion of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells in adult resistant rats while the number of CD4+CD25+ cells was found to be higher in young susceptible rats. In this work, the respective contribution of each cell population was determined in young and adult rats treated with monoclonal antibodies. Down-regulation of surface CD25 molecules, including those expressed by CD4+ cells did not significantly enhance the capacity of young rats to control the development of erythrocytic stages or modify the course of infection in adult infected rats. However, we observed a significant loss of protection when adult rats were treated with anti-CD4 mAb (W3/25) with higher blood parasitemia levels and approximately 50% of rats succumbed to infection. More importantly and in contrast to earlier studies performed in mice, we found a significant increase in blood parasite levels and a significant delay in parasite clearance in adult rats treated with anti-CD8 mAb OX8, known to deplete CD8+ cells. These results suggest that CD8+ cells play a critical role in the development of immune responses in rats to control the replication of blood stage parasites. PMID:20387739
Acroute, Dit Vampouille A; Lafitte, S; Dive, D; Khalife, J; Pierrot, C
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Considering increasing reports on human infections by Plasmodium knowlesi in Southeast Asian countries, blood samples collected during two large cross-sectional malariometric surveys carried out in a forested area of central Vietnam in 2004 and 2005 were screened for this parasite. METHODS: Blood samples collected at the 2004 survey and positive for Plasmodium malariae were randomly selected for PCR
Peter Van den Eede; Hong Nguyen Van; Chantal Van Overmeir; Indra Vythilingam; Thang Ngo Duc; Le Xuan Hung; Hung Nguyen Manh; Jozef Anné; Umberto D'Alessandro; Annette Erhart
An in vitro model was developed to study the hepatic phase of Plasmodium falciparum, the only malaria parasite lethal to man. Primary cultures of human hepatocytes were inoculated with sporozoites of Brazilian and African strains of P. falciparum. On days...
D. Mazier R. L. Beaudoin S. Mellouk P. Druilhe B. Texier
The malarial parasite Plasmodium vivax causes disease in humans, including chronic infections and recurrent relapses, but the course of infection is rarely fatal, unlike that caused by Plasmodium falciparum. To investigate differences in pathogenicity between P. vivax and P. falciparum, we have compared the subtelomeric domains in the DNA of these parasites. In P. falciparum, subtelomeric domains are conserved and
Hernando A. del Portillo; Carmen Fernandez-Becerra; Sharen Bowman; Karen Oliver; Martin Preuss; Cecilia P. Sanchez; Nick K. Schneider; Juan M. Villalobos; Marie-Adele Rajandream; David Harris; Luiz H. Pereira da Silva; Bart Barrell; Michael Lanzer
Potent, Plasmodium-Selective Farnesyltransferase Inhibitors That Arrest the Growth of Malaria Parasites: Structure--Activity Relationships of Ethylenediamine-Analogue Scaffolds and Homology Model Validation
New chemotherapeutics are urgently needed to combat malaria. We previously reported on a novel series of antimalarial, ethylenediamine-based inhibitors of protein farnesyltransferase (PFT). In the current study, we designed and synthesized a series of second generation inhibitors, wherein the core ethylenediamine scaffold was varied in order to examine both the homology model of Plasmodium falciparum PFT (PfPFT) and our predicted inhibitor binding mode. We identified several PfPFT inhibitors (PfPFTIs) that are selective for PfPFT versus the mammalian isoform of the enzyme (up to 136-fold selectivity), that inhibit the malarial enzyme with IC50 values down to 1 nM, and that block the growth of P. falciparum in infected whole cells (erythrocytes) with ED50 values down to 55 nM. The structure–activity data for these second generation, ethylenediamine-inspired PFT inhibitors were rationalized by consideration of the X-ray crystal structure of mammalian PFT and the homology model of the malarial enzyme.
Fletcher, Steven; Cummings, Christopher G.; Rivas, Kasey; Katt, William P.; Horney, Carrie; Buckner, Frederick S.; Chakrabarti, Debopam; Sebti, Said M.; Gelb, Michael H.; Van Voorhis, Wesley C.; Hamilton, Andrew D.
