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Sample records for malaria targeting parasite

  1. Malaria Parasite Metabolic Pathways (MPMP) Upgraded with Targeted Chemical Compounds.

    PubMed

    Ginsburg, Hagai; Abdel-Haleem, Alyaa M

    2016-01-01

    Malaria Parasite Metabolic Pathways (MPMP) is the website for the functional genomics of intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum. All the published information about targeted chemical compounds has now been added. Users can find the drug target and publication details linked to a drug database for further information about the medicinal properties of each compound.

  2. Host-based Prophylaxis Successfully Targets Liver Stage Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Douglass, Alyse N; Kain, Heather S; Abdullahi, Marian; Arang, Nadia; Austin, Laura S; Mikolajczak, Sebastian A; Billman, Zachary P; Hume, Jen C C; Murphy, Sean C; Kappe, Stefan H I; Kaushansky, Alexis

    2015-01-01

    Eliminating malaria parasites during the asymptomatic but obligate liver stages (LSs) of infection would stop disease and subsequent transmission. Unfortunately, only a single licensed drug that targets all LSs, Primaquine, is available. Targeting host proteins might significantly expand the repertoire of prophylactic drugs against malaria. Here, we demonstrate that both Bcl-2 inhibitors and P53 agonists dramatically reduce LS burden in a mouse malaria model in vitro and in vivo by altering the activity of key hepatocyte factors on which the parasite relies. Bcl-2 inhibitors act primarily by inducing apoptosis in infected hepatocytes, whereas P53 agonists eliminate parasites in an apoptosis-independent fashion. In combination, Bcl-2 inhibitors and P53 agonists act synergistically to delay, and in some cases completely prevent, the onset of blood stage disease. Both families of drugs are highly effective at doses that do not cause substantial hepatocyte cell death in vitro or liver damage in vivo. P53 agonists and Bcl-2 inhibitors were also effective when administered to humanized mice infected with Plasmodium falciparum. Our data demonstrate that host-based prophylaxis could be developed into an effective intervention strategy that eliminates LS parasites before the onset of clinical disease and thus opens a new avenue to prevent malaria. PMID:25648263

  3. Deconvoluting heme biosynthesis to target blood-stage malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Sigala, Paul A; Crowley, Jan R; Henderson, Jeffrey P; Goldberg, Daniel E

    2015-01-01

    Heme metabolism is central to blood-stage infection by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Parasites retain a heme biosynthesis pathway but do not require its activity during infection of heme-rich erythrocytes, where they can scavenge host heme to meet metabolic needs. Nevertheless, heme biosynthesis in parasite-infected erythrocytes can be potently stimulated by exogenous 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), resulting in accumulation of the phototoxic intermediate protoporphyrin IX (PPIX). Here we use photodynamic imaging, mass spectrometry, parasite gene disruption, and chemical probes to reveal that vestigial host enzymes in the cytoplasm of Plasmodium-infected erythrocytes contribute to ALA-stimulated heme biosynthesis and that ALA uptake depends on parasite-established permeability pathways. We show that PPIX accumulation in infected erythrocytes can be harnessed for antimalarial chemotherapy using luminol-based chemiluminescence and combinatorial stimulation by low-dose artemisinin to photoactivate PPIX to produce cytotoxic reactive oxygen. This photodynamic strategy has the advantage of exploiting host enzymes refractory to resistance-conferring mutations. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09143.001 PMID:26173178

  4. Recent advances in the biology and drug targeting of malaria parasite aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.

    PubMed

    Khan, Sameena

    2016-04-12

    Escalating drug resistance in malaria parasites and lack of vaccine entails the discovery of novel drug targets and inhibitor molecules. The multi-component protein translation machinery is a rich source of such drug targets. Malaria parasites contain three translational compartments: the cytoplasm, apicoplast and mitochondrion, of which the latter two are of the prokaryotic type. Recent explorations by many groups into the malaria parasite protein translation enzymes, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs), have yielded many promising inhibitors. The understanding of the biology of this unique set of 36 enzymes has become much clearer in recent times. Current review discusses the advances made in understanding of crucial aaRSs from Plasmodium and also the specific inhibitors found against malaria aaRSs.

  5. Malaria, photomicrograph of cellular parasites (image)

    MedlinePlus

    Malaria is a disease caused by parasites. This picture shows dark orange-stained malaria parasites inside red blood cells (a) and outside the cells (b). Note the large cells that look like targets; ...

  6. Can Mixed Parasite Infections Thwart Targeted Malaria Elimination Program in India?

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Upasana Shyamsunder; Siwal, Nisha; Pande, Veena

    2017-01-01

    India is highly endemic to malaria with prevalence of all five species of human malaria parasites of Plasmodium genus. India is set for malaria elimination by 2030. Since cases of mixed Plasmodium species infections remain usually undetected but cause huge disease burden, in order to understand the distributional prevalence of both monospecies infections and mixed species infections in India, we collated published data on the differential infection incidences of the five different malaria parasites based on PCR diagnostic assay. About 11% of total cases were due to mixed species infection. Among several interesting observations on both single and mixed parasitic infections, incidences of Plasmodium falciparum monoinfection were found to be significantly higher than P. vivax monoinfection. Also, P. malariae seems to be emerging as a potential malaria threat in India. Putting all the facts together, it appears that the dream of achieving malaria elimination in India will not be completely successful without dealing with mixed species infection. PMID:28900620

  7. The proteasome of malaria parasites: A multi-stage drug target for chemotherapeutic intervention?

    PubMed Central

    Aminake, Makoah Nigel; Arndt, Hans-Dieter; Pradel, Gabriele

    2012-01-01

    The ubiquitin/proteasome system serves as a regulated protein degradation pathway in eukaryotes, and is involved in many cellular processes featuring high protein turnover rates, such as cell cycle control, stress response and signal transduction. In malaria parasites, protein quality control is potentially important because of the high replication rate and the rapid transformations of the parasite during life cycle progression. The proteasome is the core of the degradation pathway, and is a major proteolytic complex responsible for the degradation and recycling of non-functional ubiquitinated proteins. Annotation of the genome for Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria tropica, revealed proteins with similarity to human 26S proteasome subunits. In addition, a bacterial ClpQ/hslV threonine peptidase-like protein was identified. In recent years several independent studies indicated an essential function of the parasite proteasome for the liver, blood and transmission stages. In this review, we compile evidence for protein recycling in Plasmodium parasites and discuss the role of the 26S proteasome as a prospective multi-stage target for antimalarial drug discovery programs. PMID:24533266

  8. Simultaneously targeting inflammatory response and parasite sequestration in brain to treat Experimental Cerebral Malaria.

    PubMed

    Dende, Chaitanya; Meena, Jairam; Nagarajan, Perumal; Panda, Amulya K; Rangarajan, Pundi N; Padmanaban, Govindarajan

    2015-07-31

    Malaria afflicts around 200 million people annually, with a mortality number close to 600,000. The mortality rate in Human Cerebral Malaria (HCM) is unacceptably high (15-20%), despite the availability of artemisinin-based therapy. An effective adjunct therapy is urgently needed. Experimental Cerebral Malaria (ECM) in mice manifests many of the neurological features of HCM. Migration of T cells and parasite-infected RBCs (pRBCs) into the brain are both necessary to precipitate the disease. We have been able to simultaneously target both these parameters of ECM. Curcumin alone was able to reverse all the parameters investigated in this study that govern inflammatory responses, CD8(+) T cell and pRBC sequestration into the brain and blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown. But the animals eventually died of anemia due to parasite build-up in blood. However, arteether-curcumin (AC) combination therapy even after the onset of symptoms provided complete cure. AC treatment is a promising therapeutic option for HCM.

  9. Simultaneously targeting inflammatory response and parasite sequestration in brain to treat Experimental Cerebral Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Dende, Chaitanya; Meena, Jairam; Nagarajan, Perumal; Panda, Amulya K.; Rangarajan, Pundi N.; Padmanaban, Govindarajan

    2015-01-01

    Malaria afflicts around 200 million people annually, with a mortality number close to 600,000. The mortality rate in Human Cerebral Malaria (HCM) is unacceptably high (15–20%), despite the availability of artemisinin-based therapy. An effective adjunct therapy is urgently needed. Experimental Cerebral Malaria (ECM) in mice manifests many of the neurological features of HCM. Migration of T cells and parasite-infected RBCs (pRBCs) into the brain are both necessary to precipitate the disease. We have been able to simultaneously target both these parameters of ECM. Curcumin alone was able to reverse all the parameters investigated in this study that govern inflammatory responses, CD8+ T cell and pRBC sequestration into the brain and blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown. But the animals eventually died of anemia due to parasite build-up in blood. However, arteether-curcumin (AC) combination therapy even after the onset of symptoms provided complete cure. AC treatment is a promising therapeutic option for HCM. PMID:26227888

  10. Purine import into malaria parasites as a target for antimalarial drug development.

    PubMed

    Frame, I J; Deniskin, Roman; Arora, Avish; Akabas, Myles H

    2015-04-01

    Infection with Plasmodium species parasites causes malaria. Plasmodium parasites are purine auxotrophs. In all life cycle stages, they require purines for RNA and DNA synthesis and other cellular metabolic processes. Purines are imported from the host erythrocyte by equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs). They are processed via purine salvage pathway enzymes to form the required purine nucleotides. The Plasmodium falciparum genome encodes four putative ENTs (PfENT1-4). Genetic, biochemical, and physiologic evidence suggest that PfENT1 is the primary purine transporter supplying the purine salvage pathway. Protein mass spectrometry shows that PfENT1 is expressed in all parasite stages. PfENT1 knockout parasites are not viable in culture at purine concentrations found in human blood (<10 μM). Thus, PfENT1 is a potential target for novel antimalarial drugs, but no PfENT1 inhibitors have been identified to test the hypothesis. Identifying inhibitors of PfENT1 is an essential step to validate PfENT1 as a potential antimalarial drug target.

  11. Malaria parasite clearance.

    PubMed

    White, Nicholas J

    2017-02-23

    Following anti-malarial drug treatment asexual malaria parasite killing and clearance appear to be first order processes. Damaged malaria parasites in circulating erythrocytes are removed from the circulation mainly by the spleen. Splenic clearance functions increase markedly in acute malaria. Either the entire infected erythrocytes are removed because of their reduced deformability or increased antibody binding or, for the artemisinins which act on young ring stage parasites, splenic pitting of drug-damaged parasites is an important mechanism of clearance. The once-infected erythrocytes returned to the circulation have shortened survival. This contributes to post-artesunate haemolysis that may follow recovery in non-immune hyperparasitaemic patients. As the parasites mature Plasmodium vivax-infected erythrocytes become more deformable, whereas Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes become less deformable, but they escape splenic filtration by sequestering in venules and capillaries. Sequestered parasites are killed in situ by anti-malarial drugs and then disintegrate to be cleared by phagocytic leukocytes. After treatment with artemisinin derivatives some asexual parasites become temporarily dormant within their infected erythrocytes, and these may regrow after anti-malarial drug concentrations decline. Artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum reflects reduced ring stage susceptibility and manifests as slow parasite clearance. This is best assessed from the slope of the log-linear phase of parasitaemia reduction and is commonly measured as a parasite clearance half-life. Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modelling of anti-malarial drug effects on parasite clearance has proved useful in predicting therapeutic responses and in dose-optimization.

  12. The Cytoplasmic Prolyl-tRNA Synthetase of the Malaria Parasite is a Dual-Stage Target for Drug Development

    PubMed Central

    Herman, Jonathan D.; Pepper, Lauren R.; Cortese, Joseph F.; Estiu, Guillermina; Galinsky, Kevin; Zuzarte-Luis, Vanessa; Derbyshire, Emily R.; Ribacke, Ulf; Lukens, Amanda K.; Santos, Sofia A.; Patel, Vishal; Clish, Clary B.; Sullivan, William J.; Zhou, Huihao; Bopp, Selina E.; Schimmel, Paul; Lindquist, Susan; Clardy, Jon; Mota, Maria M.; Keller, Tracy L.; Whitman, Malcolm; Wiest, Olaf; Wirth, Dyann F.; Mazitschek, Ralph

    2015-01-01

    The emergence of drug resistance is a major limitation of current antimalarials. The discovery of new druggable targets and pathways including those that are critical for multiple life cycle stages of the malaria parasite is a major goal for the development of the next-generation of antimalarial drugs. Using an integrated chemogenomics approach that combined drug-resistance selection, whole genome sequencing and an orthogonal yeast model, we demonstrate that the cytoplasmic prolyl-tRNA synthetase (PfcPRS) of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a biochemical and functional target of febrifugine and its synthetic derivatives such as halofuginone. Febrifugine is the active principle of a traditional Chinese herbal remedy for malaria. We show that treatment with febrifugine derivatives activated the amino acid starvation response in both P. falciparum and a transgenic yeast strain expressing PfcPRS. We further demonstrate in the P. berghei mouse model of malaria that halofuginol, a new halofuginone analog that we developed, is highly active against both liver and asexual blood stages of the malaria parasite. Halofuginol, unlike halofuginone and febrifugine, is well tolerated at efficacious doses, and represents a promising lead for the development of dual-stage next generation antimalarials. PMID:25995223

  13. The Malaria Parasite's Lactate Transporter PfFNT Is the Target of Antiplasmodial Compounds Identified in Whole Cell Phenotypic Screens

    PubMed Central

    Hapuarachchi, Sanduni V.; McConville, Malcolm J.; Martin, Rowena E.; Lehane, Adele M.

    2017-01-01

    In this study the ‘Malaria Box’ chemical library comprising 400 compounds with antiplasmodial activity was screened for compounds that perturb the internal pH of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Fifteen compounds induced an acidification of the parasite cytosol. Two of these did so by inhibiting the parasite’s formate nitrite transporter (PfFNT), which mediates the H+-coupled efflux from the parasite of lactate generated by glycolysis. Both compounds were shown to inhibit lactate transport across the parasite plasma membrane, and the transport of lactate by PfFNT expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. PfFNT inhibition caused accumulation of lactate in parasitised erythrocytes, and swelling of both the parasite and parasitised erythrocyte. Long-term exposure of parasites to one of the inhibitors gave rise to resistant parasites with a mutant form of PfFNT that showed reduced inhibitor sensitivity. This study provides the first evidence that PfFNT is a druggable antimalarial target. PMID:28178359

  14. Ungulate malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Templeton, Thomas J.; Asada, Masahito; Jiratanh, Montakan; Ishikawa, Sohta A.; Tiawsirisup, Sonthaya; Sivakumar, Thillaiampalam; Namangala, Boniface; Takeda, Mika; Mohkaew, Kingdao; Ngamjituea, Supawan; Inoue, Noboru; Sugimoto, Chihiro; Inagaki, Yuji; Suzuki, Yasuhiko; Yokoyama, Naoaki; Kaewthamasorn, Morakot; Kaneko, Osamu

    2016-01-01

    Haemosporida parasites of even-toed ungulates are diverse and globally distributed, but since their discovery in 1913 their characterization has relied exclusively on microscopy-based descriptions. In order to bring molecular approaches to bear on the identity and evolutionary relationships of ungulate malaria parasites, we conducted Plasmodium cytb-specific nested PCR surveys using blood from water buffalo in Vietnam and Thailand, and goats in Zambia. We found that Plasmodium is readily detectable from water buffalo in these countries, indicating that buffalo Plasmodium is distributed in a wider region than India, which is the only area in which buffalo Plasmodium has been reported. Two types (I and II) of Plasmodium sequences were identified from water buffalo and a third type (III) was isolated from goat. Morphology of the parasite was confirmed in Giemsa-reagent stained blood smears for the Type I sample. Complete mitochondrial DNA sequences were isolated and used to infer a phylogeny in which ungulate malaria parasites form a monophyletic clade within the Haemosporida, and branch prior to the clade containing bird, lizard and other mammalian Plasmodium. Thus it is likely that host switching of Plasmodium from birds to mammals occurred multiple times, with a switch to ungulates independently from other mammalian Plasmodium. PMID:26996979

  15. Intraerythrocytic Killing of Malaria Parasites

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-05-12

    immunity (23, 24) and its relevance to human malaria (25). 4. The effect of the B- thalassemia mutation on ralaria-infectcd mice arid the role of the spleen...detected. Thus, Pc96 shares a cross-reactive epitope with these three primate malaria antigens. 4. Effect of B- thalassemia on malaria-infected mice and...B- thalassemia against malaria, rodent malaria parasites were studied in C57BL/6J mice with B- thalassemia , in mice in which the thalassemia had been

  16. Malaria, microscopic view of cellular parasites (image)

    MedlinePlus

    Malaria is a disease caused by parasites that are carried by mosquitoes. Once in the bloodstream, the parasite inhabits the red blood cell (RBC). This picture shows purple-stained malaria parasites inside red blood cells.

  17. Microsatellite analysis of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Orjuela-Sánchez, Pamela; Brandi, Michelle C; Ferreira, Marcelo U

    2013-01-01

    Microsatellites have been increasingly used to investigate the population structure of malaria parasites, to map genetic loci contributing to phenotypes such as drug resistance and virulence in laboratory crosses and genome-wide association studies and to distinguish between treatment failures and new infections in clinical trials. Here, we provide optimized protocols for genotyping highly polymorphic microsatellites sampled from across the genomes of the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax that have been extensively used in research laboratories worldwide.

  18. Inhibition of Protein Synthesis and Malaria Parasite Development by Drug Targeting of Methionyl-tRNA Synthetases

    PubMed Central

    Hussain, Tahir; Yogavel, Manickam

    2015-01-01

    Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are housekeeping enzymes that couple cognate tRNAs with amino acids to transmit genomic information for protein translation. The Plasmodium falciparum nuclear genome encodes two P. falciparum methionyl-tRNA synthetases (PfMRS), termed PfMRScyt and PfMRSapi. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the two proteins are of primitive origin and are related to heterokonts (PfMRScyt) or proteobacteria/primitive bacteria (PfMRSapi). We show that PfMRScyt localizes in parasite cytoplasm, while PfMRSapi localizes to apicoplasts in asexual stages of malaria parasites. Two known bacterial MRS inhibitors, REP3123 and REP8839, hampered Plasmodium growth very effectively in the early and late stages of parasite development. Small-molecule drug-like libraries were screened against modeled PfMRS structures, and several “hit” compounds showed significant effects on parasite growth. We then tested the effects of the hit compounds on protein translation by labeling nascent proteins with 35S-labeled cysteine and methionine. Three of the tested compounds reduced protein synthesis and also blocked parasite growth progression from the ring stage to the trophozoite stage. Drug docking studies suggested distinct modes of binding for the three compounds, compared with the enzyme product methionyl adenylate. Therefore, this study provides new targets (PfMRSs) and hit compounds that can be explored for development as antimalarial drugs. PMID:25583729

  19. Inhibition of protein synthesis and malaria parasite development by drug targeting of methionyl-tRNA synthetases.

    PubMed

    Hussain, Tahir; Yogavel, Manickam; Sharma, Amit

    2015-04-01

    Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are housekeeping enzymes that couple cognate tRNAs with amino acids to transmit genomic information for protein translation. The Plasmodium falciparum nuclear genome encodes two P. falciparum methionyl-tRNA synthetases (PfMRS), termed PfMRS(cyt) and PfMRS(api). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the two proteins are of primitive origin and are related to heterokonts (PfMRS(cyt)) or proteobacteria/primitive bacteria (PfMRS(api)). We show that PfMRS(cyt) localizes in parasite cytoplasm, while PfMRS(api) localizes to apicoplasts in asexual stages of malaria parasites. Two known bacterial MRS inhibitors, REP3123 and REP8839, hampered Plasmodium growth very effectively in the early and late stages of parasite development. Small-molecule drug-like libraries were screened against modeled PfMRS structures, and several "hit" compounds showed significant effects on parasite growth. We then tested the effects of the hit compounds on protein translation by labeling nascent proteins with (35)S-labeled cysteine and methionine. Three of the tested compounds reduced protein synthesis and also blocked parasite growth progression from the ring stage to the trophozoite stage. Drug docking studies suggested distinct modes of binding for the three compounds, compared with the enzyme product methionyl adenylate. Therefore, this study provides new targets (PfMRSs) and hit compounds that can be explored for development as antimalarial drugs. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  20. Malaria parasite development in mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    Beier, J C

    1998-01-01

    Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles transmit malaria parasites to humans. Anopheles mosquito species vary in their vector potential because of environmental conditions and factors affecting their abundance, blood-feeding behavior, survival, and ability to support malaria parasite development. In the complex life cycle of the parasite in female mosquitoes, a process termed sporogony, mosquitoes acquire gametocyte-stage parasites from blood-feeding on an infected host. The parasites carry out fertilization in the midgut, transform to ookinetes, then oocysts, which produce sporozoites. Sporozoites invade the salivary glands and are transmitted when the mosquito feeds on another host. Most individual mosquitoes that ingest gametocytes do not support development to the sporozoite stage. Bottle-necks occur at every stage of the cycle in the mosquito. Powerful new techniques and approaches exist for evaluating malaria parasite development and for identifying mechanisms regulating malaria parasite-vector interactions. This review focuses on those interactions that are important for the development of new approaches for evaluating and blocking transmission in nature.

  1. Molecular targets of 5-fluoroorotate in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed Central

    Rathod, P K; Leffers, N P; Young, R D

    1992-01-01

    5-Fluoroorotate is known to have potent antimalarial activity against chloroquine-susceptible as well as chloroquine-resistant clones of Plasmodium falciparum. It was hypothesized that this activity was mediated through synthesis of 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridylate, an inactivator of thymidylate synthase, or through incorporation of 5-fluoropyrimidine residues into nucleic acids. Treatment of P. falciparum in culture with 100 nM 5-fluoroorotate resulted in rapid inactivation of malarial thymidylate synthase activity. A 50% loss of thymidylate synthase activity as well as a 50% decrease in parasite proliferation were seen with 5 nM 5-fluoroorotate. Dihydrofolate reductase activity, which resides on the same bifunctional protein as thymidylate synthase, was not affected by 5-fluoroorotate treatment. Incubation of malarial parasites with 3 to 10 microM radioactive 5-fluoroorotic acid for 48 h resulted in significant incorporation of radioactivity into the RNA fraction of P. falciparum; approximately 9% of the uridine residues were substituted with 5-fluorouridine. However, compared with the 50% inhibitory concentrations of 5-fluoroorotate, a 1,000-fold higher concentration of the pyrimidine analog was required to see significant modification of RNA molecules. Results of these studies are consistent with the hypothesis that thymidylate synthase is the primary target of 5-fluoroorotate in malarial parasites. PMID:1503432

  2. Artemisinin activity-based probes identify multiple molecular targets within the asexual stage of the malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum 3D7

    PubMed Central

    Ismail, Hanafy M.; Barton, Victoria; Phanchana, Matthew; Charoensutthivarakul, Sitthivut; Wong, Michael H. L.; Hemingway, Janet; Biagini, Giancarlo A.; O’Neill, Paul M.; Ward, Stephen A.

    2016-01-01

    The artemisinin (ART)-based antimalarials have contributed significantly to reducing global malaria deaths over the past decade, but we still do not know how they kill parasites. To gain greater insight into the potential mechanisms of ART drug action, we developed a suite of ART activity-based protein profiling probes to identify parasite protein drug targets in situ. Probes were designed to retain biological activity and alkylate the molecular target(s) of Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 parasites in situ. Proteins tagged with the ART probe can then be isolated using click chemistry before identification by liquid chromatography–MS/MS. Using these probes, we define an ART proteome that shows alkylated targets in the glycolytic, hemoglobin degradation, antioxidant defense, and protein synthesis pathways, processes essential for parasite survival. This work reveals the pleiotropic nature of the biological functions targeted by this important class of antimalarial drugs. PMID:26858419

  3. Malaria Parasite Liver Infection and Exoerythrocytic Biology.

    PubMed

    Vaughan, Ashley M; Kappe, Stefan H I

    2017-02-27

    In their infection cycle, malaria parasites undergo replication and population expansions within the vertebrate host and the mosquito vector. Host infection initiates with sporozoite invasion of hepatocytes, followed by a dramatic parasite amplification event during liver stage parasite growth and replication within hepatocytes. Each liver stage forms up to 90,000 exoerythrocytic merozoites, which are in turn capable of initiating a blood stage infection. Liver stages not only exploit host hepatocyte resources for nutritional needs but also endeavor to prevent hepatocyte cell death and detection by the host's immune system. Research over the past decade has identified numerous parasite factors that play a critical role during liver infection and has started to delineate a complex web of parasite-host interactions that sustain successful parasite colonization of the mammalian host. Targeting the parasites' obligatory infection of the liver as a gateway to the blood, with drugs and vaccines, constitutes the most effective strategy for malaria eradication, as it would prevent clinical disease and onward transmission of the parasite.

  4. The cytoplasmic prolyl-tRNA synthetase of the malaria parasite is a dual-stage target of febrifugine and its analogs.

    PubMed

    Herman, Jonathan D; Pepper, Lauren R; Cortese, Joseph F; Estiu, Guillermina; Galinsky, Kevin; Zuzarte-Luis, Vanessa; Derbyshire, Emily R; Ribacke, Ulf; Lukens, Amanda K; Santos, Sofia A; Patel, Vishal; Clish, Clary B; Sullivan, William J; Zhou, Huihao; Bopp, Selina E; Schimmel, Paul; Lindquist, Susan; Clardy, Jon; Mota, Maria M; Keller, Tracy L; Whitman, Malcolm; Wiest, Olaf; Wirth, Dyann F; Mazitschek, Ralph

    2015-05-20

    The emergence of drug resistance is a major limitation of current antimalarials. The discovery of new druggable targets and pathways including those that are critical for multiple life cycle stages of the malaria parasite is a major goal for developing next-generation antimalarial drugs. Using an integrated chemogenomics approach that combined drug resistance selection, whole-genome sequencing, and an orthogonal yeast model, we demonstrate that the cytoplasmic prolyl-tRNA (transfer RNA) synthetase (PfcPRS) of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a biochemical and functional target of febrifugine and its synthetic derivative halofuginone. Febrifugine is the active principle of a traditional Chinese herbal remedy for malaria. We show that treatment with febrifugine derivatives activated the amino acid starvation response in both P. falciparum and a transgenic yeast strain expressing PfcPRS. We further demonstrate in the Plasmodium berghei mouse model of malaria that halofuginol, a new halofuginone analog that we developed, is active against both liver and asexual blood stages of the malaria parasite. Halofuginol, unlike halofuginone and febrifugine, is well tolerated at efficacious doses and represents a promising lead for the development of dual-stage next-generation antimalarials.

  5. Structure and reaction mechanism of phosphoethanolamine methyltransferase from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum: an antiparasitic drug target.

    PubMed

    Lee, Soon Goo; Kim, Youngchang; Alpert, Tara D; Nagata, Akina; Jez, Joseph M

    2012-01-06

    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 Å resolution crystal structure of PfPMT in complex with AdoMet by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion phasing. In addition, 1.19-1.52 Å 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.

  6. A conserved region in the EBL proteins is implicated in microneme targeting of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Treeck, Moritz; Struck, Nicole S; Haase, Silvia; Langer, Christine; Herrmann, Susann; Healer, Julie; Cowman, Alan F; Gilberger, Tim W

    2006-10-20

    The proliferation of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum within the human host is dependent upon invasion of erythrocytes. This process is accomplished by the merozoite, a highly specialized form of the parasite. Secretory organelles including micronemes and rhoptries play a pivotal role in the invasion process by storing and releasing parasite proteins. The mechanism of protein sorting to these compartments is unclear. Using a transgenic approach we show that trafficking of the most abundant micronemal proteins (members of the EBL-family: EBA-175, EBA-140/BAEBL, and EBA-181/JSEBL) is independent of their cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains, respectively. To identify the minimal sequence requirements for microneme trafficking, we generated parasites expressing EBA-GFP chimeric proteins and analyzed their distribution within the infected erythrocyte. This revealed that: (i) a conserved cysteine-rich region in the ectodomain is necessary for protein trafficking to the micronemes and (ii) correct sorting is dependent on accurate timing of expression.

  7. Characterization of two malaria parasite organelle translation elongation factor G proteins: the likely targets of the anti-malarial fusidic acid.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Russell A; McFadden, Geoffrey I; Goodman, Christopher D

    2011-01-01

    Malaria parasites harbour two organelles with bacteria-like metabolic processes that are the targets of many anti-bacterial drugs. One such drug is fusidic acid, which inhibits the translation component elongation factor G. The response of P. falciparum to fusidic acid was characterised using extended SYBR-Green based drug trials. This revealed that fusidic acid kills in vitro cultured P. falciparum parasites by immediately blocking parasite development. Two bacterial-type protein translation elongation factor G genes are identified as likely targets of fusidic acid. Sequence analysis suggests that these proteins function in the mitochondria and apicoplast and both should be sensitive to fusidic acid. Microscopic examination of protein-reporter fusions confirm the prediction that one elongation factor G is a component of parasite mitochondria whereas the second is a component of the relict plastid or apicoplast. The presence of two putative targets for a single inhibitory compound emphasizes the potential of elongation factor G as a drug target in malaria.

  8. Targeting Human Transmission Biology for Malaria Elimination

    PubMed Central

    Buckee, Caroline; Marti, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    Malaria remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, despite decades of public health efforts. The recent commitment by many endemic countries to eliminate malaria marks a shift away from programs aimed at controlling disease burden towards one that emphasizes reducing transmission of the most virulent human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Gametocytes, the only developmental stage of malaria parasites able to infect mosquitoes, have remained understudied, as they occur in low numbers, do not cause disease, and are difficult to detect in vivo by conventional methods. Here, we review the transmission biology of P. falciparum gametocytes, featuring important recent discoveries of genes affecting parasite commitment to gametocyte formation, microvesicles enabling parasites to communicate with each other, and the anatomical site where immature gametocytes develop. We propose potential parasite targets for future intervention and highlight remaining knowledge gaps. PMID:26086192

  9. Ion Regulation in the Malaria Parasite.

    PubMed

    Kirk, Kiaran

    2015-01-01

    Some hours after invading the erythrocytes of its human host, the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum induces an increase in the permeability of the erythrocyte membrane to monovalent ions. The resulting net influx of Na(+) and net efflux of K(+), down their respective concentration gradients, converts the erythrocyte cytosol from an initially high-K(+), low-Na(+) solution to a high-Na(+), low-K(+) solution. The intraerythrocytic parasite itself exerts tight control over its internal Na(+), K(+), Cl(-), and Ca(2+) concentrations and its intracellular pH through the combined actions of a range of membrane transport proteins. The molecular mechanisms underpinning ion regulation in the parasite are receiving increasing attention, not least because PfATP4, a P-type ATPase postulated to be involved in Na(+) regulation, has emerged as a potential antimalarial drug target, susceptible to inhibition by a wide range of chemically unrelated compounds.

  10. Vacuolar proton pumps in malaria parasite cells.

    PubMed

    Moriyama, Yoshinori; Hayashi, Mitsuko; Yatsushiro, Shouki; Yamamoto, Akitsugu

    2003-08-01

    The malaria parasite is a unicellular protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium that causes one of the most serious infectious diseases for human beings. Like other protozoa, the malaria parasite possesses acidic organelles, which may play an essential role(s) in energy acquisition, resistance to antimalarial agents, and vesicular trafficking. Recent evidence has indicated that two types of vacuolar proton pumps, vacuolar H+-ATPase and vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase, are responsible for their acidification. In this mini-review, we discuss the recent progress on vacuolar proton pumps in the malaria parasite.

  11. Immune Evasion Strategies of Pre-Erythrocytic Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Hong; Tan, Zhangping

    2014-01-01

    Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans. It begins with a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito and leads to the development of the pre-erythrocytic and blood stages. Blood-stage infection is the exclusive cause of clinical symptoms of malaria. In contrast, the pre-erythrocytic stage is clinically asymptomatic and could be an excellent target for preventive therapies. Although the robust host immune responses limit the development of the liver stage, malaria parasites have also evolved strategies to suppress host defenses at the pre-erythrocytic stage. This paper reviews the immune evasion strategies of malaria parasites at the pre-erythrocytic stage, which could provide us with potential targets to design prophylactic strategies against malaria. PMID:24891764

  12. Biliverdin targets enolase and eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) to reduce the growth of intraerythrocytic development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Alves, Eduardo; Maluf, Fernando V; Bueno, Vânia B; Guido, Rafael V C; Oliva, Glaucius; Singh, Maneesh; Scarpelli, Pedro; Costa, Fahyme; Sartorello, Robson; Catalani, Luiz H; Brady, Declan; Tewari, Rita; Garcia, Celia R S

    2016-02-26

    In mammals, haem degradation to biliverdin (BV) through the action of haem oxygenase (HO) is a critical step in haem metabolism. The malaria parasite converts haem into the chemically inert haemozoin to avoid toxicity. We discovered that the knock-out of HO in P. berghei is lethal; therefore, we investigated the function of biliverdin (BV) and haem in the parasite. Addition of external BV and haem to P. falciparum-infected red blood cell (RBC) cultures delays the progression of parasite development. The search for a BV molecular target within the parasites identified P. falciparum enolase (Pf enolase) as the strongest candidate. Isothermal titration calorimetry using recombinant full-length Plasmodium enolase suggested one binding site for BV. Kinetic assays revealed that BV is a non-competitive inhibitor. We employed molecular modelling studies to predict the new binding site as well as the binding mode of BV to P. falciparum enolase. Furthermore, addition of BV and haem targets the phosphorylation of Plasmodium falciparum eIF2α factor, an eukaryotic initiation factor phosphorylated by eIF2α kinases under stress conditions. We propose that BV targets enolase to reduce parasite glycolysis rates and changes the eIF2α phosphorylation pattern as a molecular mechanism for its action.

  13. Biliverdin targets enolase and eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) to reduce the growth of intraerythrocytic development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Alves, Eduardo; Maluf, Fernando V.; Bueno, Vânia B.; Guido, Rafael V. C.; Oliva, Glaucius; Singh, Maneesh; Scarpelli, Pedro; Costa, Fahyme; Sartorello, Robson; Catalani, Luiz H.; Brady, Declan; Tewari, Rita; Garcia, Celia R. S.

    2016-01-01

    In mammals, haem degradation to biliverdin (BV) through the action of haem oxygenase (HO) is a critical step in haem metabolism. The malaria parasite converts haem into the chemically inert haemozoin to avoid toxicity. We discovered that the knock-out of HO in P. berghei is lethal; therefore, we investigated the function of biliverdin (BV) and haem in the parasite. Addition of external BV and haem to P. falciparum-infected red blood cell (RBC) cultures delays the progression of parasite development. The search for a BV molecular target within the parasites identified P. falciparum enolase (Pf enolase) as the strongest candidate. Isothermal titration calorimetry using recombinant full-length Plasmodium enolase suggested one binding site for BV. Kinetic assays revealed that BV is a non-competitive inhibitor. We employed molecular modelling studies to predict the new binding site as well as the binding mode of BV to P. falciparum enolase. Furthermore, addition of BV and haem targets the phosphorylation of Plasmodium falciparum eIF2α factor, an eukaryotic initiation factor phosphorylated by eIF2α kinases under stress conditions. We propose that BV targets enolase to reduce parasite glycolysis rates and changes the eIF2α phosphorylation pattern as a molecular mechanism for its action. PMID:26915471

  14. Protein S-Glutathionylation in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Kehr, Sebastian; Jortzik, Esther; Delahunty, Claire; Yates, John R.; Rahlfs, Stefan

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Aims: Protein S-glutathionylation is a widely distributed post-translational modification of thiol groups with glutathione that can function as a redox-sensitive switch to mediate redox regulation and signal transduction. The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is exposed to intense oxidative stress and possesses the enzymatic system required to regulate protein S-glutathionylation, but despite its potential importance, protein S-glutathionylation has not yet been studied in malaria parasites. In this work we applied a method based on enzymatic deglutathionylation, affinity purification of biotin-maleimide-tagged proteins, and proteomic analyses to characterize the Plasmodium glutathionylome. Results: We identified 493 targets of protein S-glutathionylation in Plasmodium. Functional profiles revealed that the targets are components of central metabolic pathways, such as nitrogen compound metabolism and protein metabolism. Fifteen identified proteins with important functions in metabolic pathways (thioredoxin reductase, thioredoxin, thioredoxin peroxidase 1, glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase, plasmoredoxin, mitochondrial dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase, glutamate dehydrogenase 1, glyoxalase I and II, ornithine δ-aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase [GAPDH], pyruvate kinase [PK], and phosphoglycerate mutase) were further analyzed to study their ability to form mixed disulfides with glutathione. We demonstrate that P. falciparum GAPDH, PK, and ornithine δ-aminotransferase are reversibly inhibited by S-glutathionylation. Further, we provide evidence that not only P. falciparum glutaredoxin 1, but also thioredoxin 1 and plasmoredoxin are able to efficiently catalyze protein deglutathionylation. Innovation: We used an affinity-purification based proteomic approach to characterize the Plasmodium glutathionylome. Conclusion: Our results indicate a wide regulative use of S-glutathionylation in the

  15. Malaria parasite CelTOS targets the inner leaflet of cell membranes for pore-dependent disruption

    PubMed Central

    Jimah, John R; Salinas, Nichole D; Sala-Rabanal, Monica; Jones, Nathaniel G; Sibley, L David; Nichols, Colin G; Schlesinger, Paul H; Tolia, Niraj H

    2016-01-01

    Apicomplexan parasites contain a conserved protein CelTOS that, in malaria parasites, is essential for traversal of cells within the mammalian host and arthropod vector. However, the molecular role of CelTOS is unknown because it lacks sequence similarity to proteins of known function. Here, we determined the crystal structure of CelTOS and discovered CelTOS resembles proteins that bind to and disrupt membranes. In contrast to known membrane disruptors, CelTOS has a distinct architecture, specifically binds phosphatidic acid commonly present within the inner leaflet of plasma membranes, and potently disrupts liposomes composed of phosphatidic acid by forming pores. Microinjection of CelTOS into cells resulted in observable membrane damage. Therefore, CelTOS is unique as it achieves nearly universal inner leaflet cellular activity to enable the exit of parasites from cells during traversal. By providing novel molecular insight into cell traversal by apicomplexan parasites, our work facilitates the design of therapeutics against global pathogens. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.20621.001 PMID:27906127

  16. SYBR Green Real-Time PCR-RFLP Assay Targeting the Plasmodium Cytochrome B Gene – A Highly Sensitive Molecular Tool for Malaria Parasite Detection and Species Determination

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Weiping; Morris, Ulrika; Aydin-Schmidt, Berit; Msellem, Mwinyi I.; Shakely, Delér; Petzold, Max; Björkman, Anders; Mårtensson, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    A prerequisite for reliable detection of low-density Plasmodium infections in malaria pre-elimination settings is the availability of ultra-sensitive and high-throughput molecular tools. We developed a SYBR Green real-time PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism assay (cytb-qPCR) targeting the cytochrome b gene of the four major human Plasmodium species (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. ovale) for parasite detection and species determination with DNA extracted from dried blood spots collected on filter paper. The performance of cytb-qPCR was first compared against four reference PCR methods using serially diluted Plasmodium samples. The detection limit of the cytb-qPCR was 1 parasite/μl (p/μl) for P. falciparum and P. ovale, and 2 p/μl for P. vivax and P. malariae, while the reference PCRs had detection limits of 0.5–10 p/μl. The ability of the PCR methods to detect low-density Plasmodium infections was then assessed using 2977 filter paper samples collected during a cross-sectional survey in Zanzibar, a malaria pre-elimination setting in sub-Saharan Africa. Field samples were defined as ‘final positive’ if positive in at least two of the five PCR methods. Cytb-qPCR preformed equal to or better than the reference PCRs with a sensitivity of 100% (65/65; 95%CI 94.5–100%) and a specificity of 99.9% (2910/2912; 95%CI 99.7–100%) when compared against ‘final positive’ samples. The results indicate that the cytb-qPCR may represent an opportunity for improved molecular surveillance of low-density Plasmodium infections in malaria pre-elimination settings. PMID:25774805

  17. SYBR Green real-time PCR-RFLP assay targeting the plasmodium cytochrome B gene--a highly sensitive molecular tool for malaria parasite detection and species determination.

    PubMed

    Xu, Weiping; Morris, Ulrika; Aydin-Schmidt, Berit; Msellem, Mwinyi I; Shakely, Delér; Petzold, Max; Björkman, Anders; Mårtensson, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    A prerequisite for reliable detection of low-density Plasmodium infections in malaria pre-elimination settings is the availability of ultra-sensitive and high-throughput molecular tools. We developed a SYBR Green real-time PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism assay (cytb-qPCR) targeting the cytochrome b gene of the four major human Plasmodium species (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. ovale) for parasite detection and species determination with DNA extracted from dried blood spots collected on filter paper. The performance of cytb-qPCR was first compared against four reference PCR methods using serially diluted Plasmodium samples. The detection limit of the cytb-qPCR was 1 parasite/μl (p/μl) for P. falciparum and P. ovale, and 2 p/μl for P. vivax and P. malariae, while the reference PCRs had detection limits of 0.5-10 p/μl. The ability of the PCR methods to detect low-density Plasmodium infections was then assessed using 2977 filter paper samples collected during a cross-sectional survey in Zanzibar, a malaria pre-elimination setting in sub-Saharan Africa. Field samples were defined as 'final positive' if positive in at least two of the five PCR methods. Cytb-qPCR preformed equal to or better than the reference PCRs with a sensitivity of 100% (65/65; 95%CI 94.5-100%) and a specificity of 99.9% (2910/2912; 95%CI 99.7-100%) when compared against 'final positive' samples. The results indicate that the cytb-qPCR may represent an opportunity for improved molecular surveillance of low-density Plasmodium infections in malaria pre-elimination settings.

  18. The interplay between drug resistance and fitness in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Rosenthal, Philip J

    2013-09-01

    Controlling the spread of antimalarial drug resistance, especially resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to artemisinin-based combination therapies, is a high priority. Available data indicate that, as with other microorganisms, the spread of drug-resistant malaria parasites is limited by fitness costs that frequently accompany resistance. Resistance-mediating polymorphisms in malaria parasites have been identified in putative drug transporters and in target enzymes. The impacts of these polymorphisms on parasite fitness have been characterized in vitro and in animal models. Additional insights have come from analyses of samples from clinical studies, both evaluating parasites under different selective pressures and determining the clinical consequences of infection with different parasites. With some exceptions, resistance-mediating polymorphisms lead to malaria parasites that, compared with wild type, grow less well in culture and in animals, and are replaced by wild type when drug pressure diminishes in the clinical setting. In some cases, the fitness costs of resistance may be offset by compensatory mutations that increase virulence or changes that enhance malaria transmission. However, not enough is known about effects of resistance mediators on parasite fitness. A better appreciation of the costs of fitness-mediating mutations will facilitate the development of optimal guidelines for the treatment and prevention of malaria.

  19. Active migration and passive transport of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Douglas, Ross G; Amino, Rogerio; Sinnis, Photini; Frischknecht, Freddy

    2015-08-01

    Malaria parasites undergo a complex life cycle between their hosts and vectors. During this cycle the parasites invade different types of cells, migrate across barriers, and transfer from one host to another. Recent literature hints at a misunderstanding of the difference between active, parasite-driven migration and passive, circulation-driven movement of the parasite or parasite-infected cells in the various bodily fluids of mosquito and mammalian hosts. Because both active migration and passive transport could be targeted in different ways to interfere with the parasite, a distinction between the two ways the parasite uses to get from one location to another is essential. We discuss the two types of motion needed for parasite dissemination and elaborate on how they could be targeted by future vaccines or drugs.

  20. Paths to a malaria vaccine illuminated by parasite genomics.

    PubMed

    Conway, David J

    2015-02-01

    More human death and disease is caused by malaria parasites than by all other eukaryotic pathogens combined. As early as the sequencing of the first human genome, malaria parasite genomics was prioritized to fuel the discovery of vaccine candidate antigens. This stimulated increased research on malaria, generating new understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of infection and immunity. This review of recent developments illustrates how new approaches in parasite genomics, and increasingly large amounts of data from population studies, are helping to identify antigens that are promising lead targets. Although these results have been encouraging, effective discovery and characterization need to be coupled with more innovation and funding to translate findings into newly designed vaccine products for clinical trials.

  1. Malaria

    MedlinePlus

    Quartan malaria; Falciparum malaria; Biduoterian fever; Blackwater fever; Tertian malaria; Plasmodium ... Malaria is caused by a parasite that is passed to humans by the bite of infected Anopheles ...

  2. Why do malaria parasites increase host erythrocyte permeability?

    PubMed Central

    Desai, Sanjay A.

    2014-01-01

    Malaria parasites increase erythrocyte permeability to diverse solutes including anions, some cations, and organic solutes, as characterized with several independent methods. Over the last decade, patch-clamp studies have determined that the permeability results from one or more ion channels on the infected erythrocyte host membrane. However, the biological role(s) served by these channels, if any, remain controversial. Recent studies implicate the plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC) and a role in parasite nutrient acquisition. A debated alternative role in remodeling host ion composition for the benefit of the parasite appears to be nonessential. Because both channel activity and the associated clag3 genes are strictly conserved in malaria parasites, channel-mediated permeability is an attractive target for development of new therapies. PMID:24507014

  3. Malaria Parasites: The Great Escape

    PubMed Central

    Rénia, Laurent; Goh, Yun Shan

    2016-01-01

    Parasites of the genus Plasmodium have a complex life cycle. They alternate between their final mosquito host and their intermediate hosts. The parasite can be either extra- or intracellular, depending on the stage of development. By modifying their shape, motility, and metabolic requirements, the parasite adapts to the different environments in their different hosts. The parasite has evolved to escape the multiple immune mechanisms in the host that try to block parasite development at the different stages of their development. In this article, we describe the mechanisms reported thus far that allow the Plasmodium parasite to evade innate and adaptive immune responses. PMID:27872623

  4. The distinct proteome of placental malaria parasites.

    SciTech Connect

    Fried, Michal; Hixson, Kim K.; Anderson, Lori; Ogata, Yuko; Mutabingwa, Theonest K.; Duffy, Patrick E.

    2007-09-01

    Malaria proteins expressed on the surface of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes (IE) mediate adhesion and are targeted by protective immune responses. During pregnancy, IE sequester in the placenta. Placental IE bind to the molecule chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) and preferentially transcribe the gene that encodes VAR2CSA, a member of the PfEMP1 variant surface antigen family. Over successive pregnancies women develop specific immunity to CSA-binding IE and antibodies to VAR2CSA. We used tandem mass spectrometry together with accurate mass and time tag technology to study IE membrane fractions of placental parasites. VAR2CSA peptides were detected in placental IE and in IE from children, but the MC variant of VAR2CSA was specifically associated with placental IE. We identified six conserved hypothetical proteins with putative TM or signal peptides that were exclusively expressed by the placental IE, and 11 such proteins that were significantly more abundant in placental IE. One of these hypothetical proteins, PFI1785w, is a 42kDa molecule detected by Western blot in parasites infecting pregnant women but not those infecting children.

  5. Immune Escape Strategies of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Gomes, Pollyanna S.; Bhardwaj, Jyoti; Rivera-Correa, Juan; Freire-De-Lima, Celio G.; Morrot, Alexandre

    2016-01-01

    Malaria is one of the most life-threatening infectious diseases worldwide. Immunity to malaria is slow and short-lived despite the repeated parasite exposure in endemic areas. Malaria parasites have evolved refined machinery to evade the immune system based on a range of genetic changes that include allelic variation, biomolecular exposure of proteins, and intracellular replication. All of these features increase the probability of survival in both mosquitoes and the vertebrate host. Plasmodium species escape from the first immunological trap in its invertebrate vector host, the Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasites have to pass through various immunological barriers within the mosquito such as anti-microbial molecules and the mosquito microbiota in order to achieve successful transmission to the vertebrate host. Within these hosts, Plasmodium species employ various immune evasion strategies during different life cycle stages. Parasite persistence against the vertebrate immune response depends on the balance among virulence factors, pathology, metabolic cost of the host immune response, and the parasites ability to evade the immune response. In this review we discuss the strategies that Plasmodium parasites use to avoid the vertebrate host immune system and how they promote successful infection and transmission. PMID:27799922

  6. Immune Escape Strategies of Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Gomes, Pollyanna S; Bhardwaj, Jyoti; Rivera-Correa, Juan; Freire-De-Lima, Celio G; Morrot, Alexandre

    2016-01-01

    Malaria is one of the most life-threatening infectious diseases worldwide. Immunity to malaria is slow and short-lived despite the repeated parasite exposure in endemic areas. Malaria parasites have evolved refined machinery to evade the immune system based on a range of genetic changes that include allelic variation, biomolecular exposure of proteins, and intracellular replication. All of these features increase the probability of survival in both mosquitoes and the vertebrate host. Plasmodium species escape from the first immunological trap in its invertebrate vector host, the Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasites have to pass through various immunological barriers within the mosquito such as anti-microbial molecules and the mosquito microbiota in order to achieve successful transmission to the vertebrate host. Within these hosts, Plasmodium species employ various immune evasion strategies during different life cycle stages. Parasite persistence against the vertebrate immune response depends on the balance among virulence factors, pathology, metabolic cost of the host immune response, and the parasites ability to evade the immune response. In this review we discuss the strategies that Plasmodium parasites use to avoid the vertebrate host immune system and how they promote successful infection and transmission.

  7. Rationale for the Coadministration of Albendazole and Ivermectin to Humans for Malaria Parasite Transmission Control

    PubMed Central

    Kobylinski, Kevin C.; Alout, Haoues; Foy, Brian D.; Clements, Archie; Adisakwattana, Poom; Swierczewski, Brett E.; Richardson, Jason H.

    2014-01-01

    Recently there have been calls for the eradication of malaria and the elimination of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs). Malaria and STHs overlap in distribution, and STH infections are associated with increased risk for malaria. Indeed, there is evidence that suggests that STH infection may facilitate malaria transmission. Malaria and STH coinfection may exacerbate anemia, especially in pregnant women, leading to worsened child development and more adverse pregnancy outcomes than these diseases would cause on their own. Ivermectin mass drug administration (MDA) to humans for malaria parasite transmission suppression is being investigated as a potential malaria elimination tool. Adding albendazole to ivermectin MDAs would maximize effects against STHs. A proactive, integrated control platform that targets malaria and STHs would be extremely cost-effective and simultaneously reduce human suffering caused by multiple diseases. This paper outlines the benefits of adding albendazole to ivermectin MDAs for malaria parasite transmission suppression. PMID:25070998

  8. Host-parasite interactions that guide red blood cell invasion by malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Paul, Aditya S; Egan, Elizabeth S; Duraisingh, Manoj T

    2015-05-01

    Malaria is caused by the infection and proliferation of parasites from the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells (RBCs). A free Plasmodium parasite, or merozoite, released from an infected RBC must invade another RBC host cell to sustain a blood-stage infection. Here, we review recent advances on RBC invasion by Plasmodium merozoites, focusing on specific molecular interactions between host and parasite. Recent work highlights the central role of host-parasite interactions at virtually every stage of RBC invasion by merozoites. Biophysical experiments have for the first time measured the strength of merozoite-RBC attachment during invasion. For P. falciparum, there have been many key insights regarding the invasion ligand PfRh5 in particular, including its influence on host species tropism, a co-crystal structure with its RBC receptor basigin, and its suitability as a vaccine target. For P. vivax, researchers identified the origin and emergence of the parasite from Africa, demonstrating a natural link to the Duffy-negative RBC variant in African populations. For the simian parasite P. knowlesi, zoonotic invasion into human cells is linked to RBC age, which has implications for parasitemia during an infection and thus malaria. New studies of the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing RBC invasion by Plasmodium parasites have shed light on various aspects of parasite biology and host cell tropism, and indicate opportunities for malaria control.

  9. Host-parasite interactions that guide red blood cell invasion by malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Paul, Aditya S.; Egan, Elizabeth S.; Duraisingh, Manoj T.

    2015-01-01

    Purpose of Review Malaria is caused by the infection and proliferation of parasites from the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells (RBCs). A free Plasmodium parasite, or merozoite, released from an infected RBC must invade another RBC host cell to sustain a blood-stage infection. Here, we review recent advances on RBC invasion by Plasmodium merozoites, focusing on specific molecular interactions between host and parasite. Recent findings Recent work highlights the central role of host-parasite interactions at virtually every stage of RBC invasion by merozoites. Biophysical experiments have for the first time measured the strength of merozoite-RBC attachment during invasion. For P. falciparum, there have been many key insights regarding the invasion ligand PfRh5 in particular, including its influence on host species tropism, a co-crystal structure with its RBC receptor basigin, and its suitability as a vaccine target. For P. vivax, researchers identified the origin and emergence of the parasite from Africa, demonstrating a natural link to the Duffy-negative RBC variant in African populations. For the simian parasite P. knowlesi, zoonotic invasion into human cells is linked to RBC age, which has implications for parasitemia during an infection and thus malaria. Summary New studies of the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing RBC invasion by Plasmodium parasites have shed light on various aspects of parasite biology and host cell tropism; and indicate opportunities for malaria control. PMID:25767956

  10. Spatial targeting of interventions against malaria.

    PubMed Central

    Carter, R.; Mendis, K. N.; Roberts, D.

    2000-01-01

    Malaria transmission is strongly associated with location. This association has two main features. First, the disease is focused around specific mosquito breeding sites and can normally be transmitted only within certain distances from them: in Africa these are typically between a few hundred metres and a kilometre and rarely exceed 2-3 kilometres. Second, there is a marked clustering of persons with malaria parasites and clinical symptoms at particular sites, usually households. In localities of low endemicity the level of malaria risk or case incidence may vary widely between households because the specific characteristics of houses and their locations affect contact between humans and vectors. Where endemicity is high, differences in human/vector contact rates between different households may have less effect on malaria case incidences. This is because superinfection and exposure-acquired immunity blur the proportional relationship between inoculation rates and case incidences. Accurate information on the distribution of malaria on the ground permits interventions to be targeted towards the foci of transmission and the locations and households of high malaria risk within them. Such targeting greatly increases the effectiveness of control measures. On the other hand, the inadvertent exclusion of these locations causes potentially effective control measures to fail. The computerized mapping and management of location data in geographical information systems should greatly assist the targeting of interventions against malaria at the focal and household levels, leading to improved effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of control. PMID:11196487

  11. Acidic calcium pools in intraerythrocytic malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Garcia, C R; Ann, S E; Tavares, E S; Dluzewski, A R; Mason, W T; Paiva, F B

    1998-06-01

    Calcium uptake by permeabilized P. chabaudi malaria parasites was measured at the trophozoite stage to assess calcium accumulation by the parasite organelles. As determined with 45Ca2+, the total calcium in the parasite was found to be 11 pmoles/10(7) cells. When the K+/H+ uncoupling agent, nigericin was present, this level fell to 6.5 pmoles/10(7) cells. A similar regulatory mechanism operates in P. falciparum, since addition of nigericin to intact parasites in calcium free-medium resulted in a transient elevation of free calcium in the parasite cytosol, as judged by fluorescent imaging of single cells loaded with the calcium indicator fluo-3,AM. 7-Chloro-4-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazole (NBD-Cl) and monensin, inhibitors of H+ ATPases and K+/H+ ionophore respectively, induced calcium elevation in fluo-3, AM-labeled intact P. chabaudi parasites. We conclude that malaria parasites utilize acidic intracellular compartments to regulate their cytosolic free calcium concentration.

  12. PI4 Kinase Is a Prophylactic but Not Radical Curative Target in Plasmodium vivax-Type Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Zeeman, Anne-Marie; Lakshminarayana, Suresh B.; van der Werff, Nicole; Klooster, Els J.; Voorberg-van der Wel, Annemarie; Kondreddi, Ravinder R.; Bodenreider, Christophe; Simon, Oliver; Sauerwein, Robert; Yeung, Bryan K. S.

    2016-01-01

    Two Plasmodium PI4 kinase (PI4K) inhibitors, KDU691 and LMV599, were selected for in vivo testing as causal prophylactic and radical-cure agents for Plasmodium cynomolgi sporozoite-infected rhesus macaques, based on their in vitro activity against liver stages. Animals were infected with P. cynomolgi sporozoites, and compounds were dosed orally. Both the KDU691 and LMV599 compounds were fully protective when administered prophylactically, and the more potent compound LMV599 achieved protection as a single oral dose of 25 mg/kg of body weight. In contrast, when tested for radical cure, five daily doses of 20 mg/kg of KDU691 or 25 mg/kg of LMV599 did not prevent relapse, as all animals experienced a secondary infection due to the reactivation of hypnozoites in the liver. Pharmacokinetic data show that LMV599 achieved plasma exposure that was sufficient to achieve efficacy based on our in vitro data. These findings indicate that Plasmodium PI4K is a potential drug target for malaria prophylaxis but not radical cure. Longer in vitro culture systems will be required to assess these compounds' activity on established hypnozoites and predict radical cure in vivo. PMID:26926645

  13. Compartmentation of Redox Metabolism in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Rahlfs, Stefan; Przyborski, Jude M.; Becker, Katja

    2010-01-01

    Malaria, caused by the apicomplexan parasite Plasmodium, still represents a major threat to human health and welfare and leads to about one million human deaths annually. Plasmodium is a rapidly multiplying unicellular organism undergoing a complex developmental cycle in man and mosquito – a life style that requires rapid adaptation to various environments. In order to deal with high fluxes of reactive oxygen species and maintain redox regulatory processes and pathogenicity, Plasmodium depends upon an adequate redox balance. By systematically studying the subcellular localization of the major antioxidant and redox regulatory proteins, we obtained the first complete map of redox compartmentation in Plasmodium falciparum. We demonstrate the targeting of two plasmodial peroxiredoxins and a putative glyoxalase system to the apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic plastid. We furthermore obtained a complete picture of the compartmentation of thioredoxin- and glutaredoxin-like proteins. Notably, for the two major antioxidant redox-enzymes – glutathione reductase and thioredoxin reductase – Plasmodium makes use of alternative-translation-initiation (ATI) to achieve differential targeting. Dual localization of proteins effected by ATI is likely to occur also in other Apicomplexa and might open new avenues for therapeutic intervention. PMID:21203490

  14. Engineering mosquito resistance to malaria parasites: the avian malaria model.

    PubMed

    James, A A

    2002-10-01

    Genetic approaches to controlling the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases are being developed to augment the available chemical control practices and environmental manipulation methods. Much progress has been made in laboratory-based research that seeks to develop antipathogen or antivector effector genes and methods for genetically manipulating host vector strains. Research is summarized here in the development of a malaria-resistant phenotype using as a model system the avian parasite, Plasmodium gallinaceum, and the mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Robust transformation technology based on a number of transposable elements, the identification of promoter regions derived from endogenous mosquito genes, and the development of single-chain antibodies as effector genes have made it possible to produce malaria-resistant mosquitoes. Future challenges include discovery of methods for spreading antiparasite genes through mosquito populations, determining the threshold levels below which parasite intensities of infection must be held, and defining the circumstances in which a genetic control strategy would be employed in the field.

  15. Big bang in the evolution of extant malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Hayakawa, Toshiyuki; Culleton, Richard; Otani, Hiroto; Horii, Toshihiro; Tanabe, Kazuyuki

    2008-10-01

    Malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) infect all classes of terrestrial vertebrates and display host specificity in their infections. It is therefore assumed that malaria parasites coevolved intimately with their hosts. Here, we propose a novel scenario of malaria parasite-host coevolution. A phylogenetic tree constructed using the malaria parasite mitochondrial genome reveals that the extant primate, rodent, bird, and reptile parasite lineages rapidly diverged from a common ancestor during an evolutionary short time period. This rapid diversification occurred long after the establishment of the primate, rodent, bird, and reptile host lineages, which implies that host-switch events contributed to the rapid diversification of extant malaria parasite lineages. Interestingly, the rapid diversification coincides with the radiation of the mammalian genera, suggesting that adaptive radiation to new mammalian hosts triggered the rapid diversification of extant malaria parasite lineages.

  16. Topoisomerase II from Human Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Mudeppa, Devaraja G.; Kumar, Shiva; Kokkonda, Sreekanth; White, John; Rathod, Pradipsinh K.

    2015-01-01

    Historically, type II topoisomerases have yielded clinically useful drugs for the treatment of bacterial infections and cancer, but the corresponding enzymes from malaria parasites remain understudied. This is due to the general challenges of producing malaria proteins in functional forms in heterologous expression systems. Here, we express full-length Plasmodium falciparum topoisomerase II (PfTopoII) in a wheat germ cell-free transcription-translation system. Functional activity of soluble PfTopoII from the translation lysates was confirmed through both a plasmid relaxation and a DNA decatenation activity that was dependent on magnesium and ATP. To facilitate future drug discovery, a convenient and sensitive fluorescence assay was established to follow DNA decatenation, and a stable, truncated PfTopoII was engineered for high level enzyme production. PfTopoII was purified using a DNA affinity column. Existing TopoII inhibitors previously developed for other non-malaria indications inhibited PfTopoII, as well as malaria parasites in culture at submicromolar concentrations. Even before optimization, inhibitors of bacterial gyrase, GSK299423, ciprofloxacin, and etoposide exhibited 15-, 57-, and 3-fold selectivity for the malarial enzyme over human TopoII. Finally, it was possible to use the purified PfTopoII to dissect the different modes by which these varying classes of TopoII inhibitors could trap partially processed DNA. The present biochemical advancements will allow high throughput chemical screening of compound libraries and lead optimization to develop new lines of antimalarials. PMID:26055707

  17. The machinery underlying malaria parasite virulence is conserved between rodent and human malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    De Niz, Mariana; Ullrich, Ann-Katrin; Heiber, Arlett; Blancke Soares, Alexandra; Pick, Christian; Lyck, Ruth; Keller, Derya; Kaiser, Gesine; Prado, Monica; Flemming, Sven; del Portillo, Hernando; Janse, Chris J.; Heussler, Volker; Spielmann, Tobias

    2016-01-01

    Sequestration of red blood cells infected with the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in organs such as the brain is considered important for pathogenicity. A similar phenomenon has been observed in mouse models of malaria, using the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei, but it is unclear whether the P. falciparum proteins known to be involved in this process are conserved in the rodent parasite. Here we identify the P. berghei orthologues of two such key factors of P. falciparum, SBP1 and MAHRP1. Red blood cells infected with P. berghei parasites lacking SBP1 or MAHRP1a fail to bind the endothelial receptor CD36 and show reduced sequestration and virulence in mice. Complementation of the mutant P. berghei parasites with the respective P. falciparum SBP1 and MAHRP1 orthologues restores sequestration and virulence. These findings reveal evolutionary conservation of the machinery underlying sequestration of divergent malaria parasites and support the notion that the P. berghei rodent model is an adequate tool for research on malaria virulence. PMID:27225796

  18. The machinery underlying malaria parasite virulence is conserved between rodent and human malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    De Niz, Mariana; Ullrich, Ann-Katrin; Heiber, Arlett; Blancke Soares, Alexandra; Pick, Christian; Lyck, Ruth; Keller, Derya; Kaiser, Gesine; Prado, Monica; Flemming, Sven; Del Portillo, Hernando; Janse, Chris J; Heussler, Volker; Spielmann, Tobias

    2016-05-26

    Sequestration of red blood cells infected with the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in organs such as the brain is considered important for pathogenicity. A similar phenomenon has been observed in mouse models of malaria, using the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei, but it is unclear whether the P. falciparum proteins known to be involved in this process are conserved in the rodent parasite. Here we identify the P. berghei orthologues of two such key factors of P. falciparum, SBP1 and MAHRP1. Red blood cells infected with P. berghei parasites lacking SBP1 or MAHRP1a fail to bind the endothelial receptor CD36 and show reduced sequestration and virulence in mice. Complementation of the mutant P. berghei parasites with the respective P. falciparum SBP1 and MAHRP1 orthologues restores sequestration and virulence. These findings reveal evolutionary conservation of the machinery underlying sequestration of divergent malaria parasites and support the notion that the P. berghei rodent model is an adequate tool for research on malaria virulence.

  19. Generation of Transgenic Rodent Malaria Parasites Expressing Human Malaria Parasite Proteins.

    PubMed

    Salman, Ahmed M; Mogollon, Catherin Marin; Lin, Jing-Wen; van Pul, Fiona J A; Janse, Chris J; Khan, Shahid M

    2015-01-01

    We describe methods for the rapid generation of transgenic rodent Plasmodium berghei (Pb) parasites that express human malaria parasite (HMP) proteins, using the recently developed GIMO-based transfection methodology. Three different genetic modifications are described resulting in three types of transgenic parasites. (1) Additional Gene (AG) mutants. In these mutants the HMP gene is introduced as an "additional gene" into a silent/neutral locus of the Pb genome under the control of either a constitutive or stage-specific Pb promoter. This method uses the GIMO-transfection protocol and AG mutants are generated by replacing the positive-negative selection marker (SM) hdhfr::yfcu cassette in a neutral locus of a standard GIMO mother line with the HMP gene expression cassette, resulting in SM free transgenic parasites. (2) Double-step Replacement (DsR) mutants. In these mutants the coding sequence (CDS) of the Pb gene is replaced with the CDS of the HMP ortholog in a two-step GIMO-transfection procedure. This process involves first the replacement of the Pb CDS with the hdhfr::yfcu SM, followed by insertion of the HMP ortholog at the same locus thereby replacing hdhfr::yfcu with the HMP CDS. These steps use the GIMO-transfection protocol, which exploits both positive selection for Pb orthologous gene-deletion and negative selection for HMP gene-insertion, resulting in SM free transgenic parasites. (3) Double-step Insertion (DsI) mutants. When a Pb gene is essential for blood stage development the DsR strategy is not possible. In these mutants the HMP expression cassette is first introduced into the neutral locus in a standard GIMO mother line as described for AG mutants but under the control elements of the Pb orthologous gene; subsequently, the Pb ortholog CDS is targeted for deletion through replacement of the Pb CDS with the hdhfr::yfcu SM, resulting in transgenic parasites with a new GIMO locus permissive for additional gene-insertion modifications.The different

  20. The neurology of parasitic diseases and malaria.

    PubMed

    Román, Gustavo C

    2011-02-01

    Neurologists should be aware of parasitic diseases occurring in travelers and recent migrants because the world has become a global village as a result of tourism and immigration. Global warming is changing the distribution of diseases formerly confined to the tropics. The two most common parasitic diseases of the nervous system are Plasmodium falciparum malaria presenting as a febrile encephalopathy with normal CSF and neurocysticercosis causing seizures with focal MRI lesions or with intracranial hypertension. Numerous parasites may cause larva migrans with eosinophilic meningitis. Spinal cord involvement is the signature presentation of schistosomiasis. Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease in the Americas, may cause myocardiopathy and embolic stroke. Sleeping sickness remains the most common manifestation of African trypanosomiasis. These conditions are challenging to diagnose unless a history of travel is elicited. Prospective travelers should be advised of preventive measures to avoid potentially severe infections of the nervous system.

  1. Identification of mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite using analysis of variance.

    PubMed

    Ding, Hui; Li, Dongmei

    2015-02-01

    As a parasitic protozoan, Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) can cause malaria. The mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite play important roles in the discovery of anti-malarial drug targets. Thus, accurate identification of mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite is a key step for understanding their functions and finding potential drug targets. In this work, we developed a sequence-based method to identify the mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite. At first, we extended adjoining dipeptide composition to g-gap dipeptide composition for discretely formulating the protein sequences. Subsequently, the analysis of variance (ANOVA) combined with incremental feature selection (IFS) was used to pick out the optimal features. Finally, the jackknife cross-validation was used to evaluate the performance of the proposed model. Evaluation results showed that the maximum accuracy of 97.1% could be achieved by using 101 optimal 5-gap dipeptides. The comparison with previous methods demonstrated that our method was accurate and efficient.

  2. Identification of hot spots of malaria transmission for targeted malaria control.

    PubMed

    Bousema, Teun; Drakeley, Chris; Gesase, Samwel; Hashim, Ramadhan; Magesa, Stephen; Mosha, Frank; Otieno, Silas; Carneiro, Ilona; Cox, Jonathan; Msuya, Eliapendavyo; Kleinschmidt, Immo; Maxwell, Caroline; Greenwood, Brian; Riley, Eleanor; Sauerwein, Robert; Chandramohan, Daniel; Gosling, Roly

    2010-06-01

    Variation in the risk of malaria within populations is a frequently described but poorly understood phenomenon. This heterogeneity creates opportunities for targeted interventions but only if hot spots of malaria transmission can be easily identified. We determined spatial patterns in malaria transmission in a district in northeastern Tanzania, using malaria incidence data from a cohort study involving infants and household-level mosquito sampling data. The parasite prevalence rates and age-specific seroconversion rates (SCRs) of antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum antigens were determined in samples obtained from people attending health care facilities. Five clusters of higher malaria incidence were detected and interpreted as hot spots of transmission. These hot spots partially overlapped with clusters of higher mosquito exposure but could not be satisfactorily predicted by a probability model based on environmental factors. Small-scale local variation in malaria exposure was detected by parasite prevalence rates and SCR estimates for samples of health care facility attendees. SCR estimates were strongly associated with local malaria incidence rates and predicted hot spots of malaria transmission with 95% sensitivity and 85% specificity. Serological markers were able to detect spatial variation in malaria transmission at the microepidemiological level, and they have the potential to form an effective method for spatial targeting of malaria control efforts.

  3. Parasites that cause problems in Malaysia: soil-transmitted helminths and malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Singh, B; Cox-Singh, J

    2001-12-01

    Malaysia is a developing country with a range of parasitic infections. Indeed, soil-transmitted helminths and malaria parasites continue to have a significant impact on public health in Malaysia. In this article, the prevalence and distribution of these parasites, the problems associated with parasitic infections, the control measures taken to deal with these parasites and implications for the future will be discussed.

  4. The Plasmodium bottleneck: malaria parasite losses in the mosquito vector

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Ryan C; Vega-Rodríguez, Joel; Jacobs-Lorena, Marcelo

    2014-01-01

    Nearly one million people are killed every year by the malaria parasite Plasmodium. Although the disease-causing forms of the parasite exist only in the human blood, mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are the obligate vector for transmission. Here, we review the parasite life cycle in the vector and highlight the human and mosquito contributions that limit malaria parasite development in the mosquito host. We address parasite killing in its mosquito host and bottlenecks in parasite numbers that might guide intervention strategies to prevent transmission. PMID:25185005

  5. Quantifying Transmission Investment in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Greischar, Megan A.; Mideo, Nicole; Read, Andrew F.; Bjørnstad, Ottar N.

    2016-01-01

    Many microparasites infect new hosts with specialized life stages, requiring a subset of the parasite population to forgo proliferation and develop into transmission forms. Transmission stage production influences infectivity, host exploitation, and the impact of medical interventions like drug treatment. Predicting how parasites will respond to public health efforts on both epidemiological and evolutionary timescales requires understanding transmission strategies. These strategies can rarely be observed directly and must typically be inferred from infection dynamics. Using malaria as a case study, we test previously described methods for inferring transmission stage investment against simulated data generated with a model of within-host infection dynamics, where the true transmission investment is known. We show that existing methods are inadequate and potentially very misleading. The key difficulty lies in separating transmission stages produced by different generations of parasites. We develop a new approach that performs much better on simulated data. Applying this approach to real data from mice infected with a single Plasmodium chabaudi strain, we estimate that transmission investment varies from zero to 20%, with evidence for variable investment over time in some hosts, but not others. These patterns suggest that, even in experimental infections where host genetics and other environmental factors are controlled, parasites may exhibit remarkably different patterns of transmission investment. PMID:26890485

  6. Quantifying Transmission Investment in Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Greischar, Megan A; Mideo, Nicole; Read, Andrew F; Bjørnstad, Ottar N

    2016-02-01

    Many microparasites infect new hosts with specialized life stages, requiring a subset of the parasite population to forgo proliferation and develop into transmission forms. Transmission stage production influences infectivity, host exploitation, and the impact of medical interventions like drug treatment. Predicting how parasites will respond to public health efforts on both epidemiological and evolutionary timescales requires understanding transmission strategies. These strategies can rarely be observed directly and must typically be inferred from infection dynamics. Using malaria as a case study, we test previously described methods for inferring transmission stage investment against simulated data generated with a model of within-host infection dynamics, where the true transmission investment is known. We show that existing methods are inadequate and potentially very misleading. The key difficulty lies in separating transmission stages produced by different generations of parasites. We develop a new approach that performs much better on simulated data. Applying this approach to real data from mice infected with a single Plasmodium chabaudi strain, we estimate that transmission investment varies from zero to 20%, with evidence for variable investment over time in some hosts, but not others. These patterns suggest that, even in experimental infections where host genetics and other environmental factors are controlled, parasites may exhibit remarkably different patterns of transmission investment.

  7. Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Suh, Kathryn N.; Kain, Kevin C.; Keystone, Jay S.

    2004-01-01

    Malaria is a parasitic infection of global importance. Although relatively uncommon in developed countries, where the disease occurs mainly in travellers who have returned from endemic regions, it remains one of the most prevalent infections of humans worldwide. In endemic regions, malaria is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and creates enormous social and economic burdens. Current efforts to control malaria focus on reducing attributable morbidity and mortality. Targeted chemoprophylaxis and use of insecticide-treated bed nets have been successful in some endemic areas. For travellers to malaria-endemic regions, personal protective measures and appropriate chemoprophylaxis can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Prompt evaluation of the febrile traveller, a high degree of suspicion of malaria, rapid and accurate diagnosis, and appropriate antimalarial therapy are essential in order to optimize clinical outcomes of infected patients. Additional approaches to malaria control, including genetic manipulation of mosquitoes and malaria vaccines, are areas of ongoing research. PMID:15159369

  8. The Antibiotic Micrococcin Is a Potent Inhibitor of Growth and Protein Synthesis in the Malaria Parasite

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, M. John; Cundliffe, Eric; McCutchan, Thomas F.

    1998-01-01

    The antibiotic micrococcin is a potent growth inhibitor of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 35 nM. This is comparable to or less than the corresponding levels of commonly used antimalarial drugs. Micrococcin, like thiostrepton, putatively targets protein synthesis in the plastid-like organelle of the parasite. PMID:9517961

  9. The antibiotic micrococcin is a potent inhibitor of growth and protein synthesis in the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Rogers, M J; Cundliffe, E; McCutchan, T F

    1998-03-01

    The antibiotic micrococcin is a potent growth inhibitor of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 35 nM. This is comparable to or less than the corresponding levels of commonly used antimalarial drugs. Micrococcin, like thiostrepton, putatively targets protein synthesis in the plastid-like organelle of the parasite.

  10. Molecular Genetic Analysis of Parasite Survival in P. falciparum Malaria

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1993-02-08

    AD-A279 410 GRANT NO: DAMN17-89-Z-9003 TITLE: MOLECULAR GENETIC ANALYSIS OF PARASITE SURVIVAL IN R. E&LEZjpAIM MALARIA PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR... Analysis of Parasite Survival Grant No. in P. Falciparum Malaria DAMDi 7-89- Z-9003 -6. AUTHOR(S) Jeffrey V. Ravetch, M.D., Ph.D. 7. PERFORMING...consequences of genetic variation for parasite survival. Genetic polymorphisms in PRfalciparum were initially detected by pulsed-field gel analysis of intact

  11. Malaria parasites and red cell variants: when a house is not a home

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Steve M.; Fairhurst, Rick M.

    2014-01-01

    Purpose of review Multiple red cell variants are known to confer protection from malaria. Here we review advances in identifying new variants that modulate malaria risk and in defining molecular mechanisms that mediate malaria protection. Recent findings New red cell variants, including an innate variant in the red cell’s major Ca2+ pump and the acquired state of iron deficiency, have been associated with protection from clinical falciparum malaria. The hemoglobin (Hb) mutants HbC and HbS – known to protect carriers from severe falciparum malaria – enhance parasite passage to mosquitoes and may promote malaria transmission. At the molecular level, substantial advances have been made in understanding the impact of HbS and HbC upon the interactions between host microRNAs and Plasmodium falciparum protein translation; remodeling of red cell cytoskeletal components and transport of parasite proteins to the red cell surface; and chronic activation of the human innate immune system which induces tolerance to blood-stage parasites. Several polymorphisms have now been associated with protection from clinical vivax malaria or reduced P. vivax density, including Southeast Asian ovalocytosis and two common forms of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Summary Red cell variants that modulate malaria risk can serve as models to identify clinically relevant mechanisms of pathogenesis, and thus define parasite and host targets for next-generation therapies. PMID:24675047

  12. Histone as future drug target for malaria.

    PubMed

    Rawat, D S; Lumb, V; Sharma, Y D; Pasha, S T; Singh, G

    2007-06-01

    Malaria continues to be a major cause of mortality and morbidity in tropical countries and affecting around 100 countries of the world. As per WHO estimates, 300-500 million are being infected and 1-3 million deaths annually due to malaria. With the emerging knowledge about genome sequence of all the three counterparts involved in the disease of malaria, the parasite Plasmodium, vector Anopheles and host Homo sapien have helped the scientists to understand interactions between them. Simultaneous advancement in technology further improves the prospects to discover new targets for vaccines and drugs. Though the malaria vaccine is still far away in this situation there is need to develop a potent and affordable drug(s). Histones are the key protein of chromatin and play an important role in DNA packaging, replication and gene expression. They also show frequent post-translation modifications. The specific combinations of these posttranslational modifications are thought to alter chromatin structure by forming epigenetic bar codes that specify either transient or heritable patterns of genome function. Chromatin regulators and upstream pathways are therefore seen as promising targets for development of therapeutic drugs.

  13. Malaria vaccines: identifying Plasmodium falciparum liver-stage targets

    PubMed Central

    Longley, Rhea J.; Hill, Adrian V. S.; Spencer, Alexandra J.

    2015-01-01

    The development of a highly efficacious and durable vaccine for malaria remains a top priority for global health researchers. Despite the huge rise in recognition of malaria as a global health problem and the concurrent rise in funding over the past 10–15 years, malaria continues to remain a widespread burden. The evidence of increasing resistance to anti-malarial drugs and insecticides is a growing concern. Hence, an efficacious and durable preventative vaccine for malaria is urgently needed. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective tools and have successfully been used in the prevention and control of many diseases, however, the development of a vaccine for the Plasmodium parasite has proved difficult. Given the early success of whole sporozoite mosquito-bite delivered vaccination strategies, we know that a vaccine for malaria is an achievable goal, with sub-unit vaccines holding great promise as they are simple and cheap to both manufacture and deploy. However a major difficulty in development of sub-unit vaccines lies within choosing the appropriate antigenic target from the 5000 or so genes expressed by the parasite. Given the liver-stage of malaria represents a bottle-neck in the parasite’s life cycle, there is widespread agreement that a multi-component sub-unit malaria vaccine should preferably contain a liver-stage target. In this article we review progress in identifying and screening Plasmodium falciparum liver-stage targets for use in a malaria vaccine. PMID:26441899

  14. Genome sequence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Gardner, Malcolm J; Hall, Neil; Fung, Eula; White, Owen; Berriman, Matthew; Hyman, Richard W; Carlton, Jane M; Pain, Arnab; Nelson, Karen E; Bowman, Sharen; Paulsen, Ian T; James, Keith; Eisen, Jonathan A; Rutherford, Kim; Salzberg, Steven L; Craig, Alister; Kyes, Sue; Chan, Man-Suen; Nene, Vishvanath; Shallom, Shamira J; Suh, Bernard; Peterson, Jeremy; Angiuoli, Sam; Pertea, Mihaela; Allen, Jonathan; Selengut, Jeremy; Haft, Daniel; Mather, Michael W; Vaidya, Akhil B; Martin, David M A; Fairlamb, Alan H; Fraunholz, Martin J; Roos, David S; Ralph, Stuart A; McFadden, Geoffrey I; Cummings, Leda M; Subramanian, G Mani; Mungall, Chris; Venter, J Craig; Carucci, Daniel J; Hoffman, Stephen L; Newbold, Chris; Davis, Ronald W; Fraser, Claire M; Barrell, Bart

    2002-10-03

    The parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for hundreds of millions of cases of malaria, and kills more than one million African children annually. Here we report an analysis of the genome sequence of P. falciparum clone 3D7. The 23-megabase nuclear genome consists of 14 chromosomes, encodes about 5,300 genes, and is the most (A + T)-rich genome sequenced to date. Genes involved in antigenic variation are concentrated in the subtelomeric regions of the chromosomes. Compared to the genomes of free-living eukaryotic microbes, the genome of this intracellular parasite encodes fewer enzymes and transporters, but a large proportion of genes are devoted to immune evasion and host-parasite interactions. Many nuclear-encoded proteins are targeted to the apicoplast, an organelle involved in fatty-acid and isoprenoid metabolism. The genome sequence provides the foundation for future studies of this organism, and is being exploited in the search for new drugs and vaccines to fight malaria.

  15. Laminin and the malaria parasite's journey through the mosquito midgut.

    PubMed

    Arrighi, Romanico B G; Lycett, Gareth; Mahairaki, Vassiliki; Siden-Kiamos, Inga; Louis, Christos

    2005-07-01

    During the invasion of the mosquito midgut epithelium, Plasmodium ookinetes come to rest on the basal lamina, where they transform into the sporozoite-producing oocysts. Laminin, one of the basal lamina's major components, has previously been shown to bind several surface proteins of Plasmodium ookinetes. Here, using the recently developed RNAi technique in mosquitoes, we used a specific dsRNA construct targeted against the LANB2 gene (laminin gamma1) of Anopheles gambiae to reduce its mRNA levels, leading to a substantial reduction in the number of successfully developed oocysts in the mosquito midgut. Moreover, this molecular relationship is corroborated by the intimate association of developing P. berghei parasites and laminin in the gut, as observed using confocal microscopy. Our data support the notion of laminin playing a functional role in the development of the malaria parasite within the mosquito midgut.

  16. Giant Host Red Blood Cell Membrane Mimicking Polymersomes Bind Parasite Proteins and Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Najer, Adrian; Thamboo, Sagana; Palivan, Cornelia G; Beck, Hans-Peter; Meier, Wolfgang

    2016-01-01

    Malaria is an infectious disease that needs to be addressed using innovative approaches to counteract spread of drug resistance and to establish or optimize vaccination strategies. With our approach, we aim for a dual action with drug- and 'vaccine-like' activity against malaria. By inhibiting entry of malaria parasites into host red blood cells (RBCs) - using polymer vesicle-based (polymersome) nanomimics of RBC membranes - the life cycle of the parasite is interrupted and the exposed parasites are accessible to the host immune system. Here, we describe how host cell-sized RBC membrane mimics, formed with the same block copolymers as nanomimics, also bind the corresponding malaria parasite ligand and whole malaria parasites, similar to nanomimics. This was demonstrated using fluorescence imaging techniques and confirms the suitability of giant polymersomes (GUVs) as simple mimics for RBC membranes.

  17. Expanding the antimalarial toolkit: Targeting host-parasite interactions.

    PubMed

    Langhorne, Jean; Duffy, Patrick E

    2016-02-08

    Recent successes in malaria control are threatened by drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites and insecticide-resistant Anopheles mosquitoes, and first generation vaccines offer only partial protection. New research approaches have highlighted host as well as parasite molecules or pathways that could be targeted for interventions. In this study, we discuss host-parasite interactions at the different stages of the Plasmodium life cycle within the mammalian host and the potential for therapeutics that prevent parasite migration, invasion, intracellular growth, or egress from host cells, as well as parasite-induced pathology.

  18. Expanding the antimalarial toolkit: Targeting host–parasite interactions

    PubMed Central

    Duffy, Patrick E.

    2016-01-01

    Recent successes in malaria control are threatened by drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites and insecticide-resistant Anopheles mosquitoes, and first generation vaccines offer only partial protection. New research approaches have highlighted host as well as parasite molecules or pathways that could be targeted for interventions. In this study, we discuss host–parasite interactions at the different stages of the Plasmodium life cycle within the mammalian host and the potential for therapeutics that prevent parasite migration, invasion, intracellular growth, or egress from host cells, as well as parasite-induced pathology. PMID:26834158

  19. Differentiating the pathologies of cerebral malaria by postmortem parasite counts.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Terrie E; Fu, Wenjiang J; Carr, Richard A; Whitten, Richard O; Mueller, Jeffrey S; Fosiko, Nedson G; Lewallen, Susan; Liomba, N George; Molyneux, Malcolm E; Mueller, Jeffrey G

    2004-02-01

    To study the pathogenesis of fatal cerebral malaria, we conducted autopsies in 31 children with this clinical diagnosis. We found that 23% of the children had actually died from other causes. The remaining patients had parasites sequestered in cerebral capillaries, and 75% of those had additional intra- and perivascular pathology. Retinopathy was the only clinical sign distinguishing malarial from nonmalarial coma. These data have implications for treating malaria patients, designing clinical trials and assessing malaria-specific disease associations.

  20. The immunological balance between host and parasite in malaria.

    PubMed

    Deroost, Katrien; Pham, Thao-Thy; Opdenakker, Ghislain; Van den Steen, Philippe E

    2016-03-01

    Coevolution of humans and malaria parasites has generated an intricate balance between the immune system of the host and virulence factors of the parasite, equilibrating maximal parasite transmission with limited host damage. Focusing on the blood stage of the disease, we discuss how the balance between anti-parasite immunity versus immunomodulatory and evasion mechanisms of the parasite may result in parasite clearance or chronic infection without major symptoms, whereas imbalances characterized by excessive parasite growth, exaggerated immune reactions or a combination of both cause severe pathology and death, which is detrimental for both parasite and host. A thorough understanding of the immunological balance of malaria and its relation to other physiological balances in the body is of crucial importance for developing effective interventions to reduce malaria-related morbidity and to diminish fatal outcomes due to severe complications. Therefore, we discuss in this review the detailed mechanisms of anti-malarial immunity, parasite virulence factors including immune evasion mechanisms and pathogenesis. Furthermore, we propose a comprehensive classification of malaria complications according to the different types of imbalances.

  1. Origin of Robustness in Generating Drug-Resistant Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Kümpornsin, Krittikorn; Modchang, Charin; Heinberg, Adina; Ekland, Eric H.; Jirawatcharadech, Piyaporn; Chobson, Pornpimol; Suwanakitti, Nattida; Chaotheing, Sastra; Wilairat, Prapon; Deitsch, Kirk W.; Kamchonwongpaisan, Sumalee; Fidock, David A.; Kirkman, Laura A.; Yuthavong, Yongyuth; Chookajorn, Thanat

    2014-01-01

    Biological robustness allows mutations to accumulate while maintaining functional phenotypes. Despite its crucial role in evolutionary processes, the mechanistic details of how robustness originates remain elusive. Using an evolutionary trajectory analysis approach, we demonstrate how robustness evolved in malaria parasites under selective pressure from an antimalarial drug inhibiting the folate synthesis pathway. A series of four nonsynonymous amino acid substitutions at the targeted enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), render the parasites highly resistant to the antifolate drug pyrimethamine. Nevertheless, the stepwise gain of these four dhfr mutations results in tradeoffs between pyrimethamine resistance and parasite fitness. Here, we report the epistatic interaction between dhfr mutations and amplification of the gene encoding the first upstream enzyme in the folate pathway, GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCH1). gch1 amplification confers low level pyrimethamine resistance and would thus be selected for by pyrimethamine treatment. Interestingly, the gch1 amplification can then be co-opted by the parasites because it reduces the cost of acquiring drug-resistant dhfr mutations downstream in the same metabolic pathway. The compensation of compromised fitness by extra GCH1 is an example of how robustness can evolve in a system and thus expand the accessibility of evolutionary trajectories leading toward highly resistant alleles. The evolution of robustness during the gain of drug-resistant mutations has broad implications for both the development of new drugs and molecular surveillance for resistance to existing drugs. PMID:24739308

  2. A broad analysis of resistance development in the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Corey, Victoria C; Lukens, Amanda K; Istvan, Eva S; Lee, Marcus C S; Franco, Virginia; Magistrado, Pamela; Coburn-Flynn, Olivia; Sakata-Kato, Tomoyo; Fuchs, Olivia; Gnädig, Nina F; Goldgof, Greg; Linares, Maria; Gomez-Lorenzo, Maria G; De Cózar, Cristina; Lafuente-Monasterio, Maria Jose; Prats, Sara; Meister, Stephan; Tanaseichuk, Olga; Wree, Melanie; Zhou, Yingyao; Willis, Paul A; Gamo, Francisco-Javier; Goldberg, Daniel E; Fidock, David A; Wirth, Dyann F; Winzeler, Elizabeth A

    2016-06-15

    Microbial resistance to chemotherapy has caused countless deaths where malaria is endemic. Chemotherapy may fail either due to pre-existing resistance or evolution of drug-resistant parasites. Here we use a diverse set of antimalarial compounds to investigate the acquisition of drug resistance and the degree of cross-resistance against common resistance alleles. We assess cross-resistance using a set of 15 parasite lines carrying resistance-conferring alleles in pfatp4, cytochrome bc1, pfcarl, pfdhod, pfcrt, pfmdr, pfdhfr, cytoplasmic prolyl t-RNA synthetase or hsp90. Subsequently, we assess whether resistant parasites can be obtained after several rounds of drug selection. Twenty-three of the 48 in vitro selections result in resistant parasites, with time to resistance onset ranging from 15 to 300 days. Our data indicate that pre-existing resistance may not be a major hurdle for novel-target antimalarial candidates, and focusing our attention on fast-killing compounds may result in a slower onset of clinical resistance.

  3. A broad analysis of resistance development in the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Corey, Victoria C.; Lukens, Amanda K.; Istvan, Eva S.; Lee, Marcus C. S.; Franco, Virginia; Magistrado, Pamela; Coburn-Flynn, Olivia; Sakata-Kato, Tomoyo; Fuchs, Olivia; Gnädig, Nina F.; Goldgof, Greg; Linares, Maria; Gomez-Lorenzo, Maria G.; De Cózar, Cristina; Lafuente-Monasterio, Maria Jose; Prats, Sara; Meister, Stephan; Tanaseichuk, Olga; Wree, Melanie; Zhou, Yingyao; Willis, Paul A.; Gamo, Francisco-Javier; Goldberg, Daniel E.; Fidock, David A.; Wirth, Dyann F.; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.

    2016-01-01

    Microbial resistance to chemotherapy has caused countless deaths where malaria is endemic. Chemotherapy may fail either due to pre-existing resistance or evolution of drug-resistant parasites. Here we use a diverse set of antimalarial compounds to investigate the acquisition of drug resistance and the degree of cross-resistance against common resistance alleles. We assess cross-resistance using a set of 15 parasite lines carrying resistance-conferring alleles in pfatp4, cytochrome bc1, pfcarl, pfdhod, pfcrt, pfmdr, pfdhfr, cytoplasmic prolyl t-RNA synthetase or hsp90. Subsequently, we assess whether resistant parasites can be obtained after several rounds of drug selection. Twenty-three of the 48 in vitro selections result in resistant parasites, with time to resistance onset ranging from 15 to 300 days. Our data indicate that pre-existing resistance may not be a major hurdle for novel-target antimalarial candidates, and focusing our attention on fast-killing compounds may result in a slower onset of clinical resistance. PMID:27301419

  4. Origin of robustness in generating drug-resistant malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Kümpornsin, Krittikorn; Modchang, Charin; Heinberg, Adina; Ekland, Eric H; Jirawatcharadech, Piyaporn; Chobson, Pornpimol; Suwanakitti, Nattida; Chaotheing, Sastra; Wilairat, Prapon; Deitsch, Kirk W; Kamchonwongpaisan, Sumalee; Fidock, David A; Kirkman, Laura A; Yuthavong, Yongyuth; Chookajorn, Thanat

    2014-07-01

    Biological robustness allows mutations to accumulate while maintaining functional phenotypes. Despite its crucial role in evolutionary processes, the mechanistic details of how robustness originates remain elusive. Using an evolutionary trajectory analysis approach, we demonstrate how robustness evolved in malaria parasites under selective pressure from an antimalarial drug inhibiting the folate synthesis pathway. A series of four nonsynonymous amino acid substitutions at the targeted enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), render the parasites highly resistant to the antifolate drug pyrimethamine. Nevertheless, the stepwise gain of these four dhfr mutations results in tradeoffs between pyrimethamine resistance and parasite fitness. Here, we report the epistatic interaction between dhfr mutations and amplification of the gene encoding the first upstream enzyme in the folate pathway, GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCH1). gch1 amplification confers low level pyrimethamine resistance and would thus be selected for by pyrimethamine treatment. Interestingly, the gch1 amplification can then be co-opted by the parasites because it reduces the cost of acquiring drug-resistant dhfr mutations downstream in the same metabolic pathway. The compensation of compromised fitness by extra GCH1 is an example of how robustness can evolve in a system and thus expand the accessibility of evolutionary trajectories leading toward highly resistant alleles. The evolution of robustness during the gain of drug-resistant mutations has broad implications for both the development of new drugs and molecular surveillance for resistance to existing drugs.

  5. In Vitro Analysis of the Interaction between Atovaquone and Proguanil against Liver Stage Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Barata, Lídia; Houzé, Pascal; Boutbibe, Khadija; Zanghi, Gigliola; Franetich, Jean-François; Mazier, Dominique; Clain, Jérôme

    2016-07-01

    The interaction between atovaquone and proguanil has never been studied against liver stage malaria, which is the main target of this drug combination when used for chemoprevention. Using human hepatocytes lacking cytochrome P450 activity, and thus avoiding proguanil metabolizing into potent cycloguanil, we show in vitro that the atovaquone-proguanil combination synergistically inhibits the growth of rodent Plasmodium yoelii parasites. These results provide a pharmacological basis for the high efficacy of atovaquone-proguanil used as malaria chemoprevention.

  6. In Vitro Analysis of the Interaction between Atovaquone and Proguanil against Liver Stage Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Barata, Lídia; Houzé, Pascal; Boutbibe, Khadija; Zanghi, Gigliola; Franetich, Jean-François

    2016-01-01

    The interaction between atovaquone and proguanil has never been studied against liver stage malaria, which is the main target of this drug combination when used for chemoprevention. Using human hepatocytes lacking cytochrome P450 activity, and thus avoiding proguanil metabolizing into potent cycloguanil, we show in vitro that the atovaquone-proguanil combination synergistically inhibits the growth of rodent Plasmodium yoelii parasites. These results provide a pharmacological basis for the high efficacy of atovaquone-proguanil used as malaria chemoprevention. PMID:26926628

  7. Computational microscopic imaging for malaria parasite detection: a systematic review.

    PubMed

    Das, D K; Mukherjee, R; Chakraborty, C

    2015-10-01

    Malaria, being an epidemic disease, demands its rapid and accurate diagnosis for proper intervention. Microscopic image-based characterization of erythrocytes plays an integral role in screening of malaria parasites. In practice, microscopic evaluation of blood smear image is the gold standard for malaria diagnosis; where the pathologist visually examines the stained slide under the light microscope. This visual inspection is subjective, error-prone and time consuming. In order to address such issues, computational microscopic imaging methods have been given importance in recent times in the field of digital pathology. Recently, such quantitative microscopic techniques have rapidly evolved for abnormal erythrocyte detection, segmentation and semi/fully automated classification by minimizing such diagnostic errors for computerized malaria detection. The aim of this paper is to present a review on enhancement, segmentation, microscopic feature extraction and computer-aided classification for malaria parasite detection. © 2015 The Authors Journal of Microscopy © 2015 Royal Microscopical Society.

  8. Malaria parasite epigenetics: when virulence and romance collide.

    PubMed

    Flueck, Christian; Baker, David A

    2014-08-13

    Blood-stage malaria parasites evade the immune system by switching the protein exposed at the surface of the infected erythrocyte. A small proportion of these parasites commits to sexual development to mediate mosquito transmission. Two studies in this issue (Brancucci et al., 2014; Coleman et al., 2014) shed light on shared epigenetic machinery underlying both of these events.

  9. Sickle cell microRNAs inhibit the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Duraisingh, Manoj T; Lodish, Harvey F

    2012-08-16

    Sickle cell hemoglobin conveys resistance to malaria. In this issue of Cell Host & Microbe, LaMonte et al. (2012) demonstrate a surprising mechanism for this innate immunity. A microRNA enriched in sickle red blood cells is translocated into the parasite, incorporated covalently into P. falciparum mRNAs and inhibits parasite growth.

  10. Chimpanzee malaria parasites related to Plasmodium ovale in Africa.

    PubMed

    Duval, Linda; Nerrienet, Eric; Rousset, Dominique; Sadeuh Mba, Serge Alain; Houze, Sandrine; Fourment, Mathieu; Le Bras, Jacques; Robert, Vincent; Ariey, Frederic

    2009-01-01

    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.

  11. Chimpanzee Malaria Parasites Related to Plasmodium ovale in Africa

    PubMed Central

    Duval, Linda; Nerrienet, Eric; Rousset, Dominique; Sadeuh Mba, Serge Alain; Houze, Sandrine; Fourment, Mathieu; Le Bras, Jacques; Robert, Vincent; Ariey, Frederic

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19436742

  12. Genome sequences reveal divergence times of malaria parasite lineages

    PubMed Central

    SILVA, JOANA C.; EGAN, AMY; FRIEDMAN, ROBERT; MUNRO, JAMES B.; CARLTON, JANE M.; HUGHES, AUSTIN L.

    2010-01-01

    SUMMARY Objective The evolutionary history of human malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) has long been a subject of speculation and controversy. The complete genome sequences of the two most widespread human malaria parasites, P. falciparum and P. vivax, and of the monkey parasite P. knowlesi are now available, together with the draft genomes of the chimpanzee parasite P. reichenowi, three rodent parasites, P. yoelii yoelli, P. berghei and P. chabaudi chabaudi, and one avian parasite, P. gallinaceum. Methods We present here an analysis of 45 orthologous gene sequences across the eight species that resolves the relationships of major Plasmodium lineages, and provides the first comprehensive dating of the age of those groups. Results Our analyses support the hypothesis that the last common ancestor of P. falciparum and the chimpanzee parasite P. reichenowi occurred around the time of the human-chimpanzee divergence. P. falciparum infections of African apes are most likely derived from humans and not the other way around. On the other hand, P. vivax, split from the monkey parasite P. knowlesi in the much more distant past, during the time that encompasses the separation of the Great Apes and Old World Monkeys. Conclusion The results support an ancient association between malaria parasites and their primate hosts, including humans. PMID:21118608

  13. A semi-synthetic whole parasite vaccine designed to protect against blood stage malaria.

    PubMed

    Giddam, Ashwini Kumar; Reiman, Jennifer M; Zaman, Mehfuz; Skwarczynski, Mariusz; Toth, Istvan; Good, Michael F

    2016-10-15

    Although attenuated malaria parasitized red blood cells (pRBCs) are promising vaccine candidates, their application in humans may be restricted for ethical and regulatory reasons. Therefore, we developed an organic microparticle-based delivery platform as a whole parasite malaria-antigen carrier to mimic pRBCs. Killed blood stage parasites were encapsulated within liposomes that are targeted to antigen presenting cells (APCs). Mannosylated lipid core peptides (MLCPs) were used as targeting ligands for the liposome-encapsulated parasite antigens. MLCP-liposomes, but not unmannosylated liposomes, were taken-up efficiently by APCs which then significantly upregulated expression of MHC-ll and costimulatory molecules, CD80 and CD86. Two such vaccines using rodent model systems were constructed - one with Plasmodium chabaudi and the other with P. yoelii. MLCP-liposome vaccines were able to control the parasite burden and extended the survival of mice. Thus, we have demonstrated an alternative delivery system to attenuated pRBCs with similar vaccine efficacy and added clinical advantages. Such liposomes are promising candidates for a human malaria vaccine. Attenuated whole parasite-based vaccines, by incorporating all parasite antigens, are very promising candidates, but issues relating to production, storage and safety concerns are significantly slowing their development. We therefore developed a semi-synthetic whole parasite malaria vaccine that is easily manufactured and stored. Two such prototype vaccines (a P. chabaudi and a P. yoelii vaccine) have been constructed. They are non-infectious, highly immunogenic and give good protection profiles. This semi-synthetic delivery platform is an exciting strategy to accelerate the development of a licensed malaria vaccine. Moreover, this strategy can be potentially applied to a wide range of pathogens. Copyright © 2016 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Rapid identification of genes controlling virulence and immunity in malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Xangsayarath, Phonepadith; Tang, Jianxia; Yahata, Kazuhide; Zoungrana, Augustin; Mitaka, Hayato; Acharjee, Arita; Datta, Partha P.; Hunt, Paul; Carter, Richard; Kaneko, Osamu; Mustonen, Ville; Pain, Arnab

    2017-01-01

    Identifying the genetic determinants of phenotypes that impact disease severity is of fundamental importance for the design of new interventions against malaria. Here we present a rapid genome-wide approach capable of identifying multiple genetic drivers of medically relevant phenotypes within malaria parasites via a single experiment at single gene or allele resolution. In a proof of principle study, we found that a previously undescribed single nucleotide polymorphism in the binding domain of the erythrocyte binding like protein (EBL) conferred a dramatic change in red blood cell invasion in mutant rodent malaria parasites Plasmodium yoelii. In the same experiment, we implicated merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) and other polymorphic proteins, as the major targets of strain-specific immunity. Using allelic replacement, we provide functional validation of the substitution in the EBL gene controlling the growth rate in the blood stages of the parasites. PMID:28704525

  15. Polyamidoamine nanoparticles as nanocarriers for the drug delivery to malaria parasite stages in the mosquito vector.

    PubMed

    Urbán, Patricia; Ranucci, Elisabetta; Fernàndez-Busquets, Xavier

    2015-11-01

    Malaria is arguably one of the main medical concerns worldwide because of the numbers of people affected, the severity of the disease and the complexity of the life cycle of its causative agent, the protist Plasmodium spp. With the advent of nanoscience, renewed hopes have appeared of finally obtaining the long sought-after magic bullet against malaria in the form of a nanovector for the targeted delivery of antimalarial compounds exclusively to Plasmodium-infected cells, thus increasing drug efficacy and minimizing the induction of resistance to newly developed therapeutic agents. Polyamidoamine-derived nanovectors combine into a single chemical structure drug encapsulating capacity, antimalarial activity, low unspecific toxicity, specific targeting to Plasmodium, optimal in vivo activity and affordable synthesis cost. After having shown their efficacy in targeting drugs to intraerythrocytic parasites, now polyamidoamines face the challenge of spearheading a new generation of nanocarriers aiming at the malaria parasite stages in the mosquito vector.

  16. Is the Mitochondrion a Good Malaria Drug Target?

    PubMed

    Goodman, Christopher D; Buchanan, Hayley D; McFadden, Geoffrey I

    2017-03-01

    Rapid emergence of resistance to atovaquone, which targets electron transport in the malaria parasite mitochondrion, relegated its use to prophylaxis and even cast a shadow over the development of drugs targeting other parasite mitochondrial pathways. Here we argue for a renewed focus on the mitochondrion as a drug target, focusing particularly on the issues of resistance. We posit a hypothesis for why atovaquone resistance emerges so quickly, and we explain how facile acquisition of resistance is apparently offset by an inability of parasites to spread this resistance. We also explore the utility and resistance issues for emerging new drugs targeting parasite mitochondria, concluding that the mitochondrion is indeed an excellent target. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  17. In Vitro Activity of Riboflavin against the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Akompong, Thomas; Ghori, Nafisa; Haldar, Kasturi

    2000-01-01

    The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum digests hemoglobin and polymerizes the released free heme into hemozoin. This activity occurs in an acidic organelle called the food vacuole and is essential for survival of the parasite in erythrocytes. Since acidic conditions are known to enhance the auto-oxidation of hemoglobin, we investigated whether hemoglobin ingested by the parasite was oxidized and whether the oxidation process could be a target for chemotherapy against malaria. We released parasites from their host cells and separately analyzed hemoglobin ingested by the parasites from that remaining in the erythrocytes. Isolated parasites contained elevated amounts (38.5% ± 3.5%) of oxidized hemoglobin (methemoglobin) compared to levels (0.8% ± 0.2%) found in normal, uninfected erythrocytes. Further, treatment of infected cells with the reducing agent riboflavin for 24 h decreased the parasite methemoglobin level by 55%. It also inhibited hemozoin production by 50% and decreased the average size of the food vacuole by 47%. Administration of riboflavin for 48 h resulted in a 65% decrease in food vacuole size and inhibited asexual parasite growth in cultures. High doses of riboflavin are used clinically to treat congenital methemoglobinemia without any adverse side effects. This activity, in conjunction with its impressive antimalarial activity, makes riboflavin attractive as a safe and inexpensive drug for treating malaria caused by P. falciparum. PMID:10602728

  18. Efficient expression systems for cysteine proteases of malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Sarduy, Emir Salas; de los A. Chávez Planes, María

    2013-01-01

    Papain-like cysteine proteases of malaria parasites are considered important chemotherapeutic targets or valuable models for the evaluation of drug candidates. Consequently, many of these enzymes have been cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli for their biochemical characterization. However, their expression has been problematic, showing low yield and leading to the formation of insoluble aggregates. Given that highly-productive expression systems are required for the high-throughput evaluation of inhibitors, we analyzed the existing expression systems to identify the causes of such apparent issues. We found that significant divergences in codon and nucleotide composition from host genes are the most probable cause of expression failure, and propose several strategies to overcome these limitations. Finally we predict that yeast hosts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris may be better suited than E. coli for the efficient expression of plasmodial genes, presumably leading to soluble and active products reproducing structural and functional characteristics of the natural enzymes. PMID:23018863

  19. Defining species specific genome differences in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Liew, Kingsley J L; Hu, Guangan; Bozdech, Zbynek; Peter, Preiser R

    2010-02-23

    In recent years a number of genome sequences for different plasmodium species have become available. This has allowed the identification of numerous conserved genes across the different species and has significantly enhanced our understanding of parasite biology. In contrast little is known about species specific differences between the different genomes partly due to the lower sequence coverage and therefore relatively poor annotation of some of the draft genomes particularly the rodent malarias parasite species. To improve the current annotation and gene identification status of the draft genomes of P. berghei, P. chabaudi and P. yoelii, we performed genome-wide comparisons between these three species. Through analyses via comparative genome hybridizations using a newly designed pan-rodent array as well as in depth bioinformatics analysis, we were able to improve on the coverage of the draft rodent parasite genomes by detecting orthologous genes between these related rodent parasite species. More than 1,000 orthologs for P. yoelii were now newly associated with a P. falciparum gene. In addition to extending the current core gene set for all plasmodium species this analysis also for the first time identifies a relatively small number of genes that are unique to the primate malaria parasites while a larger gene set is uniquely conserved amongst the rodent malaria parasites. These findings allow a more thorough investigation of the genes that are important for host specificity in malaria.

  20. Genetic engineering of attenuated malaria parasites for vaccination.

    PubMed

    Khan, Shahid M; Janse, Chris J; Kappe, Stefan H I; Mikolajczak, Sebastian A

    2012-12-01

    Vaccination with live-attenuated Plasmodium sporozoites that arrest in the liver can completely protect against a malaria infection both in animal models and in humans; this has provided the conceptual basis for the most promising, but also challenging, approach to develop an efficacious malaria vaccine. Advances in genetic manipulation of Plasmodium in conjunction with improved genomic and biological information has enabled new approaches to design genetically attenuated parasites (GAPs). In this review we discuss the principles in discovery and development of GAPs in preclinical models that are important in selecting GAP parasites for first-in-human clinical studies. Finally, we highlight the challenges in manufacture, formulation and delivery of a live-attenuated whole parasite malaria vaccine, as well as the further refinements that may be implemented in the next generation GAP vaccines.

  1. Enrichment of malaria parasites by antibody immobilized magnetic nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Tangchaikeeree, Tienrat; Jangpatarapongsa, Kulachart; Polpanich, Duangporn; Thiramanas, Raweewan; Pornjarone, Atcharavalai; Udnaen, Somkiat; Udomsangpetch, Rachanee; Tangboriboonrat, Pramuan

    2013-10-01

    The simple and less expensive technique based on magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) was developed for separation of malaria parasites containing specific antigens. The carboxylated MNPs were chemically bound with anti-P. falciparum IgG antibodies (Ab-MNPs) purified from the plasma of malaria patients and then used for removal of P. falciparum malaria-infected erythrocytes from other non-infected blood cells in malaria culture at a given percent parasitemia. The results from optical microscope showed that all blood stages parasites, i.e., ring, trophozoite and schizont, could be separated from other blood components with high purity (> or = 95%) and yield of 33.5% (the early stages of ring and trophozoite:the schizont stage were 1:1.34). Highly specific interaction between Ab-MNPs and the P. falciparum malaria infected erythrocytes was confirmed by scanning electron microscope. When compared to the centrifugation with Percoll gradient and depletion by sorbitol lysis which are specific to the mature and the ring stages, respectively, our technique would be more useful for production of high quality of parasites to use in malaria pathogenesis or immunological studies, and in detection techniques.

  2. Species formation by host shifting in avian malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Ricklefs, Robert E; Outlaw, Diana C; Svensson-Coelho, Maria; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Ellis, Vincenzo A; Latta, Steven

    2014-10-14

    The malaria parasites (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) of birds are believed to have diversified across the avian host phylogeny well after the origin of most major host lineages. Although many symbionts with direct transmission codiversify with their hosts, mechanisms of species formation in vector-borne parasites, including the role of host shifting, are poorly understood. Here, we examine the hosts of sister lineages in a phylogeny of 181 putative species of malaria parasites of New World terrestrial birds to determine the role of shifts between host taxa in the formation of new parasite species. We find that host shifting, often across host genera and families, is the rule. Sympatric speciation by host shifting would require local reproductive isolation as a prerequisite to divergent selection, but this mechanism is not supported by the generalized host-biting behavior of most vectors of avian malaria parasites. Instead, the geographic distribution of individual parasite lineages in diverse hosts suggests that species formation is predominantly allopatric and involves host expansion followed by local host-pathogen coevolution and secondary sympatry, resulting in local shifting of parasite lineages across hosts.