Multiplex 5? Nuclease Quantitative Real-Time PCR for Clinical Diagnosis of Malaria and Species-Level Identification and Epidemiologic Evaluation of Malaria-Causing Parasites, Including Plasmodium knowlesi
Molecular diagnosis of malaria offers many potential advantages over microscopy, including identification of malaria to the species level in an era with few experienced microscopists. We developed high-throughput multiplex 5? nuclease quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays, with the potential to support large studies, to specifically identify Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi. We compared qPCR to microscopy and confirmed discordant results with an alternative target PCR assay. The assays specifically detected 1 to 6 parasites/?l of blood. The clinical sensitivities (95% confidence intervals [CIs]) of the 4-plex assay to detect microscopically confirmed malaria were 95.8% (88.3 to 99.1%) for P. falciparum, 89.5% (75.2 to 97.1%) for P. vivax, 94.1% (71.3 to 99.9%) for P. ovale, and 100% (66.4 to 100%) for P. malariae. The specificities (95% CIs) were 98.6% (92.4 to 100%) for P. falciparum, 99% (84.8 to 100%) for P. vivax, 98.4% (94.4 to 99.8%) for P. ovale, and 99.3% (95.9 to 100%) for P. malariae. The clinical specificity for samples without malaria was 100%. The clinical sensitivity of the 5-plex assay for confirmed P. knowlesi malaria was 100% (95% CI, 69.2 to 100%), and the clinical specificity was 100% (95% CI, 87.2 to 100%). Coded retesting and testing with an alternative target PCR assay showed improved sensitivity and specificity of multiplex qPCR versus microscopy. Additionally, 91.7% (11/12) of the samples with uncertain species by microscopy were identified to the species level identically by both our multiplex qPCR assay and the alternative target PCR assay, including 9 P. falciparum infections. Multiplex qPCR can rapidly and simultaneously identify all 5 Plasmodium species known to cause malaria in humans, and it offers an alternative or adjunct to microscopy for clinical diagnosis as well as a needed high-throughput tool for research.
Chen, Wan Hsin; Dalton, Justin; Lichay, Marguerite A.; Dumler, J. Stephen
Plasmodium knowlesi (P. knowlesi) has been detected to be the fifth malarial parasite that can cause malaria in human beings. The parasite is known to commonly infect macaque monkeys. The infection is highly prevalent in South-East Asia. It has morphologic similarities to Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium falciparum. P. knowlesi is known to replicate every 24 h in the human host and hence, causes “quotidian malaria.” It causes a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations and sometimes can cause fatal illness. Chloroquine is effective in the treatment of uncomplicated P. knowlesi infection. Severe and complicated P. knowlesi malaria can be managed with artemisinin combination therapy.
Vadivelan, M; Dutta, TK
Primaquine, an 8-aminoquinoline, is the only drug which cures the dormant hypnozoites of persistent liver stages from P. vivax. Increasing resistance needs the discovery of alternative pathways as drug targets to develop novel drug entities. Deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH) completes hypusine biosynthesis in eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF-5A) which is the only cellular protein known to contain the unusual amino acid hypusine. Modified EIF-5A is important for proliferation of the malaria parasite. Here, we present the first successful cloning and expression of DOHH from P. vivax causing tertiary malaria. The nucleic acid sequence of 1041 bp encodes an open reading frame of 346 amino acids. Histidine tagged expression of P. vivax DOHH detected a protein of 39.01 kDa in E. coli. The DOHH protein from P. vivax shares significant amino acid identity to the simian orthologues from P. knowlesi and P. yoelii strain H. In contrast to P. falciparum only four E-Z-type HEAT-like repeats are present in P. vivax DOHH with different homology to phycocyanin lyase subunits from cyanobacteria and in proteins participating in energy metabolism of Archaea and Halobacteria. However, phycocyanin lyase activity is absent in P. vivax DOHH. The dohh gene is present as a single copy gene and transcribed throughout the whole erythrocytic cycle. Specific inhibition of recombinant P. vivax DOHH is possible by complexing the ferrous iron with zileuton, an inhibitor of mammalian 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Ferrous iron in the active site of 5-LOX is coordinated by three conserved histidines and the carboxylate of isoleucine673. Zileuton inhibited the P. vivax DOHH protein with an IC50 of 12,5 nmol determined by a relative quantification by GC/MS. By contrast, the human orthologue is only less affected with an IC50 of 90 nmol suggesting a selective iron-complexing strategy for the parasitic enzyme.
Atemnkeng, Veronika Anyigoh; Pink, Mario; Schmitz-Spanke, Simone; Wu, Xian-Jun; Dong, Liang-Liang; Zhao, Kai-Hong; May, Caroline; Laufer, Stefan; Langer, Barbara; Kaiser, Annette
Background.?Although nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are usually part of first-line treatment regimens for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), their activity on Plasmodium liver stages remains unexplored. Additionally, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), used for opportunistic infection prophylaxis in HIV-exposed infants and HIV-infected patients, reduces clinical episodes of malaria; however, TMP-SMX effect on Plasmodium liver stages requires further study. Methods.?We characterized NNRTI and TMP-SMX effects on Plasmodium liver stages in vivo using Plasmodium yoelii. On the basis of these results, we conducted in vitro studies assessing TMP-SMX effects on the rodent parasites P. yoelii and Plasmodium berghei and on the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Results.?Our data showed NNRTI treatment modestly reduced P. yoelii liver stage parasite burden and minimally extended prepatent period. TMP-SMX administration significantly reduced liver stage parasite burden, preventing development of patent parasitemia in vivo. TMP-SMX inhibited development of rodent and P. falciparum liver stage parasites in vitro. Conclusions.?NNRTIs modestly affect liver stage Plasmodium parasites, whereas TMP-SMX prevents patent parasitemia. Because drugs that inhibit liver stages target parasites when they are present in lower numbers, these results may have implications for eradication efforts. Understanding HIV drug effects on Plasmodium liver stages will aid in optimizing treatment regimens for HIV-exposed and HIV-infected infected patients in malaria-endemic areas.
Hobbs, Charlotte V.; Voza, Tatiana; De La Vega, Patricia; Vanvliet, Jillian; Conteh, Solomon; Penzak, Scott R.; Fay, Michael P.; Anders, Nicole; Ilmet, Tiina; Li, Yonghua; Borkowsky, William; Krzych, Urszula; Duffy, Patrick E.; Sinnis, Photini
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the death of more than a million people every year. To stimulate basic research on the disease, and to promote the development of effective drugs and vaccines against the parasite, the complete genome of P. falciparum clone 3D7 has been sequenced, using a chromosome-by-chromosome shotgun strategy. Here we report the nucleotide
Richard W. Hyman; Eula Fung; Aaron Conway; Omar Kurdi; Jennifer Mao; Molly Miranda; Brian Nakao; Don Rowley; Tomoaki Tamaki; Fawn Wang; Ronald W. Davis
Background Understanding the population structure of Plasmodium species through genetic diversity studies can assist in the design of more effective malaria control strategies, particularly in vaccine development. Central America is an area where malaria is a public health problem, but little is known about the genetic diversity of the parasite’s circulating species. This study aimed to investigate the allelic frequency and molecular diversity of five surface antigens in field isolates from Honduras. Methods Five molecular markers were analysed to determine the genotypes of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum from endemic areas in Honduras. Genetic diversity of ama-1, msp-1 and csp was investigated for P. vivax, and msp-1 and msp-2 for P. falciparum. Allelic frequencies were calculated and sequence analysis performed. Results and conclusion A high genetic diversity was observed within Plasmodium isolates from Honduras. A different number of genotypes were elucidated: 41 (n?=?77) for pvama-1; 23 (n?=?84) for pvcsp; and 23 (n?=?35) for pfmsp-1. Pvcsp sequences showed VK210 as the only subtype present in Honduran isolates. Pvmsp-1 (F2) was the most polymorphic marker for P. vivax isolates while pvama-1 was least variable. All three allelic families described for pfmsp-1 (n?=?30) block 2 (K1, MAD20, and RO33), and both allelic families described for the central domain of pfmsp-2 (n?=?11) (3D7 and FC27) were detected. However, K1 and 3D7 allelic families were predominant. All markers were randomly distributed across the country and no geographic correlation was found. To date, this is the most complete report on molecular characterization of P. vivax and P. falciparum field isolates in Honduras with regards to genetic diversity. These results indicate that P. vivax and P. falciparum parasite populations are highly diverse in Honduras despite the low level of transmission.
Malaria is a common and potentially fatal cause of febrile illness in returned travellers. Endemic areas for different malaria parasites overlap, but mixed species infections are rare. An adolescent male returned from a trip to Ghana in late summer 2013. He subsequently presented with blood smears positive for two species of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium ovale, on two isolated hospital visits within a six-week period. The epidemiology of mixed infections, likely pathophysiology of his presentation, and the implications for malaria testing and treatment in returned travellers are discussed.
Protein targeting in malaria parasites is a complex process, involving several cellular compartments that distinguish these cells from more familiar systems, such as yeast or mammals. At least a dozen distinct protein destinations are known. The best studied of these is the vestigial chloroplast (the apicoplast), but new tools promise rapid progress in understanding how Plasmodium falciparum and related apicomplexan
G. G. van Dooren; R. F. Waller; G. I McFadden; K. A Joiner; D. S Roos
The elaboration of an in vitro test for protective malarial antibody has provided a means for assaying extracts from the simian parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, for protective antigen activity. The purpose of the present work was to set up a similar short-t...