  3. Species formation by host shifting in avian malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Ricklefs, Robert E.; Outlaw, Diana C.; Svensson-Coelho, Maria; Medeiros, Matthew C. I.; Ellis, Vincenzo A.; Latta, Steven

    2014-01-01

    The malaria parasites (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) of birds are believed to have diversified across the avian host phylogeny well after the origin of most major host lineages. Although many symbionts with direct transmission codiversify with their hosts, mechanisms of species formation in vector-borne parasites, including the role of host shifting, are poorly understood. Here, we examine the hosts of sister lineages in a phylogeny of 181 putative species of malaria parasites of New World terrestrial birds to determine the role of shifts between host taxa in the formation of new parasite species. We find that host shifting, often across host genera and families, is the rule. Sympatric speciation by host shifting would require local reproductive isolation as a prerequisite to divergent selection, but this mechanism is not supported by the generalized host-biting behavior of most vectors of avian malaria parasites. Instead, the geographic distribution of individual parasite lineages in diverse hosts suggests that species formation is predominantly allopatric and involves host expansion followed by local host–pathogen coevolution and secondary sympatry, resulting in local shifting of parasite lineages across hosts. PMID:25271324

  4. Can a single "powerless" mitochondrion in the malaria parasite contribute to parasite programmed cell death in the asexual stages?

    PubMed

    Ch'ng, Jun-Hong; Yeo, Su-Ping; Shyong-Wei Tan, Kevin

    2013-05-01

    The protozoan pathogens responsible for malaria are from the Plasmodium genus, with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax accounting for almost all clinical infections. With recent estimates of mortality exceeding 800,000 annually, malaria continues to take a terrible toll on lives and the early promises of medicine to eradicate the disease have yet to approach realization, in part due to the spread of drug resistant parasites. Recent reports of artemisinin-resistance have prompted renewed efforts to identify novel therapeutic options, and one such pathway being considered for antimalarial exploit is the parasite's programmed cell death (PCD) pathway. In this mini-review, we will discuss the roles of the plasmodium mitochondria in cell death and as a target of antimalarial compounds, taking into account recent data suggesting that PCD pathways involving the mitochondria may be attractive antimalarial targets.

  5. Malaria genomics: tracking a diverse and evolving parasite population.

    PubMed

    Kwiatkowski, Dominic

    2015-03-01

    Malaria parasites are continually evolving to evade the immune system and human attempts to control the disease. To eliminate malaria from regions where it is deeply entrenched we need ways of monitoring what is going on in the parasite population, detecting problematic changes as soon as they arise, and executing a prompt and effective response based on a deep understanding of this natural evolutionary process. Powerful new tools to address this problem are emerging from the fast-growing field of genomic epidemiology, driven by new sequencing technologies and computational methods that allow parasite genome variation to be studied in much greater detail and in many more samples than was previously considered possible. These new tools will provide a deep understanding of what is going on in the parasite population, generating actionable knowledge for strategic planning of control interventions, for monitoring their effects and steering them for greatest impact, and for raising the alert if things start to go wrong.

  6. A clash to conquer: the malaria parasite liver infection.

    PubMed

    Mikolajczak, Sebastian A; Kappe, Stefan H

    2006-12-01

    All mammalian malaria parasite species have an initial tissue stage in liver cells. The liver stage produces new parasite forms that can enter and live inside red blood cells. Accordingly, the first place of residence provides parasites with a radically different cellular and molecular environment from their subsequent red blood cell home. Liver stages have remained refractory to reveal their secrets, yet the last few years have seen several advances in elucidating their biology. This review looks at the more recent findings concerning the liver stage-host hepatocyte association, some of which may become powerful weapons in the prevention of malaria infection. We also outline areas of liver stage research and technological development that provide promising foci to accelerate a better understanding of this most elusive of the parasites many life cycle stages.

  7. Malaria genomics: tracking a diverse and evolving parasite population

    PubMed Central

    Kwiatkowski, Dominic

    2015-01-01

    Malaria parasites are continually evolving to evade the immune system and human attempts to control the disease. To eliminate malaria from regions where it is deeply entrenched we need ways of monitoring what is going on in the parasite population, detecting problematic changes as soon as they arise, and executing a prompt and effective response based on a deep understanding of this natural evolutionary process. Powerful new tools to address this problem are emerging from the fast-growing field of genomic epidemiology, driven by new sequencing technologies and computational methods that allow parasite genome variation to be studied in much greater detail and in many more samples than was previously considered possible. These new tools will provide a deep understanding of what is going on in the parasite population, generating actionable knowledge for strategic planning of control interventions, for monitoring their effects and steering them for greatest impact, and for raising the alert if things start to go wrong. PMID:25733556

  8. Functional genomic technologies applied to the control of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Carucci, D J

    2001-05-01

    Infection with any of the four species of Plasmodium single cell parasites that infects humans causes the clinical disease, malaria. Of these, it is Plasmodium falciparum that is responsible for the majority of the 1.5-2.3 million deaths due to this disease each year. Worldwide there are between 300-500 million cases of malaria annually. To date there is no licensed vaccine and resistance to most of the available drugs used to prevent and/or treat malaria is spreading. There is therefore an urgent need to develop new and effective drugs and vaccines against this devastating parasite. We have outlined a strategy using a combination of DNA-based vaccines and the data derived from the soon-to-be completed P. falciparum genome and the genomes of other species of Plasmodium to develop new vaccines against malaria. Much of the technology that we are developing for vaccine target identification is directly applicable to the identification of potential targets for drug discovery. The publicly available genome sequence data also provides a means for researchers whose focus may not be primarily malaria to leverage their research on cancer, yeast biology and other research areas to the biological problems of malaria.

  9. Normocyte-binding protein required for human erythrocyte invasion by the zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi

    PubMed Central

    Moon, Robert W.; Sharaf, Hazem; Hastings, Claire H.; Ho, Yung Shwen; Nair, Mridul B.; Rchiad, Zineb; Knuepfer, Ellen; Mohring, Franziska; Amir, Amirah; Yusuf, Noor A.; Hall, Joanna; Almond, Neil; Lau, Yee Ling; Pain, Arnab; Blackman, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    The dominant cause of malaria in Malaysia is now Plasmodium knowlesi, a zoonotic parasite of cynomolgus macaque monkeys found throughout South East Asia. Comparative genomic analysis of parasites adapted to in vitro growth in either cynomolgus or human RBCs identified a genomic deletion that includes the gene encoding normocyte-binding protein Xa (NBPXa) in parasites growing in cynomolgus RBCs but not in human RBCs. Experimental deletion of the NBPXa gene in parasites adapted to growth in human RBCs (which retain the ability to grow in cynomolgus RBCs) restricted them to cynomolgus RBCs, demonstrating that this gene is selectively required for parasite multiplication and growth in human RBCs. NBPXa-null parasites could bind to human RBCs, but invasion of these cells was severely impaired. Therefore, NBPXa is identified as a key mediator of P. knowlesi human infection and may be a target for vaccine development against this emerging pathogen. PMID:27303038

  10. Normocyte-binding protein required for human erythrocyte invasion by the zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi.

    PubMed

    Moon, Robert W; Sharaf, Hazem; Hastings, Claire H; Ho, Yung Shwen; Nair, Mridul B; Rchiad, Zineb; Knuepfer, Ellen; Ramaprasad, Abhinay; Mohring, Franziska; Amir, Amirah; Yusuf, Noor A; Hall, Joanna; Almond, Neil; Lau, Yee Ling; Pain, Arnab; Blackman, Michael J; Holder, Anthony A

    2016-06-28

    The dominant cause of malaria in Malaysia is now Plasmodium knowlesi, a zoonotic parasite of cynomolgus macaque monkeys found throughout South East Asia. Comparative genomic analysis of parasites adapted to in vitro growth in either cynomolgus or human RBCs identified a genomic deletion that includes the gene encoding normocyte-binding protein Xa (NBPXa) in parasites growing in cynomolgus RBCs but not in human RBCs. Experimental deletion of the NBPXa gene in parasites adapted to growth in human RBCs (which retain the ability to grow in cynomolgus RBCs) restricted them to cynomolgus RBCs, demonstrating that this gene is selectively required for parasite multiplication and growth in human RBCs. NBPXa-null parasites could bind to human RBCs, but invasion of these cells was severely impaired. Therefore, NBPXa is identified as a key mediator of P. knowlesi human infection and may be a target for vaccine development against this emerging pathogen.

  11. New molecular detection methods of malaria parasites with multiple genes from genomes.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Himanshu; Srivastava, Shikha; Chaudhari, Sima; Vasudevan, Thanvanthri G; Hande, Manjunath H; D'souza, Sydney C; Umakanth, Shashikiran; Satyamoorthy, Kapaettu

    2016-08-01

    For the effective control of malaria, development of sensitive, accurate and rapid tool to diagnose and manage the disease is essential. In humans subjects, the severe form of malaria is caused by Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) and Plasmodium vivax (Pv) and there is need to identify these parasites in acute, chronic and latent (during and post-infection) stages of the disease. In this study, we report a species specific and sensitive diagnostic method for the detection of Pf and Pv in humans. First, we identified intra and intergenic multiloci short stretch of 152 (PfMLS152) and 110 (PvMLS110) nucleotides which is present up to 44 and 34 times in the genomes of Pf and Pv respectively. We developed the single-step amplification-based method using isolated DNA or from lysed red blood cells for the detection of the two malaria parasites. The limit of detection of real-time polymerase chain reaction based assays were 0.1copyof parasite/μl for PfMLS152 and PvMLS110 target sequences. Next, we have tested 250 clinically suspected cases of malaria to validate the method. Sensitivity and specificity for both targets were 100% compared to the quantitative buffy coat microscopy analysis and real-time PCR (Pf-chloroquine resistance transporter (PfCRT) and Pv-lactate dehydrogenase (PvLDH)) based assays. The sensitivity of microscopy and real-time PCR (PfCRT and PvLDH primers) assays were 80.63%; 95%CI 75.22%-85.31%; p<0.05 and 97.61%; 95%CI 94.50%-99.21%; p<0.05 in detecting malaria infection respectively when compared to PfMLS152 and PvMLS110 targets to identify malaria infection in patients. These improved assays may have potential applications in evaluating malaria in asymptomatic patients, treatment, blood donors and in vaccine studies.

  12. Graphene oxide inhibits malaria parasite invasion and delays parasitic growth in vitro.

    PubMed

    Kenry; Lim, Ying Bena; Nai, Mui Hoon; Cao, Jianshu; Loh, Kian Ping; Lim, Chwee Teck

    2017-09-28

    The interactions between graphene oxide (GO) and various biological entities have been actively investigated in recent years, resulting in numerous potential bioapplications of these nanomaterials. Despite this, the biological interactions between GO and disease-causing protozoan parasites have not been well elucidated and remain relatively unexplored. Here, we investigate the in vitro interactions between GO nanosheets and a particular species of malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum). We hypothesize that GO nanosheets may exhibit antimalarial characteristic via action mechanisms of physical obstruction of P. falciparum parasites as well as nutrient depletion. To ascertain this, we characterize the physical interactions between GO nanosheets, red blood cells (RBCs), and malarial parasites as well as the adsorption of several biomolecules necessary for parasitic survival and growth on GO nanosheets. Subsequent to establishing the origin of this antimalarial behavior of GO nanosheets, their efficiency in inhibiting parasite invasion is evaluated. We observe that GO nanosheets at various tested concentrations significantly inhibit the invasion of malaria parasites into RBCs. Furthermore, GO nanosheets delay parasite progression from the ring to the trophozoite stage. Overall, this study may further shed light on the graphene-parasite interactions and potentially facilitate the development of nanomaterial-based strategies for combating malaria.

  13. Effects of lime juice on malaria parasite clearance.

    PubMed

    Adegoke, S A; Oyelami, O A; Olatunya, O S; Adeyemi, L A

    2011-10-01

    One hundred and twenty children with acute uncomplicated malaria who were managed at the children's outpatient department of the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa (a unit of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals' Complex, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria) were recruited into the study to determine the effects of lime juice on malaria parasite clearance. These children were randomized into treatment with World Health Organization recommended antimalarials (artemisinin combination therapy, ACT) either alone or with lime juice. Nine of them were lost to follow-up, four were in the group that were managed with ACT and lime, and five in the group that were managed on ACT alone. The average (SD) time to achieve >75% reduction in parasite load was significantly lower in patients on ACT and lime; 30.5 ± 2.4 h against 38.6 ± 3.3 h for those on ACT alone (p < 0.001). Also, while a significantly higher proportion of children on antimalarial drugs and lime juice achieved complete parasite clearance by 72 h of therapy (p = 0.007), ten (18.2%) patients without lime had early treatment failure (p = 0.003). There were no side effects with the use of lime juice. It may therefore be inferred, from this preliminary work, that lime juice when used with the appropriate antimalarial may enhance malaria parasite clearance especially in those with uncomplicated malaria.

  14. Malaria parasite liver stages render host hepatocytes susceptible to mitochondria-initiated apoptosis

    PubMed Central

    Kaushansky, A; Metzger, P G; Douglass, A N; Mikolajczak, S A; Lakshmanan, V; Kain, H S; Kappe, S HI

    2013-01-01

    Intracellular eukaryotic parasites and their host cells constitute complex, coevolved cellular interaction systems that frequently cause disease. Among them, Plasmodium parasites cause a significant health burden in humans, killing up to one million people annually. To succeed in the mammalian host after transmission by mosquitoes, Plasmodium parasites must complete intracellular replication within hepatocytes and then release new infectious forms into the blood. Using Plasmodium yoelii rodent malaria parasites, we show that some liver stage (LS)-infected hepatocytes undergo apoptosis without external triggers, but the majority of infected cells do not, and can also resist Fas-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, apoptosis is dramatically increased in hepatocytes infected with attenuated parasites. Furthermore, we find that blocking total or mitochondria-initiated host cell apoptosis increases LS parasite burden in mice, suggesting that an anti-apoptotic host environment fosters parasite survival. Strikingly, although LS infection confers strong resistance to extrinsic host hepatocyte apoptosis, infected hepatocytes lose their ability to resist apoptosis when anti-apoptotic mitochondrial proteins are inhibited. This is demonstrated by our finding that B-cell lymphoma 2 family inhibitors preferentially induce apoptosis in LS-infected hepatocytes and significantly reduce LS parasite burden in mice. Thus, targeting critical points of susceptibility in the LS-infected host cell might provide new avenues for malaria prophylaxis. PMID:23928701

  15. Malaria

    MedlinePlus

    Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite. You get it when an infected mosquito bites you. Malaria is a major cause of death worldwide, but ... at risk. There are four different types of malaria caused by four related parasites. The most deadly ...

  16. Numerical Distributions of Parasite Densities During Asymptomatic Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Imwong, Mallika; Stepniewska, Kasia; Tripura, Rupam; Peto, Thomas J.; Lwin, Khin Maung; Vihokhern, Benchawan; Wongsaen, Klanarong; von Seidlein, Lorenz; Dhorda, Mehul; Snounou, Georges; Keereecharoen, Lilly; Singhasivanon, Pratap; Sirithiranont, Pasathorn; Chalk, Jem; Nguon, Chea; Day, Nicholas P. J.; Nosten, Francois; Dondorp, Arjen; White, Nicholas J.

    2016-01-01

    Background. Asymptomatic parasitemia is common even in areas of low seasonal malaria transmission, but the true proportion of the population infected has not been estimated previously because of the limited sensitivity of available detection methods. Methods. Cross-sectional malaria surveys were conducted in areas of low seasonal transmission along the border between eastern Myanmar and northwestern Thailand and in western Cambodia. DNA was quantitated by an ultrasensitive polymerase chain reaction (uPCR) assay (limit of accurate detection, 22 parasites/mL) to characterize parasite density distributions for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, and the proportions of undetected infections were imputed. Results. The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria as determined by uPCR was 27.5% (1303 of 4740 people tested). Both P. vivax and P. falciparum density distributions were unimodal and log normal, with modal values well within the quantifiable range. The estimated proportions of all parasitemic individuals identified by uPCR were >70% among individuals infected with P. falciparum and >85% among those infected with P. vivax. Overall, 83% of infections were predicted to be P. vivax infections, 13% were predicted to be P. falciparum infections, and 4% were predicted to be mixed infections. Geometric mean parasite densities were similar; 5601 P. vivax parasites/mL and 5158 P. falciparum parasites/mL. Conclusions. This uPCR method identified most infected individuals in malaria-endemic areas. Malaria parasitemia persists in humans at levels that optimize the probability of generating transmissible gametocyte densities without causing illness. PMID:26681777

  17. HDP—A Novel Heme Detoxification Protein from the Malaria Parasite

    PubMed Central

    Beatty, Wandy; Angel, Ross; Slebodnick, Carla; Andersen, John; Kumar, Sanjai; Rathore, Dharmendar

    2008-01-01

    When malaria parasites infect host red blood cells (RBC) and proteolyze hemoglobin, a unique, albeit poorly understood parasite-specific mechanism, detoxifies released heme into hemozoin (Hz). Here, we report the identification and characterization of a novel Plasmodium Heme Detoxification Protein (HDP) that is extremely potent in converting heme into Hz. HDP is functionally conserved across Plasmodium genus and its gene locus could not be disrupted. Once expressed, the parasite utilizes a circuitous “Outbound–Inbound” trafficking route by initially secreting HDP into the cytosol of infected RBC. A subsequent endocytosis of host cytosol (and hemoglobin) delivers HDP to the food vacuole (FV), the site of Hz formation. As Hz formation is critical for survival, involvement of HDP in this process suggests that it could be a malaria drug target. PMID:18437218

  18. African origin of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2014-01-01

    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

  19. Maternally supplied S-acyl-transferase is required for crystalloid organelle formation and transmission of the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Duarte, Neuza; Ramesar, Jai; Avramut, M. Cristina; Koster, Abraham J.; Dessens, Johannes T.; Frischknecht, Friedrich; Chevalley-Maurel, Séverine; Janse, Chris J.; Franke-Fayard, Blandine; Mair, Gunnar R.

    2016-01-01

    Transmission of the malaria parasite from the mammalian host to the mosquito vector requires the formation of adequately adapted parasite forms and stage-specific organelles. Here we show that formation of the crystalloid—a unique and short-lived organelle of the Plasmodium ookinete and oocyst stage required for sporogony—is dependent on the precisely timed expression of the S-acyl-transferase DHHC10. DHHC10, translationally repressed in female Plasmodium berghei gametocytes, is activated translationally during ookinete formation, where the protein is essential for the formation of the crystalloid, the correct targeting of crystalloid-resident protein LAP2, and malaria parasite transmission. PMID:27303037

  20. In vivo removal of malaria parasites from red blood cells without their destruction in acute falciparum malaria.

    PubMed

    Angus, B J; Chotivanich, K; Udomsangpetch, R; White, N J

    1997-09-01

    During acute falciparum malaria infection, red blood cells (RBC) containing abundant ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (Pf 155 or RESA), but no intracellular parasites, are present in the circulation. These RESA-positive parasite negative RBC are not seen in parasite cultures in vitro. This indicates that in acute falciparum malaria there is active removal of intraerythrocytic parasites by a host mechanism in vivo (probably the spleen) without destruction of the parasitized RBC. This may explain the observed disparity between the drop in hematocrit and decrease in parasite count in some hyperparasitemic patients. The fate of these "once-parasitized" RBC in vivo is not known.

  1. Efficient Editing of Malaria Parasite Genome Using the CRISPR/Cas9 System

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Cui; Xiao, Bo; Jiang, Yuanyuan; Zhao, Yihua; Li, Zhenkui; Gao, Han; Ling, Yuan; Wei, Jun; Li, Shaoneng; Lu, Mingke; Yuan, Jing

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Malaria parasites are unicellular organisms residing inside the red blood cells, and current methods for editing the parasite genes have been inefficient. The CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and Cas9 endonuclease-mediated genome editing) system is a new powerful technique for genome editing and has been widely employed to study gene function in various organisms. However, whether this technique can be applied to modify the genomes of malaria parasites has not been determined. In this paper, we demonstrated that Cas9 is able to introduce site-specific DNA double-strand breaks in the Plasmodium yoelii genome that can be repaired through homologous recombination. By supplying engineered homologous repair templates, we generated targeted deletion, reporter knock-in, and nucleotide replacement in multiple parasite genes, achieving up to 100% efficiency in gene deletion and 22 to 45% efficiencies in knock-in and allelic replacement. Our results establish methodologies for introducing desired modifications in the P. yoelii genome with high efficiency and accuracy, which will greatly improve our ability to study gene function of malaria parasites. PMID:24987097

  2. The development of malaria parasites in the mosquito midgut

    PubMed Central

    Bennink, Sandra; Kiesow, Meike J.

    2016-01-01

    Summary The mosquito midgut stages of malaria parasites are crucial for establishing an infection in the insect vector and to thus ensure further spread of the pathogen. Parasite development in the midgut starts with the activation of the intraerythrocytic gametocytes immediately after take‐up and ends with traversal of the midgut epithelium by the invasive ookinetes less than 24 h later. During this time period, the plasmodia undergo two processes of stage conversion, from gametocytes to gametes and from zygotes to ookinetes, both accompanied by dramatic morphological changes. Further, gamete formation requires parasite egress from the enveloping erythrocytes, rendering them vulnerable to the aggressive factors of the insect gut, like components of the human blood meal. The mosquito midgut stages of malaria parasites are unprecedented objects to study a variety of cell biological aspects, including signal perception, cell conversion, parasite/host co‐adaptation and immune evasion. This review highlights recent insights into the molecules involved in gametocyte activation and gamete formation as well as in zygote‐to‐ookinete conversion and ookinete midgut exit; it further discusses factors that can harm the extracellular midgut stages as well as the measures of the parasites to protect themselves from any damage. PMID:27111866

  3. Antigen Export during Liver Infection of the Malaria Parasite Augments Protective Immunity

    PubMed Central

    Beigier-Bompadre, Macarena; Becker, Martina; Kroczek, Richard A.; Kaufmann, Stefan H. E.; Matuschewski, Kai

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Protective immunity against preerythrocytic malaria parasite infection is difficult to achieve. Intracellular Plasmodium parasites likely minimize antigen presentation by surface-expressed major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules on infected cells, yet they actively remodel their host cells by export of parasite factors. Whether exported liver-stage proteins constitute better candidates for MHC-I antigen presentation to CD8+ T lymphocytes remains unknown. Here, we systematically characterized the contribution of protein export to the magnitude of antigen-specific T-cell responses against Plasmodium berghei liver-stage parasites in C57BL/6 mice. We generated transgenic sporozoites that secrete a truncated ovalbumin (OVA) surrogate antigen only in the presence of an amino-terminal protein export element. Immunization with live attenuated transgenic sporozoites revealed that antigen export was not critical for CD8+ T-cell priming but enhanced CD8+ T-cell proliferation in the liver. Upon transfer of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, liver-stage parasites secreting the target protein were eliminated more efficiently. We conclude that Plasmodium parasites strictly control protein export during liver infection to minimize immune recognition. Strategies that enhance the discharge of parasite proteins into infected hepatocytes could improve the efficacy of candidate preerythrocytic malaria vaccines. PMID:25073641

  4. Investigating the evolution of apoptosis in malaria parasites: the importance of ecology

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Apoptosis is a precisely regulated process of cell death which occurs widely in multicellular organisms and is essential for normal development and immune defences. In recent years, interest has grown in the occurrence of apoptosis in unicellular organisms. In particular, as apoptosis has been reported in a wide range of species, including protozoan malaria parasites and trypanosomes, it may provide a novel target for intervention. However, it is important to understand when and why parasites employ an apoptosis strategy before the likely long- and short-term success of such an intervention can be evaluated. The occurrence of apoptosis in unicellular parasites provides a challenge for evolutionary theory to explain as organisms are expected to have evolved to maximise their own proliferation, not death. One possible explanation is that protozoan parasites undergo apoptosis in order to gain a group benefit from controlling their density as this prevents premature vector mortality. However, experimental manipulations to examine the ultimate causes behind apoptosis in parasites are lacking. In this review, we focus on malaria parasites to outline how an evolutionary framework can help make predictions about the ecological circumstances under which apoptosis could evolve. We then highlight the ecological considerations that should be taken into account when designing evolutionary experiments involving markers of cell death, and we call for collaboration between researchers in different fields to identify and develop appropriate markers in reference to parasite ecology and to resolve debates on terminology. PMID:21080937

  5. Image classification of unlabeled malaria parasites in red blood cells.

    PubMed

    Zheng Zhang; Ong, L L Sharon; Kong Fang; Matthew, Athul; Dauwels, Justin; Ming Dao; Asada, Harry

    2016-08-01

    This paper presents a method to detect unlabeled malaria parasites in red blood cells. The current "gold standard" for malaria diagnosis is microscopic examination of thick blood smear, a time consuming process requiring extensive training. Our goal is to develop an automate process to identify malaria infected red blood cells. Major issues in automated analysis of microscopy images of unstained blood smears include overlapping cells and oddly shaped cells. Our approach creates robust templates to detect infected and uninfected red cells. Histogram of Oriented Gradients (HOGs) features are extracted from templates and used to train a classifier offline. Next, the ViolaJones object detection framework is applied to detect infected and uninfected red cells and the image background. Results show our approach out-performs classification approaches with PCA features by 50% and cell detection algorithms applying Hough transforms by 24%. Majority of related work are designed to automatically detect stained parasites in blood smears where the cells are fixed. Although it is more challenging to design algorithms for unstained parasites, our methods will allow analysis of parasite progression in live cells under different drug treatments.

  6. Chemosensitization potential of P-glycoprotein inhibitors in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Alcantara, Laura M; Kim, Junwon; Moraes, Carolina B; Franco, Caio H; Franzoi, Kathrin D; Lee, Sukjun; Freitas-Junior, Lucio H; Ayong, Lawrence S

    2013-06-01

    Members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC)-type transporter superfamily have been implicated in multidrug resistance in malaria, and various mechanistic models have been postulated to explain their interaction with diverse antimalarial drugs. To gain insight into the pharmacological benefits of inhibiting ABC-type transporters in malaria chemotherapy, we investigated the in vitro chemosensitization potential of various P-glycoprotein inhibitors. A fluorescent chloroquine derivative was synthesized and used to assess the efflux dynamics of chloroquine in MDR and wild type Plasmodium falciparum parasites. This novel BODIPY-based probe accumulated in the digestive vacuole (DV) of CQ-sensitive parasites but less so in MDR cells. Pre-exposure of the MDR parasites to non-cytocidal concentrations of unlabeled chloroquine resulted in a diffused cytoplasmic retention of the probe whereas a similar treatment with the CQR-reversing agent, chlorpheniramine, resulted in DV accumulation. A diffused cytoplasmic distribution of the probe was also obtained following treatment with the P-gp specific inhibitors zosuquidar and tariquidar, whereas treatments with the tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib or imatinib produced a partial accumulation within the DV. Isobologram analyses of the interactions between these inhibitors and the antimalarial drugs chloroquine, mefloquine, and artemisinin revealed distinct patterns of drug synergism, additivity and antagonism. Taken together, the data indicate that competitive tyrosine kinase and noncompetitive P-glycoprotein ATPase-specific inhibitors represent two new classes of chemosensitizing agents in malaria parasites, but caution against the indiscriminate use of these agents in antimalarial drug combinations.

  7. Comparative genomics of the neglected human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:18843361

  8. [From malaria parasite point of view--Plasmodium falciparum evolution].

    PubMed

    Zerka, Agata; Kaczmarek, Radosław; Jaśkiewicz, Ewa

    2015-12-31

    Malaria is caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium, which have arguably exerted the greatest selection pressure on humans in the history of our species. Besides humans, different Plasmodium parasites infect a wide range of animal hosts, from marine invertebrates to primates. On the other hand, individual Plasmodium species show high host specificity. The extraordinary evolution of Plasmodium probably began when a free-living red algae turned parasitic, and culminated with its ability to thrive inside a human red blood cell. Studies on the African apes generated new data on the evolution of malaria parasites in general and the deadliest human-specific species, Plasmodium falciparum, in particular. Initially, it was hypothesized that P. falciparum descended from the chimpanzee malaria parasite P. reichenowi, after the human and the chimp lineage diverged about 6 million years ago. However, a recently identified new species infecting gorillas, unexpectedly showed similarity to P. falciparum and was therefore named P. praefalciparum. That finding spurred an alternative hypothesis, which proposes that P. falciparum descended from its gorilla rather than chimp counterpart. In addition, the gorilla-to-human host shift may have occurred more recently (about 10 thousand years ago) than the theoretical P. falciparum-P. reichenowi split. One of the key aims of the studies on Plasmodium evolution is to elucidate the mechanisms that allow the incessant host shifting and retaining the host specificity, especially in the case of human-specific species. Thorough understanding of these phenomena will be necessary to design effective malaria treatment and prevention strategies.

  9. Malaria parasite colonisation of the mosquito midgut--placing the Plasmodium ookinete centre stage.

    PubMed

    Angrisano, Fiona; Tan, Yan-Hong; Sturm, Angelika; McFadden, Geoffrey I; Baum, Jake

    2012-05-15

    Vector-borne diseases constitute an enormous burden on public health across the world. However, despite the importance of interactions between infectious pathogens and their respective vector for disease transmission, the biology of the pathogen in the insect is often less well understood than the forms that cause human infections. Even with the global impact of Plasmodium parasites, the causative agents of malarial disease, no vaccine exists to prevent infection and resistance to all frontline drugs is emerging. Malaria parasite migration through the mosquito host constitutes a major population bottleneck of the lifecycle and therefore represents a powerful, although as yet relatively untapped, target for therapeutic intervention. The understanding of parasite-mosquito interactions has increased in recent years with developments in genome-wide approaches, genomics and proteomics. Each development has shed significant light on the biology of the malaria parasite during the mosquito phase of the lifecycle. Less well understood, however, is the process of midgut colonisation and oocyst formation, the precursor to parasite re-infection from the next mosquito bite. Here, we review the current understanding of cellular and molecular events underlying midgut colonisation centred on the role of the motile ookinete. Further insight into the major interactions between the parasite and the mosquito will help support the broader goal to identify targets for transmission-blocking therapies against malarial disease. Copyright © 2012 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Mitosis in the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum ▿

    PubMed Central

    Gerald, Noel; Mahajan, Babita; Kumar, Sanjai

    2011-01-01

    Malaria is caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites belonging to Plasmodium spp. (phylum Apicomplexa) that produce significant morbidity and mortality, mostly in developing countries. Plasmodium parasites have a complex life cycle that includes multiple stages in anopheline mosquito vectors and vertebrate hosts. During the life cycle, the parasites undergo several cycles of extreme population growth within a brief span, and this is critical for their continued transmission and a contributing factor for their pathogenesis in the host. As with other eukaryotes, successful mitosis is an essential requirement for Plasmodium reproduction; however, some aspects of Plasmodium mitosis are quite distinct and not fully understood. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of the architecture and key events of mitosis in Plasmodium falciparum and related parasites and compare them with the traditional mitotic events described for other eukaryotes. PMID:21317311

  11. Diverse chemotypes disrupt ion homeostasis in the Malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Lehane, Adele M; Ridgway, Melanie C; Baker, Eileen; Kirk, Kiaran

    2014-10-01

    The antimalarial spiroindolones disrupt Plasmodium falciparum Na(+) regulation and induce an alkalinization of the parasite cytosol. It has been proposed that they do so by inhibiting PfATP4, a parasite plasma membrane P-type ATPase postulated to export Na(+) and import H(+) equivalents. Here, we screened the 400 antiplasmodial compounds of the open access 'Malaria Box' for their effects on parasite ion regulation. Twenty eight compounds affected parasite Na(+) and pH regulation in a manner consistent with PfATP4 inhibition. Six of these, with chemically diverse structures, were selected for further analysis. All six showed reduced antiplasmodial activity against spiroindolone-resistant parasites carrying mutations in pfatp4. We exposed parasites to incrementally increasing concentrations of two of the six compounds and in both cases obtained resistant parasites with mutations in pfatp4. The finding that diverse chemotypes have an apparently similar mechanism of action indicates that PfATP4 may be a significant Achilles' heel for the parasite. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. Proteomics of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Sims, Paul F G; Hyde, John E

    2006-02-01

    The lethal species of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, continues to exact a huge toll of mortality and morbidity, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Completion of the genome sequence of this organism and advances in proteomics and mass spectrometry have opened up unprecedented opportunities for understanding the complex biology of this parasite and how it responds to drug challenge and other interventions. This review describes recent progress that has been made in applying proteomics technology to this important pathogen and provides a look forward to likely future developments.

  13. Malaria parasite chitinase and penetration of the mosquito peritrophic membrane.

    PubMed Central

    Huber, M; Cabib, E; Miller, L H

    1991-01-01

    Malaria parasites (ookinetes) appear to digest the peritrophic membrane in the mosquito midgut during penetration. Previous studies demonstrated that lectins specific for N-acetylglucosamine bind to the peritrophic membrane and proposed that the membrane contains chitin [Rudin, W. & Hecker, H. (1989) Parasitol. Res. 75, 268-279]. In the present study, we show that the peritrophic membrane is digested by Serratia marcescens chitinase (EC 3.2.1.14), leading to the release of N-acetylglucosamine and fragmentation of the membrane. We also report the presence of a malaria parasite chitinase that digests 4-methylumbelliferyl chitotriose. The enzyme is not detectable until 15 hr after zygote formation, the time required for maturation of the parasite from a zygote to an ookinete, the invasive form of the parasite. At 20 hr, the enzyme begins to appear in the culture supernatant. The chitinase extracted from the parasite and found in the culture supernatant consists of a major band and two minor bands of activity on native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The presence of chitin in the peritrophic membrane, the disruption of the peritrophic membrane during invasion, and the presence of chitinase in ookinetes suggest that the chitinase in ookinetes is used in the penetration of the peritrophic membrane. Images PMID:2011589

  14. Ferrous iron-dependent delivery of therapeutic agents to the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Mahajan, Sumit S; Gut, Jiri; Rosenthal, Philip J; Renslo, Adam R

    2013-01-01

    Background The malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax generate significant concentrations of free unbound ferrous iron heme as a side product of hemoglobin degradation. The presence of these chemically reactive forms of iron, rare in healthy cells, presents an opportunity for parasite-selective drug delivery. Accordingly, our group is developing technologies for the targeted delivery of therapeutics to the intra-erythrocytic malaria parasite. These so-called ‘fragmenting hybrids’ employ a 1,2,4-trioxolane ring system as an iron(II)-sensing ‘trigger’ moiety and a ‘traceless’ retro-Michael linker to which a variety of partner drug species may be attached. After ferrous iron-promoted activation in the parasite, the partner drug is released via a β-elimination reaction. Methods In this report, we describe three orthogonal experimental approaches that were explored in order to generate in vitro proof-of-concept for ferrous iron-dependent drug delivery from a prototypical fragmenting hybrid. Conclusion Studies of two fragmenting hybrids by orthogonal approaches confirm that a partner drug species can be delivered to live P. falciparum parasites. A key advantage of this approach is the potential to mask a partner drug’s intrinsic bioactivity prior to release in the parasite. PMID:23234548

  15. Statistical properties of parasite density estimators in malaria.

    PubMed

    Hammami, Imen; Nuel, Grégory; Garcia, André

    2013-01-01

    Malaria is a global health problem responsible for nearly one million deaths every year around 85% of which concern children younger than five years old in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, around 300 million clinical cases are declared every year. The level of infection, expressed as parasite density, is classically defined as the number of asexual parasites relative to a microliter of blood. Microscopy of Giemsa-stained thick blood films is the gold standard for parasite enumeration. Parasite density estimation methods usually involve threshold values; either the number of white blood cells counted or the number of high power fields read. However, the statistical properties of parasite density estimators generated by these methods have largely been overlooked. Here, we studied the statistical properties (mean error, coefficient of variation, false negative rates) of parasite density estimators of commonly used threshold-based counting techniques depending on variable threshold values. We also assessed the influence of the thresholds on the cost-effectiveness of parasite density estimation methods. In addition, we gave more insights on the behavior of measurement errors according to varying threshold values, and on what should be the optimal threshold values that minimize this variability.

  16. Improved methods for magnetic purification of malaria parasites and haemozoin.

    PubMed

    Kim, Charles C; Wilson, Emily B; DeRisi, Joseph L

    2010-01-14

    Malaria parasites generate free haem upon catabolism of host haemoglobin during their intraerythrocytic growth cycle. In order to minimize oxidative toxicity of the ferric iron, the free haem molecules are polymerized into the biomineral beta-haematin (commonly referred to as haemozoin). Haemozoin crystals are paramagnetic, and this property can be exploited for the purification of late stage parasites as they contain larger haemozoin crystals than early stage parasites and uninfected cells. Commercially available magnets that were originally developed for the purpose of antibody-mediated cell purification are widely used for this purpose. As these methods are not necessarily optimized for parasite purification, the relationship between magnetic field strength and the quantity and quality of yield during parasite purification was explored. Inexpensive rare-earth neodymium magnets with commercially available disposable columns were employed to explore the relationship between magnetic field strength and recovery of free haemozoin and infected erythrocytes (iRBCs). Yields of free haemozoin increased nearly linearly with increasing magnetic field strength to the strongest fields tested (8,500 Gauss). Stronger magnetic fields also improved the recovery of iRBCs with no detrimental effects on parasite viability. An in-house constructed magnetic stand, built for $75 in materials, produced superior results when compared with much more expensive commercial products. Existing protocols for the magnetic purification of free haemozoin and iRBCs result in sub-optimal yields. Inexpensive high-strength neodymium magnets offer a better option, resulting in higher yields with no detrimental effects on parasite viability.

  17. Visualization of Malaria Parasites in the Skin Using the Luciferase Transgenic Parasite, Plasmodium berghei.

    PubMed

    Matsuoka, Hiroyuki; Tomita, Hiroyuki; Hattori, Ryuta; Arai, Meiji; Hirai, Makoto

    2015-03-01

    We produced a transgenic rodent malaria parasite (Plasmodium berghei) that contained the luciferase gene under a promoter region of elongation factor-1α. These transgenic (TG) parasites expressed luciferase in all stages of their life cycle, as previously reported. However, we were the first to succeed in observing sporozoites as a mass in mouse skin following their deposition by the probing of infective mosquitoes. Our transgenic parasites may have emitted stronger bioluminescence than previous TG parasites. The estimated number of injected sporozoites by mosquitoes was between 34 and 775 (median 80). Since luciferase activity diminished immediately after the death of the parasites, luciferase activity could be an indicator of the existence of live parasites. Our results indicated that sporozoites survived at the probed site for more than 42 hours. We also detected sporozoites in the liver within 15 min of the intravenous injection. Bioluminescence was not observed in the lung, kidney or spleen. We confirmed the observation that the liver was the first organ in which malaria parasites entered and increased in number.

  18. Potential chemotherapeutic targets in the purine metabolism of parasites.

    PubMed

    el Kouni, Mahmoud H

    2003-09-01

    Parasites are responsible for a wide variety of infectious diseases in human as well as in domestic and wild animals, causing an enormous health and economical blight. Current containment strategies are not entirely successful and parasitic infections are on the rise. In the absence of availability of antiparasitic vaccines, chemotherapy remains the mainstay for the treatment of most parasitic diseases. However, there is an urgent need for new drugs to prevent or combat some major parasitic infections because of lack of a single effective approach for controlling the parasites (e.g., trypanosomiasis) or because some serious parasitic infections developed resistance to presently available drugs (e.g., malaria). The rational design of a drug is usually based on biochemical and physiological differences between pathogens and host. Some of the most striking differences between parasites and their mammalian host are found in purine metabolism. Purine nucleotides can be synthesized by the de novo and/or the so-called "salvage" pathways. Unlike their mammalian host, most parasites studied lack the pathways for de novo purine biosynthesis and rely on the salvage pathways to meet their purine demands. Moreover, because of the great phylogenic separation between the host and the parasite, there are in some cases sufficient distinctions between corresponding enzymes of the purine salvage from the host and the parasite that can be exploited to design specific inhibitors or "subversive substrates" for the parasitic enzymes. Furthermore, the specificities of purine transport, the first step in purine salvage, diverge significantly between parasites and their mammalian host. This review highlights the unique transporters and enzymes responsible for the salvage of purines in parasites that could constitute excellent potential targets for the design of safe and effective antiparasitic drugs.

  19. Protective immunity against malaria by 'natural immunization': a question of dose, parasite diversity, or both?

    PubMed

    Borrmann, Steffen; Matuschewski, Kai

    2011-08-01

    Plasmodium undergoes an obligate liver phase before the onset of malaria, which is caused exclusively by cyclic propagation of the parasite inside erythrocytes. The diagnostically inaccessible and clinically silent pre-erythrocytic expansion phase is a promising target for inducing sterilizing immunity against reinfections. Recent studies in rodent and human malaria models called attention to the induction of potent protective immunity by administration of anti-malarial drugs during sporozoite exposure. Here, we review the concept of drug-mediated pathogen arrest as a natural immunization strategy. This previously unrecognized immunological benefit might also open new opportunities for population-wide presumptive drug administration as an adjunct malaria control tool. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. A new lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium intabazwe n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Haemospororida: Plasmodiidae) in the Afromontane Pseudocordylus melanotus (Sauria: Cordylidae) with a review of African saurian malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    van As, Johann; Cook, Courtney A; Netherlands, Edward C; Smit, Nico J

    2016-08-08

    Saurian malaria parasites are diverse apicomplexan blood parasites including the family Plasmodiidae Mesnil, 1903, and have been studied since the early 1900s. Currently, at least 27 species of Plasmodium are recorded in African lizards, and to date only two species, Plasmodium zonuriae (Pienaar, 1962) and Plasmodium cordyli Telford, 1987, have been reported from the African endemic family Cordylidae. This paper presents a description of a new malaria parasite in a cordylid lizard and provides a phylogenetic hypothesis for saurian Plasmodium species from South Africa. Furthermore, it provides a tabular review of the Plasmodium species that to date have been formally described infecting species of African lizards. Blood samples were collected from 77 specimens of Pseudocordylus melanotus (A. Smith, 1838) from Platberg reserve in the Eastern Free State, and two specimens of Cordylus vittifer (Reichenow, 1887) from the Roodewalshoek conservancy in Mpumalanga (South Africa). Blood smears were Giemsa-stained, screened for haematozoa, specifically saurian malaria parasites, parasite stages were photographed and measured. A small volume was also preserved for TEM studies. Plasmodium and Haemoproteus primer sets, with a nested-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol, were employed to target a fragment of the cytochrome-b (cyt-b) gene region. Resulting sequences of the saurian Plasmodium species' isolates were compared with each other and to other known Plasmodium spp. sequences in the GenBank database. The presence of P. zonuriae in both specimens of the type lizard host C. vittifer was confirmed using morphological characteristics, which subsequently allowed for the species' molecular characterisation. Of the 77 P. melanotus, 44 were parasitised by a Plasmodium species, which when compared morphologically to other African saurian Plasmodium spp. and molecularly to P. zonuriae, supported its description as a new species Plasmodium intabazwe n. sp. This is the first

  1. Erythrocytic vacuolar rafts induced by malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Haldar, K; Samuel, B U; Mohandas, N; Harrison, T; Hiller, N L

    2001-03-01

    Studies in the past year displaced long-standing dogmas and provided many new molecular insights into how proteins and solutes move between the erythrocyte plasma membrane and the malarial vacuole. Highlights include a demonstration that (1) detergent-resistant membrane (DRM) rafts exist in the red cell membrane and their resident proteins are detected as rafts in the plasmodial vacuole, (2) a voltage-gated channel in the infected red cell membrane mediates uptake of extracellular nutrient solutes, and (3) intraerythrocytic membranes transport a parasite-encoded adherence antigen to the red cell surface.

  2. Sex and death: the effects of innate immune factors on the sexual reproduction of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Ramiro, Ricardo S; Alpedrinha, João; Carter, Lucy; Gardner, Andy; Reece, Sarah E

    2011-03-01

    Malaria parasites must undergo a round of sexual reproduction in the blood meal of a mosquito vector to be transmitted between hosts. Developing a transmission-blocking intervention to prevent parasites from mating is a major goal of biomedicine, but its effectiveness could be compromised if parasites can compensate by simply adjusting their sex allocation strategies. Recently, the application of evolutionary theory for sex allocation has been supported by experiments demonstrating that malaria parasites adjust their sex ratios in response to infection genetic diversity, precisely as predicted. Theory also predicts that parasites should adjust sex allocation in response to host immunity. Whilst data are supportive, the assumptions underlying this prediction - that host immune responses have differential effects on the mating ability of males and females - have not yet been tested. Here, we combine experimental work with theoretical models in order to investigate whether the development and fertility of male and female parasites is affected by innate immune factors and develop new theory to predict how parasites' sex allocation strategies should evolve in response to the observed effects. Specifically, we demonstrate that reactive nitrogen species impair gametogenesis of males only, but reduce the fertility of both male and female gametes. In contrast, tumour necrosis factor-α does not influence gametogenesis in either sex but impairs zygote development. Therefore, our experiments demonstrate that immune factors have complex effects on each sex, ranging from reducing the ability of gametocytes to develop into gametes, to affecting the viability of offspring. We incorporate these results into theory to predict how the evolutionary trajectories of parasite sex ratio strategies are shaped by sex differences in gamete production, fertility and offspring development. We show that medical interventions targeting offspring development are more likely to be 'evolution

  3. Assembling a global database of malaria parasite prevalence for the Malaria Atlas Project

    PubMed Central

    Guerra, Carlos A; Hay, Simon I; Lucioparedes, Lorena S; Gikandi, Priscilla W; Tatem, Andrew J; Noor, Abdisalan M; Snow, Robert W

    2007-01-01

    Background Open access to databases of information generated by the research community can synergize individual efforts and are epitomized by the genome mapping projects. Open source models for outputs of scientific research funded by tax-payers and charities are becoming the norm. This has yet to be extended to malaria epidemiology and control. Methods The exhaustive searches and assembly process for a global database of malaria parasite prevalence as part of the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) are described. The different data sources visited and how productive these were in terms of availability of parasite rate (PR) data are presented, followed by a description of the methods used to assemble a relational database and an associated geographic information system. The challenges facing spatial data assembly from varied sources are described in an effort to help inform similar future applications. Results At the time of writing, the MAP database held 3,351 spatially independent PR estimates from community surveys conducted since 1985. These include 3,036 Plasmodium falciparum and 1,347 Plasmodium vivax estimates in 74 countries derived from 671 primary sources. More than half of these data represent malaria prevalence after the year 2000. Conclusion This database will help refine maps of the global spatial limits of malaria and be the foundation for the development of global malaria endemicity models as part of MAP. A widespread application of these maps is envisaged. The data compiled and the products generated by MAP are planned to be released in June 2009 to facilitate a more informed approach to global malaria control. PMID:17306022

  4. Pellicle formation in the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Kono, Maya; Heincke, Dorothee; Wilcke, Louisa; Wong, Tatianna Wai Ying; Bruns, Caroline; Herrmann, Susann; Spielmann, Tobias; Gilberger, Tim W.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The intraerythrocytic developmental cycle of Plasmodium falciparum is completed with the release of up to 32 invasive daughter cells, the merozoites, into the blood stream. Before release, the final step of merozoite development is the assembly of the cortical pellicle, a multi-layered membrane structure. This unique apicomplexan feature includes the inner membrane complex (IMC) and the parasite's plasma membrane. A dynamic ring structure, referred to as the basal complex, is part of the IMC and helps to divide organelles and abscises in the maturing daughter cells. Here, we analyze the dynamics of the basal complex of P. falciparum. We report on a novel transmembrane protein of the basal complex termed BTP1, which is specific to the genus Plasmodium. It colocalizes with the known basal complex marker protein MORN1 and shows distinct dynamics as well as localization when compared to other IMC proteins during schizogony. Using a parasite plasma membrane marker cell line, we correlate dynamics of the basal complex with the acquisition of the maternal membrane. We show that plasma membrane invagination and IMC propagation are interlinked during the final steps of cell division. PMID:26763910

  5. Evaluation of the NOW Malaria Immunochromatographic Test for Quantitative Diagnosis of Falciparum and Vivax Malaria Parasite Density

    PubMed Central

    Katakai, Yuko; Komaki-Yasuda, Kanako; Tangpukdee, Noppadon; Wilairatana, Polrat; Krudsood, Srivicha; Kano, Shigeyuki

    2011-01-01

    The NOW® Malaria Test, an immunochromatographic test (ICT), was evaluated to determine its ability to quantitatively detect malaria parasites using 100 blood samples from Thailand, including 50 Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) infections and 50 P. vivax (Pv) infections. Intensities of the thickness of the visible bands of the positive ICT were compared with the parasite densities. In cases of Pf infection, the intensities of both HRP-2 bands (T1 bands: Pf specific bands) and aldolase bands (T2 bands: pan-Plasmodium bands) correlated with the parasite densities. The intensities of T2 bands in Pf positive samples showed better correlation with the parasite densities than the T1 bands. In the cases of Pv infection, the intensities of T2 bands were also well correlated with parasite density. These results suggest that the ICT is useful not only for rapid detection of malaria parasites but also for estimating parasite density. PMID:22438699

  6. Evaluation of the NOW Malaria Immunochromatographic Test for Quantitative Diagnosis of Falciparum and Vivax Malaria Parasite Density.

    PubMed

    Katakai, Yuko; Komaki-Yasuda, Kanako; Tangpukdee, Noppadon; Wilairatana, Polrat; Krudsood, Srivicha; Kano, Shigeyuki

    2011-12-01

    The NOW® Malaria Test, an immunochromatographic test (ICT), was evaluated to determine its ability to quantitatively detect malaria parasites using 100 blood samples from Thailand, including 50 Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) infections and 50 P. vivax (Pv) infections. Intensities of the thickness of the visible bands of the positive ICT were compared with the parasite densities. In cases of Pf infection, the intensities of both HRP-2 bands (T1 bands: Pf specific bands) and aldolase bands (T2 bands: pan-Plasmodium bands) correlated with the parasite densities. The intensities of T2 bands in Pf positive samples showed better correlation with the parasite densities than the T1 bands. In the cases of Pv infection, the intensities of T2 bands were also well correlated with parasite density. These results suggest that the ICT is useful not only for rapid detection of malaria parasites but also for estimating parasite density.

  7. Calcium regulation in the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Alleva, L M; Kirk, K

    2001-10-01

    The regulation of intracellular Ca(2+) in the intraerythrocytic form of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, was investigated using parasites 'isolated' from their host cells by saponin-permeabilisation of the erythrocyte membrane. The isolated parasites maintained tight control over their resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration which ranged from approximately 100 nM in the absence of extracellular Ca(2+) to approximately 700 nM in the presence of 1 mM extracellular Ca(2+). The parasite has two functionally discrete intracellular Ca(2+) stores. One is an 'endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-like' store, the other an 'acidic store'. The ER-like store was discharged by cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), an inhibitor of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPases (SERCAs) of animal and plant cells, but not by thapsigargin (TG), a more specific inhibitor of SERCAs of animal cells. The acidic store was discharged by nigericin and by NH(4)(+). The amount of Ca(2+) in the ER-like store increased with increasing extracellular Ca(2+) concentration, whereas the amount of Ca(2+) in the acidic store did not. Ca(2+) released from the ER-like store by CPA was cleared from the parasite cytosol by uptake into the acidic store (over a range of extracellular Ca(2+) concentrations), consistent with the acidic store serving as a Ca(2+) reservoir within the intracellular parasite.

  8. The Rheopathobiology of Plasmodium vivax and Other Important Primate Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Russell, Bruce M; Cooke, Brian M

    2017-04-01

    Our current understanding of how malaria parasites remodel their host red blood cells (RBCs) and ultimately cause disease is largely based on studies of Plasmodium falciparum. In this review, we expand our knowledge to include what is currently known about pathophysiological changes to RBCs that are infected by non-falciparum malaria parasites. We highlight the potential folly of making generalizations about the rheology of malaria infection, and emphasize the need for more systematic studies into the erythrocytic biology of non-falciparum malaria parasites. We propose that a better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the changes to RBCs induced by malaria parasites other than P. falciparum may be highly informative for the development of therapeutics that specifically disrupt the altered rheological profile of RBCs infected with either sexual- or asexual-stage parasites, resulting in drugs that block transmission, reduce disease severity, and help delay the onset of resistance to current and future anti-malaria drugs.

  9. Disrupting Mosquito Reproduction and Parasite Development for Malaria Control

    PubMed Central

    Gabrieli, Paolo; Buckee, Caroline O.; Catteruccia, Flaminia

    2016-01-01

    The control of mosquito populations with insecticide treated bed nets and indoor residual sprays remains the cornerstone of malaria reduction and elimination programs. In light of widespread insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, however, alternative strategies for reducing transmission by the mosquito vector are urgently needed, including the identification of safe compounds that affect vectorial capacity via mechanisms that differ from fast-acting insecticides. Here, we show that compounds targeting steroid hormone signaling disrupt multiple biological processes that are key to the ability of mosquitoes to transmit malaria. When an agonist of the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) is applied to Anopheles gambiae females, which are the dominant malaria mosquito vector in Sub Saharan Africa, it substantially shortens lifespan, prevents insemination and egg production, and significantly blocks Plasmodium falciparum development, three components that are crucial to malaria transmission. Modeling the impact of these effects on Anopheles population dynamics and Plasmodium transmission predicts that disrupting steroid hormone signaling using 20E agonists would affect malaria transmission to a similar extent as insecticides. Manipulating 20E pathways therefore provides a powerful new approach to tackle malaria transmission by the mosquito vector, particularly in areas affected by the spread of insecticide resistance. PMID:27977810

  10. Motility precedes egress of malaria parasites from oocysts

    PubMed Central

    Klug, Dennis; Frischknecht, Friedrich

    2017-01-01

    Malaria is transmitted when an infected Anopheles mosquito deposits Plasmodium sporozoites in the skin during a bite. Sporozoites are formed within oocysts at the mosquito midgut wall and are released into the hemolymph, from where they invade the salivary glands and are subsequently transmitted to the vertebrate host. We found that a thrombospondin-repeat containing sporozoite-specific protein named thrombospondin-releated protein 1 (TRP1) is important for oocyst egress and salivary gland invasion, and hence for the transmission of malaria. We imaged the release of sporozoites from oocysts in situ, which was preceded by active motility. Parasites lacking TRP1 failed to migrate within oocysts and did not egress, suggesting that TRP1 is a vital component of the events that precede intra-oocyst motility and subsequently sporozoite egress and salivary gland invasion. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.19157.001 PMID:28115054

  11. Evaluation of the Illumigene Malaria LAMP: A Robust Molecular Diagnostic Tool for Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Lucchi, Naomi W.; Gaye, Marie; Diallo, Mammadou Alpha; Goldman, Ira F.; Ljolje, Dragan; Deme, Awa Bineta; Badiane, Aida; Ndiaye, Yaye Die; Barnwell, John W.; Udhayakumar, Venkatachalam; Ndiaye, Daouda

    2016-01-01

    Isothermal nucleic acid amplification assays such as the loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), are well suited for field use as they do not require thermal cyclers to amplify the DNA. To further facilitate the use of LAMP assays in remote settings, simpler sample preparation methods and lyophilized reagents are required. The performance of a commercial malaria LAMP assay (Illumigene Malaria LAMP) was evaluated using two sample preparation workflows (simple filtration prep (SFP)) and gravity-driven filtration prep (GFP)) and pre-dispensed lyophilized reagents. Laboratory and clinical samples were tested in a field laboratory in Senegal and the results independently confirmed in a reference laboratory in the U.S.A. The Illumigene Malaria LAMP assay was easily implemented in the clinical laboratory and gave similar results to a real-time PCR reference test with limits of detection of ≤2.0 parasites/μl depending on the sample preparation method used. This assay reliably detected Plasmodium sp. parasites in a simple low-tech format, providing a much needed alternative to the more complex molecular tests for malaria diagnosis. PMID:27827432

  12. Costs of crowding for the transmission of malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Pollitt, Laura C; Churcher, Thomas S; Dawes, Emma J; Khan, Shahid M; Sajid, Mohammed; Basáñez, María-Gloria; Colegrave, Nick; Reece, Sarah E

    2013-01-01

    The utility of using evolutionary and ecological frameworks to understand the dynamics of infectious diseases is gaining increasing recognition. However, integrating evolutionary ecology and infectious disease epidemiology is challenging because within-host dynamics can have counterintuitive consequences for between-host transmission, especially for vector-borne parasites. A major obstacle to linking within- and between-host processes is that the drivers of the relationships between the density, virulence, and fitness of parasites are poorly understood. By experimentally manipulating the intensity of rodent malaria (Plasmodium berghei) infections in Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes under different environmental conditions, we show that parasites experience substantial density-dependent fitness costs because crowding reduces both parasite proliferation and vector survival. We then use our data to predict how interactions between parasite density and vector environmental conditions shape within-vector processes and onward disease transmission. Our model predicts that density-dependent processes can have substantial and unexpected effects on the transmission potential of vector-borne disease, which should be considered in the development and evaluation of transmission-blocking interventions. PMID:23789029

  13. Organization of ETRAMPs and EXP-1 at the parasite-host cell interface of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Spielmann, Tobias; Gardiner, Donald L; Beck, Hans-Peter; Trenholme, Katharine R; Kemp, David J

    2006-02-01

    The parasite-host cell interface is a key compartment of vacuolated intracellular pathogens but little is known about its molecular composition and architecture. We used in vivo cross-linking to analyse the parasite-host cell interface of asexual stages of the most virulent human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We show that the integral membrane protein members of the early transcribed membrane protein (ETRAMP) family and exported protein 1 (EXP-1), which are components of the parasite-host cell interface, form complexes of oligomeric arrays in this compartment. The most notable feature is that each ETRAMP member and EXP-1 define separate arrays, demonstrating that the protein distribution in this membrane is non-random. Each of three recombinant ETRAMPs readily oligomerized in bacterial membranes, confirming that these arrays can form independently of other Plasmodium proteins. We propose that the malaria parasite-host cell interface contains patches of integral membrane proteins forming a mosaic of different microdomains in this membrane.