S. Cohen G. A. Butcher G. H. Mitchell
The effect of irradiation on the in vitro growth of Plasmodium falciparum was investigated. The cultured malarial parasites at selected stages of development were exposed to gamma rays and the sensitivity of each stage was determined. The stages most sensitive to irradiation were the ring forms and the early trophozoites; late trophozoites were relatively insensitive. The greatest resistance was shown when parasites were irradiated at a time of transition from the late trophozoite and schizont stages to young ring forms. The characteristics of radiosensitive variation in the parasite cycle resembled that of mammalian cells. Growth curves of parasites exposed to doses of irradiation upto 150 gray had the same slope as nonirradiated controls but parasites which were exposed to 200 gray exhibited a growth curve which was less steep than that for parasites in other groups. Less than 10 organisms survived from the 10(6) parasites exposed to this high dose of irradiation; the possibility exists of obtaining radiation-attenuated P. falciparum.
Waki, S.; Yonome, I.; Suzuki, M.
Malaria is a parasitic infection caused by Plasmodium species. Most of the imported malaria in Korea are due to Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, and Plasmodium ovale infections are very rare. Here, we report a case of a 24-year-old American woman who acquired P. ovale while staying in Ghana, West Africa for 5 months in 2010. The patient was diagnosed with P. ovale malaria based on a Wright-Giemsa stained peripheral blood smear, Plasmodium genus-specific real-time PCR, Plasmodium species-specific nested PCR, and sequencing targeting 18S rRNA gene. The strain identified had a very long incubation period of 19-24 months. Blood donors who have malaria with a very long incubation period could be a potential danger for propagating malaria. Therefore, we should identify imported P. ovale infections not only by morphological findings but also by molecular methods for preventing propagation and appropriate treatment.
The process of erythrocyte invasion by merozoites of Plasmodium falciparum involves multiple steps, including the formation of a moving junction between parasite and host cell, and it is characterised by the redundancy of many of the receptor–ligand interactions involved. Several parasite proteins that interact with erythrocyte receptors or participate in other steps of invasion are encoded by small subtelomerically located
Alfred Cortés; Celine Carret; Osamu Kaneko; Brian Y. S. Yim Lim; Alasdair Ivens; Anthony A Holder
The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, synthesises and exports several proteins inducing morphological and biochemical modifications of erythrocytes during the erythrocytic cycle. The protein trafficking machinery of the parasite is similar to that of other eukaryotic cells in several ways. However, some unusual features are also observed. The secretion of various polypeptides was inhibited when P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes were incubated with
Adela Nacer; Laurence Berry; Christian Slomianny; Denise Mattei
Mechanisms for differential regulation of gene expression may underlie much of the phenotypic variation and adaptability of malaria parasites. Here we describe transcriptional variation among culture-adapted field isolates of Plasmodium falciparum, the species responsible for most malarial disease. It was found that genes coding for parasite protein export into the red cell cytosol and onto its surface, and genes coding
Margaret J. Mackinnon; Jinguang Li; Sachel Mok; Moses M. Kortok; Kevin Marsh; Peter R. Preiser; Zbynek Bozdech
Background Sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), an antifolate, was replaced by artemether-lumefantrine as the first-line malaria drug treatment in Kenya in 2004 due to the wide spread of resistance. However, SP still remains the recommended drug for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women and infants (IPTP/I) owing to its safety profile. This study assessed the prevalence of mutations in dihydrofolate reductase (Pfdhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (Pfdhps) genes associated with SP resistance in samples collected in Kenya between 2008 and 2012. Methods Field isolates collected from Kisumu, Kisii, Kericho and Malindi district hospitals were assessed for genetic polymorphism at various loci within Pfdhfr and Pfdhps genes by sequencing. Results Among the Pfdhfr mutations, codons N51I, C59R, S108N showed highest prevalence in all the field sites at 95.5%, 84.1% and 98.6% respectively. Pfdhfr S108N prevalence was highest in Kisii at 100%. A temporal trend analysis showed steady prevalence of mutations over time except for codon Pfdhps 581 which showed an increase in mixed genotypes. Triple Pfdhfr N51I/C59R/S108N and double Pfdhps A437G/ K540E had high prevalence rates of 86.6% and 87.9% respectively. The Pfdhfr/Pfdhps quintuple, N51I/C59R/S108N/A437G/K540E mutant which has been shown to be the most clinically relevant marker for SP resistance was observed in 75.7% of the samples. Conclusion SP resistance is still persistently high in western Kenya, which is likely due to fixation of key mutations in the Pfdhfr and Pfdhps genes as well as drug pressure from other antifolate drugs being used for the treatment of malaria and other infections. In addition, there is emergence and increasing prevalence of new mutations in Kenyan parasite population. Since SP is used for IPTP/I, molecular surveillance and in vitro susceptibility assays must be sustained to provide information on the emergence and spread of SP resistance.