  14. Electrophysiological studies of malaria parasite-infected erythrocytes: Current status

    PubMed Central

    Staines, Henry M.; Alkhalil, Abdulnaser; Allen, Richard J.; De Jonge, Hugo R.; Derbyshire, Elvira; Egée, Stéphane; Ginsburg, Hagai; Hill, David A.; Huber, Stephan M.; Kirk, Kiaran; Lang, Florian; Lisk, Godfrey; Oteng, Eugene; Pillai, Ajay D.; Rayavara, Kempaiah; Rouhani, Sherin; Saliba, Kevin J.; Shen, Crystal; Solomon, Tsione; Thomas, Serge L. Y.; Verloo, Patrick; Desai, Sanjay A.

    2009-01-01

    The altered permeability characteristics of erythrocytes infected with malaria parasites have been a source of interest for over 30 years. Recent electrophysiological studies have provided strong evidence that these changes reflect transmembrane transport through ion channels in the host erythrocyte plasma membrane. However, conflicting results and differing interpretations of the data have led to confusion in this field. In an effort to unravel these issues, the groups involved recently came together for a week of discussion and experimentation. In this article, the various models for altered transport are reviewed, together with the areas of consensus in the field and those that require a better understanding. PMID:17292372

  15. Membrane-Wrapping Contributions to Malaria Parasite Invasion of the Human Erythrocyte

    PubMed Central

    Dasgupta, Sabyasachi; Auth, Thorsten; Gov, Nir S.; Satchwell, Timothy J.; Hanssen, Eric; Zuccala, Elizabeth S.; Riglar, David T.; Toye, Ashley M.; Betz, Timo; Baum, Jake; Gompper, Gerhard

    2014-01-01

    The blood stage malaria parasite, the merozoite, has a small window of opportunity during which it must successfully target and invade a human erythrocyte. The process of invasion is nonetheless remarkably rapid. To date, mechanistic models of invasion have focused predominantly on the parasite actomyosin motor contribution to the energetics of entry. Here, we have conducted a numerical analysis using dimensions for an archetypal merozoite to predict the respective contributions of the host-parasite interactions to invasion, in particular the role of membrane wrapping. Our theoretical modeling demonstrates that erythrocyte membrane wrapping alone, as a function of merozoite adhesive and shape properties, is sufficient to entirely account for the first key step of the invasion process, that of merozoite reorientation to its apex and tight adhesive linkage between the two cells. Next, parasite-induced reorganization of the erythrocyte cytoskeleton and release of parasite-derived membrane can also account for a considerable energetic portion of actual invasion itself, through membrane wrapping. Thus, contrary to the prevailing dogma, wrapping by the erythrocyte combined with parasite-derived membrane release can markedly reduce the expected contributions of the merozoite actomyosin motor to invasion. We therefore propose that invasion is a balance between parasite and host cell contributions, evolved toward maximal efficient use of biophysical forces between the two cells. PMID:24988340

  16. Improved methods for magnetic purification of malaria parasites and haemozoin

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Malaria parasites generate free haem upon catabolism of host haemoglobin during their intraerythrocytic growth cycle. In order to minimize oxidative toxicity of the ferric iron, the free haem molecules are polymerized into the biomineral beta-haematin (commonly referred to as haemozoin). Haemozoin crystals are paramagnetic, and this property can be exploited for the purification of late stage parasites as they contain larger haemozoin crystals than early stage parasites and uninfected cells. Commercially available magnets that were originally developed for the purpose of antibody-mediated cell purification are widely used for this purpose. As these methods are not necessarily optimized for parasite purification, the relationship between magnetic field strength and the quantity and quality of yield during parasite purification was explored. Methods Inexpensive rare-earth neodymium magnets with commercially available disposable columns were employed to explore the relationship between magnetic field strength and recovery of free haemozoin and infected erythrocytes (iRBCs). Results Yields of free haemozoin increased nearly linearly with increasing magnetic field strength to the strongest fields tested (8,500 Gauss). Stronger magnetic fields also improved the recovery of iRBCs with no detrimental effects on parasite viability. An in-house constructed magnetic stand, built for $75 in materials, produced superior results when compared with much more expensive commercial products. Conclusions Existing protocols for the magnetic purification of free haemozoin and iRBCs result in sub-optimal yields. Inexpensive high-strength neodymium magnets offer a better option, resulting in higher yields with no detrimental effects on parasite viability. PMID:20074366

  17. Comparison of Texture Features Used for Classification of Life Stages of Malaria Parasite

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Malaria is a vector borne disease widely occurring at equatorial region. Even after decades of campaigning of malaria control, still today it is high mortality causing disease due to improper and late diagnosis. To prevent number of people getting affected by malaria, the diagnosis should be in early stage and accurate. This paper presents an automatic method for diagnosis of malaria parasite in the blood images. Image processing techniques are used for diagnosis of malaria parasite and to detect their stages. The diagnosis of parasite stages is done using features like statistical features and textural features of malaria parasite in blood images. This paper gives a comparison of the textural based features individually used and used in group together. The comparison is made by considering the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the features for the same images in database. PMID:27247560

  18. Ape parasite origins of human malaria virulence genes

    PubMed Central

    Larremore, Daniel B.; Sundararaman, Sesh A.; Liu, Weimin; Proto, William R.; Clauset, Aaron; Loy, Dorothy E.; Speede, Sheri; Plenderleith, Lindsey J.; Sharp, Paul M.; Hahn, Beatrice H.; Rayner, Julian C.; Buckee, Caroline O.

    2015-01-01

    Antigens encoded by the var gene family are major virulence factors of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, exhibiting enormous intra- and interstrain diversity. Here we use network analysis to show that var architecture and mosaicism are conserved at multiple levels across the Laverania subgenus, based on var-like sequences from eight single-species and three multi-species Plasmodium infections of wild-living or sanctuary African apes. Using select whole-genome amplification, we also find evidence of multi-domain var structure and synteny in Plasmodium gaboni, one of the ape Laverania species most distantly related to P. falciparum, as well as a new class of Duffy-binding-like domains. These findings indicate that the modular genetic architecture and sequence diversity underlying var-mediated host-parasite interactions evolved before the radiation of the Laverania subgenus, long before the emergence of P. falciparum. PMID:26456841

  19. Signaling Strategies of Malaria Parasite for Its Survival, Proliferation, and Infection during Erythrocytic Stage

    PubMed Central

    Soni, Rani; Sharma, Drista; Rai, Praveen; Sharma, Bhaskar; Bhatt, Tarun K.

    2017-01-01

    Irrespective of various efforts, malaria persist the most debilitating effect in terms of morbidity and mortality. Moreover, the existing drugs are also vulnerable to the emergence of drug resistance. To explore the potential targets for designing the most effective antimalarial therapies, it is required to focus on the facts of biochemical mechanism underlying the process of parasite survival and disease pathogenesis. This review is intended to bring out the existing knowledge about the functions and components of the major signaling pathways such as kinase signaling, calcium signaling, and cyclic nucleotide-based signaling, serving the various aspects of the parasitic asexual stage and highlighted the Toll-like receptors, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-mediated signaling, and molecular events in cytoadhesion, which elicit the host immune response. This discussion will facilitate a look over essential components for parasite survival and disease progression to be implemented in discovery of novel antimalarial drugs and vaccines. PMID:28400771

  20. Signaling Strategies of Malaria Parasite for Its Survival, Proliferation, and Infection during Erythrocytic Stage.

    PubMed

    Soni, Rani; Sharma, Drista; Rai, Praveen; Sharma, Bhaskar; Bhatt, Tarun K

    2017-01-01

    Irrespective of various efforts, malaria persist the most debilitating effect in terms of morbidity and mortality. Moreover, the existing drugs are also vulnerable to the emergence of drug resistance. To explore the potential targets for designing the most effective antimalarial therapies, it is required to focus on the facts of biochemical mechanism underlying the process of parasite survival and disease pathogenesis. This review is intended to bring out the existing knowledge about the functions and components of the major signaling pathways such as kinase signaling, calcium signaling, and cyclic nucleotide-based signaling, serving the various aspects of the parasitic asexual stage and highlighted the Toll-like receptors, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-mediated signaling, and molecular events in cytoadhesion, which elicit the host immune response. This discussion will facilitate a look over essential components for parasite survival and disease progression to be implemented in discovery of novel antimalarial drugs and vaccines.

  1. A transcriptional switch underlies commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Kafsack, Björn F C; Rovira-Graells, Núria; Clark, Taane G; Bancells, Cristina; Crowley, Valerie M; Campino, Susana G; Williams, April E; Drought, Laura G; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P; Baker, David A; Cortés, Alfred; Llinás, Manuel

    2014-03-13

    The life cycles of many parasites involve transitions between disparate host species, requiring these parasites to go through multiple developmental stages adapted to each of these specialized niches. Transmission of malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) from humans to the mosquito vector requires differentiation from asexual stages replicating within red blood cells into non-dividing male and female gametocytes. Although gametocytes were first described in 1880, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in commitment to gametocyte formation is extremely limited, and disrupting this critical developmental transition remains a long-standing goal. Here we show that expression levels of the DNA-binding protein PfAP2-G correlate strongly with levels of gametocyte formation. Using independent forward and reverse genetics approaches, we demonstrate that PfAP2-G function is essential for parasite sexual differentiation. By combining genome-wide PfAP2-G cognate motif occurrence with global transcriptional changes resulting from PfAP2-G ablation, we identify early gametocyte genes as probable targets of PfAP2-G and show that their regulation by PfAP2-G is critical for their wild-type level expression. In the asexual blood-stage parasites pfap2-g appears to be among a set of epigenetically silenced loci prone to spontaneous activation. Stochastic activation presents a simple mechanism for a low baseline of gametocyte production. Overall, these findings identify PfAP2-G as a master regulator of sexual-stage development in malaria parasites and mark the first discovery of a transcriptional switch controlling a differentiation decision in protozoan parasites.

  2. Culture adaptation of malaria parasites selects for convergent loss-of-function mutants

    PubMed Central

    Claessens, Antoine; Affara, Muna; Assefa, Samuel A.; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P.; Conway, David J.

    2017-01-01

    Cultured human pathogens may differ significantly from source populations. To investigate the genetic basis of laboratory adaptation in malaria parasites, clinical Plasmodium falciparum isolates were sampled from patients and cultured in vitro for up to three months. Genome sequence analysis was performed on multiple culture time point samples from six monoclonal isolates, and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants emerging over time were detected. Out of a total of five positively selected SNPs, four represented nonsense mutations resulting in stop codons, three of these in a single ApiAP2 transcription factor gene, and one in SRPK1. To survey further for nonsense mutants associated with culture, genome sequences of eleven long-term laboratory-adapted parasite strains were examined, revealing four independently acquired nonsense mutations in two other ApiAP2 genes, and five in Epac. No mutants of these genes exist in a large database of parasite sequences from uncultured clinical samples. This implicates putative master regulator genes in which multiple independent stop codon mutations have convergently led to culture adaptation, affecting most laboratory lines of P. falciparum. Understanding the adaptive processes should guide development of experimental models, which could include targeted gene disruption to adapt fastidious malaria parasite species to culture. PMID:28117431

  3. Origin of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in gorillas

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20864995

  4. Competition and the Evolution of Reproductive Restraint in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Pollitt, Laura C.; Mideo, Nicole; Drew, Damien R.; Schneider, Petra; Colegrave, Nick; Reece, Sarah E.

    2014-01-01

    All organisms must trade off resource allocation between different life processes that determine their survival and reproduction. Malaria parasites replicate asexually in the host but must produce sexual stages to transmit between hosts. Because different specialized stages are required for these functions, the division of resources between these life-history components is a key problem for natural selection to solve. Despite the medical and economic importance of these parasites, their reproductive strategies remain poorly understood and often seem counterintuitive. Here, we tested recent theory predicting that in-host competition shapes how parasites trade off investment in in-host replication relative to between-host transmission. We demonstrate, across several genotypes, that Plasmodium chabaudi parasites detect the presence of competing genotypes and facultatively respond by reducing their investment in sexual stages in the manner predicted to maximize their competitive ability. Furthermore, we show that genotypes adjust their allocation to sexual stages in line with the availability of exploitable red blood cell resources. Our findings are predicted by evolutionary theory developed to explain life-history trade-offs in more traditionally studied multicellular taxa and suggest that the answer to the long-standing question of why so few transmission stages are produced is that in most natural infections heavy investment in reproduction may compromise in-host survival. PMID:21460544

  5. Plant Hormone Salicylic Acid Produced by a Malaria Parasite Controls Host Immunity and Cerebral Malaria Outcome

    PubMed Central

    Matsubara, Ryuma; Aonuma, Hiroka; Kojima, Mikiko; Tahara, Michiru; Andrabi, Syed Bilal Ahmad; Sakakibara, Hitoshi; Nagamune, Kisaburo

    2015-01-01

    The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii produces the plant hormone abscisic acid, but it is unclear if phytohormones are produced by the malaria parasite Plasmodium spp., the most important parasite of this phylum. Here, we report detection of salicylic acid, an immune-related phytohormone of land plants, in P. berghei ANKA and T. gondii cell lysates. However, addition of salicylic acid to P. falciparum and T. gondii culture had no effect. We transfected P. falciparum 3D7 with the nahG gene, which encodes a salicylic acid-degrading enzyme isolated from plant-infecting Pseudomonas sp., and established a salicylic acid-deficient mutant. The mutant had a significantly decreased concentration of parasite-synthesized prostaglandin E2, which potentially modulates host immunity as an adaptive evolution of Plasmodium spp. To investigate the function of salicylic acid and prostaglandin E2 on host immunity, we established P. berghei ANKA mutants expressing nahG. C57BL/6 mice infected with nahG transfectants developed enhanced cerebral malaria, as assessed by Evans blue leakage and brain histological observation. The nahG-transfectant also significantly increased the mortality rate of mice. Prostaglandin E2 reduced the brain symptoms by induction of T helper-2 cytokines. As expected, T helper-1 cytokines including interferon-γ and interleukin-2 were significantly elevated by infection with the nahG transfectant. Thus, salicylic acid of Plasmodium spp. may be a new pathogenic factor of this threatening parasite and may modulate immune function via parasite-produced prostaglandin E2. PMID:26466097

  6. Plant Hormone Salicylic Acid Produced by a Malaria Parasite Controls Host Immunity and Cerebral Malaria Outcome.

    PubMed

    Matsubara, Ryuma; Aonuma, Hiroka; Kojima, Mikiko; Tahara, Michiru; Andrabi, Syed Bilal Ahmad; Sakakibara, Hitoshi; Nagamune, Kisaburo

    2015-01-01

    The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii produces the plant hormone abscisic acid, but it is unclear if phytohormones are produced by the malaria parasite Plasmodium spp., the most important parasite of this phylum. Here, we report detection of salicylic acid, an immune-related phytohormone of land plants, in P. berghei ANKA and T. gondii cell lysates. However, addition of salicylic acid to P. falciparum and T. gondii culture had no effect. We transfected P. falciparum 3D7 with the nahG gene, which encodes a salicylic acid-degrading enzyme isolated from plant-infecting Pseudomonas sp., and established a salicylic acid-deficient mutant. The mutant had a significantly decreased concentration of parasite-synthesized prostaglandin E2, which potentially modulates host immunity as an adaptive evolution of Plasmodium spp. To investigate the function of salicylic acid and prostaglandin E2 on host immunity, we established P. berghei ANKA mutants expressing nahG. C57BL/6 mice infected with nahG transfectants developed enhanced cerebral malaria, as assessed by Evans blue leakage and brain histological observation. The nahG-transfectant also significantly increased the mortality rate of mice. Prostaglandin E2 reduced the brain symptoms by induction of T helper-2 cytokines. As expected, T helper-1 cytokines including interferon-γ and interleukin-2 were significantly elevated by infection with the nahG transfectant. Thus, salicylic acid of Plasmodium spp. may be a new pathogenic factor of this threatening parasite and may modulate immune function via parasite-produced prostaglandin E2.

  7. Emerging functions of transcription factors in malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Tuteja, Renu; Ansari, Abulaish; Chauhan, Virander Singh

    2011-01-01

    Transcription is a process by which the genetic information stored in DNA is converted into mRNA by enzymes known as RNA polymerase. Bacteria use only one RNA polymerase to transcribe all of its genes while eukaryotes contain three RNA polymerases to transcribe the variety of eukaryotic genes. RNA polymerase also requires other factors/proteins to produce the transcript. These factors generally termed as transcription factors (TFs) are either associated directly with RNA polymerase or add in building the actual transcription apparatus. TFs are the most common tools that our cells use to control gene expression. Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for causing the most lethal form of malaria in humans. It shows most of its characteristics common to eukaryotic transcription but it is assumed that mechanisms of transcriptional control in P. falciparum somehow differ from those of other eukaryotes. In this article we describe the studies on the main TFs such as myb protein, high mobility group protein and ApiA2 family proteins from malaria parasite. These studies show that these TFs are slowly emerging to have defined roles in the regulation of gene expression in the parasite.

  8. Environmental Constraints Guide Migration of Malaria Parasites during Transmission

    PubMed Central

    Hellmann, Janina Kristin; Münter, Sylvia; Kudryashev, Mikhail; Schulz, Simon; Heiss, Kirsten; Müller, Ann-Kristin; Matuschewski, Kai; Spatz, Joachim P.; Schwarz, Ulrich S.; Frischknecht, Friedrich

    2011-01-01

    Migrating cells are guided in complex environments mainly by chemotaxis or structural cues presented by the surrounding tissue. During transmission of malaria, parasite motility in the skin is important for Plasmodium sporozoites to reach the blood circulation. Here we show that sporozoite migration varies in different skin environments the parasite encounters at the arbitrary sites of the mosquito bite. In order to systematically examine how sporozoite migration depends on the structure of the environment, we studied it in micro-fabricated obstacle arrays. The trajectories observed in vivo and in vitro closely resemble each other suggesting that structural constraints can be sufficient to guide Plasmodium sporozoites in complex environments. Sporozoite speed in different environments is optimized for migration and correlates with persistence length and dispersal. However, this correlation breaks down in mutant sporozoites that show adhesion impairment due to the lack of TRAP-like protein (TLP) on their surfaces. This may explain their delay in infecting the host. The flexibility of sporozoite adaption to different environments and a favorable speed for optimal dispersal ensures efficient host switching during malaria transmission. PMID:21698220

  9. Targeting Plasmodium phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase to eliminate malaria

    PubMed Central

    Lim, Chek Shik; Lim, Siau Hoi; Roland, Jason; Simon, Oliver; Yeung, Bryan KS; Chatterjee, Arnab K; McCormack, Susan L; Manary, Micah J; Zeeman, Anne-Marie; Dechering, Koen J; Kumar, TR Santha; Henrich, Philipp P; Gagaring, Kerstin; Ibanez, Maureen; Kato, Nobutaka; Kuhen, Kelli L; Fischli, Christoph; Nagle, Advait; Rottmann, Matthias; Plouffe, David M; Bursulaya, Badry; Meister, Stephan; Rameh, Lucia; Trappe, Joerg; Haasen, Dorothea; Timmerman, Martijn; Sauerwein, Robert W; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Russell, Bruce; Renia, Laurent; Nosten, Francois; Tully, David C; Kocken, Clemens HM; Glynne, Richard J; Bodenreider, Christophe; Fidock, David A; Diagana, Thierry T; Winzeler, Elizabeth A

    2014-01-01

    Summary Achieving the goal of malaria elimination will depend on targeting Plasmodium pathways essential across all life stages. Here, we identify a lipid kinase, phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI4K), as the target of imidazopyrazines, a novel antimalarial compound class that inhibits the intracellular development of multiple Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the vertebrate host. Imidazopyrazines demonstrate potent preventive, therapeutic, and transmission-blocking activity in rodent malaria models, are active against blood-stage field isolates of the major human pathogens, P. falciparum and P. vivax, and inhibit liver stage hypnozoites in the simian parasite P. cynomolgi. We show that imidazopyrazines exert their effect through inhibitory interaction with the ATP-binding pocket of PI4K, altering the intracellular distribution of phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate. Collectively, our data define PI4K as a key Plasmodium vulnerability, opening up new avenues of target-based discovery to identify drugs with an ideal activity profile for the prevention, treatment and elimination of malaria. PMID:24284631

  10. Targeting Plasmodium PI(4)K to eliminate malaria.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Case W; Lee, Marcus Cs; Lim, Chek Shik; Lim, Siau Hoi; Roland, Jason; Simon, Oliver; Yeung, Bryan Ks; Chatterjee, Arnab K; McCormack, Susan L; Manary, Micah J; Zeeman, Anne-Marie; Dechering, Koen J; Kumar, Tr Santha; Henrich, Philipp P; Gagaring, Kerstin; Ibanez, Maureen; Kato, Nobutaka; Kuhen, Kelli L; Fischli, Christoph; Nagle, Advait; Rottmann, Matthias; Plouffe, David M; Bursulaya, Badry; Meister, Stephan; Rameh, Lucia; Trappe, Joerg; Haasen, Dorothea; Timmerman, Martijn; Sauerwein, Robert W; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Russell, Bruce; Renia, Laurent; Nosten, Francois; Tully, David C; Kocken, Clemens Hm; Glynne, Richard J; Bodenreider, Christophe; Fidock, David A; Diagana, Thierry T; Winzeler, Elizabeth A

    2013-12-12

    Achieving the goal of malaria elimination will depend on targeting Plasmodium pathways essential across all life stages. Here we identify a lipid kinase, phosphatidylinositol-4-OH kinase (PI(4)K), as the target of imidazopyrazines, a new antimalarial compound class that inhibits the intracellular development of multiple Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the vertebrate host. Imidazopyrazines demonstrate potent preventive, therapeutic, and transmission-blocking activity in rodent malaria models, are active against blood-stage field isolates of the major human pathogens P. falciparum and P. vivax, and inhibit liver-stage hypnozoites in the simian parasite P. cynomolgi. We show that imidazopyrazines exert their effect through inhibitory interaction with the ATP-binding pocket of PI(4)K, altering the intracellular distribution of phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate. Collectively, our data define PI(4)K as a key Plasmodium vulnerability, opening up new avenues of target-based discovery to identify drugs with an ideal activity profile for the prevention, treatment and elimination of malaria.

  11. Targeting Plasmodium PI(4)K to eliminate malaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, Case W.; Lee, Marcus C. S.; Lim, Chek Shik; Lim, Siau Hoi; Roland, Jason; Nagle, Advait; Simon, Oliver; Yeung, Bryan K. S.; Chatterjee, Arnab K.; McCormack, Susan L.; Manary, Micah J.; Zeeman, Anne-Marie; Dechering, Koen J.; Kumar, T. R. Santha; Henrich, Philipp P.; Gagaring, Kerstin; Ibanez, Maureen; Kato, Nobutaka; Kuhen, Kelli L.; Fischli, Christoph; Rottmann, Matthias; Plouffe, David M.; Bursulaya, Badry; Meister, Stephan; Rameh, Lucia; Trappe, Joerg; Haasen, Dorothea; Timmerman, Martijn; Sauerwein, Robert W.; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Russell, Bruce; Renia, Laurent; Nosten, Francois; Tully, David C.; Kocken, Clemens H. M.; Glynne, Richard J.; Bodenreider, Christophe; Fidock, David A.; Diagana, Thierry T.; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.

    2013-12-01

    Achieving the goal of malaria elimination will depend on targeting Plasmodium pathways essential across all life stages. Here we identify a lipid kinase, phosphatidylinositol-4-OH kinase (PI(4)K), as the target of imidazopyrazines, a new antimalarial compound class that inhibits the intracellular development of multiple Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the vertebrate host. Imidazopyrazines demonstrate potent preventive, therapeutic, and transmission-blocking activity in rodent malaria models, are active against blood-stage field isolates of the major human pathogens P. falciparum and P. vivax, and inhibit liver-stage hypnozoites in the simian parasite P. cynomolgi. We show that imidazopyrazines exert their effect through inhibitory interaction with the ATP-binding pocket of PI(4)K, altering the intracellular distribution of phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate. Collectively, our data define PI(4)K as a key Plasmodium vulnerability, opening up new avenues of target-based discovery to identify drugs with an ideal activity profile for the prevention, treatment and elimination of malaria.

  12. Environmental factors affecting malaria parasite prevalence in rural Bolifamba, South West Cameroon.

    PubMed

    Nkuo-Akenji, Theresa; Ntonifor, Nelson N; Ndukum, Maze B; Abongwa, Edith L; Nkwescheu, Armand; Anong, Damain N; Songmbe, Michael; Boyo, Michael G; Ndamukong, Kenneth N; Titanji, Vincent P K

    2006-01-01

    The impact of some environmental factors on malaria parasite prevalence was investigated in rural Bolifamba, Cameroon. The study population comprised 1454 subjects aged 0 - 65 years. Malaria parasite prevalence was higher in the rainy (50.1 %) than in the dry season (44.2 %) with a significant difference (P = 0.001) in mean parasite density between seasons. Individuals < 15 years old had significantly higher malaria parasite prevalence (55.5 %) than those > 15 years (37.4 %). Malaria parasite prevalence (P = 0.001) and parasite density (P = 0.03) were higher in the individuals of wooden plank houses than those of cement brick houses. Inhabitants of houses surrounded by bushes or garbage heaps and swamps or stagnant water showed higher malaria parasite prevalence and densities compared with those from cleaner surroundings. Anopheles gambiae (63.8 %) and A. funestus (32.8 %) were associated with perennial transmission of malaria. Our data indicates that poor environmental sanitation and housing conditions may be significant risk factors for malaria parasite burden in Bolifamba.

  13. Glutathione Reductase-null Malaria Parasites Have Normal Blood Stage Growth but Arrest during Development in the Mosquito*

    PubMed Central

    Pastrana-Mena, Rebecca; Dinglasan, Rhoel R.; Franke-Fayard, Blandine; Vega-Rodríguez, Joel; Fuentes-Caraballo, Mariela; Baerga-Ortiz, Abel; Coppens, Isabelle; Jacobs-Lorena, Marcelo; Janse, Chris J.; Serrano, Adelfa E.

    2010-01-01

    Malaria parasites contain a complete glutathione (GSH) redox system, and several enzymes of this system are considered potential targets for antimalarial drugs. Through generation of a γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase (γ-GCS)-null mutant of the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei, we previously showed that de novo GSH synthesis is not critical for blood stage multiplication but is essential for oocyst development. In this study, phenotype analyses of mutant parasites lacking expression of glutathione reductase (GR) confirmed that GSH metabolism is critical for the mosquito oocyst stage. Similar to what was found for γ-GCS, GR is not essential for blood stage growth. GR-null parasites showed the same sensitivity to methylene blue and eosin B as wild type parasites, demonstrating that these compounds target molecules other than GR in Plasmodium. Attempts to generate parasites lacking both GR and γ-GCS by simultaneous disruption of gr and γ-gcs were unsuccessful. This demonstrates that the maintenance of total GSH levels required for blood stage survival is dependent on either de novo GSH synthesis or glutathione disulfide (GSSG) reduction by Plasmodium GR. Our studies provide new insights into the role of the GSH system in malaria parasites with implications for the development of drugs targeting GSH metabolism. PMID:20573956

  14. Glutathione reductase-null malaria parasites have normal blood stage growth but arrest during development in the mosquito.

    PubMed

    Pastrana-Mena, Rebecca; Dinglasan, Rhoel R; Franke-Fayard, Blandine; Vega-Rodríguez, Joel; Fuentes-Caraballo, Mariela; Baerga-Ortiz, Abel; Coppens, Isabelle; Jacobs-Lorena, Marcelo; Janse, Chris J; Serrano, Adelfa E

    2010-08-27

    Malaria parasites contain a complete glutathione (GSH) redox system, and several enzymes of this system are considered potential targets for antimalarial drugs. Through generation of a gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS)-null mutant of the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei, we previously showed that de novo GSH synthesis is not critical for blood stage multiplication but is essential for oocyst development. In this study, phenotype analyses of mutant parasites lacking expression of glutathione reductase (GR) confirmed that GSH metabolism is critical for the mosquito oocyst stage. Similar to what was found for gamma-GCS, GR is not essential for blood stage growth. GR-null parasites showed the same sensitivity to methylene blue and eosin B as wild type parasites, demonstrating that these compounds target molecules other than GR in Plasmodium. Attempts to generate parasites lacking both GR and gamma-GCS by simultaneous disruption of gr and gamma-gcs were unsuccessful. This demonstrates that the maintenance of total GSH levels required for blood stage survival is dependent on either de novo GSH synthesis or glutathione disulfide (GSSG) reduction by Plasmodium GR. Our studies provide new insights into the role of the GSH system in malaria parasites with implications for the development of drugs targeting GSH metabolism.

  15. Population Structure Shapes Copy Number Variation in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Cheeseman, Ian H.; Miller, Becky; Tan, John C.; Tan, Asako; Nair, Shalini; Nkhoma, Standwell C.; De Donato, Marcos; Rodulfo, Hectorina; Dondorp, Arjen; Branch, Oralee H.; Mesia, Lastenia Ruiz; Newton, Paul; Mayxay, Mayfong; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Conway, David J.; Nosten, François; Ferdig, Michael T.; Anderson, Tim J. C.

    2016-01-01

    If copy number variants (CNVs) are predominantly deleterious, we would expect them to be more efficiently purged from populations with a large effective population size (Ne) than from populations with a small Ne. Malaria parasites (Plasmodium falciparum) provide an excellent organism to examine this prediction, because this protozoan shows a broad spectrum of population structures within a single species, with large, stable, outbred populations in Africa, small unstable inbred populations in South America and with intermediate population characteristics in South East Asia. We characterized 122 single-clone parasites, without prior laboratory culture, from malaria-infected patients in seven countries in Africa, South East Asia and South America using a high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism/CNV microarray. We scored 134 high-confidence CNVs across the parasite exome, including 33 deletions and 102 amplifications, which ranged in size from <500 bp to 59 kb, as well as 10,107 flanking, biallelic single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Overall, CNVs were rare, small, and skewed toward low frequency variants, consistent with the deleterious model. Relative to African and South East Asian populations, CNVs were significantly more common in South America, showed significantly less skew in allele frequencies, and were significantly larger. On this background of low frequency CNV, we also identified several high-frequency CNVs under putative positive selection using an FST outlier analysis. These included known adaptive CNVs containing rh2b and pfmdr1, and several other CNVs (e.g., DNA helicase and three conserved proteins) that require further investigation. Our data are consistent with a significant impact of genetic structure on CNV burden in an important human pathogen. PMID:26613787

  16. Population Structure Shapes Copy Number Variation in Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Cheeseman, Ian H; Miller, Becky; Tan, John C; Tan, Asako; Nair, Shalini; Nkhoma, Standwell C; De Donato, Marcos; Rodulfo, Hectorina; Dondorp, Arjen; Branch, Oralee H; Mesia, Lastenia Ruiz; Newton, Paul; Mayxay, Mayfong; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Conway, David J; Nosten, François; Ferdig, Michael T; Anderson, Tim J C

    2016-03-01

    If copy number variants (CNVs) are predominantly deleterious, we would expect them to be more efficiently purged from populations with a large effective population size (Ne) than from populations with a small Ne. Malaria parasites (Plasmodium falciparum) provide an excellent organism to examine this prediction, because this protozoan shows a broad spectrum of population structures within a single species, with large, stable, outbred populations in Africa, small unstable inbred populations in South America and with intermediate population characteristics in South East Asia. We characterized 122 single-clone parasites, without prior laboratory culture, from malaria-infected patients in seven countries in Africa, South East Asia and South America using a high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism/CNV microarray. We scored 134 high-confidence CNVs across the parasite exome, including 33 deletions and 102 amplifications, which ranged in size from <500 bp to 59 kb, as well as 10,107 flanking, biallelic single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Overall, CNVs were rare, small, and skewed toward low frequency variants, consistent with the deleterious model. Relative to African and South East Asian populations, CNVs were significantly more common in South America, showed significantly less skew in allele frequencies, and were significantly larger. On this background of low frequency CNV, we also identified several high-frequency CNVs under putative positive selection using an FST outlier analysis. These included known adaptive CNVs containing rh2b and pfmdr1, and several other CNVs (e.g., DNA helicase and three conserved proteins) that require further investigation. Our data are consistent with a significant impact of genetic structure on CNV burden in an important human pathogen.

  17. Functional profiles of orphan membrane transporters in the life cycle of the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Kenthirapalan, Sanketha; Waters, Andrew P.; Matuschewski, Kai; Kooij, Taco W. A.

    2016-01-01

    Assigning function to orphan membrane transport proteins and prioritizing candidates for detailed biochemical characterization remain fundamental challenges and are particularly important for medically relevant pathogens, such as malaria parasites. Here we present a comprehensive genetic analysis of 35 orphan transport proteins of Plasmodium berghei during its life cycle in mice and Anopheles mosquitoes. Six genes, including four candidate aminophospholipid transporters, are refractory to gene deletion, indicative of essential functions. We generate and phenotypically characterize 29 mutant strains with deletions of individual transporter genes. Whereas seven genes appear to be dispensable under the experimental conditions tested, deletion of any of the 22 other genes leads to specific defects in life cycle progression in vivo and/or host transition. Our study provides growing support for a potential link between heavy metal homeostasis and host switching and reveals potential targets for rational design of new intervention strategies against malaria. PMID:26796412

  18. Identification of malaria parasite-infected red blood cell surface aptamers by inertial microfluidic SELEX (I-SELEX)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Birch, Christina M.; Hou, Han Wei; Han, Jongyoon; Niles, Jacquin C.

    2015-07-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites invade and remodel human red blood cells (RBCs) by trafficking parasite-synthesized proteins to the RBC surface. While these proteins mediate interactions with host cells that contribute to disease pathogenesis, the infected RBC surface proteome remains poorly characterized. Here we use a novel strategy (I-SELEX) to discover high affinity aptamers that selectively recognize distinct epitopes uniquely present on parasite-infected RBCs. Based on inertial focusing in spiral microfluidic channels, I-SELEX enables stringent partitioning of cells (efficiency ≥ 106) from unbound oligonucleotides at high volume throughput (~2 × 106 cells min-1). Using an RBC model displaying a single, non-native antigen and live malaria parasite-infected RBCs as targets, we establish suitability of this strategy for de novo aptamer selections. We demonstrate recovery of a diverse set of aptamers that recognize distinct, surface-displayed epitopes on parasite-infected RBCs with nanomolar affinity, including an aptamer against the protein responsible for placental sequestration, var2CSA. These findings validate I-SELEX as a broadly applicable aptamer discovery platform that enables identification of new reagents for mapping the parasite-infected RBC surface proteome at higher molecular resolution to potentially contribute to malaria diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine efforts.

  19. Identification of malaria parasite-infected red blood cell surface aptamers by inertial microfluidic SELEX (I-SELEX)

    PubMed Central

    Birch, Christina M.; Hou, Han Wei; Han, Jongyoon; Niles, Jacquin C.

    2015-01-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites invade and remodel human red blood cells (RBCs) by trafficking parasite-synthesized proteins to the RBC surface. While these proteins mediate interactions with host cells that contribute to disease pathogenesis, the infected RBC surface proteome remains poorly characterized. Here we use a novel strategy (I-SELEX) to discover high affinity aptamers that selectively recognize distinct epitopes uniquely present on parasite-infected RBCs. Based on inertial focusing in spiral microfluidic channels, I-SELEX enables stringent partitioning of cells (efficiency ≥ 106) from unbound oligonucleotides at high volume throughput (~2 × 106 cells min−1). Using an RBC model displaying a single, non-native antigen and live malaria parasite-infected RBCs as targets, we establish suitability of this strategy for de novo aptamer selections. We demonstrate recovery of a diverse set of aptamers that recognize distinct, surface-displayed epitopes on parasite-infected RBCs with nanomolar affinity, including an aptamer against the protein responsible for placental sequestration, var2CSA. These findings validate I-SELEX as a broadly applicable aptamer discovery platform that enables identification of new reagents for mapping the parasite-infected RBC surface proteome at higher molecular resolution to potentially contribute to malaria diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine efforts. PMID:26126714

  20. Identification of malaria parasite-infected red blood cell surface aptamers by inertial microfluidic SELEX (I-SELEX).

    PubMed

    Birch, Christina M; Hou, Han Wei; Han, Jongyoon; Niles, Jacquin C

    2015-07-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites invade and remodel human red blood cells (RBCs) by trafficking parasite-synthesized proteins to the RBC surface. While these proteins mediate interactions with host cells that contribute to disease pathogenesis, the infected RBC surface proteome remains poorly characterized. Here we use a novel strategy (I-SELEX) to discover high affinity aptamers that selectively recognize distinct epitopes uniquely present on parasite-infected RBCs. Based on inertial focusing in spiral microfluidic channels, I-SELEX enables stringent partitioning of cells (efficiency ≥ 10(6)) from unbound oligonucleotides at high volume throughput (~2 × 10(6) cells min(-1)). Using an RBC model displaying a single, non-native antigen and live malaria parasite-infected RBCs as targets, we establish suitability of this strategy for de novo aptamer selections. We demonstrate recovery of a diverse set of aptamers that recognize distinct, surface-displayed epitopes on parasite-infected RBCs with nanomolar affinity, including an aptamer against the protein responsible for placental sequestration, var2CSA. These findings validate I-SELEX as a broadly applicable aptamer discovery platform that enables identification of new reagents for mapping the parasite-infected RBC surface proteome at higher molecular resolution to potentially contribute to malaria diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine efforts.

  1. Structurally simple, potent, Plasmodium selective farnesyltransferase inhibitors that arrest the growth of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Glenn, Matthew P; Chang, Sung-Youn; Hornéy, Carrie; Rivas, Kasey; Yokoyama, Kohei; Pusateri, Erin E; Fletcher, Steven; Cummings, Christopher G; Buckner, Frederick S; Pendyala, Prakash R; Chakrabarti, Debopam; Sebti, Saïd M; Gelb, Michael; Van Voorhis, Wesley C; Hamilton, Andrew D

    2006-09-21

    Third world nations require immediate access to inexpensive therapeutics to counter the high mortality inflicted by malaria. Here, we report a new class of antimalarial protein farnesyltransferase (PFT) inhibitors, designed with specific emphasis on simple molecular architecture, to facilitate easy access to therapies based on this recently validated antimalarial target. This novel series of compounds represents the first Plasmodium falciparum selective PFT inhibitors reported (up to 145-fold selectivity), with lead inhibitors displaying excellent in vitro activity (IC(50) < 1 nM) and toxicity to cultured parasites at low concentrations (ED(50) < 100 nM). Initial studies of absorption, metabolism, and oral bioavailability are reported.

  2. Structurally Simple, Potent, Plasmodium Selective Farnesyltransferase Inhibitors That Arrest the Growth of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Glenn, Matthew P.; Chang, Sung-Youn; Hornéy, Carrie; Rivas, Kasey; Yokoyama, Kohei; Pusateri, Erin E.; Fletcher, Steven; Cummings, Christopher G.; Buckner, Frederick S.; Pendyala, Prakash R.; Chakrabarti, Debopam; Sebti, Saïd M.; Gelb, Michael; Van Voorhis, Wesley C.; Hamilton, Andrew D.

    2009-01-01

    Third world nations require immediate access to inexpensive therapeutics to counter the high mortality inflicted by malaria. Here, we report a new class of antimalarial protein farnesyltransferase (PFT) inhibitors, designed with specific emphasis on simple molecular architecture, to facilitate easy access to therapies based on this recently validated antimalarial target. This novel series of compounds represents the first Plasmodium falciparum selective PFT inhibitors reported (up to 145-fold selectivity), with lead inhibitors displaying excellent in vitro activity (IC50 < 1 nM) and toxicity to cultured parasites at low concentrations (ED50 < 100 nM). Initial studies of absorption, metabolism, and oral bioavailability are reported. PMID:16970397

  3. Interspecific competition during transmission of two sympatric malaria parasite species to the mosquito vector.

    PubMed Central

    Paul, Rick E L; Nu, Van Anh Ton; Krettli, Antoniana U; Brey, Paul T

    2002-01-01

    The role of species interactions in structuring parasite communities remains controversial. Here, we show that interspecific competition between two avian malaria parasite species, Plasmodium gallinaceum and P. juxtanucleare, occurs as a result of interference during parasite fertilization within the bloodmeal of the mosquito. The significant reduction in the transmission success of P. gallinaceum to mosquitoes, due to the co-infecting P. juxtanucleare, is predicted to have compromised its colonization of regions occupied by P. juxtanucleare and, thus, may have contributed to the restricted global distribution of P. gallinaceum. Such interspecies interactions may occur between human malaria parasites and, thus, impact upon parasite species epidemiology, especially in regions of seasonal transmission. PMID:12573069

  4. Malaria parasite carbonic anhydrase: inhibition of aromatic/heterocyclic sulfonamides and its therapeutic potential

    PubMed Central

    Krungkrai, Sudaratana R; Krungkrai, Jerapan

    2011-01-01

    Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) is responsible for the majority of life-threatening cases of human malaria, causing 1.5-2.7 million annual deaths. The global emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites necessitates identification and characterization of novel drug targets and their potential inhibitors. We identified the carbonic anhydrase (CA) genes in P. falciparum. The pfCA gene encodes anα-carbonic anhydrase, a Zn2+-metalloenzme, possessing catalytic properties distinct from that of the human host CA enzyme. The amino acid sequence of the pfCA enzyme is different from the analogous protozoan and human enzymes. A library of aromatic/heterocyclic sulfonamides possessing a large diversity of scaffolds were found to be very good inhibitors for the malarial enzyme at moderate-low micromolar and submicromolar inhibitions. The structure of the groups substituting the aromatic-ureido- or aromatic-azomethine fragment of the molecule and the length of the parent sulfonamide were critical parameters for the inhibitory properties of the sulfonamides. One derivative, that is, 4- (3, 4-dichlorophenylureido)thioureido-benzenesulfonamide (compound 10) was the most effective in vitro Plasmodium falciparum CA inhibitor, and was also the most effective antimalarial compound on the in vitro P. falciparum growth inhibition. The compound 10 was also effective in vivo antimalarial agent in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei, an animal model of drug testing for human malaria infection. It is therefore concluded that the sulphonamide inhibitors targeting the parasite CA may have potential for the development of novel therapies against human malaria. PMID:23569766

  5. Protective immunity differs between routes of administration of attenuated malaria parasites independent of parasite liver load.

    PubMed

    Haeberlein, Simone; Chevalley-Maurel, Séverine; Ozir-Fazalalikhan, Arifa; Koppejan, Hester; Winkel, Beatrice M F; Ramesar, Jai; Khan, Shahid M; Sauerwein, Robert W; Roestenberg, Meta; Janse, Chris J; Smits, Hermelijn H; Franke-Fayard, Blandine

    2017-09-04

    In humans and murine models of malaria, intradermal immunization (ID-I) with genetically attenuated sporozoites that arrest in liver induces lower protective immunity than intravenous immunization (IV-I). It is unclear whether this difference is caused by fewer sporozoites migrating into the liver or by suboptimal hepatic and injection site-dependent immune responses. We therefore developed a Plasmodium yoelii immunization/boost/challenge model to examine parasite liver loads as well as hepatic and lymph node immune responses in protected and unprotected ID-I and IV-I animals. Despite introducing the same numbers of genetically attenuated parasites in the liver, ID-I resulted in lower sterile protection (53-68%) than IV-I (93-95%). Unprotected mice developed less sporozoite-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) effector T-cell responses than protected mice. After immunization, ID-I mice showed more interleukin-10-producing B and T cells in livers and skin-draining lymph nodes, but fewer hepatic CD8 memory T cells and CD8(+) dendritic cells compared to IV-I mice. Our results indicate that the lower protection efficacy obtained by intradermal sporozoite administration is not linked to low hepatic parasite numbers as presumed before, but correlates with a shift towards regulatory immune responses. Overcoming these immune suppressive responses is important not only for live-attenuated malaria vaccines but also for other live vaccines administered in the skin.

  6. Inhibiting the Mammalian target of rapamycin blocks the development of experimental cerebral malaria.

    PubMed

    Gordon, Emile B; Hart, Geoffrey T; Tran, Tuan M; Waisberg, Michael; Akkaya, Munir; Skinner, Jeff; Zinöcker, Severin; Pena, Mirna; Yazew, Takele; Qi, Chen-Feng; Miller, Louis H; Pierce, Susan K

    2015-06-02

    Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasites of several Plasmodium spp. Cerebral malaria (CM) is a common form of severe malaria resulting in nearly 700,000 deaths each year in Africa alone. At present, there is no adjunctive therapy for CM. Although the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of CM are incompletely understood, it is likely that both intrinsic features of the parasite and the human host's immune response contribute to disease. The kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of immune responses, and drugs that inhibit the mTOR pathway have been shown to be antiparasitic. In a mouse model of CM, experimental CM (ECM), we show that the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin protects against ECM when administered within the first 4 days of infection. Treatment with rapamycin increased survival, blocked breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and brain hemorrhaging, decreased the influx of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells into the brain and the accumulation of parasitized red blood cells in the brain. Rapamycin induced marked transcriptional changes in the brains of infected mice, and analysis of transcription profiles predicted that rapamycin blocked leukocyte trafficking to and proliferation in the brain. Remarkably, animals were protected against ECM even though rapamycin treatment significantly increased the inflammatory response induced by infection in both the brain and spleen. These results open a new avenue for the development of highly selective adjunctive therapies for CM by targeting pathways that regulate host and parasite metabolism. Malaria is a highly prevalent infectious disease caused by parasites of several Plasmodium spp. Malaria is usually uncomplicated and resolves with time; however, in about 1% of cases, almost exclusively among young children, malaria becomes severe and life threatening, resulting in nearly 700,000 deaths each year in Africa alone. Among the most severe complications of Plasmodium falciparum infection

  7. Discovery of HDAC Inhibitors with Potent Activity Against Multiple Malaria Parasite Life Cycle Stages

    PubMed Central

    Hansen, Finn K.; Sumanadasa, Subathdrage D. M.; Stenzel, Katharina; Duffy, Sandra; Meister, Stephan; Marek, Linda; Schmetter, Rebekka; Kuna, Krystina; Hamacher, Alexandra; Mordmüller, Benjamin; Kassack, Matthias U.; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.; Avery, Vicky M.; Andrews, Katherine T.; Kurz, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    In this work we investigated the antiplasmodial activity of a series of HDAC inhibitors containing an alkoxyamide connecting-unit linker region. HDAC inhibitor 1a (LMK235), previously shown to be a novel and specific inhibitor of human HDAC4 and 5, was used as a starting point to rapidly construct a mini-library of HDAC inhibitors using a straightforward solid-phase supported synthesis. Several of these novel HDAC inhibitors were found to have potent in vitro activity against asexual stage P. falciparum malaria parasites. Representative compounds were shown to hyperacetylate P. falciparum histones and to inhibit deacetylase activity of recombinant PfHDAC1 and P. falciparum nuclear extracts. All compounds were also screened in vitro for activity against P. berghei exo-erythrocytic stages and selected compounds were further tested against late stage (IV and V) P. falciparum gametocytes. Of note, some compounds showed nanomolar activity against all three life cycle stages tested (asexual, exo-erythrocytic and gametocyte stages) and several compounds displayed significantly increased parasite selectivity compared to the reference HDAC inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA). These data suggest that it may be possible to develop HDAC inhibitors that target multiple malaria parasite life cycle stages. PMID:24904967

  8. PTEX is an essential nexus for protein export in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Elsworth, Brendan; Matthews, Kathryn; Nie, Catherine Q; Kalanon, Ming; Charnaud, Sarah C; Sanders, Paul R; Chisholm, Scott A; Counihan, Natalie A; Shaw, Philip J; Pino, Paco; Chan, Jo-Anne; Azevedo, Mauro F; Rogerson, Stephen J; Beeson, James G; Crabb, Brendan S; Gilson, Paul R; de Koning-Ward, Tania F

    2014-07-31

    During the blood stages of malaria, several hundred parasite-encoded proteins are exported beyond the double-membrane barrier that separates the parasite from the host cell cytosol. These proteins have a variety of roles that are essential to virulence or parasite growth. There is keen interest in understanding how proteins are exported and whether common machineries are involved in trafficking the different classes of exported proteins. One potential trafficking machine is a protein complex known as the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins (PTEX). Although PTEX has been linked to the export of one class of exported proteins, there has been no direct evidence for its role and scope in protein translocation. Here we show, through the generation of two parasite lines defective for essential PTEX components (HSP101 or PTEX150), and analysis of a line lacking the non-essential component TRX2 (ref. 12), greatly reduced trafficking of all classes of exported proteins beyond the double membrane barrier enveloping the parasite. This includes proteins containing the PEXEL motif (RxLxE/Q/D) and PEXEL-negative exported proteins (PNEPs). Moreover, the export of proteins destined for expression on the infected erythrocyte surface, including the major virulence factor PfEMP1 in Plasmodium falciparum, was significantly reduced in PTEX knockdown parasites. PTEX function was also essential for blood-stage growth, because even a modest knockdown of PTEX components had a strong effect on the parasite's capacity to complete the erythrocytic cycle both in vitro and in vivo. Hence, as the only known nexus for protein export in Plasmodium parasites, and an essential enzymic machine, PTEX is a prime drug target.

  9. Expression, characterization, and cellular localization of knowpains, papain-like cysteine proteases of the Plasmodium knowlesi malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Prasad, Rajesh; Atul; Soni, Awakash; Puri, Sunil Kumar; Sijwali, Puran Singh

    2012-01-01

    Papain-like cysteine proteases of malaria parasites degrade haemoglobin in an acidic food vacuole to provide amino acids for intraerythrocytic parasites. These proteases are potential drug targets because their inhibitors block parasite development, and efforts are underway to develop chemotherapeutic inhibitors of these proteases as the treatments for malaria. Plasmodium knowlesi has recently been shown to be an important human pathogen in parts of Asia. We report expression and characterization of three P. knowlesi papain-like proteases, termed knowpains (KP2-4). Recombinant knowpains were produced using a bacterial expression system, and tested for various biochemical properties. Antibodies against recombinant knowpains were generated and used to determine their cellular localization in parasites. Inhibitory effects of the cysteine protease inhibitor E64 were assessed on P. knowlesi culture to validate drug target potential of knowpains. All three knowpains were present in the food vacuole, active in acidic pH, and capable of degrading haemoglobin at the food vacuolar pH (≈5.5), suggesting roles in haemoglobin degradation. The proteases showed absolute (KP2 and KP3) to moderate (KP4) preference for peptide substrates containing leucine at the P2 position; KP4 preferred arginine at the P2 position. While the three knowpains appear to have redundant roles in haemoglobin degradation, KP4 may also have a role in degradation of erythrocyte cytoskeleton during merozoite egress, as it displayed broad substrate specificity and was primarily localized at the parasite periphery. Importantly, E64 blocked erythrocytic development of P. knowlesi, with enlargement of food vacuoles, indicating inhibition of haemoglobin hydrolysis and supporting the potential for inhibition of knowpains as a strategy for the treatment of malaria. Functional expression and characterization of knowpains should enable simultaneous screening of available cysteine protease inhibitor libraries

  10. Identification of a vir-orthologous immune evasion gene family from primate malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Prajapati, Surendra Kumar; Singh, Om Prakash

    2014-04-01

    The immune evasion gene family of malaria parasites encodes variant surface proteins that are expressed at the surface of infected erythrocytes and help the parasite in evading the host immune response by means of antigenic variation. The identification of Plasmodium vivax vir orthologous immune evasion gene family from primate malaria parasites would provide new insight into the evolution of virulence and pathogenesis. Three vir subfamilies viz. vir-B, vir-D and vir-G were successfully PCR amplified from primate malaria parasites, cloned and sequenced. DNA sequence analysis confirmed orthologues of vir-D subfamily in Plasmodium cynomolgi, Plasmodium simium, Plasmodium simiovale and Plasmodium fieldi. The identified vir-D orthologues are 1-9 distinct members of the immune evasion gene family which have 68-83% sequence identity with vir-D and 71.2-98.5% sequence identity within the members identified from primate malaria parasites. The absence of other vir subfamilies among primate malaria parasites reflects the limitations in the experimental approach. This study clearly identified the presence of vir-D like sequences in four species of Plasmodium infecting primates that would be useful in understanding the evolution of virulence in malaria parasites.