This book contains 70 selections. Some of the selection titles are: Structure of the Gene Encoding of Immunodominant Surface Antigen on the Sprozoite of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum; Cloning and Expression in Bacteria of the Genes for Merozite-specific Antigens from the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum; A Major Surface Antigen of Plasmodium falciparum in Merozoites: Studies on the Protein and its Gene; Genetic Construction of Cholera Vaccine Prototypes; and Viral Genes, Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes and Immunity.
Lerner, R.A.; Chanock, R.M.; Brown, F.
Over the past decade, advances in proteomic and mass spectrometry techniques and the sequencing of the Plasmodium falciparum genome have led to an increasing number of studies regarding the parasite proteome. However, these studies have focused principally\\u000a on parasite protein expression, neglecting parasite-induced variations in the host proteome. Here, we investigated P. falciparum-induced modifications of the infected red blood cell
Albin Fontaine; Stéphanie Bourdon; Maya Belghazi; Mathieu Pophillat; Patrick Fourquet; Samuel Granjeaud; Marylin Torrentino-Madamet; Christophe Rogier; Thierry Fusai; Lionel Almeras
Histological evidence of Plasmodium in the placenta is indicative of placental malaria, a condition associated with severe outcomes for mother and child. Histological lesions found in placentas from Plasmodium-exposed women include syncytial knotting, syncytial rupture, thickening of the placental barrier, necrosis of villous tissue and intervillositis. These histological changes have been associated with P. falciparum infections, but little is known about the contribution of P. vivax to such changes. We conducted a cross-sectional study with pregnant women at delivery and assigned them to three groups according to their Plasmodium exposure during pregnancy: no Plasmodium exposure (n?=?41), P. vivax exposure (n?=?59) or P. falciparum exposure (n?=?19). We evaluated their placentas for signs of Plasmodium and placental lesions using ten histological parameters: syncytial knotting, syncytial rupture, placental barrier thickness, villi necrosis, intervillous space area, intervillous leucocytes, intervillous mononucleates, intervillous polymorphonucleates, parasitized erythrocytes and hemozoin. Placentas from P. vivax-exposed women showed little evidence of Plasmodium or hemozoin but still exhibited more lesions than placentas from women not exposed to Plasmodium, especially when infections occurred twice or more during pregnancy. In the Brazilian state of Acre, where diagnosis and primary treatment are readily available and placental lesions occur in the absence of detected placental parasites, relying on the presence of Plasmodium in the placenta to evaluate Plasmodium-induced placental pathology is not feasible. Multivariate logistic analysis revealed that syncytial knotting (odds ratio [OR], 4.21, P?=?0.045), placental barrier thickness (OR, 25.59, P?=?0.021) and mononuclear cells (OR, 4.02, P?=?0.046) were increased in placentas from P. vivax-exposed women when compared to women not exposed to Plasmodium during pregnancy. A vivax-score was developed using these three parameters (and not evidence of Plasmodium) that differentiates between placentas from P. vivax-exposed and unexposed women. This score illustrates the importance of adequate management of P. vivax malaria during pregnancy.
Dombrowski, Jamille G.; Ippolito, Vanessa; Aitken, Elizabeth H.; Valle, Suiane N.; Alvarez, Jose M.; Epiphanio, Sabrina; Marinho, Claudio R. F.