  11. Genetic Characterization of Plasmodium Putative Pantothenate Kinase Genes Reveals Their Essential Role in Malaria Parasite Transmission to the Mosquito

    PubMed Central

    Hart, Robert J.; Cornillot, Emmanuel; Abraham, Amanah; Molina, Emily; Nation, Catherine S.; Ben Mamoun, Choukri; Aly, Ahmed S. I.

    2016-01-01

    The metabolic machinery for the biosynthesis of Coenzyme A (CoA) from exogenous pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) has long been considered as an excellent target for the development of selective antimicrobials. Earlier studies in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have shown that pantothenate analogs interfere with pantothenate phosphorylation and block asexual blood stage development. Although two eukaryotic-type putative pantothenate kinase genes (PanK1 and PanK2) have been identified in all malaria parasite species, their role in the development of Plasmodium life cycle stages remains unknown. Here we report on the genetic characterization of PanK1 and PanK2 in P. yoelii. We show that P. yoelii parasites lacking either PanK1 or PanK2 undergo normal asexual stages development and sexual stages differentiation, however they are severely deficient in ookinete, oocyst and sporozoite formation inside the mosquito vector. Quantitative transcriptional analyses in wild-type and knockout parasites demonstrate an important role for these genes in the regulation of expression of other CoA biosynthesis genes. Together, our data provide the first genetic evidence for the importance of the early steps of pantothenate utilization in the regulation of CoA biosynthesis and malaria parasite transmission to Anopheles mosquitoes. PMID:27644319

  12. Genetic Characterization of Plasmodium Putative Pantothenate Kinase Genes Reveals Their Essential Role in Malaria Parasite Transmission to the Mosquito.

    PubMed

    Hart, Robert J; Cornillot, Emmanuel; Abraham, Amanah; Molina, Emily; Nation, Catherine S; Ben Mamoun, Choukri; Aly, Ahmed S I

    2016-09-20

    The metabolic machinery for the biosynthesis of Coenzyme A (CoA) from exogenous pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) has long been considered as an excellent target for the development of selective antimicrobials. Earlier studies in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have shown that pantothenate analogs interfere with pantothenate phosphorylation and block asexual blood stage development. Although two eukaryotic-type putative pantothenate kinase genes (PanK1 and PanK2) have been identified in all malaria parasite species, their role in the development of Plasmodium life cycle stages remains unknown. Here we report on the genetic characterization of PanK1 and PanK2 in P. yoelii. We show that P. yoelii parasites lacking either PanK1 or PanK2 undergo normal asexual stages development and sexual stages differentiation, however they are severely deficient in ookinete, oocyst and sporozoite formation inside the mosquito vector. Quantitative transcriptional analyses in wild-type and knockout parasites demonstrate an important role for these genes in the regulation of expression of other CoA biosynthesis genes. Together, our data provide the first genetic evidence for the importance of the early steps of pantothenate utilization in the regulation of CoA biosynthesis and malaria parasite transmission to Anopheles mosquitoes.

  13. Blood Smear Image Based Malaria Parasite and Infected-Erythrocyte Detection and Segmentation.

    PubMed

    Tsai, Meng-Hsiun; Yu, Shyr-Shen; Chan, Yung-Kuan; Jen, Chun-Chu

    2015-10-01

    In this study, an automatic malaria parasite detector is proposed to perceive the malaria-infected erythrocytes in a blood smear image and to separate parasites from the infected erythrocytes. The detector hence can verify whether a patient is infected with malaria. It could more objectively and efficiently help a doctor in diagnosing malaria. The experimental results show that the proposed method can provide impressive performance in segmenting the malaria-infected erythrocytes and the parasites from a blood smear image taken under a microscope. This paper also presents a weighted Sobel operation to compute the image gradient. The experimental results demonstrates that the weighted Sobel operation can provide more clear-cut and thinner object contours in object segmentation.

  14. Malaria heat shock proteins: drug targets that chaperone other drug targets.

    PubMed

    Pesce, E-R; Cockburn, I L; Goble, J L; Stephens, L L; Blatch, G L

    2010-06-01

    Ongoing research into the chaperone systems of malaria parasites, and particularly of Plasmodium falciparum, suggests that heat shock proteins (Hsps) could potentially be an excellent class of drug targets. The P. falciparum genome encodes a vast range and large number of chaperones, including 43 Hsp40, six Hsp70, and three Hsp90 proteins (PfHsp40s, PfHsp70s and PfHsp90s), which are involved in a number of fundamental cellular processes including protein folding and assembly, protein translocation, signal transduction and the cellular stress response. Despite the fact that Hsps are relatively conserved across different species, PfHsps do exhibit a considerable number of unique structural and functional features. One PfHsp90 is thought to be sufficiently different to human Hsp90 to allow for selective targeting. PfHsp70s could potentially be used as drug targets in two ways: either by the specific inhibition of Hsp70s by small molecule modulators, as well as disruption of the interactions between Hsp70s and co-chaperones such as the Hsp70/Hsp90 organising protein (Hop) and Hsp40s. Of the many PfHsp40s present on the parasite, there are certain unique or essential members which are considered to have good potential as drug targets. This review critically evaluates the potential of Hsps as malaria drug targets, as well as the use of chaperones as aids in the heterologous expression of other potential malarial drug targets.

  15. Imaging movement of malaria parasites during transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    Frischknecht, Friedrich; Baldacci, Patricia; Martin, Béatrice; Zimmer, Christophe; Thiberge, Sabine; Olivo-Marin, Jean-Christophe; Shorte, Spencer L; Ménard, Robert

    2004-07-01

    Malaria is contracted when Plasmodium sporozoites are inoculated into the vertebrate host during the blood meal of a mosquito. In infected mosquitoes, sporozoites are present in large numbers in the secretory cavities of the salivary glands at the most distal site of the salivary system. However, how sporozoites move through the salivary system of the mosquito, both in resting and feeding mosquitoes, is unknown. Here, we observed fluorescent Plasmodium berghei sporozoites within live Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes and their salivary glands and ducts. We show that sporozoites move in the mosquito by gliding, a type of motility associated with their capacity to invade host cells. Unlike in vitro, sporozoite gliding inside salivary cavities and ducts is modulated in speed and motion pattern. Imaging of sporozoite discharge through the proboscis of salivating mosquitoes indicates that sporozoites need to locomote from cavities into ducts to be ejected and that their progression inside ducts favours their early ejection. These observations suggest that sporozoite gliding allows not only for cell invasion but also for parasite locomotion in host tissues, and that it may control parasite transmission.

  16. Analysis of the Clinical Profile in Patients with Plasmodium falciparum Malaria and Its Association with Parasite Density.

    PubMed

    Mangal, Praveen; Mittal, Shilpa; Kachhawa, Kamal; Agrawal, Divya; Rath, Bhabagrahi; Kumar, Sanjay

    2017-01-01

    Malaria remains a major health hazard in the modern world, particularly in developing countries. In Plasmodium falciparum malaria, there is a direct correlation between asexual erythrocytic stage parasite density and disease severity. Accordingly, the correlations between parasite density and various clinical presentations, severity, and outcome were examined in falciparum malaria in India. The study was conducted in a tertiary health-care center in North India. Of 100 cases of falciparum malaria, 65 patients were male and 35 were female. A total of 54 patients were in the uncomplicated group and 46 patients were in the complicated malaria group. Fever, anemia, icterus, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, and hepatosplenomegaly were common clinical findings. All clinical findings were significantly more common in the complicated malaria group and patients with a high parasite density than in the uncomplicated group and those with a low parasite density. All patients in the uncomplicated malaria group had a parasite density of <5% while most patients in the complicated malaria group had a parasite density of >5%, and the difference between groups was statistically significant. The incidence of cerebral malaria was significantly higher in cases with a high parasite density; 58.33% mortality was observed in these cases. Cerebral malaria and hyperbilirubinemia was the most frequently encountered combination of complications. In P. falciparum malaria, parasite density was associated with complications and poor clinical outcomes. These results may inform treatment decisions and suggest that a threshold parasite density of 5% is informative.

  17. Artesunate-tafenoquine combination therapy promotes clearance and abrogates transmission of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum.

    PubMed

    Tasai, Suchada; Saiwichai, Tawee; Kaewthamasorn, Morakot; Tiawsirisup, Sonthaya; Buddhirakkul, Prayute; Chaichalotornkul, Sirintip; Pattaradilokrat, Sittiporn

    2017-01-15

    Clinical manifestations of malaria infection in vertebrate hosts arise from the multiplication of the asexual stage parasites in the blood, while the gametocytes are responsible for the transmission of the disease. Antimalarial drugs that target the blood stage parasites and transmissible gametocytes are rare, but are essentially needed for the effective control of malaria and for limiting the spread of resistance. Artemisinin and its derivatives are the current first-line antimalarials that are effective against the blood stage parasites and gametocytes, but resistance to artemisinin has now emerged and spread in various malaria endemic areas. Therefore, a novel antimalarial drug, or a new drug combination, is critically needed to overcome this problem. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of a relatively new antimalarial compound, tafenoquine (TQ), and a combination of TQ and a low dose of artesunate (ATN) on the in vivo blood stage multiplication, gametocyte development and transmission of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum to the vector Aedes aegypti. The results showed that a 5-d treatment with TQ alone was unable to clear the blood stage parasites, but was capable of reducing the mortality rate, while TQ monotherapy at a high dose of 30mg/kg was highly effective against the gametocytes and completely blocked the transmission of P. gallinaceum. In addition, the combination therapy of TQ+ATN completely cleared P. gallinaceum blood stages and sped up the gametocyte clearance from chickens, suggesting the synergistic effect of the two drugs. In conclusion, TQ is demonstrated to be effective for limiting avian malaria transmission and may be used in combination with a low dose of ATN for safe and effective treatment. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Effect of Mature Blood-Stage Plasmodium Parasite Sequestration on Pathogen Biomass in Mathematical and In Vivo Models of Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Khoury, David S.; Cromer, Deborah; Best, Shannon E.; James, Kylie R.; Kim, Peter S.; Engwerda, Christian R.; Haque, Ashraful

    2014-01-01

    Parasite biomass and microvasculature obstruction are strongly associated with disease severity and death in Plasmodium falciparum-infected humans. This is related to sequestration of mature, blood-stage parasites (schizonts) in peripheral tissue. The prevailing view is that schizont sequestration leads to an increase in pathogen biomass, yet direct experimental data to support this are lacking. Here, we first studied parasite population dynamics in inbred wild-type (WT) mice infected with the rodent species of malaria, Plasmodium berghei ANKA. As is commonly reported, these mice became moribund due to large numbers of parasites in multiple tissues. We then studied infection dynamics in a genetically targeted line of mice, which displayed minimal tissue accumulation of parasites. We constructed a mathematical model of parasite biomass dynamics, incorporating schizont-specific host clearance, both with and without schizont sequestration. Combined use of mathematical and in vivo modeling indicated, first, that the slowing of parasite growth in the genetically targeted mice can be attributed to specific clearance of schizonts from the circulation and, second, that persistent parasite growth in WT mice can be explained solely as a result of schizont sequestration. Our work provides evidence that schizont sequestration could be a major biological process driving rapid, early increases in parasite biomass during blood-stage Plasmodium infection. PMID:24144725

  19. Genetically engineered parasites: the solution to designing an effective malaria vaccine?

    PubMed

    Fitchett, Joseph R; Cooke, Mary K

    2010-07-01

    Genetic engineering provides an ingenious method of attenuating Plasmodium falciparum parasites for next generation vaccines. A novel approach stimulates new optimism in the struggle to eliminate the burden of malaria.

  20. The epidemiology of drug resistance of malaria parasites: Memorandum from a WHO Meeting*

    PubMed Central

    1987-01-01

    This Memorandum presents current knowledge concerning the epidemiology of drug resistance of malaria parasites and outlines 33 research proposals which could lead to a better understanding of that epidemiology and to a better management of the problem. PMID:3325184

  1. Plasmodium Drug Targets Outside the Genetic Control of the Parasite

    PubMed Central

    Sullivan, David J.

    2014-01-01

    Drug development often seeks to find “magic bullets” which target microbiologic proteins while not affecting host proteins. Paul Ehrlich tested methylene blue as an antimalarial but this dye was not superior to quinine. Many successful antimalarial therapies are “magic shotguns” which target many Plasmodium pathways with little interference in host metabolism. Two malaria drug classes, the 8-aminoquinolines and the artemisinins interact with cytochrome P450s and host iron protoporphyrin IX or iron, respectively, to generate toxic metabolites and/or radicals, which kill the parasite by interference with many proteins. The non 8-amino antimalarial quinolines like quinine or piperaquine bind heme to inhibit the process of heme crystallization, which results in multiple enzyme inhibition and membrane dysfunction. The quinolines and artemisinins are rapidly parasiticidal in contrast to metal chelators, which have a slower parasite clearance rate with higher drug concentrations. Iron chelators interfere with the artemisinins but otherwise represent a strategy of targeting multiple enzymes containing iron. Interest has been revived in antineoplastic drugs that target DNA metabolism as antimalarials. Specific drug targeting or investigation of the innate immunity directed to the more permeable trophozoite or schizont infected erythrocyte membrane has been under explored. Novel drug classes in the antimalarial development pipeline which either target multiple proteins or unchangeable cellular targets will slow the pace of drug resistance acquisition. PMID:22973888

  2. A Stem Cell Strategy Identifies Glycophorin C as a Major Erythrocyte Receptor for the Rodent Malaria Parasite Plasmodium berghei

    PubMed Central

    Yiangou, Loukia; Montandon, Ruddy; Modrzynska, Katarzyna; Rosen, Barry; Bushell, Wendy; Hale, Christine; Billker, Oliver; Rayner, Julian C.

    2016-01-01

    The clinical complications of malaria are caused by the parasite expansion in the blood. Invasion of erythrocytes is a complex process that depends on multiple receptor-ligand interactions. Identification of host receptors is paramount for fighting the disease as it could reveal new intervention targets, but the enucleated nature of erythrocytes makes genetic approaches impossible and many receptors remain unknown. Host-parasite interactions evolve rapidly and are therefore likely to be species-specific. As a results, understanding of invasion receptors outside the major human pathogen Plasmodium falciparum is very limited. Here we use mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) that can be genetically engineered and differentiated into erythrocytes to identify receptors for the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. Two proteins previously implicated in human malaria infection: glycophorin C (GYPC) and Band-3 (Slc4a1) were deleted in mESCs to generate stable cell lines, which were differentiated towards erythropoiesis. In vitro infection assays revealed that while deletion of Band-3 has no effect, absence of GYPC results in a dramatic decrease in invasion, demonstrating the crucial role of this protein for P. berghei infection. This stem cell approach offers the possibility of targeting genes that may be essential and therefore difficult to disrupt in whole organisms and has the potential to be applied to a variety of parasites in diverse host cell types. PMID:27362409

  3. Do malaria parasites manipulate the escape behaviour of their avian hosts? An experimental study.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Longoria, Luz; Møller, Anders P; Balbontín, Javier; de Lope, Florentino; Marzal, Alfonso

    2015-12-01

    Escape behaviour is the behaviour that birds and other animals display when already caught by a predator. An individual exhibiting higher intensity of such anti-predator behaviour could have greater probabilities of escape from predators. Parasites are known to affect different aspects of host behaviour to increase their own fitness. Vector-transmitted parasites such as malaria parasites should gain by manipulating their hosts to enhance the probability of transmission. Several studies have shown that malaria parasites can manipulate their vectors leading to increased transmission success. However, little is known about whether malaria parasites can manipulate escape behaviour of their avian hosts thereby increasing the spread of the parasite. Here we used an experimental approach to explore if Plasmodium relictum can manipulate the escape behaviour of one of its most common avian hosts, the house sparrow Passer domesticus. We experimentally tested whether malaria parasites manipulate the escape behaviour of their avian host. We showed a decrease in the intensity of biting and tonic immobility after removal of infection with anti-malaria medication compared to pre-experimental behaviour. These outcomes suggest that infected sparrows performed more intense escape behaviour, which would increase the likelihood of individuals escaping from predators, but also benefit the parasite by increasing its transmission opportunities.

  4. Mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis in murine malaria parasite, Plasmodium chabaudi AS, infected NC mice.

    PubMed

    Yashima, Akihito; Mizuno, Masashi; Yuzawa, Yukio; Shimada, Koki; Suzuki, Norihiko; Tawada, Hideo; Sato, Waichi; Tsuboi, Naotake; Maruyama, Shoichi; Ito, Yasuhiko; Matsuo, Seiichi; Ohno, Tamio

    2017-08-01

    Malaria is an important tropical disease and has remained a serious health problem in many countries. One of the critical complications of malarial infection is renal injury, such as acute renal failure and chronic glomerulopathy. Few animal models of nephropathy related to malarial infection have been reported. Therefore, we developed and investigated a novel malarial nephropathy model in mice infected by murine malaria parasites. NC mice and C57BL/6J mice were infected with Ttwo different murine malaria parasites, Plasmodium (P.) chabaudi AS and P. yoelii 17X. After the infection, renal pathology and blood and urinary biochemistry were analyzed. NC mice infected by the murine malaria parasite P. chabaudi AS, but not P. yoelii 17X, developed mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis with endothelial damage, and decreased serum albumin concentration and increased proteinuria. These pathological changes were accompanied by deposition of immunoglobulin G and complement component 3, mainly in the mesangium until day 4 and in the mesangium and glomerular capillaries from day 8. On day 21, renal pathology developed to focal segmental sclerosis according to light microscopy. In C57BL/6J mice, renal injuries were not observed from either parasite infection. The clinical and pathological features of P. chabaudi AS infection in NC mice might be similar to quartan malarial nephropathy resulting from human malaria parasite P. malariae infection. The NC mouse model might therefore be useful in analyzing the underlying mechanisms and developing therapeutic approaches to malaria-related nephropathy.

  5. Impaired fitness of drug-resistant malaria parasites: evidence and implication on drug-deployment policies.

    PubMed

    Babiker, Hamza A; Hastings, Ian M; Swedberg, Göte

    2009-06-01

    Malaria, a leading parasitic disease, inflicts an enormous toll on human lives and is caused by protozoal parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium. Antimalarial drugs targeting essential biochemical processes in the parasite are the primary resources for management and control. However, the parasite has established mutations, substantially reducing the efficacy of these drugs. First-line therapy is faced the with the consistent evolution of drug-resistant genotypes carrying these mutations. However, drug-resistant genotypes are likely to be less fit than the wild-type, suggesting that they might disappear by reducing the volume of drug pressure. A substantial body of epidemiological evidence confirmed that the frequency of resistant genotypes wanes when active drug selection declines. Drug selection on the parasite genome that removes genetic variation in the vicinity of drug-resistant genes (hitch-hiking) is common among resistant parasites in the field. This can further disadvantage drug-resistant strains and limit their variability in the face of a mounting immune response. Attempts to provide unequivocal evidence for the fitness cost of drug resistance have monitored the outcomes of laboratory competition experiments of deliberate mixtures of sensitive and resistant strains, in the absence of drug pressure, using isogenic clones produced either by drug selection or gene manipulation. Some of these experiments provided inconclusive results, but they all suggested reduced fitness of drug-resistant clones in the absence of drug pressure. In addition, biochemical analyses provided clearer information demonstrating that the mutation of some antimalarial-targeted enzymes lowers their activity compared with the wild-type enzyme. Here, we review current evidences for the disadvantage of drug-resistance mutations, and discuss some strategies of drug deployment to maximize the cost of resistance and limit its spread.

  6. Time-Lapse Imaging of Red Blood Cell Invasion by the Rodent Malaria Parasite Plasmodium yoelii

    PubMed Central

    Yahata, Kazuhide; Treeck, Moritz; Culleton, Richard; Gilberger, Tim-Wolf; Kaneko, Osamu

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23227208

  7. An essential malaria protein defines the architecture of blood-stage and transmission-stage parasites

    PubMed Central

    Absalon, Sabrina; Robbins, Jonathan A.; Dvorin, Jeffrey D.

    2016-01-01

    Blood-stage replication of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum occurs via schizogony, wherein daughter parasites are formed by a specialized cytokinesis known as segmentation. Here we identify a parasite protein, which we name P. falciparum Merozoite Organizing Protein (PfMOP), as essential for cytokinesis of blood-stage parasites. We show that, following PfMOP knockdown, parasites undergo incomplete segmentation resulting in a residual agglomerate of partially divided cells. While organelles develop normally, the structural scaffold of daughter parasites, the inner membrane complex (IMC), fails to form in this agglomerate causing flawed segmentation. In PfMOP-deficient gametocytes, the IMC formation defect causes maturation arrest with aberrant morphology and death. Our results provide insight into the mechanisms of replication and maturation of malaria parasites. PMID:27121004

  8. Plasma concentration of parasite DNA as a measure of disease severity in falciparum malaria.

    PubMed

    Imwong, Mallika; Woodrow, Charles J; Hendriksen, Ilse C E; Veenemans, Jacobien; Verhoef, Hans; Faiz, M Abul; Mohanty, Sanjib; Mishra, Saroj; Mtove, George; Gesase, Samwel; Seni, Amir; Chhaganlal, Kajal D; Day, Nicholas P J; Dondorp, Arjen M; White, Nicholas J

    2015-04-01

    In malaria-endemic areas, Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia is common in apparently healthy children and severe malaria is commonly misdiagnosed in patients with incidental parasitemia. We assessed whether the plasma Plasmodium falciparum DNA concentration is a useful datum for distinguishing uncomplicated from severe malaria in African children and Asian adults. P. falciparum DNA concentrations were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 224 African children (111 with uncomplicated malaria and 113 with severe malaria) and 211 Asian adults (100 with uncomplicated malaria and 111 with severe malaria) presenting with acute falciparum malaria. The diagnostic accuracy of plasma P. falciparum DNA concentrations in identifying severe malaria was 0.834 for children and 0.788 for adults, similar to that of plasma P. falciparum HRP2 levels and substantially superior to that of parasite densities (P < .0001). The diagnostic accuracy of plasma P. falciparum DNA concentrations plus plasma P. falciparum HRP2 concentrations was significantly greater than that of plasma P. falciparum HRP2 concentrations alone (0.904 for children [P = .004] and 0.847 for adults [P = .003]). Quantitative real-time PCR measurement of parasite DNA in plasma is a useful method for diagnosing severe falciparum malaria on fresh or archived plasma samples.

  9. A class of tricyclic compounds blocking malaria parasite oocyst development and transmission.

    PubMed

    Eastman, Richard T; Pattaradilokrat, Sittiporn; Raj, Dipak K; Dixit, Saurabh; Deng, Bingbing; Miura, Kazutoyo; Yuan, Jing; Tanaka, Takeshi Q; Johnson, Ronald L; Jiang, Hongying; Huang, Ruili; Williamson, Kim C; Lambert, Lynn E; Long, Carole; Austin, Christopher P; Wu, Yimin; Su, Xin-Zhuan

    2013-01-01

    Malaria is a deadly infectious disease in many tropical and subtropical countries. Previous efforts to eradicate malaria have failed, largely due to the emergence of drug-resistant parasites, insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and, in particular, the lack of drugs or vaccines to block parasite transmission. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are known to play a role in drug transport, metabolism, and resistance in many organisms, including malaria parasites. To investigate whether a Plasmodium falciparum ABC transporter (Pf14_0244 or PfABCG2) modulates parasite susceptibility to chemical compounds or plays a role in drug resistance, we disrupted the gene encoding PfABCG2, screened the recombinant and the wild-type 3D7 parasites against a library containing 2,816 drugs approved for human or animal use, and identified an antihistamine (ketotifen) that became less active against the PfABCG2-disrupted parasite in culture. In addition to some activity against asexual stages and gametocytes, ketotifen was highly potent in blocking oocyst development of P. falciparum and the rodent parasite Plasmodium yoelii in mosquitoes. Tests of structurally related tricyclic compounds identified additional compounds with similar activities in inhibiting transmission. Additionally, ketotifen appeared to have some activity against relapse of Plasmodium cynomolgi infection in rhesus monkeys. Further clinical evaluation of ketotifen and related compounds, including synthetic new derivatives, in blocking malaria transmission may provide new weapons for the current effort of malaria eradication.

  10. The Plasmodium PHIST and RESA-Like Protein Families of Human and Rodent Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Moreira, Cristina K.; Naissant, Bernina; Coppi, Alida; Bennett, Brandy L.; Aime, Elena; Franke-Fayard, Blandine; Janse, Chris J.; Coppens, Isabelle; Sinnis, Photini; Templeton, Thomas J.

    2016-01-01

    The phist gene family has members identified across the Plasmodium genus, defined by the presence of a domain of roughly 150 amino acids having conserved aromatic residues and an all alpha-helical structure. The family is highly amplified in P. falciparum, with 65 predicted genes in the genome of the 3D7 isolate. In contrast, in the rodent malaria parasite P. berghei 3 genes are identified, one of which is an apparent pseudogene. Transcripts of the P. berghei phist genes are predominant in schizonts, whereas in P. falciparum transcript profiles span different asexual blood stages and gametocytes. We pursued targeted disruption of P. berghei phist genes in order to characterize a simplistic model for the expanded phist gene repertoire in P. falciparum. Unsuccessful attempts to disrupt P. berghei PBANKA_114540 suggest that this phist gene is essential, while knockout of phist PBANKA_122900 shows an apparent normal progression and non-essential function throughout the life cycle. Epitope-tagging of P. falciparum and P. berghei phist genes confirmed protein export to the erythrocyte cytoplasm and localization with a punctate pattern. Three P. berghei PEXEL/HT-positive exported proteins exhibit at least partial co-localization, in support of a common vesicular compartment in the cytoplasm of erythrocytes infected with rodent malaria parasites. PMID:27022937

  11. Microbial control of malaria: biological warfare against the parasite and its vector.

    PubMed

    Abdul-Ghani, Rashad; Al-Mekhlafi, Abdulsalam M; Alabsi, Mogeeb S

    2012-02-01

    Microbial applications in malaria transmission control have drawn global attention. Mosquito midgut microbiota can modulate vector immunity and block Plasmodium development. Paratransgenic manipulation of bacterial symbionts and Wolbachia can affect reproductive characteristics of mosquitoes. Bacillus-based biolarvicides can control mosquito larvae in different breeding habitats, but their effectiveness differs according to the type of formulation applied, and the physical and ecological conditions of the environment. Entomopathogenic fungi show promise as effective and evolution-proof agents against adult mosquitoes. In addition, transgenic fungi can express anti-plasmodial effector molecules that can target the parasite inside its vector. Despite showing effectiveness in domestic environments as well as against insecticide-resistant mosquitoes, claims towards their deployability in the field and their possible use in integrated vector management programmes have yet to be investigated. Viral pathogens show efficacy in the interruption of sporogonic development of the parasite, and protozoal pathogens exert direct pathogenic potential on larvae and adults with substantial effects on mosquito longevity and fecundity. However, the technology required for their isolation and maintenance impedes their field application. Many agents show promising findings; however, the question remains about the epidemiologic reality of these approaches because even those that have been tried under field conditions still have certain limitations. This review addresses aspects of the microbial control of malaria between proof-of-concept and epidemiologic reality.

  12. Mapping the origins and spread of antifolate-resistant malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Hyde, John E

    2009-10-01

    Evaluation of: Pearce RJ, Pota H, Evehe MSB et al.: Multiple origins and regional dispersal of resistant dhps in African Plasmodium falciparum malaria. PLoS Med. 6(4), e1000055 (2009). Widespread resistance to current antimalarial drugs is a major factor in the extremely high levels of mortality and disabling illness that still prevail in many developing countries. It is important to understand how frequently resistant malaria parasite strains arise and their patterns of propagation and dispersal across borders and continents. By studying the DNA sequences of both the gene encoding the drug target and its flanking regions, it is possible to collect and map such data, providing a considerable asset in devising and evaluating future strategies of drug use and deployment. In this article, Pearce et al. analyze a large number of parasite samples collected over a decade from countries across Africa, allowing them to present for the first time a detailed picture of the origins and relatively recent spread of resistance to sulfa-drugs, key components of antifolate drug combinations that have been used extensively as part of the antimalarial armory.

  13. Identification and biochemical characterization of vivapains, cysteine proteases of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.

    PubMed Central

    Na, Byoung-Kuk; Shenai, Bhaskar R; Sijwali, Puran S; Choe, Youngchool; Pandey, Kailash C; Singh, Ajay; Craik, Charles S; Rosenthal, Philip J

    2004-01-01

    Cysteine proteases play important roles in the life cycles of malaria parasites. Cysteine protease inhibitors block haemoglobin hydrolysis and development in Plasmodium falciparum, suggesting that the cysteine proteases of this major human pathogen, termed falcipains, are appropriate therapeutic targets. To expand our understanding of plasmodial proteases to Plasmodium vivax, the other prevalent human malaria parasite, we identified and cloned genes encoding the P. vivax cysteine proteases, vivapain-2 and vivapain-3, and functionally expressed the proteases in Escherichia coli. The vivapain-2 and vivapain-3 genes predicted papain-family cysteine proteases, which shared a number of unusual features with falcipain-2 and falcipain-3, including large prodomains and short N-terminal extensions on the catalytic domain. Recombinant vivapain-2 and vivapain-3 shared properties with the falcipains, including acidic pH optima, requirements for reducing conditions for activity and hydrolysis of substrates with positively charged residues at P1 and Leu at P2. Both enzymes hydrolysed native haemoglobin at acidic pH and the erythrocyte cytoskeletal protein 4.1 at neutral pH, suggesting similar biological roles to the falcipains. Considering inhibitor profiles, the vivapains were inhibited by fluoromethylketone and vinyl sulphone inhibitors that also inhibited falcipains and have demonstrated potent antimalarial activity. PMID:14629194

  14. Structure, Function and Inhibition of the Phosphoethanolamine Methyltransferases of the Human Malaria Parasites Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi

    PubMed Central

    Garg, Aprajita; Lukk, Tiit; Kumar, Vidya; Choi, Jae-Yeon; Augagneur, Yoann; Voelker, Dennis R.; Nair, Satish; Mamoun, Choukri Ben

    2015-01-01

    Phosphoethanolamine methyltransferases (PMTs) catalyze the three-step methylation of phosphoethanolamine to form phosphocholine, a critical step in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine in a select number of eukaryotes including human malaria parasites, nematodes and plants. Genetic studies in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have shown that the methyltransferase PfPMT plays a critical function in parasite development and differentiation. The presence of PMT orthologs in other malaria parasites that infect humans and their absence in mammals make them ideal targets for the development of selective antimalarials with broad specificity against different Plasmodium species. Here we describe the X-ray structures and biochemical properties of PMT orthologs from Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi and show that both enzymes are inhibited by amodiaquine and NSC158011, two drugs with potent antimalarial activity. Metabolic studies in a yeast mutant that relies on PkPMT or PvPMT for survival demonstrated that these compounds inhibit phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis from ethanolamine. Our structural and functional data provide insights into the mechanism of catalysis and inhibition of PMT enzymes and set the stage for a better design of more specific and selective antimalarial drugs. PMID:25761669

  15. Structure, Function and Inhibition of the Phosphoethanolamine Methyltransferases of the Human Malaria Parasites Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi

    DOE PAGES

    Garg, Aprajita; Lukk, Tiit; Kumar, Vidya; ...

    2015-03-12

    Phosphoethanolamine methyltransferases (PMTs) catalyze the three-step methylation of phosphoethanolamine to form phosphocholine, a critical step in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine in a select number of eukaryotes including human malaria parasites, nematodes and plants. Genetic studies in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have shown that the methyltransferase PfPMT plays a critical function in parasite development and differentiation. The presence of PMT orthologs in other malaria parasites that infect humans and their absence in mammals make them ideal targets for the development of selective antimalarials with broad specificity against different Plasmodium species. Here we describe the X-ray structures and biochemical properties ofmore » PMT orthologs from Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi and show that both enzymes are inhibited by amodiaquine and NSC158011, two drugs with potent antimalarial activity. Metabolic studies in a yeast mutant that relies on PkPMT or PvPMT for survival demonstrated that these compounds inhibit phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis from ethanolamine. Our structural and functional data provide insights into the mechanism of catalysis and inhibition of PMT enzymes and set the stage for a better design of more specific and selective antimalarial drugs.« less

  16. Structure, Function and Inhibition of the Phosphoethanolamine Methyltransferases of the Human Malaria Parasites Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi

    SciTech Connect

    Garg, Aprajita; Lukk, Tiit; Kumar, Vidya; Choi, Jae-Yeon; Augagneur, Yoann; Voelker, Dennis R.; Nair, Satish; Mamoun, Choukri Ben

    2015-03-12

    Phosphoethanolamine methyltransferases (PMTs) catalyze the three-step methylation of phosphoethanolamine to form phosphocholine, a critical step in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine in a select number of eukaryotes including human malaria parasites, nematodes and plants. Genetic studies in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have shown that the methyltransferase PfPMT plays a critical function in parasite development and differentiation. The presence of PMT orthologs in other malaria parasites that infect humans and their absence in mammals make them ideal targets for the development of selective antimalarials with broad specificity against different Plasmodium species. Here we describe the X-ray structures and biochemical properties of PMT orthologs from Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi and show that both enzymes are inhibited by amodiaquine and NSC158011, two drugs with potent antimalarial activity. Metabolic studies in a yeast mutant that relies on PkPMT or PvPMT for survival demonstrated that these compounds inhibit phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis from ethanolamine. Our structural and functional data provide insights into the mechanism of catalysis and inhibition of PMT enzymes and set the stage for a better design of more specific and selective antimalarial drugs.

  17. Protein kinases of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum: the kinome of a divergent eukaryote

    PubMed Central

    Ward, Pauline; Equinet, Leila; Packer, Jeremy; Doerig, Christian

    2004-01-01

    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 targets. We report an exhaustive analysis of the P. falciparum genomic database (PlasmoDB) aimed at identifying and classifying all ePKs in this organism. Results Using a variety of bioinformatics tools, we identified 65 malarial ePK sequences and constructed a phylogenetic tree to position these sequences relative to the seven established ePK groups. Predominant features of the tree were: (i) that several malarial sequences did not cluster within any of the known ePK groups; (ii) that the CMGC group, whose members are usually involved in the control of cell proliferation, had the highest number of malarial ePKs; and (iii) that no malarial ePK clustered with the tyrosine kinase (TyrK) or STE groups, pointing to the absence of three-component MAPK modules in the parasite. A novel family of 20 ePK-related sequences was identified and called FIKK, on the basis of a conserved amino acid motif. The FIKK family seems restricted to Apicomplexa, with 20 members in P. falciparum and just one member in some other Apicomplexan species. Conclusion The considerable phylogenetic distance between Apicomplexa and other Eukaryotes is reflected by profound divergences between the kinome of malaria parasites and that of yeast or mammalian cells. PMID:15479470

  18. Rapid detection of malaria parasite by toluidine blue method: a new staining method.

    PubMed

    Annam, Vamseedhar; Mohan, Chakkirala Nalini; Mrinalini, Vazhayil Ramunny

    2013-10-01

    Malaria is a commonest mosquito-borne infectious disease worldwide. Early identification and management of malaria prevents complications and mortality. Identification of the malaria mainly relies on detection of the parasite on blood smears. The present study was conducted to compare Toluidine blue method with Leishman method for detection of malaria parasite and also to study the efficacy and advantages of using Toluidine blue method. In 540 consecutive patients with clinical suspicion of malaria, peripheral smears were prepared. Smears were processed for both conventional Leishman method and Toluidine blue method simultaneously. The significance of Toluidine blue method over Leishman method was analyzed using Chi-square (χ(2)) test. Out of 540 smears, 28.3% (153/540) were positive for malaria parasite on conventional Leishman method, while the smear positivity was more by Toluidine blue method to 33.3% (180/540) [P value < 0.01]. The remaining 66.67% (360/540) were negative by both Toluidine blue method and conventional Leishman method. The Toluidine blue method is simple, rapid, inexpensive, and easily available. The implementation of Toluidine blue method clearly improves microscopic detection of malaria parasite and can be a useful contribution to routine hematology even at rural health sectors.

  19. Heritability of the Human Infectious Reservoir of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Marrama, Laurence; Konate, Lassana; Phimpraphi, Waraphon; Sokhna, Cheikh; Tall, Adama; Diène Sarr, Fatoumata; Peerapittayamongkol, Chayanon; Louicharoen, Chalisa; Schneider, Bradley S.; Levescot, Anaïs; Talman, Arthur; Casademont, Isabelle; Menard, Didier; Trape, Jean-François; Rogier, Christophe; Kaewkunwal, Jaranit; Sura, Thanyachai; Nuchprayoon, Issarang; Ariey, Frederic; Baril, Laurence; Singhasivanon, Pratap; Mercereau-Puijalon, Odile; Paul, Rick

    2010-01-01

    Background Studies on human genetic factors associated with malaria have hitherto concentrated on their role in susceptibility to and protection from disease. In contrast, virtually no attention has been paid to the role of human genetics in eliciting the production of parasite transmission stages, the gametocytes, and thus enhancing the spread of disease. Methods and Findings We analysed four longitudinal family-based cohort studies from Senegal and Thailand followed for 2–8 years and evaluated the relative impact of the human genetic and non-genetic factors on gametocyte production in infections of Plasmodium falciparum or P. vivax. Prevalence and density of gametocyte carriage were evaluated in asymptomatic and symptomatic infections by examination of Giemsa-stained blood smears and/or RT-PCR (for falciparum in one site). A significant human genetic contribution was found to be associated with gametocyte prevalence in asymptomatic P. falciparum infections. By contrast, there was no heritability associated with the production of gametocytes for P. falciparum or P. vivax symptomatic infections. Sickle cell mutation, HbS, was associated with increased gametocyte prevalence but its contribution was small. Conclusions The existence of a significant human genetic contribution to gametocyte prevalence in asymptomatic infections suggests that candidate gene and genome wide association approaches may be usefully applied to explore the underlying human genetics. Prospective epidemiological studies will provide an opportunity to generate novel and perhaps more epidemiologically pertinent gametocyte data with which similar analyses can be performed and the role of human genetics in parasite transmission ascertained. PMID:20613877

  20. Proteome-wide analysis reveals widespread lysine acetylation of major protein complexes in the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Cobbold, Simon A.; Santos, Joana M.; Ochoa, Alejandro; Perlman, David H.; Llinás, Manuel

    2016-01-01

    Lysine acetylation is a ubiquitous post-translational modification in many organisms including the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, yet the full extent of acetylation across the parasite proteome remains unresolved. Moreover, the functional significance of acetylation or how specific acetyl-lysine sites are regulated is largely unknown. Here we report a seven-fold expansion of the known parasite ‘acetylome’, characterizing 2,876 acetylation sites on 1,146 proteins. We observe that lysine acetylation targets a diverse range of protein complexes and is particularly enriched within the Apicomplexan AP2 (ApiAP2) DNA-binding protein family. Using quantitative proteomics we determined that artificial perturbation of the acetate/acetyl-CoA balance alters the acetyl-lysine occupancy of several ApiAP2 DNA-binding proteins and related transcriptional proteins. This metabolic signaling could mediate significant downstream transcriptional responses, as we show that acetylation of an ApiAP2 DNA-binding domain ablates its DNA-binding propensity. Lastly, we investigated the acetyl-lysine targets of each class of lysine deacetylase in order to begin to explore how each class of enzyme contributes to regulating the P. falciparum acetylome. PMID:26813983

  1. Influence of host factors and parasite biomass on the severity of imported Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

    PubMed

    Argy, Nicolas; Kendjo, Eric; Augé-Courtoi, Claire; Cojean, Sandrine; Clain, Jérôme; Houzé, Pascal; Thellier, Marc; Hubert, Veronique; Deloron, Philippe; Houzé, Sandrine

    2017-01-01

    Imported malaria in France is characterized by various clinical manifestations observed in a heterogeneous population of patients such as travelers/expatriates and African migrants. In this population, host factors and parasite biomass associated with severe imported malaria are poorly known. From data collected by the Centre National de Référence du Paludisme, we identified epidemiological, demographic and biological features including parasite biomass and anti-plasmodial antibody levels (negative, positive and strongly positive serology) associated with different disease severity groups (very severe, moderately severe, and uncomplicated malaria) in 3 epidemiological groups (travelers/expatriates, first- and second-generation migrants). Age, ethnicity, absence of prior infection with P. falciparum, antibody levels, plasma PfHRP2 levels, total and circulating parasite biomass were related to severe malaria onset. Sequestered parasite biomass tended to be increased in very severe malaria, and was strongly correlated to the antibody level of the host. Prior exposure to P. falciparum is associated with high anti-plasmodial antibody levels which influence clinical presentation of imported malaria and its correlated circulating and sequestered parasite burden.

  2. Influence of host factors and parasite biomass on the severity of imported Plasmodium falciparum malaria

    PubMed Central

    Kendjo, Eric; Augé-Courtoi, Claire; Cojean, Sandrine; Clain, Jérôme; Houzé, Pascal; Thellier, Marc; Hubert, Veronique; Deloron, Philippe; Houzé, Sandrine

    2017-01-01

    Objectives Imported malaria in France is characterized by various clinical manifestations observed in a heterogeneous population of patients such as travelers/expatriates and African migrants. In this population, host factors and parasite biomass associated with severe imported malaria are poorly known. Methods From data collected by the Centre National de Référence du Paludisme, we identified epidemiological, demographic and biological features including parasite biomass and anti-plasmodial antibody levels (negative, positive and strongly positive serology) associated with different disease severity groups (very severe, moderately severe, and uncomplicated malaria) in 3 epidemiological groups (travelers/expatriates, first- and second-generation migrants). Results Age, ethnicity, absence of prior infection with P. falciparum, antibody levels, plasma PfHRP2 levels, total and circulating parasite biomass were related to severe malaria onset. Sequestered parasite biomass tended to be increased in very severe malaria, and was strongly correlated to the antibody level of the host. Conclusions Prior exposure to P. falciparum is associated with high anti-plasmodial antibody levels which influence clinical presentation of imported malaria and its correlated circulating and sequestered parasite burden. PMID:28410415

  3. Methodology and Application of Flow Cytometry for Investigation of Human Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Grimberg, Brian T.

    2011-01-01

    Historically, examinations of the inhibition of malaria parasite growth/invasion, whether using drugs or antibodies, have relied on the use of microscopy or radioactive hypoxanthine uptake. These are considered gold standards for measuring the effectiveness of antimalarial treatments, however, these methods have well known shortcomings. With the advent of flow cytometry coupled with the use of fluorescent DNA stains allowed for increased speed, reproducibility, and qualitative estimates of the effectiveness of antibodies and drugs to limit malaria parasite growth which addresses the challenges of traditional techniques. Because materials and machines available to research facilities are so varied, different methods have been developed to investigate malaria parasites by flow cytometry. This review is intended to serve as a reference guide for advanced users and importantly, as a primer for new users, to support expanded use and improvements to malaria flow cytometry, particularly in endemic countries. PMID:21296083

  4. Detailed methodology for high resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of murine malaria parasitized-erythrocytes.

    PubMed

    Hayakawa, Eri H; Matsuoka, Hiroyuki

    2016-10-01

    Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is a powerful tool used to investigate object surfaces and has been widely applied in both material science and biology. With respect to the study of malaria, SEM revealed that erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum, a human parasite, display 'knob-like' structures on their surface comprising parasitized proteins. However, detailed methodology for SEM studies of malaria parasites is lacking in the literature making such studies challenging. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide to preparing Plasmodium-infected erythrocytes from two mouse strains for SEM analysis with minimal structural deterioration. We tested three species of murine malaria parasites, P. berghei, P. yoelii, and P. chabaudi, as well as non-parasitized human erythrocytes and P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes for comparisons. Our data demonstrated that the surface structures of parasitized erythrocytes between the three species of murine parasites in the two different strains of mice were indistinguishable and no surface alterations were observed in P. falciparum-erythrocytes. Our SEM observations contribute towards an understanding of the molecular mechanisms of parasite maturation in the erythrocyte cytoplasm and, along with future studies using our detailed methodology, may help to gain insight into the clinical phenomena of human malaria. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  5. The Genome of Haemoproteus tartakovskyi and Its Relationship to Human Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Bensch, Staffan; Canbäck, Björn; DeBarry, Jeremy D.; Johansson, Tomas; Hellgren, Olof; Kissinger, Jessica C.; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Videvall, Elin; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    2016-01-01

    The phylogenetic relationships among hemosporidian parasites, including the origin of Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent malaria parasite of humans, have been heavily debated for decades. Studies based on multiple-gene sequences have helped settle many of these controversial phylogenetic issues. However, denser taxon sampling and genome-wide analyses are needed to confidently resolve the evolutionay relationships among hemosporidian parasites. Genome sequences of several Plasmodium parasites are available but only for species infecting primates and rodents. To root the phylogenetic tree of Plasmodium, genomic data from related parasites of birds or reptiles are required. Here, we use a novel approach to isolate parasite DNA from microgametes and describe the first genome of a bird parasite in the sister genus to Plasmodium, Haemoproteus tartakovskyi. Similar to Plasmodium parasites, H. tartakovskyi has a small genome (23.2 Mb, 5,990 genes) and a GC content (25.4%) closer to P. falciparum (19.3%) than to Plasmodium vivax (42.3%). Combined with novel transcriptome sequences of the bird parasite Plasmodium ashfordi, our phylogenomic analyses of 1,302 orthologous genes demonstrate that mammalian-infecting malaria parasites are monophyletic, thus rejecting the repeatedly proposed hypothesis that the ancestor of Laverania parasites originated from a secondary host shift from birds to humans. Genes and genomic features previously found to be shared between P. falciparum and bird malaria parasites, but absent in other mammal malaria parasites, are therefore signatures of maintained ancestral states. We foresee that the genome of H. tartakovskyi will open new directions for comparative evolutionary analyses of malarial adaptive traits. PMID:27190205

  6. Intravenous Artesunate Reduces Parasite Clearance Time, Duration of Intensive Care, and Hospital Treatment in Patients With Severe Malaria in Europe: The TropNet Severe Malaria Study.

    PubMed

    Kurth, Florian; Develoux, Michel; Mechain, Matthieu; Clerinx, Jan; Antinori, Spinello; Gjørup, Ida E; Gascon, Joaquím; Mørch, Kristine; Nicastri, Emanuele; Ramharter, Michael; Bartoloni, Alessandro; Visser, Leo; Rolling, Thierry; Zanger, Philipp; Calleri, Guido; Salas-Coronas, Joaquín; Nielsen, Henrik; Just-Nübling, Gudrun; Neumayr, Andreas; Hachfeld, Anna; Schmid, Matthias L; Antonini, Pietro; Pongratz, Peter; Kern, Peter; Saraiva da Cunha, José; Soriano-Arandes, Antoni; Schunk, Mirjam; Suttorp, Norbert; Hatz, Christoph; Zoller, Thomas

    2015-11-01

    Intravenous artesunate improves survival in severe malaria, but clinical trial data from nonendemic countries are scarce. The TropNet severe malaria database was analyzed to compare outcomes of artesunate vs quinine treatment. Artesunate reduced parasite clearance time and duration of intensive care unit and hospital treatment in European patients with imported severe malaria.

  7. Cloning, expression and functional characterization of heme detoxification protein (HDP) from the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium vinckei.

    PubMed

    Soni, Awakash; Goyal, Manish; Prakash, Kirtika; Bhardwaj, Jyoti; Siddiqui, Arif Jamal; Puri, Sunil K

    2015-07-15

    Malaria parasite resides within the host red blood cells, where it degrades vast amount of haemoglobin. During haemoglobin degradation, toxic free heme is liberated which subsequently gets converted into hemozoin. This process is facilitated by action of various proteins viz. heme detoxification protein (HDP), and histidine rich proteins II and III (HRP II & III). Out of these, HDP is the most potent in hemozoin formation and plays indispensible role for parasite survival. Despite this, the detailed study of HDP from rodent and simian parasite has not been performed till date. Here, we have cloned and sequenced hdp gene from different malaria parasites Plasmodium vinckei, Plasmodium yoelii, Plasmodium knowlesi, and Plasmodium cynomolgi. Furthermore, HDP from P. vinckei (PvHDP) was over-expressed and purified for detailed characterization. The PvHDP is cytosolic, expressed throughout the intra erythrocytic stages and its expression is higher in late trophozoite and schizont stages of parasite. The PvHDP interacts with free heme (KD=89 nM) and efficiently converts heme into hemozoin in a time and concentration dependent manner. Moreover, PvHDP showed activity in acidic pH and over a broad range of temperature. Histidine modification of PvHDP using DEPC showed reduction in heme binding and hemozoin formation, thus emphasizing the importance of histidine residues in heme binding and subsequent hemozoin production. Furthermore, applicability of PvHDP to screen anti-plasmodial agents (targeting heme to hemozoin conversion) was also determined using chloroquine, and mefloquine as reference antimalarials. Results showed that these drugs inhibit heme polymerization effectively in a concentration dependent manner. In conclusion, our study identified and biochemically characterized HDP from rodent malaria parasite P. vinckei and this will help to develop a high throughput assay to evaluate new antimalarials targeting hemozoin pathway.

  8. Quantitative Assessment of Multiorgan Sequestration of Parasites in Fatal Pediatric Cerebral Malaria.

    PubMed

    Milner, Danny A; Lee, Jonathan J; Frantzreb, Charles; Whitten, Richard O; Kamiza, Steve; Carr, Richard A; Pradham, Alana; Factor, Rachel E; Playforth, Krupa; Liomba, George; Dzamalala, Charles; Seydel, Karl B; Molyneux, Malcolm E; Taylor, Terrie E

    2015-10-15

    Children in sub-Saharan Africa continue to acquire and die from cerebral malaria, despite efforts to control or eliminate the causative agent, Plasmodium falciparum. We present a quantitative histopathological assessment of the sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in multiple organs obtained during a prospective series of 103 autopsies performed between 1996 and 2010 in Blantyre, Malawi, on pediatric patients who died from cerebral malaria and controls. After the brain, sequestration of parasites was most intense in the gastrointestinal tract, both in patients with cerebral malaria and those with parasitemia in other organs. Within cases of histologically defined cerebral malaria, which includes phenotypes termed "sequestration only" (CM1) and "sequestration with extravascular pathology" (CM2), CM1 was associated with large parasite numbers in the spleen and CM2 with intense parasite sequestration in the skin. A striking histological finding overall was the marked sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes across most organs in patients with fatal cerebral malaria, supporting the hypothesis that the disease is, in part, a result of a high level of total-body parasite sequestration. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  9. Malaria parasite infection compromises control of concurrent systemic non-typhoidal Salmonella infection via IL-10-mediated alteration of myeloid cell function.

    PubMed

    Lokken, Kristen L; Mooney, Jason P; Butler, Brian P; Xavier, Mariana N; Chau, Jennifer Y; Schaltenberg, Nicola; Begum, Ramie H; Müller, Werner; Luckhart, Shirley; Tsolis, Renée M

    2014-05-01

    Non-typhoidal Salmonella serotypes (NTS) cause a self-limited gastroenteritis in immunocompetent individuals, while children with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria can develop a life-threatening disseminated infection. This co-infection is a major source of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the mechanisms by which malaria contributes to increased risk of NTS bacteremia are incompletely understood. Here, we report that in a mouse co-infection model, malaria parasite infection blunts inflammatory responses to NTS, leading to decreased inflammatory pathology and increased systemic bacterial colonization. Blunting of NTS-induced inflammatory responses required induction of IL-10 by the parasites. In the absence of malaria parasite infection, administration of recombinant IL-10 together with induction of anemia had an additive effect on systemic bacterial colonization. Mice that were conditionally deficient for either myeloid cell IL-10 production or myeloid cell expression of IL-10 receptor were better able to control systemic Salmonella infection, suggesting that phagocytic cells are both producers and targets of malaria parasite-induced IL-10. Thus, IL-10 produced during the immune response to malaria increases susceptibility to disseminated NTS infection by suppressing the ability of myeloid cells, most likely macrophages, to control bacterial infection.

  10. Plasmodium falciparum: effects of proteinase inhibitors on globin hydrolysis by cultured malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Rosenthal, P J

    1995-03-01

    The effects of peptide proteinase inhibitors on globin hydrolysis by cultured malaria parasites were studied. All of the four cysteine proteinase inhibitors evaluated blocked globin hydrolysis, as documented by the development of a morphological abnormality in which parasite food vacuoles filled with undegraded globin and by SDS-PAGE showing that the cysteine proteinase inhibitor-treated parasites accumulated large quantities of globin. The aspartic proteinase inhibitor pepstatin did not block globin hydrolysis by cultured parasites. None of seven antimalarial drugs tested elicited the food vacuole abnormality caused by cysteine proteinase inhibitors, indicating that this morphological alteration was not simply a sign of nonspecific parasite toxicity. Our results indicate that a trophozoite cysteine proteinase is required for initial cleavages of globin by intact malaria parasites.

  11. Malaria parasite strain characterization, cryopreservation, and banking of isolates: a WHO memorandum.

    PubMed

    1981-01-01

    There has been considerable progress in the biological characterization of malaria parasites in the past few years. Physiological parameters such as host adaptation, virulence, exoerythrocytic development, in vitro growth of erythrocytic stages, and drug sensitivity are of particular importance to epidemiologists. Advances in enzyme analysis, 2-dimensional protein electrophoresis, and nucleic acid analysis have produced several new techniques that can be applied to the malaria parasite. Similarly, antigenic characterization is expected to progress as a result of technical improvements. Many of the biological parameters are needed for the study of parasite genetics, a field which has expanded greatly through the development of cloning techniques. The latter also hold interest for the production, and the future use in research, of biologically well characterized standard clones. In this connexion, the cryopreservation and banking of malaria parasites deserve attention, in order to ensure the supply of well defined, viable isolates and clones to interested research workers.

  12. The past, present and future use of epidemiological intelligence to plan malaria vector control and parasite prevention in Uganda.