Gene manipulation is an invaluable tool to investigate and understand the biology of an organism. Although this technology has been applied to both the human and rodent malarial parasites (RMP), Plasmodium berghei in particular offers a more robust system due to a higher and more efficient transformation rate. Here, we describe a comprehensive transfection and selection protocol using P. berghei including a variant negative selection protocol administering 5-fluorocytosine to the animals in drinking water. Additionally, we discuss and assess the latest advances in gene manipulation technologies developed in RMP to gain a better understanding of Plasmodium biology. PMID:22990773
Philip, Nisha; Orr, Rachael; Waters, Andrew P
Abundances and distributions of species are usually associated. This implies that as a species declines in abundance so does the number of sites it occupies. Conversely, when there is an increase in a species' range size, it is usually followed by an increase in population size (Gaston et al. ). This ecological phenomenon, also known as the abundance-occupancy relationship (AOR), is well documented in several species of animals and plants (Gaston et al. ) but has been little investigated in parasites. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Drovetski et al. () investigated the AOR in avian haemosporidians (vector-borne blood parasites) using data from four well-sampled bird communities. In support of the AOR, the research group found that the abundance of parasite cytochrome b lineages (a commonly used proxy for species identification within this group of parasites) was positively linked with the abundance of susceptible avian host species and that the most abundant haemospordian lineages were those with larger ranges. Drovetski et al. () also found evidence for both hypotheses proposed to explain the AOR in parasites: the trade-off hypothesis (TOH) and the niche-breadth hypothesis (NBH). Interestingly, the main predictor of the AOR was the number of susceptible hosts (i.e. number of infected birds) and not the number of host species the parasites were able to exploit. PMID:24957162
Robalinho Lima, Marcos; Bensch, Staffan
Background: Malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a major public health concern. The parasite lacks a functional tricarboxylic acid cycle, making glycolysis its sole energy source. Although parasite enzymes have been considered as potential antimalarial drug targets, little is known about their structural biology. Here we report the crystal structure of triosephosphate isomerase (TIM) from P. falciparum at
Sameer S Velanker; Soumya S Ray; Rajesh S Gokhale; Suma S; Hemalatha Balaram; P Balaram; MRN Murthy
We investigated two mitochondrial genes (cytb and cox1), one plastid gene (tufA), and one nuclear gene (ldh) in blood samples from 12 chimpanzees and two gorillas from Cameroon and one lemur from Madagascar. One gorilla sample is related to Plasmodium falciparum, thus confirming the recently reported presence in gorillas of this parasite. The second gorilla sample is more similar to the recently defined Plasmodium gaboni than to the P. falciparum–Plasmodium reichenowi clade, but distinct from both. Two chimpanzee samples are P. falciparum. A third sample is P. reichenowi and two others are P. gaboni. The other chimpanzee samples are different from those in the ape clade: two are Plasmodium ovale, and one is Plasmodium malariae. That is, we have found three human Plasmodium parasites in chimpanzees. Four chimpanzee samples were mixed: one species was P. reichenowi; the other species was P. gaboni in three samples and P. ovale in the fourth sample. The lemur sample, provisionally named Plasmodium malagasi, is a sister lineage to the large cluster of primate parasites that does not include P. falciparum or ape parasites, suggesting that the falciparum + ape parasite cluster (Laverania clade) may have evolved from a parasite present in hosts not ancestral to the primates. If malignant malaria were eradicated from human populations, chimpanzees, in addition to gorillas, might serve as a reservoir for P. falciparum.
Duval, Linda; Fourment, Mathieu; Nerrienet, Eric; Rousset, Dominique; Sadeuh, Serge A.; Goodman, Steven M.; Andriaholinirina, Nicole V.; Randrianarivelojosia, Milijaona; Paul, Richard E.; Robert, Vincent; Ayala, Francisco J.; Ariey, Frederic
We carried out a population-based study to determine the unbiased, age-specific Plasmodium falciparum prevalence, asexual and sexual parasite density, and spatial distribution to establish rates of infection at a site in western Kenya. Three cross-sectional surveys were carried out in western Kenya highlands. Blood samples were taken from 1,388 persons from 6 months to 75 years of age. Parasite prevalence and densities in the population decreased with age and distance from valley bottoms. Children from 1 to 4 years of age had the highest parasite prevalence (38.8%-62.8%); in adults, prevalence declined to 2.9%-24.1%. Malaria prevalence declined by an average of 19% from July to December 2002 across age groups. These observations suggest that parasite transmission is intense at this altitude. Asexual parasite density indicated clustering near major vector breeding habitats. Variability in seasonal prevalence indicates transmission instability and susceptibility to epidemics. PMID:16318698
Munyekenye, Otsyula G; Githeko, Andrew K; Zhou, Guofa; Mushinzimana, Emmanuel; Minakawa, Noboru; Yan, Guiyun
The 34 valid species of avian Plasmodium are listed with their authorities and type-hosts. Plasmodium species are also listed by the avian family in which they occur and by the number of avian families and species which they parasitise. A key to the subgenera of Plasmodium occurring in birds is presented. The distribution of the parasites by the Wallacean life