    PubMed

    Talisuna, Ambrose O; Noor, Abdisalan M; Okui, Albert P; Snow, Robert W

    2015-04-15

    An important prelude to developing strategies to control infectious diseases is a detailed epidemiological evidence platform to target cost-effective interventions and define resource needs. A review of published and un-published reports of malaria vector control and parasite prevention in Uganda was conducted for the period 1900-2013. The objective was to provide a perspective as to how epidemiological intelligence was used to design malaria control before and during the global malaria eradication programme (GMEP) and to contrast this with the evidence generated in support of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) initiative from 1998 to date. During the GMEP era, comprehensive investigations were undertaken on the effectiveness of vector and parasite control such as indoor residual house-spraying (IRS) and mass drug administration (MDA) at different sites in Uganda. Nationwide malariometric surveys were undertaken between 1964 and 1967 to provide a profile of risk, epidemiology and seasonality leading to an evidence-based national cartography of risk to characterize the diversity of malaria transmission in Uganda. At the launch of the RBM initiative in the late 1990s, an equivalent level of evidence was lacking. There was no contemporary national evidence-base for the likely impact of insecticide-treated nets (ITN), no new malariometric data, no new national cartography of malaria risk or any evidence of tailored intervention delivery based on variations in the ecology of malaria risk in Uganda. Despite millions of dollars of overseas development assistance over the last ten years in ITN, and more recently the resurrection of the use of IRS, the epidemiological impact of vector control remains uncertain due to an absence of nationwide basic parasite and vector-based field studies. Readily available epidemiological data should become the future business model to maximize malaria funding from 2015. Over the next five to ten years, accountability, impact analysis, financial

  13. Spatial Localisation of Actin Filaments across Developmental Stages of the Malaria Parasite

    PubMed Central

    Angrisano, Fiona; Delves, Michael J.; Zuccala, Elizabeth S.; Turnbull, Lynne; Dekiwadia, Chaitali; Olshina, Maya A.; Marapana, Danushka S.; Wong, Wilson; Mollard, Vanessa; Bradin, Clare H.; Tonkin, Christopher J.; Gunning, Peter W.; Ralph, Stuart A.; Whitchurch, Cynthia B.; Sinden, Robert E.; Cowman, Alan F.; McFadden, Geoffrey I.; Baum, Jake

    2012-01-01

    Actin dynamics have been implicated in a variety of developmental processes during the malaria parasite lifecycle. Parasite motility, in particular, is thought to critically depend on an actomyosin motor located in the outer pellicle of the parasite cell. Efforts to understand the diverse roles actin plays have, however, been hampered by an inability to detect microfilaments under native conditions. To visualise the spatial dynamics of actin we generated a parasite-specific actin antibody that shows preferential recognition of filamentous actin and applied this tool to different lifecycle stages (merozoites, sporozoites and ookinetes) of the human and mouse malaria parasite species Plasmodium falciparum and P. berghei along with tachyzoites from the related apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Actin filament distribution was found associated with three core compartments: the nuclear periphery, pellicular membranes of motile or invasive parasite forms and in a ring-like distribution at the tight junction during merozoite invasion of erythrocytes in both human and mouse malaria parasites. Localisation at the nuclear periphery is consistent with an emerging role of actin in facilitating parasite gene regulation. During invasion, we show that the actin ring at the parasite-host cell tight junction is dependent on dynamic filament turnover. Super-resolution imaging places this ring posterior to, and not concentric with, the junction marker rhoptry neck protein 4. This implies motor force relies on the engagement of dynamic microfilaments at zones of traction, though not necessarily directly through receptor-ligand interactions at sites of adhesion during invasion. Combined, these observations extend current understanding of the diverse roles actin plays in malaria parasite development and apicomplexan cell motility, in particular refining understanding on the linkage of the internal parasite gliding motor with the extra-cellular milieu. PMID:22389687

  14. Drug target identification in protozoan parasites

    PubMed Central

    Müller, Joachim; Hemphill, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Introduction Despite the fact that diseases caused by protozoan parasites represent serious challenges for public health, animal production and welfare, only a limited panel of drugs has been marketed for clinical applications. Areas covered Herein, the authors investigate two strategies, namely whole organism screening and target-based drug design. The present pharmacopoeia has resulted from whole organism screening, and the mode of action and targets of selected drugs are discussed. However, the more recent extensive genome sequencing efforts and the development of dry and wet lab genomics and proteomics that allow high-throughput screening of interactions between micromolecules and recombinant proteins has resulted in target-based drug design as the predominant focus in anti-parasitic drug development. Selected examples of target-based drug design studies are presented, and calcium-dependent protein kinases, important drug targets in apicomplexan parasites, are discussed in more detail. Expert opinion Despite the enormous efforts in target-based drug development, this approach has not yet generated market-ready antiprotozoal drugs. However, whole-organism screening approaches, comprising of both in vitro and in vivo investigations, should not be disregarded. The repurposing of already approved and marketed drugs could be a suitable strategy to avoid fastidious approval procedures, especially in the case of neglected or veterinary parasitoses. PMID:27238605

  15. Drug target identification in protozoan parasites.

    PubMed

    Müller, Joachim; Hemphill, Andrew

    2016-08-01

    Despite the fact that diseases caused by protozoan parasites represent serious challenges for public health, animal production and welfare, only a limited panel of drugs has been marketed for clinical applications. Herein, the authors investigate two strategies, namely whole organism screening and target-based drug design. The present pharmacopoeia has resulted from whole organism screening, and the mode of action and targets of selected drugs are discussed. However, the more recent extensive genome sequencing efforts and the development of dry and wet lab genomics and proteomics that allow high-throughput screening of interactions between micromolecules and recombinant proteins has resulted in target-based drug design as the predominant focus in anti-parasitic drug development. Selected examples of target-based drug design studies are presented, and calcium-dependent protein kinases, important drug targets in apicomplexan parasites, are discussed in more detail. Despite the enormous efforts in target-based drug development, this approach has not yet generated market-ready antiprotozoal drugs. However, whole-organism screening approaches, comprising of both in vitro and in vivo investigations, should not be disregarded. The repurposing of already approved and marketed drugs could be a suitable strategy to avoid fastidious approval procedures, especially in the case of neglected or veterinary parasitoses.

  16. Targeting populations at higher risk for malaria: a survey of national malaria elimination programmes in the Asia Pacific.

    PubMed

    Wen, Shawn; Harvard, Kelly E; Gueye, Cara Smith; Canavati, Sara E; Chancellor, Arna; Ahmed, Be-Nazir; Leaburi, John; Lek, Dysoley; Namgay, Rinzin; Surya, Asik; Thakur, Garib D; Whittaker, Maxine Anne; Gosling, Roly D

    2016-05-10

    Significant progress has been made in reducing the malaria burden in the Asia Pacific region, which is aggressively pursuing a 2030 regional elimination goal. Moving from malaria control to elimination requires National Malaria Control Programmes (NMCPs) to target interventions at populations at higher risk, who are often not reached by health services, highly mobile and difficult to test, treat, and track with routine measures, and if undiagnosed, can maintain parasite reservoirs and contribute to ongoing transmission. A qualitative, free-text questionnaire was developed and disseminated among 17 of the 18 partner countries of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN). All 14 countries that responded to the survey identified key populations at higher risk of malaria in their respective countries. Thirteen countries engage in the dissemination of malaria-related Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials. Eight countries engage in diagnostic screening, including of mobile and migrant workers, military staff, and/or overseas workers. Ten countries reported distributing or recommending the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) among populations at higher risk with fewer countries engaging in other prevention measures such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) (two countries), spatial repellents (four countries), chemoprophylaxis (five countries), and mass drug administration (MDA) (three countries). Though not specifically tailored to populations at higher risk, 11 countries reported using mass blood surveys as a surveillance tool and ten countries map case data. Most NMCPs lack a monitoring and evaluation structure. Countries in the Asia Pacific have identified populations at higher risk and targeted interventions to these groups but there is limited information on the effectiveness of these interventions. Platforms like APMEN offer the opportunity for the sharing of protocols and lessons learned related to finding, targeting and

  17. Complement and Antibody-mediated Enhancement of Red Blood Cell Invasion and Growth of Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Biryukov, Sergei; Angov, Evelina; Landmesser, Mary E; Spring, Michele D; Ockenhouse, Christian F; Stoute, José A

    2016-07-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a deadly pathogen. The invasion of red blood cells (RBCs) by merozoites is a target for vaccine development. Although anti-merozoite antibodies can block invasion in vitro, there is no efficacy in vivo. To explain this discrepancy we hypothesized that complement activation could enhance RBC invasion by binding to the complement receptor 1 (CR1). Here we show that a monoclonal antibody directed against the merozoite and human polyclonal IgG from merozoite vaccine recipients enhanced RBC invasion in a complement-dependent manner and that soluble CR1 inhibited this enhancement. Sialic acid-independent strains, that presumably are able to bind to CR1 via a native ligand, showed less complement-dependent enhancement of RBC invasion than sialic acid-dependent strains that do not utilize native CR1 ligands. Confocal fluorescent microscopy revealed that complement-dependent invasion resulted in aggregation of CR1 at the RBC surface in contact with the merozoite. Finally, total anti-P. berghei IgG enhanced parasite growth and C3 deficiency decreased parasite growth in mice. These results demonstrate, contrary to current views, that complement activation in conjunction with antibodies can paradoxically aid parasites invade RBCs and should be considered in future design and testing of merozoite vaccines. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Determination of glutathione redox potential and pH value in subcellular compartments of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Mohring, Franziska; Rahbari, Mahsa; Zechmann, Bernd; Rahlfs, Stefan; Przyborski, Jude M; Meyer, Andreas J; Becker, Katja

    2017-03-01

    The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is exposed to multiple sources of oxidative challenge during its complex life cycle in the Anopheles vector and its human host. In order to further elucidate redox-based parasite host cell interactions and mechanisms of drug action, we targeted the genetically encoded glutathione redox sensor roGFP2 coupled to human glutaredoxin 1 (roGFP2-hGrx1) as well as the ratiometric pH sensor pHluorin to the apicoplast and the mitochondrion of P. falciparum. Using live cell imaging, this allowed for the first time the determination of the pH values of the apicoplast (7.12±0.40) and mitochondrion (7.37±0.09) in the intraerythrocytic asexual stages of the parasite. Based on the roGFP2-hGrx1 signals, glutathione-dependent redox potentials of -267mV and -328mV, respectively, were obtained. Employing these novel tools, initial studies on the effects of redox-active agents and clinically employed antimalarial drugs were carried out on both organelles.

  19. Induction of Strain-Transcending Antibodies Against Group A PfEMP1 Surface Antigens from Virulent Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Ghumra, Ashfaq; Claessens, Antoine; Anong, Damian N.; Bull, Peter C.; Fennell, Clare; Arman, Monica; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Walther, Michael; Conway, David J.; Kassambara, Lalla; Doumbo, Ogobara K.; Raza, Ahmed; Rowe, J. Alexandra

    2012-01-01

    Sequence diversity in pathogen antigens is an obstacle to the development of interventions against many infectious diseases. In malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the PfEMP1 family of variant surface antigens encoded by var genes are adhesion molecules that play a pivotal role in malaria pathogenesis and clinical disease. PfEMP1 is a major target of protective immunity, however, development of drugs or vaccines based on PfEMP1 is problematic due to extensive sequence diversity within the PfEMP1 family. Here we identified the PfEMP1 variants transcribed by P. falciparum strains selected for a virulence-associated adhesion phenotype (IgM-positive rosetting). The parasites transcribed a subset of Group A PfEMP1 variants characterised by an unusual PfEMP1 architecture and a distinct N-terminal domain (either DBLα1.5 or DBLα1.8 type). Antibodies raised in rabbits against the N-terminal domains showed functional activity (surface reactivity with live infected erythrocytes (IEs), rosette inhibition and induction of phagocytosis of IEs) down to low concentrations (<10 µg/ml of total IgG) against homologous parasites. Furthermore, the antibodies showed broad cross-reactivity against heterologous parasite strains with the same rosetting phenotype, including clinical isolates from four sub-Saharan African countries that showed surface reactivity with either DBLα1.5 antibodies (variant HB3var6) or DBLα1.8 antibodies (variant TM284var1). These data show that parasites with a virulence-associated adhesion phenotype share IE surface epitopes that can be targeted by strain-transcending antibodies to PfEMP1. The existence of shared surface epitopes amongst functionally similar disease-associated P. falciparum parasite isolates suggests that development of therapeutic interventions to prevent severe malaria is a realistic goal. PMID:22532802

  20. Malaria.

    PubMed

    Phillips, Margaret A; Burrows, Jeremy N; Manyando, Christine; van Huijsduijnen, Rob Hooft; Van Voorhis, Wesley C; Wells, Timothy N C

    2017-08-03

    Malaria is caused in humans by five species of single-celled eukaryotic Plasmodium parasites (mainly Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax) that are transmitted by the bite of Anopheles spp. mosquitoes. Malaria remains one of the most serious infectious diseases; it threatens nearly half of the world's population and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in 2015, predominantly among children in Africa. Malaria is managed through a combination of vector control approaches (such as insecticide spraying and the use of insecticide-treated bed nets) and drugs for both treatment and prevention. The widespread use of artemisinin-based combination therapies has contributed to substantial declines in the number of malaria-related deaths; however, the emergence of drug resistance threatens to reverse this progress. Advances in our understanding of the underlying molecular basis of pathogenesis have fuelled the development of new diagnostics, drugs and insecticides. Several new combination therapies are in clinical development that have efficacy against drug-resistant parasites and the potential to be used in single-dose regimens to improve compliance. This ambitious programme to eliminate malaria also includes new approaches that could yield malaria vaccines or novel vector control strategies. However, despite these achievements, a well-coordinated global effort on multiple fronts is needed if malaria elimination is to be achieved.

  1. Alternative Protein Secretion in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Thavayogarajah, Thuvaraka; Gangopadhyay, Preetish; Rahlfs, Stefan; Becker, Katja; Lingelbach, Klaus; Przyborski, Jude M.; Holder, Anthony A.

    2015-01-01

    Plasmodium falciparum invades human red blood cells, residing in a parasitophorous vacuole (PV), with a parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) separating the PV from the host cell cytoplasm. Here we have investigated the role of N-myristoylation and two other N-terminal motifs, a cysteine potential S-palmitoylation site and a stretch of basic residues, as the driving force for protein targeting to the parasite plasma membrane (PPM) and subsequent translocation across this membrane. Plasmodium falciparum adenylate kinase 2 (Pf AK2) contains these three motifs, and was previously proposed to be targeted beyond the parasite to the PVM, despite the absence of a signal peptide for entry into the classical secretory pathway. Biochemical and microscopy analyses of PfAK2 variants tagged with green fluorescent protein (GFP) showed that these three motifs are involved in targeting the protein to the PPM and translocation across the PPM to the PV. It was shown that the N-terminal 37 amino acids of PfAK2 alone are sufficient to target and translocate GFP across the PPM. As a control we examined the N-myristoylated P. falciparum ADP-ribosylation factor 1 (PfARF1). PfARF1 was found to co-localise with a Golgi marker. To determine whether or not the putative palmitoylation and the cluster of lysine residues from the N-terminus of PfAK2 would modulate the subcellular localization of PfARF1, a chimeric fusion protein containing the N-terminus of PfARF1 and the two additional PfAK2 motifs was analysed. This chimeric protein was targeted to the PPM, but not translocated across the membrane into the PV, indicating that other features of the N-terminus of PfAK2 also play a role in the secretion process. PMID:25909331

  2. Efficient expression systems for cysteine proteases of malaria parasites: too good to be true?

    PubMed

    Sarduy, Emir Salas; Chávez Planes, María de los A

    2013-01-01

    Papain-like cysteine proteases of malaria parasites are considered important chemotherapeutic targets or valuable models for the evaluation of drug candidates. Consequently, many of these enzymes have been cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli for their biochemical characterization. However, their expression has been problematic, showing low yield and leading to the formation of insoluble aggregates. Given that highly-productive expression systems are required for the high-throughput evaluation of inhibitors, we analyzed the existing expression systems to identify the causes of such apparent issues. We found that significant divergences in codon and nucleotide composition from host genes are the most probable cause of expression failure, and propose several strategies to overcome these limitations. Finally we predict that yeast hosts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris may be better suited than E. coli for the efficient expression of plasmodial genes, presumably leading to soluble and active products reproducing structural and functional characteristics of the natural enzymes.

  3. Acidocalcisomes and a vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Marchesini, N; Luo, S; Rodrigues, C O; Moreno, S N; Docampo, R

    2000-04-01

    Plasmodium berghei trophozoites were loaded with the fluorescent calcium indicator, fura-2 acetoxymethyl ester, to measure their intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)). [Ca(2+)](i) was increased in the presence of the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase inhibitor, thapsigargin. Trophozoites also possess a significant amount of Ca(2+) stored in an acidic compartment. This was indicated by: (1) the increase in [Ca(2+)](i) induced by bafilomycin A(1), nigericin, monensin, or the weak base, NH(4)Cl, in the nominal absence of extracellular Ca(2+), and (2) the effect of ionomycin, which cannot take Ca(2+) out of acidic organelles and was more effective after alkalinization of this compartment by addition of bafilomycin A(1), nigericin, monensin, or NH(4)Cl. Inorganic PP(i) promoted the acidification of a subcellular compartment in cell homogenates of trophozoites. The proton gradient driven by PP(i) collapsed by addition of the K(+)/H(+) exchanger, nigericin, and eliminated by the PP(i) analogue, aminomethylenediphosphonate (AMDP). Both PP(i) hydrolysis and proton transport were dependent upon K(+), and Na(+) caused partial inhibition of these activities. PP(i) hydrolysis was sensitive in a dose-dependent manner to AMDP, imidodiphosphate, sodium fluoride, dicyclohexylcarbodi-imide and to the thiol reagent, N-ethylmaleimide. Immunofluorescence microscopy using antibodies raised against conserved peptide sequences of a plant vacuolar pyrophosphatase (V-H(+)-PPase) suggested that the proton pyrophosphatase is located in intracellular vacuoles and the plasma membrane of trophozoites. AMDP caused an increase in [Ca(2+)](i) in the nominal absence of extracellular Ca(2+). Ionomycin was more effective in releasing Ca(2+) from this acidic intracellular compartment after treatment of the cells with AMDP. Taken together, these results suggest the presence in malaria parasites of acidocalcisomes with similar characteristics to those described in

  4. Acidocalcisomes and a vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase in malaria parasites.

    PubMed Central

    Marchesini, N; Luo, S; Rodrigues, C O; Moreno, S N; Docampo, R

    2000-01-01

    Plasmodium berghei trophozoites were loaded with the fluorescent calcium indicator, fura-2 acetoxymethyl ester, to measure their intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)). [Ca(2+)](i) was increased in the presence of the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase inhibitor, thapsigargin. Trophozoites also possess a significant amount of Ca(2+) stored in an acidic compartment. This was indicated by: (1) the increase in [Ca(2+)](i) induced by bafilomycin A(1), nigericin, monensin, or the weak base, NH(4)Cl, in the nominal absence of extracellular Ca(2+), and (2) the effect of ionomycin, which cannot take Ca(2+) out of acidic organelles and was more effective after alkalinization of this compartment by addition of bafilomycin A(1), nigericin, monensin, or NH(4)Cl. Inorganic PP(i) promoted the acidification of a subcellular compartment in cell homogenates of trophozoites. The proton gradient driven by PP(i) collapsed by addition of the K(+)/H(+) exchanger, nigericin, and eliminated by the PP(i) analogue, aminomethylenediphosphonate (AMDP). Both PP(i) hydrolysis and proton transport were dependent upon K(+), and Na(+) caused partial inhibition of these activities. PP(i) hydrolysis was sensitive in a dose-dependent manner to AMDP, imidodiphosphate, sodium fluoride, dicyclohexylcarbodi-imide and to the thiol reagent, N-ethylmaleimide. Immunofluorescence microscopy using antibodies raised against conserved peptide sequences of a plant vacuolar pyrophosphatase (V-H(+)-PPase) suggested that the proton pyrophosphatase is located in intracellular vacuoles and the plasma membrane of trophozoites. AMDP caused an increase in [Ca(2+)](i) in the nominal absence of extracellular Ca(2+). Ionomycin was more effective in releasing Ca(2+) from this acidic intracellular compartment after treatment of the cells with AMDP. Taken together, these results suggest the presence in malaria parasites of acidocalcisomes with similar characteristics to those described in

  5. Parasitic diarrheal disease: drug development and targets

    PubMed Central

    Azam, Amir; Peerzada, Mudasir N.; Ahmad, Kamal

    2015-01-01

    Diarrhea is the manifestation of gastrointestinal infection and is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity specifically among the children of less than 5 years age worldwide. Moreover, in recent years there has been a rise in the number of reports of intestinal infections continuously in the industrialized world. These are largely related to waterborne and food borne outbreaks. These occur by the pathogenesis of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms like bacteria and parasites. The parasitic intestinal infection has remained mostly unexplored and under assessed in terms of therapeutic development. The lack of new drugs and the risk of resistance have led us to carry out this review on drug development for parasitic diarrheal diseases. The major focus has been depicted on commercially available drugs, currently synthesized active heterocyclic compounds and unique drug targets, that are vital for the existence and growth of the parasites and can be further exploited for the search of therapeutically active anti-parasitic agents. PMID:26617574

  6. A novel live-dead staining methodology to study malaria parasite viability

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Malaria is a major health and socio-economical problem in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Several methodologies have been used to assess parasite viability during the adaption of field strains to culture or the assessment of drug potential, but these are in general not able to provide an accurate real-time assessment of whether parasites are alive or dead. Methods Different commercial dyes and kits were assessed for their potential to allow for the real-time detection of whether a blood stage malaria parasite is dead or alive. Results Here, a methodology is presented based on the potential-sensitive mitochondrial probe JC-1, which allows for the real-time visualization of live (red staining) and/or dead (absence of red staining) blood stage parasites in vitro and ex vivo. This method is applicable across malaria parasite species and strains and allows to visualize all parasite blood stages including gametocytes. Further, this methodology has been assessed also for use in drug sensitivity testing. Conclusions The JC-1 staining approach is a versatile methodology that can be used to assess parasite viability during the adaptation of field samples to culture and during drug treatment. It was found to hold promise in the assessment of drugs expected to lead to delayed death phenotypes and it currently being evaluated as a method for the assessment of parasite viability during the adaptation of patient-derived Plasmodium vivax to long-term in vitro culture. PMID:23758788

  7. Diverse sampling of East African haemosporidians reveals chiropteran origin of malaria parasites in primates and rodents.

    PubMed

    Lutz, Holly L; Patterson, Bruce D; Kerbis Peterhans, Julian C; Stanley, William T; Webala, Paul W; Gnoske, Thomas P; Hackett, Shannon J; Stanhope, Michael J

    2016-06-01

    Phylogenies of parasites provide hypotheses on the history of their movements between hosts, leading to important insights regarding the processes of host switching that underlie modern-day epidemics. Haemosporidian (malaria) parasites lack a well resolved phylogeny, which has impeded the study of evolutionary processes associated with host-switching in this group. Here we present a novel phylogenetic hypothesis that suggests bats served as the ancestral hosts of malaria parasites in primates and rodents. Expanding upon current taxon sampling of Afrotropical bat and bird parasites, we find strong support for all major nodes in the haemosporidian tree using both Bayesian and maximum likelihood approaches. Our analyses support a single transition of haemosporidian parasites from saurian to chiropteran hosts, and do not support a monophyletic relationship between Plasmodium parasites of birds and mammals. We find, for the first time, that Hepatocystis and Plasmodium parasites of mammals represent reciprocally monophyletic evolutionary lineages. These results highlight the importance of broad taxonomic sampling when analyzing phylogenetic relationships, and have important implications for our understanding of key host switching events in the history of malaria parasite evolution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Total and Putative Surface Proteomics of Malaria Parasite Salivary Gland Sporozoites*

    PubMed Central

    Lindner, Scott E.; Swearingen, Kristian E.; Harupa, Anke; Vaughan, Ashley M.; Sinnis, Photini; Moritz, Robert L.; Kappe, Stefan H. I.

    2013-01-01

    Malaria infections of mammals are initiated by the transmission of Plasmodium salivary gland sporozoites during an Anopheles mosquito vector bite. Sporozoites make their way through the skin and eventually to the liver, where they infect hepatocytes. Blocking this initial stage of infection is a promising malaria vaccine strategy. Therefore, comprehensively elucidating the protein composition of sporozoites will be invaluable in identifying novel targets for blocking infection. Previous efforts to identify the proteins expressed in Plasmodium mosquito stages were hampered by the technical difficulty of separating the parasite from its vector; without effective purifications, the large majority of proteins identified were of vector origin. Here we describe the proteomic profiling of highly purified salivary gland sporozoites from two Plasmodium species: human-infective Plasmodium falciparum and rodent-infective Plasmodium yoelii. The combination of improved sample purification and high mass accuracy mass spectrometry has facilitated the most complete proteome coverage to date for a pre-erythrocytic stage of the parasite. A total of 1991 P. falciparum sporozoite proteins and 1876 P. yoelii sporozoite proteins were identified, with >86% identified with high sequence coverage. The proteomic data were used to confirm the presence of components of three features critical for sporozoite infection of the mammalian host: the sporozoite motility and invasion apparatus (glideosome), sporozoite signaling pathways, and the contents of the apical secretory organelles. Furthermore, chemical labeling and identification of proteins on live sporozoites revealed previously uncharacterized complexity of the putative sporozoite surface-exposed proteome. Taken together, the data constitute the most comprehensive analysis to date of the protein expression of salivary gland sporozoites and reveal novel potential surface-exposed proteins that might be valuable targets for antibody blockage

  9. Anti-Schistosoma IgG responses in Schistosoma haematobium single and concomitant infection with malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Morenikeji, Olajumoke A; Adeleye, Olumide; Omoruyi, Ewean C; Oyeyemi, Oyetunde T

    2016-03-01

    Areas prone to schistosomiasis are also at risk of malaria transmission. The interaction between the causal agents of the two diseases could modulate immune responses tailored toward protecting or aggravating morbidity dynamics and impair Schistosoma diagnostic precision. This study aimed at assessing the effect of Plasmodium spp. in concomitant infection with Schistosoma haematobium in modulation of anti-Schistosoma IgG antibodies. The school-based cross-sectional study recruited a total of 322 children screened for S. haematobium and Plasmodium spp. Levels of IgG against S. haematobium-soluble egg antigen (SEA) in single S. haematobium/malaria parasites infection and co-infection of the two parasites in schoolchildren were determined. Data were analyzed using χ(2), Fisher's exact test, and Tukey's multiple comparison test analyses. The prevalence of single infection by S. haematobium, Plasmodium spp., and concurrent infection due to the two pathogens was 27.7, 41.0, and 9.3%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Anti-Schistosoma IgG production during co-infection of the two pathogens (1.950 ± 0.742 AU) was significantly higher than the value recorded for single malaria parasites' infection (1.402 ± 0.670 AU) (p < 0.01) but not in S. haematobium infection (1.591 ± 0.604 AU) (p > 0.05). The anti-Schistosoma IgG production in co-infection status was however dependent on the intensity of Plasmodium spp. with individuals having high intensity of malaria parasites recording lower anti-Schistosoma IgG. This study has implication for diagnosis of schistosomiasis where anti-Schistosoma IgG is used as an indicator of infection. Efforts should be made to control the two infections simultaneously in order not to undermine the efforts targeted toward the control of one.

  10. Development and Assessment of Transgenic Rodent Parasites for the Preclinical Evaluation of Malaria Vaccines.

    PubMed

    Espinosa, Diego A; Radtke, Andrea J; Zavala, Fidel

    2016-01-01

    Rodent transgenic parasites are useful tools for the preclinical evaluation of malaria vaccines. Over the last decade, several studies have reported the development of transgenic rodent parasites expressing P. falciparum antigens for the assessment of vaccine-induced immune responses, which traditionally have been limited to in vitro assays. However, the genetic manipulation of rodent Plasmodium species can have detrimental effects on the parasite's infectivity and development. In this chapter, we present a few guidelines for designing transfection plasmids, which should improve transfection efficiency and facilitate the generation of functional transgenic parasite strains. In addition, we provide a transfection protocol for the development of transgenic P. berghei parasites as well as practical methods to assess the viability and infectivity of these newly generated strains throughout different stages of their life cycle. These techniques should allow researchers to develop novel rodent malaria parasites expressing antigens from human malaria species and to determine whether these transgenic strains are fully infectious and thus represent stringent platforms for the in vivo evaluation of malaria vaccine candidates.

  11. Development of humanized mouse models to study human malaria parasite infection.

    PubMed

    Vaughan, Ashley M; Kappe, Stefan H I; Ploss, Alexander; Mikolajczak, Sebastian A

    2012-05-01

    Malaria is a disease caused by infection with Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted by mosquito bite. Five different species of Plasmodium infect humans with severe disease, but human malaria is primarily caused by Plasmodium falciparum. The burden of malaria on the developing world is enormous, and a fully protective vaccine is still elusive. One of the biggest challenges in the quest for the development of new antimalarial drugs and vaccines is the lack of accessible animal models to study P. falciparum infection because the parasite is restricted to the great apes and human hosts. Here, we review the current state of research in this field and provide an outlook of the development of humanized small animal models to study P. falciparum infection that will accelerate fundamental research into human parasite biology and could accelerate drug and vaccine design in the future.

  12. Stuck in a rut? Reconsidering the role of parasite sequestration in severe malaria syndromes

    PubMed Central

    Cunnington, Aubrey J.; Riley, Eleanor M.; Walther, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Severe malaria defines individuals at increased risk of death from their infection. Proposed pathogenic mechanisms include parasite sequestration, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction. Severe malaria is not a single entity, manifesting with distinct syndromes such as severe anemia, severe respiratory distress or coma, each characterized by differences in epidemiology, underlying biology, and risk of death. The relative contribution of the various pathogenic mechanisms may differ between syndromes, and this is supported by accumulating evidence, which challenges sequestration as the initiating event. Here we propose that high parasite biomass is the common initiating feature, but subtle variations in the interaction between the host and parasite exist, and understanding these differences may be crucial to improve outcomes in patients with severe malaria. PMID:24210256

  13. Resistance of a Rodent Malaria Parasite to a Thymidylate Synthase Inhibitor Induces an Apoptotic Parasite Death and Imposes a Huge Cost of Fitness

    PubMed Central

    Muregi, Francis W.; Ohta, Isao; Masato, Uchijima; Kino, Hideto; Ishih, Akira

    2011-01-01

    Background The greatest impediment to effective malaria control is drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum, and thus understanding how resistance impacts on the parasite's fitness and pathogenicity may aid in malaria control strategy. Methodology/Principal Findings To generate resistance, P. berghei NK65 was subjected to 5-fluoroorotate (FOA, an inhibitor of thymidylate synthase, TS) pressure in mice. After 15 generations of drug pressure, the 2% DT (the delay time for proliferation of parasites to 2% parasitaemia, relative to untreated wild-type controls) reduced from 8 days to 4, equalling the controls. Drug sensitivity studies confirmed that FOA-resistance was stable. During serial passaging in the absence of drug, resistant parasite maintained low growth rates (parasitaemia, 15.5%±2.9, 7 dpi) relative to the wild-type (45.6%±8.4), translating into resistance cost of fitness of 66.0%. The resistant parasite showed an apoptosis-like death, as confirmed by light and transmission electron microscopy and corroborated by oligonucleosomal DNA fragmentation. Conclusions/Significance The resistant parasite was less fit than the wild-type, which implies that in the absence of drug pressure in the field, the wild-type alleles may expand and allow drugs withdrawn due to resistance to be reintroduced. FOA resistance led to depleted dTTP pools, causing thymineless parasite death via apoptosis. This supports the tenet that unicellular eukaryotes, like metazoans, also undergo apoptosis. This is the first report where resistance to a chemical stimulus and not the stimulus itself is shown to induce apoptosis in a unicellular parasite. This finding is relevant in cancer therapy, since thymineless cell death induced by resistance to TS-inhibitors can further be optimized via inhibition of pyrimidine salvage enzymes, thus providing a synergistic impact. We conclude that since apoptosis is a process that can be pharmacologically modulated, the parasite's apoptotic machinery may

  14. Whole-Killed Blood-Stage Vaccine-Induced Immunity Suppresses the Development of Malaria Parasites in Mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Feng; Liu, Taiping; Zhao, Chenhao; Lu, Xiao; Zhang, Jian; Xu, Wenyue

    2017-01-01

    As a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine alone does not confer a direct benefit to the recipient, it is necessary to develop a vaccine that not only blocks malaria transmission but also protects vaccinated individuals. In this study we observed that a whole-killed blood-stage vaccine (WKV) not only conferred protection against the blood-stage challenge but also markedly inhibited the transmission of different strains of the malaria parasite. Although the parasitemia is much lower in WKV-immunized mice challenged with malaria parasites, the gametocytemia is comparable between control and immunized mice during the early stages of infection. The depletion of CD4(+) T cells prior to the adoptive transfer of parasites into WKV-immunized mice has no effect on the development of the malaria parasite in the mosquito, but the adoptive transfer of the serum from the immunized mice into the parasite-inoculated mice remarkably suppresses the development of malaria parasites in mosquitoes. Furthermore, immunized mice challenged with the malaria parasite generate higher levels of parasite-specific Abs and the inflammatory cytokines MCP-1 and IFN-γ. However, the adoptive transfer of parasite-specific IgG or the depletion of MCP-1, but not IFN-γ, to some extent is closely associated with the suppression of malaria parasite development in mosquitoes. These data strongly suggest that WKV-induced immune responses confer protection against the mosquito stage, which is largely dependent on malaria parasite-specific Abs and MCP-1. This finding sheds new light on blocking malaria transmission through the immunization of individuals with the WKV. Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.

  15. The structural basis for CD36 binding by the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Hsieh, Fu-Lien; Turner, Louise; Bolla, Jani Reddy; Robinson, Carol V.; Lavstsen, Thomas; Higgins, Matthew K.

    2016-01-01

    CD36 is a scavenger receptor involved in fatty acid metabolism, innate immunity and angiogenesis. It interacts with lipoprotein particles and facilitates uptake of long chain fatty acids. It is also the most common target of the PfEMP1 proteins of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, tethering parasite-infected erythrocytes to endothelial receptors. This prevents their destruction by splenic clearance and allows increased parasitaemia. Here we describe the structure of CD36 in complex with long chain fatty acids and a CD36-binding PfEMP1 protein domain. A conserved hydrophobic pocket allows the hugely diverse PfEMP1 protein family to bind to a conserved phenylalanine residue at the membrane distal tip of CD36. This phenylalanine is also required for CD36 to interact with lipoprotein particles. By targeting a site on CD36 that is required for its physiological function, PfEMP1 proteins maintain the ability to tether to the endothelium and avoid splenic clearance. PMID:27667267

  16. Unusual presentation of Plasmodium vivax: a neglected human malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Kute, Vivek B; Goswami, Jitendra G; Vanikar, Aruna V; Shah, Pankaj R; Gumber, Manoj R; Patel, Himanshu V; Kanodia, Kamal V; Trivedi, Hargovind L

    2012-06-01

    Severe and complicated malaria is usually caused by Plasmodium falciparum malaria (PF) but it has been increasingly observed that Plasmodium vivax malaria (PV), which was otherwise considered to be benign malaria, with a low case-fatality ratio, can also occasionally result in severe disease as with PF malaria. There is an urgent need to re-examine the clinical spectrum and burden of PV so that adequate control measures can be implemented against this emerging but neglected disease. We report a case of severe PV malaria with multi-organ dysfunction. Patients exhibited acute kidney injury, severe anemia/thrombocytopenia, jaundice, hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, and pulmonary edema. Peripheral blood microscopy by trained and expert pathologist and rapid diagnostic test showed the presence of PV and absence of PF. The patient recovered completely with anti-malarial drugs, supportive measures, and hemodialysis.Recent microrheologic research that analyzed malaria severity in PV clearly demonstrated enhanced aggregation, erythrocyte clumping, and reduced deformability affecting microcirculation. Our case report highlights the fact that PV malaria is benign by name but not always by nature. PV can lead to unusual and potentially life-threatening complications. Further large-scale multi-centric studies are needed to define this less known entity.

  17. Transport of lactate and pyruvate in the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed Central

    Elliott, J L; Saliba, K J; Kirk, K

    2001-01-01

    The mature, intraerythrocytic form of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is reliant on glycolysis for its energetic requirements. It produces large quantities of lactic acid, which have to be removed from the parasite's cytosol to maintain the cell's integrity and metabolic viability. Here we show that the monocarboxylates lactate and pyruvate are both transported across the parasite's plasma membrane via a H(+)/monocarboxylate symport process that is saturable and inhibited by the bioflavonoid phloretin. The results provide direct evidence for the presence at the parasite surface of a H(+)-coupled monocarboxylate transporter with features in common with members of the MCT (monocarboxylate transporter) family of higher eukaryotes. PMID:11311136

  18. Lactate retards the development of erythrocytic stages of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Hikosaka, Kenji; Hirai, Makoto; Komatsuya, Keisuke; Ono, Yasuo; Kita, Kiyoshi

    2015-06-01

    The intraerythrocytic form of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum relies on glycolysis for its energy requirements. In glycolysis, lactate is an end product. It is therefore known that lactate accumulates in in vitro culture; however, its influence on parasite growth remains unknown. Here we investigated the effect of lactate on the development of P. falciparum during in vitro culture under lactate supplementation in detail. Results revealed that lactate retarded parasite development and reduced the number of merozoites in the schizont stage. These findings suggest that lactate has the potential to affect parasite development.

  19. The non-mevalonate isoprenoid biosynthesis of plants as a test system for new herbicides and drugs against pathogenic bacteria and the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Lichtenthaler, H K; Zeidler, J; Schwender, J; Müller, C

    2000-01-01

    Higher plants and several photosynthetic algae contain the plastidic 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate/2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway (DOXP/MEP pathway) for isoprenoid biosynthesis. The first four enzymes and their genes are known of this novel pathway. All of the ca. 10 enzymes of this isoprenoid pathway are potential targets for new classes of herbicides. Since the DOXP/MEP pathway also occurs in several pathogenic bacteria, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, all inhibitors and potential herbicides of the DOXP/MEP pathway in plants are also potential drugs against pathogenic bacteria and the malaria parasite. Plants with their easily to handle DOXP/MEP-pathway are thus very suitable test-systems also for new drugs against pathogenic bacteria and the malaria parasite as no particular security measures are required. In fact, the antibiotic herbicide fosmidomycin specifically inhibited not only the DOXP reductoisomerase in plants, but also that in bacteria and in the parasite P. falciparum, and cures malaria-infected mice. This is the first successful application of a herbicide of the novel isoprenoid pathway as a possible drug against malaria.

  20. Parasitic procrastination: late-presenting ovale malaria and schistosomiasis.

    PubMed

    Davis, T M; Singh, B; Sheridan, G

    2001-08-06

    A 29-year-old woman with ovale malaria (most likely contracted, together with asymptomatic schistosomiasis, in East Africa two years previously) had fever, nausea and confusion, jaundice, anaemia, thrombocytopenia, hyponatraemia and hypokalaemia. She was initially diagnosed with and treated for blood-smear-positive vivax malaria. Because of the unusual clinical presentation, blood was analysed by a malaria species-specific nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay which identified Plasmodium ovale as the only infecting species. This case illustrates (i) that a detailed travel history remains a vital part of clinical assessment, (ii) ovale malaria can have an exceptionally long incubation period and features of a moderately severe acute infection, and (iii) PCR assay may prove a valuable adjunct to blood film examination in the diagnosis and speciation of malaria.

  1. How Robust Are Malaria Parasite Clearance Rates as Indicators of Drug Effectiveness and Resistance?

    PubMed Central

    Kay, Katherine

    2015-01-01

    Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are currently the first-line drugs for treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria, the most deadly of the human malarias. Malaria parasite clearance rates estimated from patients' blood following ACT treatment have been widely adopted as a measure of drug effectiveness and as surveillance tools for detecting the presence of potential artemisinin resistance. This metric has not been investigated in detail, nor have its properties or potential shortcomings been identified. Herein, the pharmacology of drug treatment, parasite biology, and human immunity are combined to investigate the dynamics of parasite clearance following ACT. This approach parsimoniously recovers the principal clinical features and dynamics of clearance. Human immunity is the primary determinant of clearance rates, unless or until artemisinin killing has fallen to near-ineffective levels. Clearance rates are therefore highly insensitive metrics for surveillance that may lead to overconfidence, as even quite substantial reductions in drug sensitivity may not be detected as lower clearance rates. Equally serious is the use of clearance rates to quantify the impact of ACT regimen changes, as this strategy will plausibly miss even very substantial increases in drug effectiveness. In particular, the malaria community may be missing the opportunity to dramatically increase ACT effectiveness through regimen changes, particularly through a switch to twice-daily regimens and/or increases in artemisinin dosing levels. The malaria community therefore appears overreliant on a single metric of drug effectiveness, the parasite clearance rate, that has significant and serious shortcomings. PMID:26239987

  2. Quantitation of malaria parasite-erythrocyte cell-cell interactions using optical tweezers.

    PubMed

    Crick, Alex J; Theron, Michel; Tiffert, Teresa; Lew, Virgilio L; Cicuta, Pietro; Rayner, Julian C

    2014-08-19

    Erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum merozoites is an essential step for parasite survival and hence the pathogenesis of malaria. Invasion has been studied intensively, but our cellular understanding has been limited by the fact that it occurs very rapidly: invasion is generally complete within 1 min, and shortly thereafter the merozoites, at least in in vitro culture, lose their invasive capacity. The rapid nature of the process, and hence the narrow time window in which measurements can be taken, have limited the tools available to quantitate invasion. Here we employ optical tweezers to study individual invasion events for what we believe is the first time, showing that newly released P. falciparum merozoites, delivered via optical tweezers to a target erythrocyte, retain their ability to invade. Even spent merozoites, which had lost the ability to invade, retain the ability to adhere to erythrocytes, and furthermore can still induce transient local membrane deformations in the erythrocyte membrane. We use this technology to measure the strength of the adhesive force between merozoites and erythrocytes, and to probe the cellular mode of action of known invasion inhibitory treatments. These data add to our understanding of the erythrocyte-merozoite interactions that occur during invasion, and demonstrate the power of optical tweezers technologies in unraveling the blood-stage biology of malaria.

  3. Quantitation of Malaria Parasite-Erythrocyte Cell-Cell Interactions Using Optical Tweezers

    PubMed Central

    Crick, Alex J.; Theron, Michel; Tiffert, Teresa; Lew, Virgilio L.; Cicuta, Pietro; Rayner, Julian C.

    2014-01-01

    Erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum merozoites is an essential step for parasite survival and hence the pathogenesis of malaria. Invasion has been studied intensively, but our cellular understanding has been limited by the fact that it occurs very rapidly: invasion is generally complete within 1 min, and shortly thereafter the merozoites, at least in in vitro culture, lose their invasive capacity. The rapid nature of the process, and hence the narrow time window in which measurements can be taken, have limited the tools available to quantitate invasion. Here we employ optical tweezers to study individual invasion events for what we believe is the first time, showing that newly released P. falciparum merozoites, delivered via optical tweezers to a target erythrocyte, retain their ability to invade. Even spent merozoites, which had lost the ability to invade, retain the ability to adhere to erythrocytes, and furthermore can still induce transient local membrane deformations in the erythrocyte membrane. We use this technology to measure the strength of the adhesive force between merozoites and erythrocytes, and to probe the cellular mode of action of known invasion inhibitory treatments. These data add to our understanding of the erythrocyte-merozoite interactions that occur during invasion, and demonstrate the power of optical tweezers technologies in unraveling the blood-stage biology of malaria. PMID:25140419

  4. Natural infection of Plasmodium brasilianum in humans: Man and monkey share quartan malaria parasites in the Venezuelan Amazon.

    PubMed

    Lalremruata, Albert; Magris, Magda; Vivas-Martínez, Sarai; Koehler, Maike; Esen, Meral; Kempaiah, Prakasha; Jeyaraj, Sankarganesh; Perkins, Douglas Jay; Mordmüller, Benjamin; Metzger, Wolfram G

    2015-09-01

    The quartan malaria parasite Plasmodium malariae is the widest spread and best adapted human malaria parasite. The simian Plasmodium brasilianum causes quartan fever in New World monkeys and resembles P. malariae morphologically. Since the genetics of the two parasites are nearly identical, differing only in a range of mutations expected within a species, it has long been speculated that the two are the same. However, no naturally acquired infection with parasites termed as P. brasilianum has been found in humans until now. We investigated malaria cases from remote Yanomami indigenous communities of the Venezuelan Amazon and analyzed the genes coding for the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and the small subunit of ribosomes (18S) by species-specific PCR and capillary based-DNA sequencing. Based on 18S rRNA gene sequencing, we identified 12 patients harboring malaria parasites which were 100% identical with P. brasilianum isolated from the monkey, Alouatta seniculus. Translated amino acid sequences of the CS protein gene showed identical immunodominant repeat units between quartan malaria parasites isolated from both humans and monkeys. This study reports, for the first time, naturally acquired infections in humans with parasites termed as P. brasilianum. We conclude that quartan malaria parasites are easily exchanged between humans and monkeys in Latin America. We hypothesize a lack of host specificity in mammalian hosts and consider quartan malaria to be a true anthropozoonosis. Since the name P. brasilianum suggests a malaria species distinct from P. malariae, we propose that P. brasilianum should have a nomenclatorial revision in case further research confirms our findings. The expansive reservoir of mammalian hosts discriminates quartan malaria from other Plasmodium spp. and requires particular research efforts.

  5. Natural infection of Plasmodium brasilianum in humans: Man and monkey share quartan malaria parasites in the Venezuelan Amazon

    PubMed Central

    Lalremruata, Albert; Magris, Magda; Vivas-Martínez, Sarai; Koehler, Maike; Esen, Meral; Kempaiah, Prakasha; Jeyaraj, Sankarganesh; Perkins, Douglas Jay; Mordmüller, Benjamin; Metzger, Wolfram G.

    2015-01-01

    Background The quartan malaria parasite Plasmodium malariae is the widest spread and best adapted human malaria parasite. The simian Plasmodium brasilianum causes quartan fever in New World monkeys and resembles P. malariae morphologically. Since the genetics of the two parasites are nearly identical, differing only in a range of mutations expected within a species, it has long been speculated that the two are the same. However, no naturally acquired infection with parasites termed as P. brasilianum has been found in humans until now. Methods We investigated malaria cases from remote Yanomami indigenous communities of the Venezuelan Amazon and analyzed the genes coding for the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and the small subunit of ribosomes (18S) by species-specific PCR and capillary based-DNA sequencing. Findings Based on 18S rRNA gene sequencing, we identified 12 patients harboring malaria parasites which were 100% identical with P. brasilianum isolated from the monkey, Alouatta seniculus. Translated amino acid sequences of the CS protein gene showed identical immunodominant repeat units between quartan malaria parasites isolated from both humans and monkeys. Interpretation This study reports, for the first time, naturally acquired infections in humans with parasites termed as P. brasilianum. We conclude that quartan malaria parasites are easily exchanged between humans and monkeys in Latin America. We hypothesize a lack of host specificity in mammalian hosts and consider quartan malaria to be a true anthropozoonosis. Since the name P. brasilianum suggests a malaria species distinct from P. malariae, we propose that P. brasilianum should have a nomenclatorial revision in case further research confirms our findings. The expansive reservoir of mammalian hosts discriminates quartan malaria from other Plasmodium spp. and requires particular research efforts. PMID:26501116

  6. Analysis of Antibodies Directed against Merozoite Surface Protein 1 of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Woehlbier, Ute; Epp, Christian; Kauth, Christian W.; Lutz, Rolf; Long, Carole A.; Coulibaly, Boubacar; Kouyaté, Bocar; Arevalo-Herrera, Myriam; Herrera, Sócrates; Bujard, Hermann

    2006-01-01

    The 190-kDa merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1) of Plasmodium falciparum, an essential component in the parasite's life cycle, is a primary candidate for a malaria vaccine. Rabbit antibodies elicited by the heterologously produced MSP-1 processing products p83, p30, p38, and p42, derived from strain 3D7, were analyzed for the potential to inhibit in vitro erythrocyte invasion by the parasite and parasite growth. Our data show that (i) epitopes recognized by antibodies, which inhibit parasite replication, are distributed throughout the entire MSP-1 molecule; (ii) when combined, antibodies specific for different regions of MSP-1 inhibit in a strictly additive manner; (iii) anti-MSP-1 antibodies interfere with erythrocyte invasion as well as with the intraerythrocytic growth of the parasite; and (iv) antibodies raised against MSP-1 of strain 3D7 strongly cross-inhibit replication of the heterologous strain FCB-1. Accordingly, anti-MSP-1 antibodies appear to be capable of interfering with parasite multiplication at more than one level. Since the overall immunogenicity profile of MSP-1 in rabbits closely resembles that found in sera of Aotus monkeys immunized with parasite-derived MSP-1 and of humans semi-immune to malaria from whom highly inhibiting antigen-specific antibodies were recovered, we consider the findings reported here to be relevant for the development of MSP-1-based vaccines against malaria. PMID:16428781

  7. Malaria rapid diagnostic tests in elimination settings—can they find the last parasite?

    PubMed Central

    McMorrow, M. L.; Aidoo, M.; Kachur, S. P.

    2016-01-01

    Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria have improved the availability of parasite-based diagnosis throughout the malaria-endemic world. Accurate malaria diagnosis is essential for malaria case management, surveillance, and elimination. RDTs are inexpensive, simple to perform, and provide results in 15–20 min. Despite high sensitivity and specificity for Plasmodium falciparum infections, RDTs have several limitations that may reduce their utility in low-transmission settings: they do not reliably detect low-density parasitaemia (≤200 parasites/μL), many are less sensitive for Plasmodium vivax infections, and their ability to detect Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae is unknown. Therefore, in elimination settings, alternative tools with higher sensitivity for low-density infections (e.g. nucleic acid-based tests) are required to complement field diagnostics, and new highly sensitive and specific field-appropriate tests must be developed to ensure accurate diagnosis of symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers. As malaria transmission declines, the proportion of low-density infections among symptomatic and asymptomatic persons is likely to increase, which may limit the utility of RDTs. Monitoring malaria in elimination settings will probably depend on the use of more than one diagnostic tool in clinical-care and surveillance activities, and the combination of tools utilized will need to be informed by regular monitoring of test performance through effective quality assurance. PMID:21910780

  8. Serological Conservation of Parasite-Infected Erythrocytes Predicts Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 Gene Expression but Not Severity of Childhood Malaria.

    PubMed

    Warimwe, George M; Abdi, Abdirahman I; Muthui, Michelle; Fegan, Gregory; Musyoki, Jennifer N; Marsh, Kevin; Bull, Peter C

    2016-05-01

    Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1), expressed on P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes, is a major family of clonally variant targets of naturally acquired immunity to malaria. Previous studies have demonstrated that in areas where malaria is endemic, antibodies to infected erythrocytes from children with severe malaria tend to be more seroprevalent than antibodies to infected erythrocytes from children with nonsevere malaria. These data have led to a working hypothesis that PfEMP1 variants associated with parasite virulence are relatively conserved in structure. However, the longevity of such serologically conserved variants in the parasite population is unknown. Here, using infected erythrocytes from recently sampled clinical P. falciparum samples, we measured serological conservation using pools of antibodies in sera that had been sampled 10 to 12 years earlier. The serological conservation of infected erythrocytes strongly correlated with the expression of specific PfEMP1 subsets previously found to be associated with severe malaria. However, we found no association between serological conservation per se and disease severity within these data. This contrasts with the simple hypothesis that P. falciparum isolates with a serologically conserved group of PfEMP1 variants cause severe malaria. The data are instead consistent with periodic turnover of the immunodominant epitopes of PfEMP1 associated with severe malaria.

  9. Tricomponent complex loaded with a mosquito-stage antigen of the malaria parasite induces potent transmission-blocking immunity.

    PubMed

    Arakawa, Takeshi; Tsuboi, Takafumi; Sattabongkot, Jetsumon; Sakao, Kozue; Torii, Motomi; Miyata, Takeshi

    2014-04-01

    The development of malaria vaccines is challenging, partly because the immunogenicity of recombinant malaria parasite antigens is low. We previously demonstrated that parasite antigens integrated into a tricomponent immunopotentiating complex increase antiparasitic immunity. In this study, the B domains of a group G Streptococcus (SpG) strain and Peptostreptococcus magnus (PpL) were used to evaluate whether vaccine efficacy is influenced by the type of immunoglobulin-binding domain (IBD) in the tricomponent complex. IBDs were fused to a pentameric cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) to increase the binding avidity of the complexes for their targets. The COMP-IBD fusion proteins generated (COMP-SpG and COMP-PpL and the previously constructed COMP-Z) bound a large fraction of splenic B lymphocytes but not T lymphocytes. These carrier molecules were then loaded with an ookinete surface protein of Plasmodium vivax, Pvs25, by chemical conjugation. The administration of the tricomponent complexes to mice induced more Pvs25-specific serum IgG than did the unloaded antigen. The PpL complex, which exhibited a broad Ig-binding spectrum, conferred higher vaccine efficacy than did the Z or SpG complexes when evaluated with a membrane feed assay. This study demonstrates that this tricomponent immunopotentiating system, incorporating IBDs as the B-lymphocyte-targeting ligands, is a promising technology for the delivery of malaria vaccines, particularly when combined with an aluminum salt adjuvant.

  10. Standardization in generating and reporting genetically modified rodent malaria parasites: the RMgmDB database.

    PubMed

    Khan, Shahid M; Kroeze, Hans; Franke-Fayard, Blandine; Janse, Chris J

    2013-01-01

    Genetically modified Plasmodium parasites are central gene function reagents in malaria research. The Rodent Malaria genetically modified DataBase (RMgmDB) ( www.pberghei.eu ) is a manually curated Web - based repository that contains information on genetically modified rodent malaria parasites. It provides easy and rapid access to information on the genotype and phenotype of genetically modified mutant and reporter parasites. Here, we provide guidelines for generating and describing rodent malaria parasite mutants. Standardization in describing mutant genotypes and phenotypes is important not only to enhance publication quality but also to facilitate cross-linking and mining data from multiple sources, and should permit information derived from mutant parasites to be used in integrative system biology approaches. We also provide guidelines on how to submit information to RMgmDB on non-published mutants, mutants that do not exhibit a clear phenotype, as well as negative attempts to disrupt/mutate genes. Such information helps to prevent unnecessary duplication of experiments in different laboratories, and can provide indirect evidence that these genes are essential for blood-stage development.

  11. Population Parameters Underlying an Ongoing Soft Sweep in Southeast Asian Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Timothy J.C.; Nair, Shalini; McDew-White, Marina; Cheeseman, Ian H.; Nkhoma, Standwell; Bilgic, Fatma; McGready, Rose; Ashley, Elizabeth; Pyae Phyo, Aung; White, Nicholas J.; Nosten, François

    2017-01-01

    Multiple kelch13 alleles conferring artemisinin resistance (ART-R) are currently spreading through Southeast Asian malaria parasite populations, providing a unique opportunity to observe an ongoing soft selective sweep, investigate why resistance alleles have evolved multiple times and determine fundamental population genetic parameters for Plasmodium. We sequenced kelch13 (n = 1,876), genotyped 75 flanking SNPs, and measured clearance rate (n = 3,552) in parasite infections from Western Thailand (2001–2014). We describe 32 independent coding mutations including common mutations outside the kelch13 propeller associated with significant reductions in clearance rate. Mutations were first observed in 2003 and rose to 90% by 2014, consistent with a selection coefficient of ∼0.079. ART-R allele diversity rose until 2012 and then dropped as one allele (C580Y) spread to high frequency. The frequency with which adaptive alleles arise is determined by the rate of mutation and the population size. Two factors drive this soft sweep: (1) multiple kelch13 amino-acid mutations confer resistance providing a large mutational target—we estimate the target is 87–163 bp. (2) The population mutation parameter (Θ = 2Neμ) can be estimated from the frequency distribution of ART-R alleles and is ∼5.69, suggesting that short term effective population size is 88 thousand to 1.2 million. This is 52–705 times greater than Ne estimated from fluctuation in allele frequencies, suggesting that we have previously underestimated the capacity for adaptive evolution in Plasmodium. Our central conclusions are that retrospective studies may underestimate the complexity of selective events and the Ne relevant for adaptation for malaria is considerably higher than previously estimated. PMID:28025270

  12. Apparent vector-mediated parent-to-offspring transmission in an avian malaria-like parasite.

    PubMed

    Chakarov, Nayden; Linke, Burkhard; Boerner, Martina; Goesmann, Alexander; Krüger, Oliver; Hoffman, Joseph I

    2015-03-01

    Parasite transmission strategies strongly impact host-parasite co-evolution and virulence. However, studies of vector-borne parasites such as avian malaria have neglected the potential effects of host relatedness on the exchange of parasites. To test whether extended parental care in the presence of vectors increases the probability of transmission from parents to offspring, we used high-throughput sequencing to develop microsatellites for malaria-like Leucocytozoon parasites of a wild raptor population. We show that host siblings carry genetically more similar parasites than unrelated chicks both within and across years. Moreover, chicks of mothers of the same plumage morph carried more similar parasites than nestlings whose mothers were of different morphs, consistent with matrilineal transmission of morph-specific parasite strains. Ours is the first evidence of an association between host relatedness and parasite genetic similarity, consistent with vector-mediated parent-to-offspring transmission. The conditions for such 'quasi-vertical' transmission may be common and could suppress the evolution of pathogen virulence.

  13. Combination therapy counteracts the enhanced transmission of drug-resistant malaria parasites to mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    Hallett, Rachel L; Sutherland, Colin J; Alexander, Neal; Ord, Rosalynn; Jawara, Musa; Drakeley, Chris J; Pinder, Margaret; Walraven, Gijs; Targett, Geoffrey A T; Alloueche, Ali

    2004-10-01

    Malaria parasites carrying genes conferring resistance to antimalarials are thought to have a selective advantage which leads to higher rates of transmissibility from the drug-treated host. This is a likely mechanism for the increasing prevalence of parasites with resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in sub-Saharan Africa. Combination therapy is the key strategy being implemented to reduce the impact of resistance, but its effect on the transmission of genetically resistant parasites from treated patients to mosquito vectors has not been measured directly. In a trial comparing CQ monotherapy to the combination CQ plus artesunate (AS) in Gambian children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, we measured transmissibility by feeding Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes with blood from 43 gametocyte-positive patients through a membrane. In the CQ-treated group, gametocytes from patients carrying parasites with the CQ resistance-associated allele pfcrt-76T prior to treatment produced infected mosquitoes with 38 times higher Plasmodium falciparum oocyst burdens than mosquitoes fed on gametocytes from patients infected with sensitive parasites (P < 0.001). Gametocytes from parasites carrying the resistance-associated allele pfmdr1-86Y produced 14-fold higher oocyst burdens than gametocytes from patients infected with sensitive parasites (P = 0.011). However, parasites carrying either of these resistance-associated alleles pretreatment were not associated with higher mosquito oocyst burdens in the CQ-AS-treated group. Thus, combination therapy overcomes the transmission advantage enjoyed by drug-resistant parasites.

  14. Emerging importance of mismatch repair components including UvrD helicase and their cross-talk with the development of drug resistance in malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Ahmad, Moaz; Tuteja, Renu

    2014-12-01

    Human malaria is an important parasitic infection responsible for a significant number of deaths worldwide, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. The recent scenario has worsened mainly because of the emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites having the potential to spread across the world. Drug-resistant parasites possess a defective mismatch repair (MMR); therefore, it is essential to explore its mechanism in detail to determine the underlying cause. Recently, artemisinin-resistant parasites have been reported to exhibit nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes involved in MMR pathways such as MutL homolog (MLH) and UvrD. Plasmodium falciparum MLH is an endonuclease required to restore the defective MMR in drug-resistant W2 strain of P. falciparum. Although the role of helicases in eukaryotic MMR has been questioned, the identification and characterization of the UvrD helicase and their cross-talk with MLH in P. falciparum suggests the possible involvement of UvrD in MMR. A comparative genome-wide analysis revealed the presence of the UvrD helicase in Plasmodium species, while it is absent in human host. Therefore, PfUvrD may emerge as a suitable drug target to control malaria. This review study is focused on recent developments in MMR biochemistry, emerging importance of the UvrD helicase, possibility of its involvement in MMR and the emerging cross-talk between MMR components and drug resistance in malaria parasite. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Gametocyte sex ratio of a malaria parasite: response to experimental manipulation of parasite clonal diversity.

    PubMed

    Osgood, S M; Schall, J J

    2004-01-01

    Sex ratio theory posits that the adaptive proportion of male to female gametocytes of a malaria parasite within the vertebrate host depends on the degree of inbreeding within the vector. Gametocyte sex ratio could be phenotypically flexible, being altered based on the infection's clonal diversity, and thus likely inbreeding. This idea was tested by manipulating the clonal diversity of infections of Plasmodium mexicanum in its lizard host, Sceloporus occidentalis. Naive lizards were inoculated with infected blood from a single donor or 3 pooled donors. Donors varied in their gametocyte sex ratios (17-46%, male), and sex ratio theory allowed estimation of the clonal diversity within donor and recipient infections. Phenotypic plasticity would produce a correlation between donor and recipient infections for infections initiated from a single donor, and a less female-biased gametocyte sex ratio in recipients that received a mixed blood inoculum (with predicted higher clonal diversity) than recipients receiving blood from a single donor. Neither pattern was observed. Gametocyte sex ratio of most infections ranged from 35 to 42% male, expected if clonal diversity was high for all infections. Alternative explanations are suggested for the observed variation of gametocyte sex ratio among P. mexicanum infections.

  16. Biochemistry of malaria parasite infected red blood cells by X-ray microscopy.

    PubMed

    Kapishnikov, S; Leiserowitz, L; Yang, Y; Cloetens, P; Pereiro, E; Awamu Ndonglack, F; Matuschewski, K; Als-Nielsen, J

    2017-04-11

    Red blood cells infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are correlatively imaged by tomography using soft X-rays as well as by scanning hard nano-X-ray beam to obtain fluorescence maps of various elements such as S and Fe. In this way one can deduce the amount of Fe bound either in hemoglobin or in hemozoin crystals in the digestive vacuole of the malaria parasite as well as determine the hemoglobin concentrations in the cytosols of the red blood cell and of the parasite. Fluorescence map of K shows that in the parasite's schizont stage the K concentration in the red blood cell cytosol is diminished by a factor of seven relative to a pristine red blood cell but the total amount of K in the infected red blood cell is the same as in the pristine red blood cell.

  17. A rapid and robust tri-color flow cytometry assay for monitoring malaria parasite development.

    PubMed

    Malleret, Benoît; Claser, Carla; Ong, Alice Soh Meoy; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Sriprawat, Kanlaya; Howland, Shanshan Wu; Russell, Bruce; Nosten, Francois; Rénia, Laurent

    2011-01-01

    Microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained thin blood smears remains the gold standard method used to quantify and stage malaria parasites. However, this technique is tedious, and requires trained microscopists. We have developed a fast and simple flow cytometry method to quantify and stage, various malaria parasites in red blood cells in whole blood or in vitro cultured Plasmodium falciparum. The parasites were stained with dihydroethidium and Hoechst 33342 or SYBR Green I and leukocytes were identified with an antibody against CD45. Depending on the DNA stains used, samples were analyzed using different models of flow cytometers. This protocol, which does not require any washing steps, allows infected red blood cells to be distinguished from leukocytes, as well as allowing non-infected reticulocytes and normocytes to be identified. It also allows assessing the proportion of parasites at different developmental stages. Lastly, we demonstrate how this technique can be applied to antimalarial drug testing.

  18. The Plasmodium apicoplast genome: conserved structure and close relationship of P. ovale to rodent malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Arisue, Nobuko; Hashimoto, Tetsuo; Mitsui, Hideya; Palacpac, Nirianne M Q; Kaneko, Akira; Kawai, Satoru; Hasegawa, Masami; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Horii, Toshihiro

    2012-09-01

    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.

  19. Vaccines against malaria.

    PubMed

    Ouattara, Amed; Laurens, Matthew B

    2015-03-15

    Despite global efforts to control malaria, the illness remains a significant public health threat. Currently, there is no licensed vaccine against malaria, but an efficacious vaccine would represent an important public health tool for successful malaria elimination. Malaria vaccine development continues to be hindered by a poor understanding of antimalarial immunity, a lack of an immune correlate of protection, and the genetic diversity of malaria parasites. Current vaccine development efforts largely target Plasmodium falciparum parasites in the pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic stages, with some research on transmission-blocking vaccines against asexual stages and vaccines against pregnancy-associated malaria. The leading pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidate is RTS,S, and early results of ongoing Phase 3 testing show overall efficacy of 46% against clinical malaria. The next steps for malaria vaccine development will focus on the design of a product that is efficacious against the highly diverse strains of malaria and the identification of a correlate of protection against disease.

  20. Parasite Specific Antibody Increase Induced by an Episode of Acute P. falciparum Uncomplicated Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Kaddumukasa, Mark; Lwanira, Catherine; Lugaajju, Allan; Katabira, Elly; Persson, Kristina E. M.; Wahlgren, Mats; Kironde, Fred

    2015-01-01

    Introduction There is no approved vaccine for malaria, and precisely how human antibody responses to malaria parasite components and potential vaccine molecules are developed and maintained remains poorly defined. In this study, antibody anamnestic or memory response elicited by a single episode of P. falciparum infection was investigated. Methods This study involved 362 malaria patients aged between 6 months to 60 years, of whom 19% were early-diagnosed people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). On the day malaria was diagnosed and 42 days later, blood specimens were collected. Parasite density, CD4+ cells, and antibodies specific to synthetic peptides representing antigenic regions of the P. falciparum proteins GLURP, MSP3 and HRPII were measured. Results On the day of malaria diagnosis, Immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies against GLURP, MSP3 and HRP II peptides were present in the blood of 75%, 41% and 60% of patients, respectively. 42 days later, the majority of patients had boosted their serum IgG antibody more than 1.2 fold. The increase in level of IgG antibody against the peptides was not affected by parasite density at diagnosis. The median CD4+ cell counts of PLWHAs and HIV negative individuals were not statistically different, and median post-infection increases in anti-peptide IgG were similar in both groups of patients. Conclusion In the majority (70%) of individuals, an infection of P. falciparum elicits at least 20% increase in level of anti-parasite IgG. This boost in anti-P. falciparum IgG is not affected by parasite density on the day of malaria diagnosis, or by HIV status. PMID:25906165

  1. Prolonged parasite clearance in a Chinese splenectomized patient with falciparum malaria imported from Nigeria.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Hong-Wei; Li, San-Jin; Hu, Tao; Yu, Yong-Min; Yang, Cheng-Yun; Zhou, Rui-Min; Liu, Ying; Tang, Jing; Wang, Jing-Jing; Wang, Xiu-Yun; Sun, Yong-Xiang; Feng, Zhan-Chun; Xu, Bian-Li

    2017-04-04

    The spleen plays a pivotal role in the rapid clearance of parasitized red blood cells in patients with falciparum malaria after artemisinin treatment. Prolonged parasite clearance can be found in patients who have had a splenectomy, or those with hemoglobin abnormalities and/or reduced immunity, which are all distinguishable from artemisinin resistance. This paper reports on a case of prolonged parasite clearance in a Chinese splenectomized patient with falciparum malaria imported from Nigeria. A 35-year-old Chinese male suffered 2 days of febrile illness after returning to Zhumadian city of Henan province from Nigeria on October 1, 2014. The main symptoms were febrile, including the highest axillary temperature of 40 °C, headache, and chills. A peripheral blood smear showed parasitemia (53 913 asexual parasites/μl) of Plasmodium falciparum. The patient had not used any chemoprophylaxis against malaria in Nigeria when he worked there as a construction worker between 2009 and 2014. The patient had three episodes of malaria in Nigeria and had a splenectomy due to a traffic accident 8 years ago from the time he was admitted to hospital. The patient was orally administrated a total of 320 mg/2.56 g dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for 2 days and intravenously administrated a total of 3 000 mg artesunate for 18 days. The axillary temperature of the patient ranged between 37.0 and 37.7 °C from Day 0 to Day 3, and blood microscopy revealed falciparum malaria parasitemia (26 674 asexual parasites/μl) on Day 3. The patient was afebrile on Day 4, falciparum malaria parasitemia was continuously present and then gradually decreased on the next days, and was negative on Day 21. The patient was cured and left hospital on Day 24 after no plasmodium falciparum was found in the blood on Day 21 to Day 23. No mutation was found in the K13 propeller gene when compared with the PF3D7_1343700 K13 propeller gene reference sequence. This is the first reported case in China of

  2. Parasite Biomass-Related Inflammation, Endothelial Activation, Microvascular Dysfunction and Disease Severity in Vivax Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Barber, Bridget E.; William, Timothy; Grigg, Matthew J.; Parameswaran, Uma; Piera, Kim A.; Price, Ric N.; Yeo, Tsin W.; Anstey, Nicholas M.

    2015-01-01

    Plasmodium vivax can cause severe malaria, however its pathogenesis is poorly understood. In contrast to P. falciparum, circulating vivax parasitemia is low, with minimal apparent sequestration in endothelium-lined microvasculature, and pathogenesis thought unrelated to parasite biomass. However, the relationships between vivax disease-severity and total parasite biomass, endothelial autocrine activation and microvascular dysfunction are unknown. We measured circulating parasitemia and markers of total parasite biomass (plasma parasite lactate dehydrogenase [pLDH] and PvLDH) in adults with severe (n = 9) and non-severe (n = 53) vivax malaria, and examined relationships with disease-severity, endothelial activation, and microvascular function. Healthy controls and adults with non-severe and severe falciparum malaria were enrolled for comparison. Median peripheral parasitemia, PvLDH and pLDH were 2.4-fold, 3.7-fold and 6.9-fold higher in severe compared to non-severe vivax malaria (p = 0.02, p = 0.02 and p = 0.015, respectively), suggesting that, as in falciparum malaria, peripheral P. vivax parasitemia underestimates total parasite biomass, particularly in severe disease. P. vivax schizonts were under-represented in peripheral blood. Severe vivax malaria was associated with increased angiopoietin-2 and impaired microvascular reactivity. Peripheral vivax parasitemia correlated with endothelial activation (angiopoietin-2, von-Willebrand-Factor [VWF], E-selectin), whereas markers of total vivax biomass correlated only with systemic inflammation (IL-6, IL-10). Activity of the VWF-cleaving-protease, ADAMTS13, was deficient in proportion to endothelial activation, IL-6, thrombocytopenia and vivax disease-severity, and associated with impaired microvascular reactivity in severe disease. Impaired microvascular reactivity correlated with lactate in severe vivax malaria. Findings suggest that tissue accumulation of P. vivax may occur, with the hidden

  3. Progress towards malaria control targets in relation to national malaria programme funding

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Malaria control has been dramatically scaled up the past decade, mainly thanks to increasing international donor financing since 2003. This study assessed progress up to 2010 towards global malaria impact targets, in relation to Global Fund, other donor and domestic malaria programme financing over 2003 to 2009. Methods Assessments used domestic malaria financing reported by national programmes, and Global Fund/OECD data on donor financing for 90 endemic low- and middle-income countries, WHO estimates of households owning one or more insecticide-treated mosquito net (ITN) for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and WHO-estimated malaria case incidence and deaths in countries outside sub-Saharan Africa. Results Global Fund and other donor funding is concentrated in a subset of the highest endemic African countries. Outside Africa, donor funding is concentrated in those countries with highest malaria mortality and case incidence rates over the years 2000 to 2003. ITN coverage in 2010 in Africa, and declines in case and death rates per person at risk over 2004 to 2010 outside Africa, were greatest in countries with highest donor funding per person at risk, and smallest in countries with lowest donor malaria funding per person at risk. Outside Africa, all-source malaria programme funding over 2003 to 2009 per case averted ($56-5,749) or per death averted ($58,000-3,900,000) over 2004 to 2010 tended to be lower (more favourable) in countries with higher donor malaria funding per person at risk. Conclusions Increases in malaria programme funding are associated with accelerated progress towards malaria control targets. Associations between programme funding per person at risk and ITN coverage increases and declines in case and death rates suggest opportunities to maximize the impact of donor funding, by strategic re-allocation to countries with highest continued need. PMID:23317000

  4. Rationale for the Coadministration of Albendazole and Ivermectin to Humans for Malaria Parasite Transmission Control

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-07-28

    Looareesuwan S, 2002. Intesti- nal helminth infections are associated with increased incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Thailand. J Parasitol 88...J 12: e67. 52. McKenzie FE, Jeffery GM, Collins WE, 2002. Plasmodium malariae infection boosts Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte production. Am J Trop... falciparum ,27–29 which provides opportunities to target STHs and malaria with the same iver- mectin and albendazole MDA platform. In addition to STHs

  5. Enhanced transmission of drug-resistant parasites to mosquitoes following drug treatment in rodent malaria.

    PubMed

    Bell, Andrew S; Huijben, Silvie; Paaijmans, Krijn P; Sim, Derek G; Chan, Brian H K; Nelson, William A; Read, Andrew F

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of drug resistant Plasmodium parasites is a major challenge to effective malaria control. In theory, competitive interactions between sensitive parasites and resistant parasites within infections are a major determinant of the rate at which parasite evolution undermines drug efficacy. Competitive suppression of resistant parasites in untreated hosts slows the spread of resistance; competitive release following treatment enhances it. Here we report that for the murine model Plasmodium chabaudi, co-infection with drug-sensitive parasites can prevent the transmission of initially rare resistant parasites to mosquitoes. Removal of drug-sensitive parasites following chemotherapy enabled resistant parasites to transmit to mosquitoes as successfully as sensitive parasites in the absence of treatment. We also show that the genetic composition of gametocyte populations in host venous blood accurately reflects the genetic composition of gametocytes taken up by mosquitoes. Our data demonstrate that, at least for this mouse model, aggressive chemotherapy leads to very effective transmission of highly resistant parasites that are present in an infection, the very parasites which undermine the long term efficacy of front-line drugs.

  6. The multifunctional autophagy pathway in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    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

    2014-01-01

    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.

  7. Enhanced transmission of malaria parasites to mosquitoes in a murine model of type 2 diabetes.

    PubMed

    Pakpour, Nazzy; Cheung, Kong Wai; Luckhart, Shirley

    2016-04-21

    More than half of the world's population is at risk of malaria and simultaneously, many malaria-endemic regions are facing dramatic increases in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Studies in murine malaria models have examined the impact of malaria infection on type 2 diabetes pathology, it remains unclear how this chronic metabolic disorder impacts the transmission of malaria. In this report, the ability type 2 diabetic rodents infected with malaria to transmit parasites to Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes is quantified. The infection prevalence and intensity of An. stephensi mosquitoes that fed upon control or type 2 diabetic C57BL/6 db/db mice infected with either lethal Plasmodium berghei NK65 or non-lethal Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL murine malaria strains were determined. Daily parasitaemias were also recorded. A higher percentage of mosquitoes (87.5 vs 61.5 % for P. yoelii and 76.9 vs 50 % for P. berghei) became infected following blood feeding on Plasmodium-infected type 2 diabetic mice compared to mosquitoes that fed on infected control animals, despite no significant differences in circulating gametocyte levels. These results suggest that type 2 diabetic mice infected with malaria are more efficient at infecting mosquitoes, raising the question of whether a similar synergy exists in humans.

  8. Targeting the hypnozoite reservoir of Plasmodium vivax: the hidden obstacle to malaria elimination.

    PubMed

    Wells, Timothy N C; Burrows, Jeremy N; Baird, J Kevin

    2010-03-01

    Plasmodium vivax is the major species of malaria parasite outside Africa. It is especially problematic in that the infection can relapse in the absence of mosquitoes by activation of dormant hypnozoites in the liver. Medicines that target the erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum are also active against P. vivax, except where these have been compromised by resistance. However, the only clinical therapy against relapse of vivax malaria is the 8-aminoquinoline, primaquine. This molecule has the drawback of causing haemolysis in genetically sensitive patients and requires 14 days of treatment. New, safer and more-easily administered drugs are urgently needed, and this is a crucial gap in the broader malaria-elimination agenda. New developments in cell biology are starting to open ways to the next generation of drugs against hypnozoites. This search is urgent, given the time needed to develop a new medication.

  9. A sugar phosphatase regulates the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Guggisberg, Ann M; Park, Jooyoung; Edwards, Rachel L; Kelly, Megan L; Hodge, Dana M; Tolia, Niraj H; Odom, Audrey R

    2014-07-24

    Isoprenoid biosynthesis through the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway generates commercially important products and is a target for antimicrobial drug development. MEP pathway regulation is poorly understood in microorganisms. Here we employ a forward genetics approach to understand MEP pathway regulation in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. The antimalarial fosmidomycin inhibits the MEP pathway enzyme deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR). Fosmidomycin-resistant P. falciparum are enriched for changes in the PF3D7_1033400 locus (hereafter referred to as PfHAD1), encoding a homologue of haloacid dehalogenase (HAD)-like sugar phosphatases. We describe the structural basis for loss-of-function PfHAD1 alleles and find that PfHAD1 dephosphorylates a variety of sugar phosphates, including glycolytic intermediates. Loss of PfHAD1 is required for fosmidomycin resistance. Parasites lacking PfHAD1 have increased MEP pathway metabolites, particularly the DXR substrate, deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate. PfHAD1 therefore controls substrate availability to the MEP pathway. Because PfHAD1 has homologues in plants and bacteria, other HAD proteins may be MEP pathway regulators.

  10. Nanomimics of host cell membranes block invasion and expose invasive malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Najer, Adrian; Wu, Dalin; Bieri, Andrej; Brand, Françoise; Palivan, Cornelia G; Beck, Hans-Peter; Meier, Wolfgang

    2014-12-23

    The fight against most infectious diseases, including malaria, is often hampered by the emergence of drug resistance and lack or limited efficacies of vaccines. Therefore, new drugs, vaccines, or other strategies to control these diseases are needed. Here, we present an innovative nanotechnological strategy in which the nanostructure itself represents the active substance with no necessity to release compounds to attain therapeutic effect and which might act in a drug- and vaccine-like dual function. Invasion of Plasmodium falciparum parasites into red blood cells was selected as a biological model for the initial validation of this approach. Stable nanomimics-polymersomes presenting receptors required for parasite attachment to host cells-were designed to efficiently interrupt the life cycle of the parasite by inhibiting invasion. A simple way to build nanomimics without postformation modifications was established. First, a block copolymer of the receptor with a hydrophobic polymer was synthesized and then mixed with a polymersome-forming block copolymer. The resulting nanomimics bound parasite-derived ligands involved in the initial attachment to host cells and they efficiently blocked reinvasion of malaria parasites after their egress from host cells in vitro. They exhibited efficacies of more than 2 orders of magnitude higher than the soluble form of the receptor, which can be explained by multivalent interactions of several receptors on one nanomimic with multiple ligands on the infective parasite. In the future, our strategy might offer interesting treatment options for severe malaria or a way to modulate the immune response.

  11. Plasmodium falciparum: food vacuole localization of nitric oxide-derived species in intraerythrocytic stages of the malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Ostera, Graciela; Tokumasu, Fuyuki; Oliveira, Fabiano; Sa, Juliana; Furuya, Tetsuya; Teixeira, Clarissa; Dvorak, James

    2008-01-01

    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, PMID:18504040

  12. Disruption of cellular homeostasis induces organelle stress and triggers apoptosis like cell-death pathways in malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Rathore, S; Datta, G; Kaur, I; Malhotra, P; Mohmmed, A

    2015-01-01

    A regulated protein turnover machinery in the cell is essential for effective cellular homeostasis; any interference with this system induces cellular stress and alters the normal functioning of proteins important for cell survival. In this study, we show that persistent cellular stress and organelle dysfunction because of disruption of cellular homeostasis in human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, leads to apoptosis-like cell death. Quantitative global proteomic analysis of the stressed parasites before onset of cell death, showed upregulation of a number of proteins involved in cellular homeostasis; protein network analyses identified upregulated metabolic pathways that may be associated with stress tolerance and pro-survival mechanism. However, persistent stress on parasites cause structural abnormalities in endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria, subsequently a cascade of reactions are initiated in parasites including rise in cytosolic calcium levels, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and activation of VAD-FMK-binding proteases. We further show that activation of VAD-FMK-binding proteases in the parasites leads to degradation of phylogenetically conserved protein, TSN (Tudor staphylococcal nuclease), a known target of metacaspases, as well as degradation of other components of spliceosomal complex. Loss of spliceosomal machinery impairs the mRNA splicing, leading to accumulation of unprocessed RNAs in the parasite and thus dysregulate vital cellular functions, which in turn leads to execution of apoptosis-like cell death. Our results establish one of the possible mechanisms of instigation of cell death by organelle stress in Plasmodium. PMID:26136076

  13. Optimized Pan-species and Speciation Duplex Real-time PCR Assays for Plasmodium Parasites Detection in Malaria Vectors

    PubMed Central

    Sandeu, Maurice Marcel; Moussiliou, Azizath; Moiroux, Nicolas; Padonou, Gilles G.; Massougbodji, Achille; Corbel, Vincent; Tuikue Ndam, Nicaise

    2012-01-01

    Background An accurate method for detecting malaria parasites in the mosquito’s vector remains an essential component in the vector control. The Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay specific for circumsporozoite protein (ELISA-CSP) is the gold standard method for the detection of malaria parasites in the vector even if it presents some limitations. Here, we optimized multiplex real-time PCR assays to accurately detect minor populations in mixed infection with multiple Plasmodium species in the African malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus. Methods Complementary TaqMan-based real-time PCR assays that detect Plasmodium species using specific primers and probes were first evaluated on artificial mixtures of different targets inserted in plasmid constructs. The assays were further validated in comparison with the ELISA-CSP on 200 field caught Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus mosquitoes collected in two localities in southern Benin. Results The validation of the duplex real-time PCR assays on the plasmid mixtures demonstrated robust specificity and sensitivity for detecting distinct targets. Using a panel of mosquito specimen, the real-time PCR showed a relatively high sensitivity (88.6%) and specificity (98%), compared to ELISA-CSP as the referent standard. The agreement between both methods was “excellent” (κ = 0.8, P<0.05). The relative quantification of Plasmodium DNA between the two Anopheles species analyzed showed no significant difference (P = 0, 2). All infected mosquito samples contained Plasmodium falciparum DNA and mixed infections with P. malariae and/or P. ovale were observed in 18.6% and 13.6% of An. gambiae and An. funestus respectively. Plasmodium vivax was found in none of the mosquito samples analyzed. Conclusion This study presents an optimized method for detecting the four Plasmodium species in the African malaria vectors. The study highlights substantial discordance with traditional ELISA-CSP pointing out the

  14. Intestinal parasites coinfection does not alter plasma cytokines profile elicited in acute malaria in subjects from endemic area of Brazil.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Arcila, Juan Camilo; Perce-da-Silva, Daiana de Souza; Vasconcelos, Mariana Pinheiro Alves; Rodrigues-da-Silva, Rodrigo Nunes; Pereira, Virginia Araujo; Aprígio, Cesarino Junior Lima; Lima, Cleoni Alves Mendes; Fonseca e Fonseca, Bruna de Paula; Banic, Dalma Maria; Lima-Junior, Josué da Costa; Oliveira-Ferreira, Joseli

    2014-01-01

    In Brazil, malaria is prevalent in the Amazon region and these regions coincide with high prevalence of intestinal parasites but few studies explore the interaction between malaria and other parasites. Therefore, the present study evaluates changes in cytokine, chemokine, C-reactive protein, and nitric oxide (NO) concentrations in 264 individuals, comparing plasma from infected individuals with concurrent malaria and intestinal parasites to individuals with either malaria infection alone and uninfected. In the studied population 24% of the individuals were infected with Plasmodium and 18% coinfected with intestinal parasites. Protozoan parasites comprised the bulk of the intestinal parasites infections and subjects infected with intestinal parasites were more likely to have malaria. The use of principal component analysis and cluster analysis associated increased levels of IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, and CRP and low levels of IL-17A predominantly with individuals with malaria alone and coinfected individuals. In contrast, low levels of almost all inflammatory mediators were associated predominantly with individuals uninfected while increased levels of IL-17A were associated predominantly with individuals with intestinal parasites only. In conclusion, our data suggest that, in our population, the infection with intestinal parasites (mainly protozoan) does not modify the pattern of cytokine production in individuals infected with P. falciparum and P. vivax.

  15. Intestinal Parasites Coinfection Does Not Alter Plasma Cytokines Profile Elicited in Acute Malaria in Subjects from Endemic Area of Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Perce-da-Silva, Daiana de Souza; Lima-Junior, Josué da Costa

    2014-01-01

    In Brazil, malaria is prevalent in the Amazon region and these regions coincide with high prevalence of intestinal parasites but few studies explore the interaction between malaria and other parasites. Therefore, the present study evaluates changes in cytokine, chemokine, C-reactive protein, and nitric oxide (NO) concentrations in 264 individuals, comparing plasma from infected individuals with concurrent malaria and intestinal parasites to individuals with either malaria infection alone and uninfected. In the studied population 24% of the individuals were infected with Plasmodium and 18% coinfected with intestinal parasites. Protozoan parasites comprised the bulk of the intestinal parasites infections and subjects infected with intestinal parasites were more likely to have malaria. The use of principal component analysis and cluster analysis associated increased levels of IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, and CRP and low levels of IL-17A predominantly with individuals with malaria alone and coinfected individuals. In contrast, low levels of almost all inflammatory mediators were associated predominantly with individuals uninfected while increased levels of IL-17A were associated predominantly with individuals with intestinal parasites only. In conclusion, our data suggest that, in our population, the infection with intestinal parasites (mainly protozoan) does not modify the pattern of cytokine production in individuals infected with P. falciparum and P. vivax. PMID:25309052

  16. Association of sub-microscopic malaria parasite carriage with transmission intensity in north-eastern Tanzania

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background In malaria endemic areas, individuals are frequently asymptomatic and may be undetected by conventional microscopy or newer, rapid diagnostic tests. Molecular techniques allow a more accurate assessment of this asymptomatic parasite burden, the extent of which is important for malaria control. This study examines the relative prevalence of sub-microscopic level parasite carriage and clonal complexity of infections (multiplicity of infection) over a range of endemicities in a region of north-eastern Tanzania where altitude is an established proxy of malaria transmission. The PCR prevalence was then compared against other measures of transmission intensity collected in the same area. Methods This study used 1,121 blood samples collected from a previously conducted cross-sectional malario-metric survey during the short rainy season in 2001 from 13 villages (three at < 600 m, four at 600-1,200 m and six at > 1,200 m in altitude above sea level). Samples were analysed by PCR for carriage of parasites and multiplicity of infection. These data were compared with other measures of transmission intensity collected from the same area. Results Parasite prevalence was 34.7% by PCR and 13.6% by microscopy; a 2.5-fold difference in line with other recent observations. This fold difference was relatively consistent at the different altitude bands despite a marked decrease in parasite prevalence with altitude: < 600 m 70.9 vs 28.6, 600-1,200 m 35.5 vs 9.9, > 1,200 m 15.8 vs 5.9. The difference between parasite prevalence by PCR was 3.2 in individuals aged between 15 and 45 years (34.5 vs 10.9) compared with 2.5 in those aged 1-5 (34.0 vs 13.5) though this was not statistically significant. Multiplicity of infection (MOI) ranged from 1.2 to 3.7 and was positively associated with parasite prevalence assessed by both PCR and microscopy. There was no association of MOI and age. Village level PCR parasite prevalence was strongly correlated with altitude, sero-conversion rate

  17. Environmental influence on the genetic basis of mosquito resistance to malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Lambrechts, Louis; Chavatte, Jean-Marc; Snounou, Georges; Koella, Jacob C

    2006-01-01

    The genetic basis of a host's resistance to parasites has important epidemiological and evolutionary consequences. Understanding this genetic basis can be complicated by non-genetic factors, such as environmental quality, which may influence the expression of genetic resistance and profoundly alter patterns of disease and the host's response to selection. In particular, understanding the environmental influence on the genetic resistance of mosquitoes to malaria gives valuable knowledge concerning the use of malaria-resistant transgenic mosquitoes as a measure of malaria control. We made a step towards this understanding by challenging eight isofemale lines of the malaria vector Anopheles stephensi with the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii yoelii and by feeding the mosquitoes with different concentrations of glucose. The isofemale lines differed in infection loads (the numbers of oocysts), corroborating earlier studies showing a genetic basis of resistance. In contrast, the proportion of infected mosquitoes did not differ among lines, suggesting that the genetic component underlying infection load differs from the genetic component underlying infection rate. In addition, the mean infection load and, in particular, its heritable variation in mosquitoes depended on the concentration of glucose, which suggests that the environment affects the expression and the evolution of the mosquitoes' resistance in nature. We found no evidence of genotype-by-environment interactions, i.e. the lines responded similarly to environmental variation. Overall, these results indicate that environmental variation can significantly reduce the importance of genes in determining the resistance of mosquitoes to malaria infection. PMID:16777744

  18. DNA from pre-erythrocytic stage malaria parasites is detectable by PCR in the faeces and blood of hosts.

    PubMed

    Abkallo, Hussein M; Liu, Weimin; Hokama, Sarina; Ferreira, Pedro E; Nakazawa, Shusuke; Maeno, Yoshimasa; Quang, Nguyen T; Kobayashi, Nobuyuki; Kaneko, Osamu; Huffman, Michael A; Kawai, Satoru; Marchand, Ron P; Carter, Richard; Hahn, Beatrice H; Culleton, Richard

    2014-06-01

    Following the bite of an infective mosquito, malaria parasites first invade the liver where they develop and replicate for a number of days before being released into the bloodstream where they invade red blood cells and cause disease. The biology of the liver stages of malaria parasites is relatively poorly understood due to the inaccessibility of the parasites to sampling during this phase of their life cycle. Here we report the detection in blood and faecal samples of malaria parasite DNA throughout their development in the livers of mice and before the parasites begin their growth in the blood circulation. It is shown that parasite DNA derived from pre-erythrocytic stage parasites reaches the faeces via the bile. We then show that different primate malaria species can be detected by PCR in blood and faecal samples from naturally infected captive macaque monkeys. These results demonstrate that pre-erythrocytic parasites can be detected and quantified in experimentally infected animals. Furthermore, these results have important implications for both molecular epidemiology and phylogenetics of malaria parasites. In the former case, individuals who are malaria parasite negative by microscopy, but PCR positive for parasite DNA in their blood, are considered to be "sub-microscopic" blood stage parasite carriers. We now propose that PCR positivity is not necessarily an indicator of the presence of blood stage parasites, as the DNA could derive from pre-erythrocytic parasites. Similarly, in the case of molecular phylogenetics based on DNA sequences alone, we argue that DNA amplified from blood or faeces does not necessarily come from a parasite species that infects the red blood cells of that particular host.

  19. Coinfection with malaria and intestinal parasites, and its association with anaemia in children in Cameroon.

    PubMed

    Njunda, Anna Longdoh; Fon, Shuri Ghasarah; Assob, Jules Clement Nguedia; Nsagha, Dickson Shey; Kwenti, Tayong Dizzle Bita; Kwenti, Tebit Emmanuel

    2015-10-06

    The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of coinfection with malaria and intestinal parasites, as well as to determine its association with anaemia in children aged 10 years and below in Muyuka, Cameroon. This was a cross-sectional study. Participants were febrile children who were admitted to the Muyuka district hospital between April and October 2012. Blood and stool samples were collected from those participants who gave consent to take part in the study. Haemoglobin concentration (Hb) and complete blood count (CBC) were performed using an automated haematology analyser (Mindray®, BC-2800). Giemsa-stained blood film was examined to detect malaria parasites, while the formol-ether concentration technique was used to detect intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs). The Pearson's chi-square, Student's T-test and correlation analysis were all performed as part of the statistical analyses. Four hundred and eleven (411) children successfully took part in this study. The prevalence of malaria, IPIs, malaria and IPI coinfection, and anaemia observed were 98.5 %, 11.9 %, 11.9 % and 44.8 %, respectively. Anaemia and IPIs were significantly associated with age; anaemia was more prevalent in children under five years of age (p = 0.000), whereas IPIs were more prevalent in children aged between five and 10 years (p = 0.006). The parasite species isolated included Ascaris lumbricoides (36 [73.5 %]), Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (9 [18.4 %]) and hookworm (4 [8.2 %]). The mean Hb observed was 10.64 g/dl (±1.82). A significant negative correlation was observed between malaria parasite density and Hb. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of anaemia among children infected with malaria, IPIs, or malaria and IPI coinfection, or among non-infected children. Similarly, the mean Hb did not differ among infected and non-infected children. This study showed that malaria and IPIs still constitute a major public health problem in the study area despite a

  20. Hidden in plain sight: Cryptic and endemic malaria parasites in North American white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

    PubMed Central

    Martinsen, Ellen S.; McInerney, Nancy; Brightman, Heidi; Ferebee, Ken; Walsh, Tim; McShea, William J.; Forrester, Tavis D.; Ware, Lisa; Joyner, Priscilla H.; Perkins, Susan L.; Latch, Emily K.; Yabsley, Michael J.; Schall, Joseph J.; Fleischer, Robert C.

    2016-01-01

    Malaria parasites of the genus Plasmodium are diverse in mammal hosts, infecting five mammalian orders in the Old World, but were long considered absent from the diverse deer family (Cervidae) and from New World mammals. There was a description of a Plasmodium parasite infecting a single splenectomized white-tailed deer (WTD; Odocoileus virginianus) in 1967 but none have been reported since, which has proven a challenge to our understanding of malaria parasite biogeography. Using both microscopy and polymerase chain reaction, we screened a large sample of native and captive ungulate species from across the United States for malaria parasites. We found a surprisingly high prevalence (up to 25%) and extremely low parasitemia of Plasmodium parasites in WTD throughout the eastern United States. We did not detect infections in the other ungulate species nor in western WTD. We also isolated the parasites from the mosquito Anopheles punctipennis. Morphologically, the parasites resemble the parasite described in 1967, Plasmodium odocoilei. Our analysis of the cytochrome b gene revealed two divergent Plasmodium clades in WTD representative of species that likely diverged 2.3 to 6 million years ago, concurrent with the arrival of the WTD ancestor into North America across Beringia. Multigene phylogenetic analysis placed these clades within the larger malaria parasite clade. We document Plasmodium parasites to be common in WTD, endemic to the New World, and as the only known malaria parasites from deer (Cervidae). These findings reshape our knowledge of the phylogeography of the malaria parasites and suggest that other mammal taxa may harbor infection by endemic and occult malaria parasites. PMID:26989785

  1. Hidden in plain sight: Cryptic and endemic malaria parasites in North American white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

    PubMed

    Martinsen, Ellen S; McInerney, Nancy; Brightman, Heidi; Ferebee, Ken; Walsh, Tim; McShea, William J; Forrester, Tavis D; Ware, Lisa; Joyner, Priscilla H; Perkins, Susan L; Latch, Emily K; Yabsley, Michael J; Schall, Joseph J; Fleischer, Robert C

    2016-02-01

    Malaria parasites of the genus Plasmodium are diverse in mammal hosts, infecting five mammalian orders in the Old World, but were long considered absent from the diverse deer family (Cervidae) and from New World mammals. There was a description of a Plasmodium parasite infecting a single splenectomized white-tailed deer (WTD; Odocoileus virginianus) in 1967 but none have been reported since, which has proven a challenge to our understanding of malaria parasite biogeography. Using both microscopy and polymerase chain reaction, we screened a large sample of native and captive ungulate species from across the United States for malaria parasites. We found a surprisingly high prevalence (up to 25%) and extremely low parasitemia of Plasmodium parasites in WTD throughout the eastern United States. We did not detect infections in the other ungulate species nor in western WTD. We also isolated the parasites from the mosquito Anopheles punctipennis. Morphologically, the parasites resemble the parasite described in 1967, Plasmodium odocoilei. Our analysis of the cytochrome b gene revealed two divergent Plasmodium clades in WTD representative of species that likely diverged 2.3 to 6 million years ago, concurrent with the arrival of the WTD ancestor into North America across Beringia. Multigene phylogenetic analysis placed these clades within the larger malaria parasite clade. We document Plasmodium parasites to be common in WTD, endemic to the New World, and as the only known malaria parasites from deer (Cervidae). These findings reshape our knowledge of the phylogeography of the malaria parasites and suggest that other mammal taxa may harbor infection by endemic and occult malaria parasites.

  2. Baculovirus-vectored multistage Plasmodium vivax vaccine induces both protective and transmission-blocking immunities against transgenic rodent malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Mizutani, Masanori; Iyori, Mitsuhiro; Blagborough, Andrew M; Fukumoto, Shinya; Funatsu, Tomohiro; Sinden, Robert E; Yoshida, Shigeto

    2014-10-01

    A multistage malaria vaccine targeting the pre-erythrocytic and sexual stages of Plasmodium could effectively protect individuals against infection from mosquito bites and provide transmission-blocking (TB) activity against the sexual stages of the parasite, respectively. This strategy could help prevent malaria infections in individuals and, on a larger scale, prevent malaria transmission in communities of endemicity. Here, we describe the development of a multistage Plasmodium vivax vaccine which simultaneously expresses P. vivax circumsporozoite protein (PvCSP) and P25 (Pvs25) protein of this species as a fusion protein, thereby acting as a pre-erythrocytic vaccine and a TB vaccine, respectively. A new-concept vaccine platform based on the baculovirus dual-expression system (BDES) was evaluated. The BDES-Pvs25-PvCSP vaccine displayed correct folding of the Pvs25-PvCSP fusion protein on the viral envelope and was highly expressed upon transduction of mammalian cells in vitro. This vaccine induced high levels of antibodies to Pvs25 and PvCSP and elicited protective (43%) and TB (82%) efficacies against transgenic P. berghei parasites expressing the corresponding P. vivax antigens in mice. Our data indicate that our BDES, which functions as both a subunit and DNA vaccine, can offer a promising multistage vaccine capable of delivering a potent antimalarial pre-erythrocytic and TB response via a single immunization regimen. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  3. Polymerase chain reaction detection of human host preference and Plasmodium parasite infections in field collected potential malaria vectors.

    PubMed

    Dhiman, Sunil; Bhola, Rakesh Kumar; Goswami, Diganta; Rabha, Bipul; Kumar, Dinesh; Baruah, Indra; Singh, Lokendra

    2012-07-01

    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.

  4. Multiple stiffening effects of nanoscale knobs on human red blood cells infected with Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yao; Huang, Changjin; Kim, Sangtae; Golkaram, Mahdi; Dixon, Matthew W A; Tilley, Leann; Li, Ju; Zhang, Sulin; Suresh, Subra

    2015-05-12

    During its asexual development within the red blood cell (RBC), Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), the most virulent human malaria parasite, exports proteins that modify the host RBC membrane. The attendant increase in cell stiffness and cytoadherence leads to sequestration of infected RBCs in microvasculature, which enables the parasite to evade the spleen, and leads to organ dysfunction in severe cases of malaria. Despite progress in understanding malaria pathogenesis, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the dramatic loss of deformability of Pf-infected RBCs have remained elusive. By recourse to a coarse-grained (CG) model that captures the molecular structures of Pf-infected RBC membrane, here we show that nanoscale surface protrusions, known as "knobs," introduce multiple stiffening mechanisms through composite strengthening, strain hardening, and knob density-dependent vertical coupling. On one hand, the knobs act as structural strengtheners for the spectrin network; on the other, the presence of knobs results in strain inhomogeneity in the spectrin network with elevated shear strain in the knob-free regions, which, given its strain-hardening property, effectively stiffens the network. From the trophozoite to the schizont stage that ensues within 24-48 h of parasite invasion into the RBC, the rise in the knob density results in the increased number of vertical constraints between the spectrin network and the lipid bilayer, which further stiffens the membrane. The shear moduli of Pf-infected RBCs predicted by the CG model at different stages of parasite maturation are in agreement with experimental results. In addition to providing a fundamental understanding of the stiffening mechanisms of Pf-infected RBCs, our simulation results suggest potential targets for antimalarial therapies.

  5. Parasite-host interaction in malaria: genetic clues and copy number variation

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    In humans, infections contribute highly to mortality and morbidity rates worldwide. Malaria tropica is one of the major infectious diseases globally and is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodia have accompanied human beings since the emergence of humankind. Due to its pathogenicity, malaria is a powerful selective force on the human genome. Genetic epidemiology approaches such as family and twin studies, candidate gene studies, and disease-association studies have identified a number of genes that mediate relative protection against the severest forms of the disease. New molecular approaches, including genome-wide association studies, have recently been performed to expand our knowledge on the functional effect of human variation in malaria. For the future, a systematic determination of gene-dosage effects and expression profiles of protective genes might unveil the functional impact of structural alterations in these genes on either side of the host-parasite interaction. PMID:19725943

  6. Evaluation of a Novel Magneto-Optical Method for the Detection of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Orbán, Ágnes; Butykai, Ádám; Molnár, András; Pröhle, Zsófia; Fülöp, Gergö; Zelles, Tivadar; Forsyth, Wasan; Hill, Danika; Müller, Ivo; Schofield, Louis; Rebelo, Maria; Hänscheid, Thomas; Karl, Stephan; Kézsmárki, István

    2014-01-01

    Improving the efficiency of malaria diagnosis is one of the main goals of current malaria research. We have recently developed a magneto-optical (MO) method which allows high-sensitivity detection of malaria pigment (hemozoin crystals) in blood via the magnetically induced rotational motion of the hemozoin crystals. Here, we evaluate this MO technique for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum in infected erythrocytes using in-vitro parasite cultures covering the entire intraerythrocytic life cycle. Our novel method detected parasite densities as low as ∼40 parasites per microliter of blood (0.0008% parasitemia) at the ring stage and less than 10 parasites/µL (0.0002% parasitemia) in the case of the later stages. These limits of detection, corresponding to approximately 20 pg/µL of hemozoin produced by the parasites, exceed that of rapid diagnostic tests and compete with the threshold achievable by light microscopic observation of blood smears. The MO diagnosis requires no special training of the operator or specific reagents for parasite detection, except for an inexpensive lysis solution to release intracellular hemozoin. The devices can be designed to a portable format for clinical and in-field tests. Besides testing its diagnostic performance, we also applied the MO technique to investigate the change in hemozoin concentration during parasite maturation. Our preliminary data indicate that this method may offer an efficient tool to determine the amount of hemozoin produced by the different parasite stages in synchronized cultures. Hence, it could eventually be used for testing the susceptibility of parasites to antimalarial drugs. PMID:24824542

  7. Clinically immune hosts as a refuge for drug-sensitive malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Klein, Eili Y; Smith, David L; Boni, Maciej F; Laxminarayan, Ramanan

    2008-04-25

    Mutations in Plasmodium falciparum that confer resistance to first-line antimalarial drugs have spread throughout the world from a few independent foci, all located in areas that were likely characterized by low or unstable malaria transmission. One of the striking differences between areas of low or unstable malaria transmission and hyperendemic areas is the difference in the size of the population of immune individuals. However, epidemiological models of malaria transmission have generally ignored the role of immune individuals in transmission, assuming that they do not affect the fitness of the parasite. This model reconsiders the role of immunity in the dynamics of malaria transmission and its impact on the evolution of antimalarial drug resistance under the assumption that immune individuals are infectious. The model is constructed as a two-stage susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) model of malaria transmission that assumes that individuals build up clinical immunity over a period of years. This immunity reduces the frequency and severity of clinical symptoms, and thus their use of drugs. It also reduces an individual's level of infectiousness, but does not impact the likelihood of becoming infected. Simulations found that with the introduction of resistance into a population, clinical immunity can significantly alter the fitness of the resistant parasite, and thereby impact the ability of the resistant parasite to spread from an initial host by reducing the effective reproductive number of the resistant parasite as transmission intensity increases. At high transmission levels, despite a higher basic reproductive number, R0, the effective reproductive number of the resistant parasite may fall below the reproductive number of the sensitive parasite. These results suggest that high-levels of clinical immunity create a natural ecological refuge for drug-sensitive parasites. This provides an epidemiological rationale for historical patterns of resistance

  8. Defining the protein interaction network of human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Ramaprasad, Abhinay; Pain, Arnab; Ravasi, Timothy

    2012-02-01

    Malaria, caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, affects around 225 million people yearly and a huge international effort is directed towards combating this grave threat to world health and economic development. Considerable advances have been made in malaria research triggered by the sequencing of its genome in 2002, followed by several high-throughput studies defining the malaria transcriptome and proteome. A protein-protein interaction (PPI) network seeks to trace the dynamic interactions between proteins, thereby elucidating their local and global functional relationships. Experimentally derived PPI network from high-throughput methods such as yeast two hybrid (Y2H) screens are inherently noisy, but combining these independent datasets by computational methods tends to give a greater accuracy and coverage. This review aims to discuss the computational approaches used till date to construct a malaria protein interaction network and to catalog the functional predictions and biological inferences made from analysis of the PPI network.

  9. Parasite Polymorphism and Severe Malaria in Dakar (Senegal): A West African Urban Area

    PubMed Central

    Bob, Ndeye Sakha; Diop, Bernard Marcel; Renaud, Francois; Marrama, Laurence; Durand, Patrick; Tall, Adama; Ka, Boubacar; Ekala, Marie Therese; Bouchier, Christiane; Mercereau-Puijalon, Odile; Jambou, Ronan

    2010-01-01

    Background Transmission of malaria in West African urban areas is low and healthcare facilities are well organized. However, malaria mortality remains high. We conducted a survey in Dakar with the general objective to establish who died from severe malaria (SM) in urban areas (particularly looking at the age-groups) and to compare parasite isolates associated with mild or severe malaria. Methodology/Principal Findings The current study included mild- (MM) and severe malaria (SM) cases, treated in dispensaries (n = 2977) and hospitals (n = 104), We analysed Pfdhfr/Pfcrt-exon2 and nine microsatellite loci in 102 matched cases of SM and MM. Half of the malaria cases recorded at the dispensaries and 87% of SM cases referred to hospitals, occurred in adults, although adults only accounted for 26% of all dispensary consultations. This suggests that, in urban settings, whatever the reason for this adult over-representation, health-workers are forced to take care of increasing numbers of malaria cases among adults. Inappropriate self treatment and mutations in genes associated with drug resistance were found associated with SM in adults. SM was also associated with a specific pool of isolates highly polymorphic and different from those associated with MM. Conclusion In this urban setting, adults currently represent one of the major groups of patients attending dispensaries for malaria treatment. For these patients, despite the low level of transmission, SM was associated with a specific and highly polymorphic pool of parasites which may have been selected by inappropriate treatment. PMID:20352101

  10. Parasite-based malaria diagnosis: Are Health Systems in Uganda equipped enough to implement the policy?

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Malaria case management is a key strategy for malaria control. Effective coverage of parasite-based malaria diagnosis (PMD) remains limited in malaria endemic countries. This study assessed the health system's capacity to absorb PMD at primary health care facilities in Uganda. Methods In a cross sectional survey, using multi-stage cluster sampling, lower level health facilities (LLHF) in 11 districts in Uganda were assessed for 1) tools, 2) skills, 3) staff and infrastructure, and 4) structures, systems and roles necessary for the implementing of PMD. Results Tools for PMD (microscopy and/or RDTs) were available at 30 (24%) of the 125 LLHF. All LLHF had patient registers and 15% had functional in-patient facilities. Three months’ long stock-out periods were reported for oral and parenteral quinine at 39% and 47% of LLHF respectively. Out of 131 health workers interviewed, 86 (66%) were nursing assistants; 56 (43%) had received on-job training on malaria case management and 47 (36%) had adequate knowledge in malaria case management. Overall, only 18% (131/730) Ministry of Health approved staff positions were filled by qualified personnel and 12% were recruited or transferred within six months preceding the survey. Of 186 patients that received referrals from LLHF, 130(70%) had received pre-referral anti-malarial drugs, none received pre-referral rectal artesunate and 35% had been referred due to poor response to antimalarial drugs. Conclusion Primary health care facilities had inadequate human and infrastructural capacity to effectively implement universal parasite-based malaria diagnosis. The priority capacity building needs identified were: 1) recruitment and retention of qualified staff, 2) comprehensive training of health workers in fever management, 3) malaria diagnosis quality control systems and 4) strengthening of supply chain, stock management and referral systems. PMID:22920954

  11. Parasite-based malaria diagnosis: are health systems in Uganda equipped enough to implement the policy?

    PubMed

    Kyabayinze, Daniel J; Achan, Jane; Nakanjako, Damalie; Mpeka, Betty; Mawejje, Henry; Mugizi, Rukaaka; Kalyango, Joan N; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Talisuna, Ambrose; Jean-Pierre, Van geertruyden

    2012-08-24

    Malaria case management is a key strategy for malaria control. Effective coverage of parasite-based malaria diagnosis (PMD) remains limited in malaria endemic countries. This study assessed the health system's capacity to absorb PMD at primary health care facilities in Uganda. In a cross sectional survey, using multi-stage cluster sampling, lower level health facilities (LLHF) in 11 districts in Uganda were assessed for 1) tools, 2) skills, 3) staff and infrastructure, and 4) structures, systems and roles necessary for the implementing of PMD. Tools for PMD (microscopy and/or RDTs) were available at 30 (24%) of the 125 LLHF. All LLHF had patient registers and 15% had functional in-patient facilities. Three months' long stock-out periods were reported for oral and parenteral quinine at 39% and 47% of LLHF respectively. Out of 131 health workers interviewed, 86 (66%) were nursing assistants; 56 (43%) had received on-job training on malaria case management and 47 (36%) had adequate knowledge in malaria case management. Overall, only 18% (131/730) Ministry of Health approved staff positions were filled by qualified personnel and 12% were recruited or transferred within six months preceding the survey. Of 186 patients that received referrals from LLHF, 130(70%) had received pre-referral anti-malarial drugs, none received pre-referral rectal artesunate and 35% had been referred due to poor response to antimalarial drugs. Primary health care facilities had inadequate human and infrastructural capacity to effectively implement universal parasite-based malaria diagnosis. The priority capacity building needs identified were: 1) recruitment and retention of qualified staff, 2) comprehensive training of health workers in fever management, 3) malaria diagnosis quality control systems and 4) strengthening of supply chain, stock management and referral systems.