Gordon F. Bennett; Madonna A. Bishop; Michael A. Peirce
Background In insects, including Anopheles mosquitoes, Dscam (Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule) appears to be involved in phagocytosis of pathogens, and shows pathogen-specific\\u000a splice-form expression between divergent pathogen (or parasite) types (e.g. between bacteria and Plasmodium or between Plasmodium berghei and Plasmodium falciparum). Here, data are presented from the first study of Dscam expression in response to genetic diversity within a
Paul H Smith; Jonathan M Mwangi; Yaw A Afrane; Guiyun Yan; Darren J Obbard; Lisa C Ranford-Cartwright; Tom J Little
Plasmodium falciparum malaria is responsible for the deaths of over half a million African children annually. Until a decade ago, dynamic analysis of the malaria parasite was limited to in vitro systems with the typical limitations associated with 2D monocultures or entirely artificial surfaces. Due to extremely low parasite densities, the liver was considered a black box in terms of Plasmodium sporozoite invasion, liver stage development, and merozoite release into the blood. Further, nothing was known about the behavior of blood stage parasites in organs such as the brain where clinical signs manifest and the ensuing immune response of the host that may ultimately result in a fatal outcome. The advent of fluorescent parasites, advances in imaging technology, and availability of an ever-increasing number of cellular and molecular probes have helped illuminate many steps along the pathogenetic cascade of this deadly tropical parasite. PMID:24076429
Frevert, Ute; Nacer, Adéla; Cabrera, Mynthia; Movila, Alexandru; Leberl, Maike
There is a great need of new drugs against malaria because of the increasing spread of parasite resistance against the most commonly used drugs in the field. We found that monensin, a common veterinary antibiotic, has a strong inhibitory effect in Plasmodium berghei and P. yoelii sporozoites hepatocyte infection in vitro. Infection of host cells by another apicomplexan parasite with a similar mechanism of host cell invasion, Toxoplasma tachyzoites, was also inhibited. Treatment of mice with monensin abrogates liver infection with P. berghei sporozoites in vivo. We also found that at low concentrations monensin inhibits the infection of Plasmodium sporozoites by rendering host cells resistant to infection, rather than having a direct effect on sporozoites. Monensin effect is targeted to the initial stages of parasite invasion of the host cell with little or no effect on development, suggesting that this antibiotic affects an essential host cell component that is required for Plasmodium sporozoite invasion.
Leitao, Ricardo; Rodriguez, Ana
All the symptoms and pathology of malaria are caused by the intraerythrocytic stages of the Plasmodium parasite life cycle. Because Plasmodium parasites cannot replicate outside a host cell, their ability to recognize and invade erythrocytes is an essential step for both parasite survival and malaria pathogenesis. This makes invasion a conceptually attractive vaccine target, especially because it is one of the few stages when the parasite is directly exposed to the host humoral immune system. This apparent vulnerability, however, has been countered by the parasite, which has evolved sophisticated molecular mechanisms to evade the host immune response so that parasites asymptomatically replicate within immune individuals. These mechanisms include the expansion of parasite invasion ligands, resulting in multiple and apparently redundant invasion "pathways", highly polymorphic parasite surface proteins that are immunologically distinct, and parasite proteins which are poorly immunogenic. These formidable defences have so far thwarted attempts to develop an effective blood-stage vaccine, leading many to question whether there really is an exploitable chink in the parasite's immune evasion defences. Here, we review recent advances in the molecular understanding of the P. falciparum erythrocyte invasion field, discuss some of the challenges that have so far prevented the development of blood-stage vaccines, and conclude that the parasite invasion ligand RH5 represents an essential pinch point that might be vulnerable to vaccination. PMID:24651270
Wright, Gavin J; Rayner, Julian C
Long-lived mosquitoes maximize the chances of Plasmodium transmission. Yet, in spite of decades of research, the effect of Plasmodium parasites on mosquito longevity remains highly controversial. On the one hand, many studies report shorter lifespans in infected mosquitoes. On the other hand, parallel (but separate) studies show that Plasmodium reduces fecundity and imply that this is an adaptive strategy of the parasite aimed at redirecting resources towards longevity. No study till date has, however, investigated fecundity and longevity in the same individuals to see whether this prediction holds. In this study, we follow for both fecundity and longevity in Plasmodium-infected and uninfected mosquitoes using a novel, albeit natural, experimental system. We also explore whether the genetic variations that arise through the evolution of insecticide resistance modulate the effect of Plasmodium on these two life-history traits. We show that (i) a reduction in fecundity in Plasmodium-infected mosquitoes is accompanied by an increase in longevity; (ii) this increase in longevity arises through a trade-off between reproduction and survival; and (iii) in insecticide-resistant mosquitoes, the slope of this trade-off is steeper when the mosquito is infected by Plasmodium (cost of insecticide resistance).
Vezilier, J.; Nicot, A.; Gandon, S.; Rivero, A.
Malaria still remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases, and has a tremendous morbidity and mortality impact in the developing world. The propensity of the parasites to develop drug resistance, and the relative reluctance of the pharmaceutical industry to invest massively in the developments of drugs that would offer only limited marketing prospects, are major issues in antimalarial drug discovery. Protein kinases (PKs) have become a major family of targets for drug discovery research in a number of disease contexts, which has generated considerable resources such as kinase-directed libraries and high throughput kinase inhibition assays. The phylogenetic distance between malaria parasites and their human host translates into important divergences in their respective kinomes, and most Plasmodium kinases display atypical properties (as compared to mammalian PKs) that can be exploited towards selective inhibition. Here, we discuss the taxon-specific kinases possessed by malaria parasites, and give an overview of target PKs that have been validated by reverse genetics, either in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum or in the rodent model Plasmodium berghei. We also briefly allude to the possibility of attacking Plasmodium through the inhibition of human PKs that are required for survival of this obligatory intracellular parasite, and which are targets for other human diseases. PMID:19840874
Doerig, Christian; Abdi, Abdirahman; Bland, Nicholas; Eschenlauer, Sylvain; Dorin-Semblat, Dominique; Fennell, Clare; Halbert, Jean; Holland, Zoe; Nivez, Marie-Paule; Semblat, Jean-Philippe; Sicard, Audrey; Reininger, Luc
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread human malaria parasite. However, genetic information about its pathogenesis is limited at present, due to the lack of a reproducible in vitro cultivation method. Sequencing of the Plasmodium vivax genome suggested the presence of a homolog of deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS) from P. falciparum, the key regulatory enzyme in the first committed step of
James T Njuguna; Marwa Nassar; Achim Hoerauf; Annette E Kaiser
BACKGROUND: A major concern in malaria vaccine development is the polymorphism observed among different Plasmodium isolates in different geographical areas across the globe. The merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1) is a leading vaccine candidate antigen against asexual blood stages of malaria parasite. To date, little is known about the extent of sequence variation in the Plasmodium vivax MSP-1 gene (Pvmsp-1)
Amanda Maestre; Sujatha Sunil; Gul Ahmad; Asif Mohmmed; Marcela Echeverri; Mauricio Corredor; Silvia Blair; Virander S Chauhan; Pawan Malhotra
Some patients with Plasmodium falciparum infections develop cerebral malaria, acute respiratory distress, and shock and ultimately die even though drug therapy has eliminated the parasite from the blood, suggesting that a systemic inflammatory response contributes to malarial pathogenesis. Plasmodium berghei-infected mice are a well-recognized model of severe malaria (experimental severe malaria (ESM)), and infected mice exhibit a systemic inflammatory response.
Guang Sun; Wun-Ling Chang; Jie Li; Seth Mark Berney; Donald Kimpel; Henri C. van der Heyde
Mung bean nuclease was found to cut the genomic DNA of the malaria parasite Plasmodium at positions before and after genes but not within gene-coding regions. This cleavage, which had nearly the preciseness of a restriction nuclease, required controlled conditions in the presence of formamide. Southern blot analysis showed that the coding areas for Plasmodium actin, circumsporozoite protein, histidine-rich protein,
Thomas F. McCutchan; Joanna L. Hansen; John B. Dame; Judith A. Mullins
We describe a microprocessor-based control unit for apparatus which effects changes of culture medium on Plasmodium falciparum parasites maintained in vitro. The unit has required minimal attention during the two years it has been in operation and it has markedly facilitated the production of mature sexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum on a routine basis. PMID:3330956
Gershon, P D; Hammond, P E
Violacein is a violet pigment extracted from the gram-negative bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum. It presents bactericidal, tumoricidal, trypanocidal, and antileishmanial activities. We show that micromolar concentrations efficiently killed chloroquine-sensitive and -resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains in vitro; inhibited parasitemia in vivo, even after parasite establishment; and protected Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi-infected mice from a lethal challenge.
Lopes, Stefanie C. P.; Blanco, Yara C.; Justo, Giselle Z.; Nogueira, Paulo A.; Rodrigues, Francisco L. S.; Goelnitz, Uta; Wunderlich, Gerhard; Facchini, Gustavo; Brocchi, Marcelo; Duran, Nelson; Costa, Fabio T. M.
Violacein is a violet pigment extracted from the gram-negative bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum. It presents bactericidal, tumoricidal, trypanocidal, and antileishmanial activities. We show that micromolar concentrations efficiently killed chloroquine-sensitive and -resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains in vitro; inhibited parasitemia in vivo, even after parasite establishment; and protected Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi-infected mice from a lethal challenge. PMID:19273690
Lopes, Stefanie C P; Blanco, Yara C; Justo, Giselle Z; Nogueira, Paulo A; Rodrigues, Francisco L S; Goelnitz, Uta; Wunderlich, Gerhard; Facchini, Gustavo; Brocchi, Marcelo; Duran, Nelson; Costa, Fabio T M