  12. Crowdsourcing Malaria Parasite Quantification: An Online Game for Analyzing Images of Infected Thick Blood Smears

    PubMed Central

    Arranz, Asier; Frean, John

    2012-01-01

    Background There are 600,000 new malaria cases daily worldwide. The gold standard for estimating the parasite burden and the corresponding severity of the disease consists in manually counting the number of parasites in blood smears through a microscope, a process that can take more than 20 minutes of an expert microscopist’s time. Objective This research tests the feasibility of a crowdsourced approach to malaria image analysis. In particular, we investigated whether anonymous volunteers with no prior experience would be able to count malaria parasites in digitized images of thick blood smears by playing a Web-based game. Methods The experimental system consisted of a Web-based game where online volunteers were tasked with detecting parasites in digitized blood sample images coupled with a decision algorithm that combined the analyses from several players to produce an improved collective detection outcome. Data were collected through the MalariaSpot website. Random images of thick blood films containing Plasmodium falciparum at medium to low parasitemias, acquired by conventional optical microscopy, were presented to players. In the game, players had to find and tag as many parasites as possible in 1 minute. In the event that players found all the parasites present in the image, they were presented with a new image. In order to combine the choices of different players into a single crowd decision, we implemented an image processing pipeline and a quorum algorithm that judged a parasite tagged when a group of players agreed on its position. Results Over 1 month, anonymous players from 95 countries played more than 12,000 games and generated a database of more than 270,000 clicks on the test images. Results revealed that combining 22 games from nonexpert players achieved a parasite counting accuracy higher than 99%. This performance could be obtained also by combining 13 games from players trained for 1 minute. Exhaustive computations measured the parasite

  13. Paradoxical sleep deprivation impairs mouse survival after infection with malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Lungato, Lisandro; Gazarini, Marcos L; Paredes-Gamero, Edgar J; Tufik, Sergio; D'Almeida, Vânia

    2015-04-28

    Parasitic diseases like malaria are a major public health problem in many countries and disrupted sleep patterns are an increasingly common part of modern life. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) and sleep rebound (RB) on malarial parasite infection in mice. After PSD, one group was immediately infected with parasites (PSD). The two other PSD rebound groups were allowed to sleep normally for either 24 h (24 h RB) or 48 h (48 h RB). After the recovery periods, mice were inoculated with parasites. The PSD group was the most affected by parasites presenting the higher death rate (0.02), higher number of infected cells (p < 0.01), and decrease in body weight (p < 0.04) compared to control and 48 h RB groups. The 24 h RB group was also different from control group in survival (p < 0.03), number of infected cells (p < 0.05) and body weight (p < 0.04). After 48 hours of sleep rebound animals were allowed to restore their response to parasitic infection similar to normal sleep animals. These results suggest that PSD is damaging to the immune system and leads to an increased infection severity of malaria parasites; only 48 hours of recovery sleep was sufficient to return the mice infection response to baseline values.

  14. Large-scale growth of the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite in a wave bioreactor.

    PubMed

    Dalton, John P; Demanga, Corine G; Reiling, Sarah J; Wunderlich, Juliane; Eng, Jenny W L; Rohrbach, Petra

    2012-01-01

    We describe methods for the large-scale in vitro culturing of synchronous and asynchronous blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites in sterile disposable plastic bioreactors controlled by wave-induced motion (wave bioreactor). These cultures perform better than static flask cultures in terms of preserving parasite cell cycle synchronicity and reducing the number of multiple-infected erythrocytes. The straight-forward methods described here will facilitate the large scale production of malaria parasites for antigen and organelle isolation and characterisation, for the high throughput screening of compound libraries with whole cells or extracts, and the development of live- or whole-cell malaria vaccines under good manufacturing practice compliant standards. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Monitoring parasite diversity for malaria elimination in sub-Saharan Africa.

    PubMed

    Ghansah, Anita; Amenga-Etego, Lucas; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Andagalu, Ben; Apinjoh, Tobias; Bouyou-Akotet, Marielle; Cornelius, Victoria; Golassa, Lemu; Andrianaranjaka, Voahangy Hanitriniaina; Ishengoma, Deus; Johnson, Kimberly; Kamau, Edwin; Maïga-Ascofaré, Oumou; Mumba, Dieudonne; Tindana, Paulina; Tshefu-Kitoto, Antoinette; Randrianarivelojosia, Milijaona; William, Yavo; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P; Djimde, Abdoulaye A

    2014-09-12

    The African continent continues to bear the greatest burden of malaria and the greatest diversity of parasites, mosquito vectors, and human victims. The evolutionary plasticity of malaria parasites and their vectors is a major obstacle to eliminating the disease. Of current concern is the recently reported emergence of resistance to the front-line drug, artemisinin, in South-East Asia in Plasmodium falciparum, which calls for preemptive surveillance of the African parasite population for genetic markers of emerging drug resistance. Here we describe the Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa (PDNA), which has been established across 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to ensure that African scientists are enabled to work together and to play a key role in the global effort for tracking and responding to this public health threat.

  16. Transgenic Expression of the Anti-parasitic Factor TEP1 in the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae

    PubMed Central

    Hopp, Ann-Katrin; Saenger, Mélanie; Soichot, Julien; Scholze, Heidi; Boch, Jens; Blandin, Stéphanie A.; Marois, Eric

    2017-01-01

    Mosquitoes genetically engineered to be resistant to Plasmodium parasites represent a promising novel approach in the fight against malaria. The insect immune system itself is a source of anti-parasitic genes potentially exploitable for transgenic designs. The Anopheles gambiae thioester containing protein 1 (TEP1) is a potent anti-parasitic protein. TEP1 is secreted and circulates in the mosquito hemolymph, where its activated cleaved form binds and eliminates malaria parasites. Here we investigated whether TEP1 can be used to create malaria resistant mosquitoes. Using a GFP reporter transgene, we determined that the fat body is the main site of TEP1 expression. We generated transgenic mosquitoes that express TEP1r, a potent refractory allele of TEP1, in the fat body and examined the activity of the transgenic protein in wild-type or TEP1 mutant genetic backgrounds. Transgenic TEP1r rescued loss-of-function mutations, but did not increase parasite resistance in the presence of a wild-type susceptible allele. Consistent with previous reports, TEP1 protein expressed from the transgene in the fat body was taken up by hemocytes upon a challenge with injected bacteria. Furthermore, although maturation of transgenic TEP1 into the cleaved form was impaired in one of the TEP1 mutant lines, it was still sufficient to reduce parasite numbers and induce parasite melanization. We also report here the first use of Transcription Activator Like Effectors (TALEs) in Anopheles gambiae to stimulate expression of endogenous TEP1. We found that artificial elevation of TEP1 expression remains moderate in vivo and that enhancement of endogenous TEP1 expression did not result in increased resistance to Plasmodium. Taken together, our results reveal the difficulty of artificially influencing TEP1-mediated Plasmodium resistance, and contribute to further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying mosquito resistance to Plasmodium parasites. PMID:28095489

  17. The transcriptome of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium ashfordi displays host-specific gene expression.

    PubMed

    Videvall, Elin; Cornwallis, Charlie K; Ahrén, Dag; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Hellgren, Olof

    2017-06-01

    Malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) include some of the world's most widespread and virulent pathogens. Our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms these parasites use to invade and exploit their hosts other than in mice and primates is, however, extremely limited. It is therefore imperative to characterize transcriptome-wide gene expression from nonmodel malaria parasites and how this varies across individual hosts. Here, we used high-throughput Illumina RNA sequencing on blood from wild-caught Eurasian siskins experimentally infected with a clonal strain of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium ashfordi (lineage GRW2). Using a bioinformatic multistep approach to filter out host transcripts, we successfully assembled the blood-stage transcriptome of P. ashfordi. A total of 11 954 expressed transcripts were identified, and 7860 were annotated with protein information. We quantified gene expression levels of all parasite transcripts across three hosts during two infection stages - peak and decreasing parasitemia. Interestingly, parasites from the same host displayed remarkably similar expression profiles during different infection stages, but showed large differences across hosts, indicating that P. ashfordi may adjust its gene expression to specific host individuals. We further show that the majority of transcripts are most similar to the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and a large number of red blood cell invasion genes were discovered, suggesting evolutionary conserved invasion strategies between mammalian and avian Plasmodium. The transcriptome of P. ashfordi and its host-specific gene expression advances our understanding of Plasmodium plasticity and is a valuable resource as it allows for further studies analysing gene evolution and comparisons of parasite gene expression. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  18. PCR detection of malaria parasites in desiccated Anopheles mosquitoes is uninhibited by storage time and temperature

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Reliable methods to preserve mosquito vectors for malaria studies are necessary for detecting Plasmodium parasites. In field settings, however, maintaining a cold chain of storage from the time of collection until laboratory processing, or accessing other reliable means of sample preservation is often logistically impractical or cost prohibitive. As the Plasmodium infection rate of Anopheles mosquitoes is a central component of the entomological inoculation rate and other indicators of transmission intensity, storage conditions that affect pathogen detection may bias malaria surveillance indicators. This study investigated the effect of storage time and temperature on the ability to detect Plasmodium parasites in desiccated Anopheles mosquitoes by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Methods Laboratory-infected Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes were chloroform-killed and stored over desiccant for 0, 1, 3, and 6 months while being held at four different temperatures: 28, 37, -20 and -80°C. The detection of Plasmodium DNA was evaluated by real-time PCR amplification of a 111 base pair region of block 4 of the merozoite surface protein. Results Varying the storage time and temperature of desiccated mosquitoes did not impact the sensitivity of parasite detection. A two-way factorial analysis of variance suggested that storage time and temperature were not associated with a loss in the ability to detect parasites. Storage of samples at 28°C resulted in a significant increase in the ability to detect parasite DNA, though no other positive associations were observed between the experimental storage treatments and PCR amplification. Conclusions Cold chain maintenance of desiccated mosquito samples is not necessary for real-time PCR detection of parasite DNA. Though field-collected mosquitoes may be subjected to variable conditions prior to molecular processing, the storage of samples over an inexpensive and logistically accessible desiccant will likely

  19. Sources of Variability in Determining Malaria Parasite Density by Microscopy

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-01-01

    DeWitt CC, Quino -Ascurra HA, Kester KE, Kain KC, Walsh DS, Ballou WR, Gasser RA, 2001. Malaria rapid diagnostic devices: performance characteristics of...Wongsrichanalai C, Magill AJ, Craig LG, Sirichais- inthop J, Bautista CT, Miller RS, Ockenhouse CF, Kester KE, Aronson NE, Andersen EM, Quino

  20. [Malaria situation in China, 1988. Advisory Committee on Parasitic Diseases].

    PubMed

    1989-01-01

    In 1988, the number of malaria cases reported was 134.2 thousand (Taiwan Province not included). Comparing with 210.6 thousand cases reported in 1987, a decrease of 36.3% was noted. Based on data reported by each county in the country, about 950.7 million people in 2,541 counties/cities were living in areas where malaria incidence was less than 0.1 per 1,000 (including originally malaria-free areas as well as areas free from the disease); 96.6 million people in 207 counties/cities with an incidence of 0.1-1.0 per 1,000; 30.4 million in 79 counties/cities with an incidence of 1.1-10.0 per 1000, and 0.4 million in 4 counties with an incidence of above 10.0 per 1,000. While the incidence decreased markedly in most endemic areas, it fluctuated in the southern part of China due to the increase in the floating population, shortage of insecticides, and natural calamities in some areas. In Hainan province the incidence increased by 21.1% over 1987; increase in incidence and focal outbreaks also occurred in some areas of Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou provinces/autonomous region. In the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan and Jiangxi, the major endemic areas in central China, the incidence decreased by 43.6-71.4% over last year, there were 57 thousand cases, accounting for 42.6% of the total cases recorded in the country. Downward trends of incidence continued in other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The distribution of falciparum malaria was confined to 63 counties of 6 provinces/autonomous region, while non-indigenous falciparum malaria cases were found in 88 counties of 8 provinces due to the population movements.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  1. M17 leucine aminopeptidase of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.

    PubMed

    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

    2010-03-01

    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.

  2. EVALUATION OF AROMATIC 6-SUBSTITUTED THIENOPYRIMIDINES AS SCAFFOLDS AGAINST PARASITES THAT CAUSE TRYPANOSOMIASIS, LEISHMANIASIS, AND MALARIA

    PubMed Central

    Woodring, Jennifer L.; Patel, Gautam; Erath, Jessey; Behera, Ranjan; Lee, Patricia J.; Leed, Susan E.; Rodriguez, Ana; Sciotti, Richard J.; Mensa-Wilmot, Kojo; Pollastri, Michael P.

    2014-01-01

    Target repurposing is a proven method for finding new lead compounds that target Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis. Due to the recent discovery of a lapatinib-derived analog 2 with excellent potency against T. brucei (EC50 = 42 nM) and selectivity over human host cells, we have explored other classes of human tyrosine kinase inhibitor scaffolds in order to expand the range of chemotypes for pursuit. Following library expansion, we found compound 11e to have an EC50 of 84 nM against T. brucei cells while maintaining selectivity over human hepatocytes. In addition, the library was tested against causative agents of Chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis, and malaria. Two analogs with sub-micromolar potencies for T. cruzi (4j) and Plasmodium falciparum (11j) were discovered, along with an analog with considerable potency against Leishmania major amastigotes (4e). Besides identifying new and potent protozoan growth inhibitors, these data highlight the value of concurrent screening of a chemical library against different protozoan parasites. PMID:25685309

  3. EVALUATION OF AROMATIC 6-SUBSTITUTED THIENOPYRIMIDINES AS SCAFFOLDS AGAINST PARASITES THAT CAUSE TRYPANOSOMIASIS, LEISHMANIASIS, AND MALARIA.

    PubMed

    Woodring, Jennifer L; Patel, Gautam; Erath, Jessey; Behera, Ranjan; Lee, Patricia J; Leed, Susan E; Rodriguez, Ana; Sciotti, Richard J; Mensa-Wilmot, Kojo; Pollastri, Michael P

    2015-02-01

    Target repurposing is a proven method for finding new lead compounds that target Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis. Due to the recent discovery of a lapatinib-derived analog 2 with excellent potency against T. brucei (EC50 = 42 nM) and selectivity over human host cells, we have explored other classes of human tyrosine kinase inhibitor scaffolds in order to expand the range of chemotypes for pursuit. Following library expansion, we found compound 11e to have an EC50 of 84 nM against T. brucei cells while maintaining selectivity over human hepatocytes. In addition, the library was tested against causative agents of Chagas' disease, leishmaniasis, and malaria. Two analogs with sub-micromolar potencies for T. cruzi (4j) and Plasmodium falciparum (11j) were discovered, along with an analog with considerable potency against Leishmania major amastigotes (4e). Besides identifying new and potent protozoan growth inhibitors, these data highlight the value of concurrent screening of a chemical library against different protozoan parasites.

  4. Structure and Reaction Mechanism of Phosphoethanolamine Methyltransferase from the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Soon Goo; Kim, Youngchang; Alpert, Tara D.; Nagata, Akina; Jez, Joseph M.

    2012-01-01

    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 Å resolution crystal structure of PfPMT in complex with AdoMet by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion phasing. In addition, 1.19–1.52 Å 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. PMID:22117061

  5. Enhanced choline and Rb+ transport in human erythrocytes infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed Central

    Kirk, K; Wong, H Y; Elford, B C; Newbold, C I; Ellory, J C

    1991-01-01

    Human erythrocytes infected in vitro with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum showed a markedly increased rate of choline influx compared with normal cells. Choline transport into uninfected cells (cultured in parallel with infected cells) obeyed Michaelis-Menten kinetics (Km approximately 11 microM). In malaria-parasite-infected cells there was an additional choline-transport component which failed to saturate at extracellular concentrations of up to 500 microM. This component was less sensitive than the endogenous transporter to inhibition by the Cinchona bark alkaloids quinine, quinidine, cinchonine and cinchonidine, but showed a much greater sensitivity than the native system to inhibition by piperine. The sensitivity of the induced choline transport to these reagents was similar to that of the malaria-induced (ouabain- and bumetanide-resistant) Rb(+)-transport pathway; however, the relative magnitudes of the piperine-sensitive choline and Rb+ fluxes in malaria-parasite-infected cells varied between cultures. This suggests either that the enhanced transport of the two cations was via functionally distinct (albeit pharmacologically similar) pathways, or that the transport was mediated by a pathway with variable substrate selectivity. PMID:1898345

  6. Submicroscopic malaria parasite carriage: how reproducible are polymerase chain reaction-based methods?

    PubMed

    Costa, Daniela Camargos; Madureira, Ana Paula; Amaral, Lara Cotta; Sanchez, Bruno Antônio Marinho; Gomes, Luciano Teixeira; Fontes, Cor Jésus Fernandes; Limongi, Jean Ezequiel; Brito, Cristiana Ferreira Alves de; Carvalho, Luzia Helena

    2014-02-01

    The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods for the diagnosis of malaria infection are expected to accurately identify submicroscopic parasite carriers. Although a significant number of PCR protocols have been described, few studies have addressed the performance of PCR amplification in cases of field samples with submicroscopic malaria infection. Here, the reproducibility of two well-established PCR protocols (nested-PCR and real-time PCR for the Plasmodium 18 small subunit rRNA gene) were evaluated in a panel of 34 blood field samples from individuals that are potential reservoirs of malaria infection, but were negative for malaria by optical microscopy. Regardless of the PCR protocol, a large variation between the PCR replicates was observed, leading to alternating positive and negative results in 38% (13 out of 34) of the samples. These findings were quite different from those obtained from the microscopy-positive patients or the unexposed individuals; the diagnosis of these individuals could be confirmed based on the high reproducibility and specificity of the PCR-based protocols. The limitation of PCR amplification was restricted to the field samples with very low levels of parasitaemia because titrations of the DNA templates were able to detect < 3 parasites/µL in the blood. In conclusion, conventional PCR protocols require careful interpretation in cases of submicroscopic malaria infection, as inconsistent and false-negative results can occur.

  7. Submicroscopic malaria parasite carriage: how reproducible are polymerase chain reaction-based methods?

    PubMed Central

    Costa, Daniela Camargos; Madureira, Ana Paula; Amaral, Lara Cotta; Sanchez, Bruno Antônio Marinho; Gomes, Luciano Teixeira; Fontes, Cor Jésus Fernandes; Limongi, Jean Ezequiel; de Brito, Cristiana Ferreira Alves; Carvalho, Luzia Helena

    2013-01-01

    The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods for the diagnosis of malaria infection are expected to accurately identify submicroscopic parasite carriers. Although a significant number of PCR protocols have been described, few studies have addressed the performance of PCR amplification in cases of field samples with submicroscopic malaria infection. Here, the reproducibility of two well-established PCR protocols (nested-PCR and real-time PCR for the Plasmodium 18 small subunit rRNA gene) were evaluated in a panel of 34 blood field samples from individuals that are potential reservoirs of malaria infection, but were negative for malaria by optical microscopy. Regardless of the PCR protocol, a large variation between the PCR replicates was observed, leading to alternating positive and negative results in 38% (13 out of 34) of the samples. These findings were quite different from those obtained from the microscopy-positive patients or the unexposed individuals; the diagnosis of these individuals could be confirmed based on the high reproducibility and specificity of the PCR-based protocols. The limitation of PCR amplification was restricted to the field samples with very low levels of parasitaemia because titrations of the DNA templates were able to detect < 3 parasites/µL in the blood. In conclusion, conventional PCR protocols require careful interpretation in cases of submicroscopic malaria infection, as inconsistent and false-negative results can occur. PMID:24626306

  8. Identification of Compounds with Efficacy against Malaria Parasites from Common North American Plants.

    PubMed

    Cai, Shengxin; Risinger, April L; Nair, Shalini; Peng, Jiangnan; Anderson, Timothy J C; Du, Lin; Powell, Douglas R; Mooberry, Susan L; Cichewicz, Robert H

    2016-03-25

    Some of the most valuable antimalarial compounds, including quinine and artemisinin, originated from plants. While these drugs have served important roles over many years for the treatment of malaria, drug resistance has become a widespread problem. Therefore, a critical need exists to identify new compounds that have efficacy against drug-resistant malaria strains. In the current study, extracts prepared from plants readily obtained from local sources were screened for activity against Plasmodium falciparum. Bioassay-guided fractionation was used to identify 18 compounds from five plant species. These compounds included eight lupane triterpenes (1-8), four kaempferol 3-O-rhamnosides (10-13), four kaempferol 3-O-glucosides (14-17), and the known compounds amentoflavone and knipholone. These compounds were tested for their efficacy against multi-drug-resistant malaria parasites and counterscreened against HeLa cells to measure their antimalarial selectivity. Most notably, one of the new lupane triterpenes (3) isolated from the supercritical extract of Buxus sempervirens, the common boxwood, showed activity against both drug-sensitive and -resistant malaria strains at a concentration that was 75-fold more selective for the drug-resistant malaria parasites as compared to HeLa cells. This study demonstrates that new antimalarial compounds with efficacy against drug-resistant strains can be identified from native and introduced plant species in the United States, which traditionally have received scant investigation compared to more heavily explored tropical and semitropical botanical resources from around the world.

  9. An innovative tool for moving malaria PCR detection of parasite reservoir into the field

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background To achieve the goal of malaria elimination in low transmission areas such as in Cambodia, new, inexpensive, high-throughput diagnostic tools for identifying very low parasite densities in asymptomatic carriers are required. This will enable a switch from passive to active malaria case detection in the field. Methods DNA extraction and real-time PCR assays were implemented in an “in-house” designed mobile laboratory allowing implementation of a robust, sensitive and rapid malaria diagnostic strategy in the field. This tool was employed in a survey organized in the context of the MalaResT project (NCT01663831). Results The real-time PCR screening and species identification assays were performed in the mobile laboratory between October and November 2012, in Rattanakiri Province, to screen approximately 5,000 individuals in less than four weeks and treat parasite carriers within 24–48 hours after sample collection. An average of 240 clinical samples (and 40 quality control samples) was tested every day, six/seven days per week. Some 97.7% of the results were available <24 hours after the collection. A total of 4.9% were positive for malaria. Plasmodium vivax was present in 61.1% of the positive samples, Plasmodium falciparum in 45.9%, Plasmodium malariae in 7.0% and Plasmodium ovale in 2.0%. Conclusions The operational success of this diagnostic set-up proved that molecular testing and subsequent treatment is logistically achievable in field settings. This will allow the detection of clusters of asymptomatic carriers and to provide useful epidemiological information. Fast results will be of great help for staff in the field to track and treat asymptomatic parasitaemic cases. The concept of the mobile laboratory could be extended to other countries for the molecular detection of malaria or other pathogens, or to culture vivax parasites, which does not support long-time delay between sample collection and culture. PMID:24206649

  10. How Robust Are Malaria Parasite Clearance Rates as Indicators of Drug Effectiveness and Resistance?

    PubMed

    Hastings, Ian M; Kay, Katherine; Hodel, Eva Maria

    2015-10-01

    Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are currently the first-line drugs for treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria, the most deadly of the human malarias. Malaria parasite clearance rates estimated from patients' blood following ACT treatment have been widely adopted as a measure of drug effectiveness and as surveillance tools for detecting the presence of potential artemisinin resistance. This metric has not been investigated in detail, nor have its properties or potential shortcomings been identified. Herein, the pharmacology of drug treatment, parasite biology, and human immunity are combined to investigate the dynamics of parasite clearance following ACT. This approach parsimoniously recovers the principal clinical features and dynamics of clearance. Human immunity is the primary determinant of clearance rates, unless or until artemisinin killing has fallen to near-ineffective levels. Clearance rates are therefore highly insensitive metrics for surveillance that may lead to overconfidence, as even quite substantial reductions in drug sensitivity may not be detected as lower clearance rates. Equally serious is the use of clearance rates to quantify the impact of ACT regimen changes, as this strategy will plausibly miss even very substantial increases in drug effectiveness. In particular, the malaria community may be missing the opportunity to dramatically increase ACT effectiveness through regimen changes, particularly through a switch to twice-daily regimens and/or increases in artemisinin dosing levels. The malaria community therefore appears overreliant on a single metric of drug effectiveness, the parasite clearance rate, that has significant and serious shortcomings. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  11. Distinct malaria parasite sporozoites reveal transcriptional changes that cause differential tissue infection competence in the mosquito vector and mammalian host.

    PubMed

    Mikolajczak, Sebastian A; Silva-Rivera, Hilda; Peng, Xinxia; Tarun, Alice S; Camargo, Nelly; Jacobs-Lorena, Vanessa; Daly, Thomas M; Bergman, Lawrence W; de la Vega, Patricia; Williams, Jack; Aly, Ahmed S I; Kappe, Stefan H I

    2008-10-01

    The malaria parasite sporozoite transmission stage develops and differentiates within parasite oocysts on the Anopheles mosquito midgut. Successful inoculation of the parasite into a mammalian host is critically dependent on the sporozoite's ability to first infect the mosquito salivary glands. Remarkable changes in tissue infection competence are observed as the sporozoites transit from the midgut oocysts to the salivary glands. Our microarray analysis shows that compared to oocyst sporozoites, salivary gland sporozoites upregulate expression of at least 124 unique genes. Conversely, oocyst sporozoites show upregulation of at least 47 genes (upregulated in oocyst sporozoites [UOS genes]) before they infect the salivary glands. Targeted gene deletion of UOS3, encoding a putative transmembrane protein with a thrombospondin repeat that localizes to the sporozoite secretory organelles, rendered oocyst sporozoites unable to infect the mosquito salivary glands but maintained the parasites' liver infection competence. This phenotype demonstrates the significance of differential UOS expression. Thus, the UIS-UOS gene classification provides a framework to elucidate the infectivity and transmission success of Plasmodium sporozoites on a whole-genome scale. Genes identified herein might represent targets for vector-based transmission blocking strategies (UOS genes), as well as strategies that prevent mammalian host infection (UIS genes).

  12. Application of in-situ hybridization for the detection and identification of avian malaria parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissues from captive penguins

    PubMed Central

    Dinhopl, Nora; Mostegl, Meike M.; Richter, Barbara; Nedorost, Nora; Maderner, Anton; Fragner, Karin; Weissenböck, Herbert

    2011-01-01

    In captive penguins, avian malaria due to Plasmodium parasites is a well-recognized disease problem as these protozoa may cause severe losses among valuable collections of zoo birds. In blood films from naturally infected birds, identification and differentiation of malaria parasites based on morphological criteria are difficult because parasitaemia is frequently light and blood stages, which are necessary for identification of parasites, are often absent. Post-mortem diagnosis by histological examination of tissue samples is sometimes inconclusive due to the difficulties in differentiating protozoal tissue stages from fragmented nuclei in necrotic tissue. The diagnosis of avian malaria would be facilitated by a technique with the ability to specifically identify developmental stages of Plasmodium in tissue samples. Thus, a chromogenic in-situ hybridization (ISH) procedure with a digoxigenin-labelled probe, targeting a fragment of the 18S rRNA, was developed for the detection of Plasmodium parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissues. This method was validated in comparison with traditional techniques (histology, polymerase chain reaction), on various tissues from 48 captive penguins that died at the zoological garden Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria. Meronts of Plasmodium gave clear signals and were easily identified using ISH. Potential cross-reactivity of the probe was ruled out by the negative outcome of the ISH against a number of protozoa and fungi. Thus, ISH proved to be a powerful, specific and sensitive tool for unambiguous detection of Plasmodium parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissue samples. PMID:21711191

  13. Application of in-situ hybridization for the detection and identification of avian malaria parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissues from captive penguins.

    PubMed

    Dinhopl, Nora; Mostegl, Meike M; Richter, Barbara; Nedorost, Nora; Maderner, Anton; Fragner, Karin; Weissenböck, Herbert

    2011-06-01

    In captive penguins, avian malaria due to Plasmodium parasites is a well-recognized disease problem as these protozoa may cause severe losses among valuable collections of zoo birds. In blood films from naturally infected birds, identification and differentiation of malaria parasites based on morphological criteria are difficult because parasitaemia is frequently light and blood stages, which are necessary for identification of parasites, are often absent. Post-mortem diagnosis by histological examination of tissue samples is sometimes inconclusive due to the difficulties in differentiating protozoal tissue stages from fragmented nuclei in necrotic tissue. The diagnosis of avian malaria would be facilitated by a technique with the ability to specifically identify developmental stages of Plasmodium in tissue samples. Thus, a chromogenic in-situ hybridization (ISH) procedure with a digoxigenin-labelled probe, targeting a fragment of the 18S rRNA, was developed for the detection of Plasmodium parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissues. This method was validated in comparison with traditional techniques (histology, polymerase chain reaction), on various tissues from 48 captive penguins that died at the zoological garden Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria. Meronts of Plasmodium gave clear signals and were easily identified using ISH. Potential cross-reactivity of the probe was ruled out by the negative outcome of the ISH against a number of protozoa and fungi. Thus, ISH proved to be a powerful, specific and sensitive tool for unambiguous detection of Plasmodium parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissue samples.

  14. Maduramicin Rapidly Eliminates Malaria Parasites and Potentiates the Gametocytocidal Activity of the Pyrazoleamide PA21A050

    PubMed Central

    Maron, Maxim I.; Magle, Crystal T.; Czesny, Beata; Turturice, Benjamin A.; Huang, Ruili; Zheng, Wei; Vaidya, Akhil B.

    2015-01-01

    New strategies targeting Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes, the sexual-stage parasites that are responsible for malaria transmission, are needed to eradicate this disease. Most commonly used antimalarials are ineffective against P. falciparum gametocytes, allowing patients to continue to be infectious for over a week after asexual parasite clearance. A recent screen for gametocytocidal compounds demonstrated that the carboxylic polyether ionophore maduramicin is active at low nanomolar concentrations against P. falciparum sexual stages. In this study, we showed that maduramicin has an EC50 (effective concentration that inhibits the signal by 50%) of 14.8 nM against late-stage gametocytes and significantly blocks in vivo transmission in a mouse model of malaria transmission. In contrast to other reported gametocytocidal agents, maduramicin acts rapidly in vitro, eliminating gametocytes and asexual schizonts in less than 12 h without affecting uninfected red blood cells (RBCs). Ring stage parasites are cleared by 24 h. Within an hour of drug treatment, 40% of the normally crescent-shaped gametocytes round up and become spherical. The number of round gametocytes increases to >60% by 2 h, even before a change in membrane potential as monitored by MitoProbe DiIC1 (5) is detectable. Maduramicin is not preferentially taken up by gametocyte-infected RBCs compared to uninfected RBCs, suggesting that gametocytes are more sensitive to alterations in cation concentration than RBCs. Moreover, the addition of 15.6 nM maduramicin enhanced the gametocytocidal activity of the pyrazoleamide PA21A050, which is a promising new antimalarial candidate associated with an increase in intracellular Na+ concentration that is proposed to be due to inhibition of PfATP4, a putative Na+ pump. These results underscore the importance of cation homeostasis in sexual as well as asexual intraerythrocytic-stage P. falciparum parasites and the potential of targeting this pathway for drug development

  15. H2O2 dynamics in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Rahbari, Mahsa; Bogeski, Ivan

    2017-01-01

    Hydrogen peroxide is an important antimicrobial agent but is also crucially involved in redox signaling and pathogen-host cell interactions. As a basis for systematically investigating intracellular H2O2 dynamics and regulation in living malaria parasites, we established the genetically encoded fluorescent H2O2 sensors roGFP2-Orp1 and HyPer-3 in Plasmodium falciparum. Both ratiometric redox probes as well as the pH control SypHer were expressed in the cytosol of blood-stage parasites. Both redox sensors showed reproducible sensitivity towards H2O2 in the lower micromolar range in vitro and in the parasites. Due to the pH sensitivity of HyPer-3, we used parasites expressing roGFP2-Orp1 for evaluation of short-, medium-, and long-term effects of antimalarial drugs on H2O2 levels and detoxification in Plasmodium. None of the quinolines or artemisinins tested had detectable direct effects on the H2O2 homeostasis at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. However, pre-treatment of the cells with antimalarial drugs or heat shock led to a higher tolerance towards exogenous H2O2. The systematic evaluation and comparison of the two genetically encoded cytosolic H2O2 probes in malaria parasites provides a basis for studying parasite-host cell interactions or drug effects with spatio-temporal resolution while preserving cell integrity. PMID:28369083

  16. Chemotherapy, within-host ecology and the fitness of drug-resistant malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Huijben, Silvie; Nelson, William A; Wargo, Andrew R; Sim, Derek G; Drew, Damien R; Read, Andrew F

    2010-10-01

    A major determinant of the rate at which drug-resistant malaria parasites spread through a population is the ecology of resistant and sensitive parasites sharing the same host. Drug treatment can significantly alter this ecology by removing the drug-sensitive parasites, leading to competitive release of resistant parasites. Here, we test the hypothesis that the spread of resistance can be slowed by reducing drug treatment and hence restricting competitive release. Using the rodent malaria model Plasmodium chabaudi, we found that low-dose chemotherapy did reduce competitive release. A higher drug dose regimen exerted stronger positive selection on resistant parasites for no detectable clinical gain. We estimated instantaneous selection coefficients throughout the course of replicate infections to analyze the temporal pattern of the strength and direction of within-host selection. The strength of selection on resistance varied through the course of infections, even in untreated infections, but increased immediately following drug treatment, particularly in the high-dose groups. Resistance remained under positive selection for much longer than expected from the half life of the drug. Although there are many differences between mice and people, our data do raise the question whether the aggressive treatment regimens aimed at complete parasite clearance are the best resistance-management strategies for humans.

  17. High diversity of West African bat malaria parasites and a tight link with rodent Plasmodium taxa.

    PubMed

    Schaer, Juliane; Perkins, Susan L; Decher, Jan; Leendertz, Fabian H; Fahr, Jakob; Weber, Natalie; Matuschewski, Kai

    2013-10-22

    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.

  18. High diversity of West African bat malaria parasites and a tight link with rodent Plasmodium taxa

    PubMed Central

    Schaer, Juliane; Perkins, Susan L.; Decher, Jan; Leendertz, Fabian H.; Fahr, Jakob; Weber, Natalie; Matuschewski, Kai

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:24101466

  19. Patterns of inflammatory responses and parasite tolerance vary with malaria transmission intensity.

    PubMed

    Ademolue, Temitope W; Aniweh, Yaw; Kusi, Kwadwo A; Awandare, Gordon A

    2017-04-11

    In individuals living in malaria-endemic regions, parasitaemia thresholds for the onset of clinical symptoms vary with transmission intensity. The mechanisms that mediate this relationship are however, unclear. Since inflammatory responses to parasite infection contribute to the clinical manifestation of malaria, this study investigated inflammatory cytokine responses in children with malaria from areas of different transmission intensities (ranging from low to high). Blood samples were obtained from children confirmed with malaria at community hospitals in three areas with differing transmission intensities. Cytokine levels were assessed using the Luminex(®)-based magnetic bead array system, and levels were compared across sites using appropriate statistical tests. The relative contributions of age, gender, parasitaemia and transmission intensity on cytokine levels were investigated using multivariate regression analysis. Parasite density increased with increasing transmission intensity in children presenting to hospital with symptomatic malaria, indicating that the parasitaemia threshold for clinical malaria increases with increasing transmission intensity. Furthermore, levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-12, decreased with increasing transmission intensity, and correlated significantly with parasitaemia levels in the low transmission area but not in high transmission areas. Similarly, levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-4, IL-7, IL-10 and IL-13, decreased with increasing transmission intensity, with IL-10 showing strong correlation with parasitaemia levels in the low transmission area. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that transmission intensity was a stronger predictor of cytokine levels than age, gender and parasitaemia. Taken together, the data demonstrate a strong relationship between the prevailing

  20. Cryo transmission x-ray imaging of the malaria parasite, P. falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Hanssen, Eric; Knoechel, Christian; Klonis, Nectarios; Abu-Bakar, Nurhidanatasha; Deed, Samantha; LeGros, Mark; Larabell, Carolyn; Tilley, Leann

    2010-01-01

    Cryo transmission x-ray microscopy in the “water window” of photon energies has recently been introduced as a method that exploits the natural contrast of biological samples. We have used cryo tomographic x-ray imaging of the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to undertake a survey of the cellular features of this important human pathogen. We examined whole hydrated cells at different stages of growth and defined some of the structures with different x-ray density, including the parasite nucleus, cytoplasm, digestive vacuole and the hemoglobin degradation product, hemozoin. As the parasite develops from an early cup-shaped morphology to a more rounded shape, puncta of hemozoin are formed; these coalesce in the mature trophozoite into a central compartment. In some trophozoite stage parasites we observed invaginations of the parasite surface and, using a selective permeabilization process, showed that these remain connected to the RBC cytoplasm. Some of these invaginations have large openings consistent with phagocytic structures and we observed independent endocytic vesicles in the parasite cytoplasm which appear to play a role in hemoglobin uptake. In schizont stage parasites staggered mitosis was observed and x-ray-dense lipid-rich structures were evident at their apical ends of the developing daughter cells. Treatment of parasites with the antimalarial drug artemisinin appears to affect parasite development and their ability to produce the hemoglobin breakdown product, hemozoin. PMID:20826218

  1. Malaria parasites form filamentous cell-to-cell connections during reproduction in the mosquito midgut

    PubMed Central

    Rupp, Ingrid; Sologub, Ludmilla; Williamson, Kim C; Scheuermayer, Matthias; Reininger, Luc; Doerig, Christian; Eksi, Saliha; Kombila, Davy U; Frank, Matthias; Pradel, Gabriele

    2011-01-01

    Physical contact is important for the interaction between animal cells, but it can represent a major challenge for protists like malaria parasites. Recently, novel filamentous cell-cell contacts have been identified in different types of eukaryotic cells and termed nanotubes due to their morphological appearance. Nanotubes represent small dynamic membranous extensions that consist of F-actin and are considered an ancient feature evolved by eukaryotic cells to establish contact for communication. We here describe similar tubular structures in the malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, which emerge from the surfaces of the forming gametes upon gametocyte activation in the mosquito midgut. The filaments can exhibit a length of > 100 μm and contain the F-actin isoform actin 2. They actively form within a few minutes after gametocyte activation and persist until the zygote transforms into the ookinete. The filaments originate from the parasite plasma membrane, are close ended and express adhesion proteins on their surfaces that are typically found in gametes, like Pfs230, Pfs48/45 or Pfs25, but not the zygote surface protein Pfs28. We show that these tubular structures represent long-distance cell-to-cell connections between sexual stage parasites and demonstrate that they meet the characteristics of nanotubes. We propose that malaria parasites utilize these adhesive “nanotubes” in order to facilitate intercellular contact between gametes during reproduction in the mosquito midgut. PMID:21173797

  2. PhenoPlasm: a database of disruption phenotypes for malaria parasite genes

    PubMed Central

    Sanderson, Theo; Rayner, Julian C.

    2017-01-01

    Two decades after the first Plasmodium transfection, attempts have been made to disrupt more than 3,151 genes in malaria parasites, across five Plasmodium species. While results from rodent malaria transfections have been curated and systematised, empowering large-scale analysis, phenotypic data from human malaria parasite transfections currently exists as individual reports scattered across a the literature. To facilitate systematic analysis of published experimental genetic data across Plasmodium species, we have built PhenoPlasm ( http://www.phenoplasm.org), a database of phenotypes generated by transfection experiments in all Plasmodium parasites. The site provides a simple interface linking citation-backed Plasmodium reverse-genetic phenotypes to gene IDs. The database has been populated with phenotypic data on 367 P. falciparum genes, curated from 176 individual publications, as well as existing data on rodent Plasmodium species from RMgmDB and PlasmoGEM. This is the first time that all available data on P. falciparum transfection experiments has been brought together in a single place. These data are presented using ortholog mapping to allow a researcher interested in a gene in one species to see results across other Plasmodium species. The collaborative nature of the database enables any researcher to add new phenotypes as they are discovered. As an example of database utility, we use the currently available datasets to identify RAP (RNA-binding domain abundant in Apicomplexa)-domain containing proteins as crucial to parasite survival. PMID:28748223

  3. Malaria parasites form filamentous cell-to-cell connections during reproduction in the mosquito midgut.

    PubMed

    Rupp, Ingrid; Sologub, Ludmilla; Williamson, Kim C; Scheuermayer, Matthias; Reininger, Luc; Doerig, Christian; Eksi, Saliha; Kombila, Davy U; Frank, Matthias; Pradel, Gabriele

    2011-04-01

    Physical contact is important for the interaction between animal cells, but it can represent a major challenge for protists like malaria parasites. Recently, novel filamentous cell-cell contacts have been identified in different types of eukaryotic cells and termed nanotubes due to their morphological appearance. Nanotubes represent small dynamic membranous extensions that consist of F-actin and are considered an ancient feature evolved by eukaryotic cells to establish contact for communication. We here describe similar tubular structures in the malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, which emerge from the surfaces of the forming gametes upon gametocyte activation in the mosquito midgut. The filaments can exhibit a length of > 100 μm and contain the F-actin isoform actin 2. They actively form within a few minutes after gametocyte activation and persist until the zygote transforms into the ookinete. The filaments originate from the parasite plasma membrane, are close ended and express adhesion proteins on their surfaces that are typically found in gametes, like Pfs230, Pfs48/45 or Pfs25, but not the zygote surface protein Pfs28. We show that these tubular structures represent long-distance cell-to-cell connections between sexual stage parasites and demonstrate that they meet the characteristics of nanotubes. We propose that malaria parasites utilize these adhesive "nanotubes" in order to facilitate intercellular contact between gametes during reproduction in the mosquito midgut.

  4. Mosquitoes as Potential Bridge Vectors of Malaria Parasites from Non-Human Primates to Humans

    PubMed Central

    Verhulst, Niels O.; Smallegange, Renate C.; Takken, Willem

    2012-01-01

    Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are transmitted by mosquitoes. Until recently, human malaria was considered to be caused by human-specific Plasmodium species. Studies on Plasmodium parasites in non-human primates (NHPs), however, have identified parasite species in gorillas and chimpanzees that are closely related to human Plasmodium species. Moreover, P. knowlesi, long known as a parasite of monkeys, frequently infects humans. The requirements for such a cross-species exchange and especially the role of mosquitoes in this process are discussed, as the latter may act as bridge vectors of Plasmodium species between different primates. Little is known about the mosquito species that would bite both humans and NHPs and if so, whether humans and NHPs share the same Plasmodium vectors. To understand the vector-host interactions that can lead to an increased Plasmodium transmission between species, studies are required that reveal the nature of these interactions. Studying the potential role of NHPs as a Plasmodium reservoir for humans will contribute to the ongoing efforts of human malaria elimination, and will help to focus on critical areas that should be considered in achieving this goal. PMID:22701434

  5. Interferon-mediated innate immune responses against malaria parasite liver stages.

    PubMed

    Miller, Jessica L; Sack, Brandon K; Baldwin, Michael; Vaughan, Ashley M; Kappe, Stefan H I

    2014-04-24

    Mosquito-transmitted malaria parasites infect hepatocytes and asymptomatically replicate as liver stages. Using RNA sequencing, we show that a rodent malaria liver-stage infection stimulates a robust innate immune response including type I interferon (IFN) and IFNγ pathways. Liver-stage infection is suppressed by these infection-engendered innate responses. This suppression was abrogated in mice deficient in IFNγ, the type I IFN α/β receptor (IFNAR), and interferon regulatory factor 3. Natural killer and CD49b(+)CD3(+) natural killer T (NKT) cells increased in the liver after a primary infection, and CD1d-restricted NKT cells, which secrete IFNγ, were critical in reducing liver-stage burden of a secondary infection. Lack of IFNAR signaling abrogated the increase in NKT cell numbers in the liver, showing a link between type I IFN signaling, cell recruitment, and subsequent parasite elimination. Our findings demonstrate innate immune sensing of malaria parasite liver-stage infection and that the ensuing innate responses can eliminate the parasite.

  6. The impact of hotspot-targeted interventions on malaria transmission: study protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Malaria transmission is highly heterogeneous in most settings, resulting in the formation of recognizable malaria hotspots. Targeting these hotspots might represent a highly efficacious way of controlling or eliminating malaria if the hotspots fuel malaria transmission to the wider community. Methods/design Hotspots of malaria will be determined based on spatial patterns in age-adjusted prevalence and density of antibodies against malaria antigens apical membrane antigen-1 and merozoite surface protein-1. The community effect of interventions targeted at these hotspots will be determined. The intervention will comprise larviciding, focal screening and treatment of the human population, distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying. The impact of the intervention will be determined inside and up to 500 m outside the targeted hotspots by PCR-based parasite prevalence in cross-sectional surveys, malaria morbidity by passive case detection in selected facilities and entomological monitoring of larval and adult Anopheles populations. Discussion This study aims to provide direct evidence for a community effect of hotspot-targeted interventions. The trial is powered to detect large effects on malaria transmission in the context of ongoing malaria interventions. Follow-up studies will be needed to determine the effect of individual components of the interventions and the cost-effectiveness of a hotspot-targeted approach, where savings made by reducing the number of compounds that need to receive interventions should outweigh the costs of hotspot-detection. Trial registration NCT01575613. The protocol was registered online on 20 March 2012; the first community was randomized on 26 March 2012. PMID:23374910

  7. Local constraints to access appropriate malaria treatment in the context of parasite resistance in Cambodia: a qualitative study.

    PubMed

    Verschuere, Jesse; Decroo, Tom; Lim, Dara; Kindermans, Jean-Marie; Nguon, Chea; Huy, Rekol; Alkourdi, Yasmine; Peeters Grietens, Koen; Gryseels, Charlotte

    2017-02-17

    Despite emerging drug resistance in Cambodia, artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is still the most efficacious therapy. ACT is available free of charge in the Cambodian public sector and at a subsidized rate in the private sector. However, un- and mistreated cases in combination with population movements may lead to the further spread of resistant parasites, stressing the importance of understanding how the perceived aetiology of malaria and associated health-seeking behaviour may delay access to appropriate treatment. A qualitative study explored these factors after an epidemiological survey confirmed parasite resistance in Preah Vihear province. In Cambodian cosmology, illnesses can be inflicted by supernatural beings or originate from 'natural' causes because of disorder in the social, domestic or outdoor environment. Initial treatment options consist of cheap and accessible home-based care (manual therapy, herbs and biomedical medication) targeting single symptoms. If there is no steady recovery or if the condition quickly aggravates, care will be sought from 'village doctors', public health facilities, private pharmacies or, in case of suspicion of a supernatural cause, from a specialized indigenous healer. The choice of provider is mostly based on the family's financial situation, access to and trust in the provider, and the congruence between the suspected aetiology of the illness and the treatment offered by the provider. Different treatment options are often combined during the same illness episode through a serial process of trial and error guided by the observable improvements in the patient's condition. Cambodian perceptions of illness that focus on single symptoms and their perceived severity may lead to the identification of one or multiple illnesses at the same time, rarely suspecting malaria from the start and implying different patterns of health seeking behaviour and treatment choice. However, decisions to self-diagnose and treat at home

  8. Mechanism-based model of parasite growth and dihydroartemisinin pharmacodynamics in murine malaria.

    PubMed

    Patel, Kashyap; Batty, Kevin T; Moore, Brioni R; Gibbons, Peter L; Bulitta, Jürgen B; Kirkpatrick, Carl M

    2013-01-01

    Murine models are used to study erythrocytic stages of malaria infection, because parasite morphology and development are comparable to those in human malaria infections. Mechanism-based pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) models for antimalarials are scarce, despite their potential to optimize antimalarial combination therapy. The aim of this study was to develop a mechanism-based growth model (MBGM) for Plasmodium berghei and then characterize the parasiticidal effect of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in murine malaria (MBGM-PK-PD). Stage-specific (ring, early trophozoite, late trophozoite, and schizont) parasite density data from Swiss mice inoculated with Plasmodium berghei were used for model development in S-ADAPT. A single dose of intraperitoneal DHA (10 to 100 mg/kg) or vehicle was administered 56 h postinoculation. The MBGM explicitly reflected all four erythrocytic stages of the 24-hour P. berghei life cycle. Merozoite invasion of erythrocytes was described by a first-order process that declined with increasing parasitemia. An efflux pathway with subsequent return was additionally required to describe the schizont data, thus representing parasite sequestration or trapping in the microvasculature, with a return to circulation. A 1-compartment model with zero-order absorption described the PK of DHA, with an estimated clearance and distribution volume of 1.95 liters h(-1) and 0.851 liter, respectively. Parasite killing was described by a turnover model, with DHA inhibiting the production of physiological intermediates (IC(50), 1.46 ng/ml). Overall, the MBGM-PK-PD described the rise in parasitemia, the nadir following DHA dosing, and subsequent parasite resurgence. This novel model is a promising tool for studying malaria infections, identifying the stage specificity of antimalarials, and providing insight into antimalarial treatment strategies.

  9. Usefulness of quantitative buffy coat blood parasite detection system in diagnosis of malaria.

    PubMed

    Pinto, M J; Rodrigues, S R; Desouza, R; Verenkar, M P

    2001-01-01

    A rapid test for diagnosis of malaria based on acridine orange staining of centrifuged blood samples in a microhematocrit tube (QBC) was compared with thick and thin peripheral blood smears in 2274 samples. Malaria was diagnosed in 239 (10.5%) patients by Leishman's staining technique and QBC method. The QBC method allowed detection of an additional 89 (3.9%) cases. Thus the prevalence rate of malaria during the study was 14.4%. In 1946 patients who were negative by the QBC technique, the Leishman's stained smears did not provide any help in malaria diagnosis. Analysis of the relative quantity of parasites in the specimens, in the QBC method, revealed that 80 out of 89 QBC positive but smear negative cases, had a very low parasite number (less than 10 parasites per QBC field). Although QBC method was superior to the smear for malarial parasite detection, species identification was not possible in 26 (7.9%) cases by this technique. In 95.7% (n = 314) QBC positive cases, the buffy coat in the QBC tube appeared pigmented (gray to black). The colour of the buffy coat was therefore considered by us as a predictor of positivity and could be taken as an indicator for a careful and more prolonged search for the parasites. Thus, the QBC technique has its advantages in terms of speed, sensitivity and ease, especially in an endemic area as ours, where the level of parasitaemia is low and more than 70 to 80 smears need to be examined per day. However, the age old Romanowsky stains still appear superior for species identification.

  10. Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale genomes provide insights into malaria parasite evolution

    PubMed Central

    Rutledge, Gavin G.; Böhme, Ulrike; Sanders, Mandy; Reid, Adam J.; Cotton, James A.; Maiga-Ascofare, Oumou; Djimdé, Abdoulaye A.; Apinjoh, Tobias O.; Amenga-Etego, Lucas; Manske, Magnus; Barnwell, John W.; Renaud, François; Ollomo, Benjamin; Prugnolle, Franck; Anstey, Nicholas M.; Auburn, Sarah; Price, Ric N.; McCarthy, James S.; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P.; Newbold, Chris I.; Berriman, Matthew; Otto, Thomas D.

    2017-01-01

    Elucidation of the evolutionary history and interrelatedness of Plasmodium species that infect humans has been hampered by a lack of genetic information for three human-infective species: P. malariae and two P. ovale species (P. o. curtisi and P. o. wallikeri)1. These species are prevalent across most regions in which malaria is endemic2,3 and are often undetectable by light microscopy4, rendering their study in human populations difficult5. The exact evolutionary relationship of these species to the other human-infective species has been contested6,7. Using a new reference genome for P. malariae and a manually curated draft P. o. curtisi genome, we are now able to accurately place these species within the Plasmodium phylogeny. Sequencing of a P. malariae relative that infects chimpanzees reveals similar signatures of selection in the P. malariae lineage to another Plasmodium lineage shown to be capable of colonization of both human and chimpanzee hosts. Molecular dating suggests that these host adaptations occurred over similar evolutionary timescales. In addition to the core genome that is conserved between species, differences in gene content can be linked to their specific biology. The genome suggests that P. malariae expresses a family of heterodimeric proteins on its surface that have structural similarities to a protein crucial for invasion of red blood cells. The data presented here provide insight into the evolution of the Plasmodium genus as a whole. PMID:28117441

  11. Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale genomes provide insights into malaria parasite evolution.

    PubMed

    Rutledge, Gavin G; Böhme, Ulrike; Sanders, Mandy; Reid, Adam J; Cotton, James A; Maiga-Ascofare, Oumou; Djimdé, Abdoulaye A; Apinjoh, Tobias O; Amenga-Etego, Lucas; Manske, Magnus; Barnwell, John W; Renaud, François; Ollomo, Benjamin; Prugnolle, Franck; Anstey, Nicholas M; Auburn, Sarah; Price, Ric N; McCarthy, James S; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P; Newbold, Chris I; Berriman, Matthew; Otto, Thomas D

    2017-02-02

    Elucidation of the evolutionary history and interrelatedness of Plasmodium species that infect humans has been hampered by a lack of genetic information for three human-infective species: P. malariae and two P. ovale species (P. o. curtisi and P. o. wallikeri). These species are prevalent across most regions in which malaria is endemic and are often undetectable by light microscopy, rendering their study in human populations difficult. The exact evolutionary relationship of these species to the other human-infective species has been contested. Using a new reference genome for P. malariae and a manually curated draft P. o. curtisi genome, we are now able to accurately place these species within the Plasmodium phylogeny. Sequencing of a P. malariae relative that infects chimpanzees reveals similar signatures of selection in the P. malariae lineage to another Plasmodium lineage shown to be capable of colonization of both human and chimpanzee hosts. Molecular dating suggests that these host adaptations occurred over similar evolutionary timescales. In addition to the core genome that is conserved between species, differences in gene content can be linked to their specific biology. The genome suggests that P. malariae expresses a family of heterodimeric proteins on its surface that have structural similarities to a protein crucial for invasion of red blood cells. The data presented here provide insight into the evolution of the Plasmodium genus as a whole.

  12. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the aspartic protease plasmepsin 4 from the malarial parasite Plasmodium malariae

    SciTech Connect

    Madabushi, Amrita; Chakraborty, Sibani; Fisher, S. Zoë; Clemente, José C.; Yowell, Charles; Agbandje-McKenna, Mavis; Dame, John B.; Dunn, Ben M.; McKenna, Robert

    2005-02-01

    Plasmepsin 4 from the malarial parasite P. malariae has been crystallized in complex with a small molecular inhibitor. Preliminary X-ray analysis of the diffraction data collected at 3.3 Å resolution is reported.

  13. Malaria parasite-synthesized heme is essential in the mosquito and liver stages and complements host heme in the blood stages of infection.

    PubMed

    Nagaraj, Viswanathan Arun; Sundaram, Balamurugan; Varadarajan, Nandan Mysore; Subramani, Pradeep Annamalai; Kalappa, Devaiah Monnanda; Ghosh, Susanta Kumar; Padmanaban, Govindarajan

    2013-01-01

    Heme metabolism is central to malaria parasite biology. The parasite acquires heme from host hemoglobin in the intraerythrocytic stages and stores it as hemozoin to prevent free heme toxicity. The parasite can also synthesize heme de novo, and all the enzymes in the pathway are characterized. To study the role of the dual heme sources in malaria parasite growth and development, we knocked out the first enzyme, δ-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS), and the last enzyme, ferrochelatase (FC), in the heme-biosynthetic pathway of Plasmodium berghei (Pb). The wild-type and knockout (KO) parasites had similar intraerythrocytic growth patterns in mice. We carried out in vitro radiolabeling of heme in Pb-infected mouse reticulocytes and Plasmodium falciparum-infected human RBCs using [4-(14)C] aminolevulinic acid (ALA). We found that the parasites incorporated both host hemoglobin-heme and parasite-synthesized heme into hemozoin and mitochondrial cytochromes. The similar fates of the two heme sources suggest that they may serve as backup mechanisms to provide heme in the intraerythrocytic stages. Nevertheless, the de novo pathway is absolutely essential for parasite development in the mosquito and liver stages. PbKO parasites formed drastically reduced oocysts and did not form sporozoites in the salivary glands. Oocyst production in PbALASKO parasites recovered when mosquitoes received an ALA supplement. PbALASKO sporozoites could infect mice only when the mice received an ALA supplement. Our results indicate the potential for new therapeutic interventions targeting the heme-biosynthetic pathway in the parasite during the mosquito and liver stages.

  14. Pathogenicity Determinants of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum Have Ancient Origins

    PubMed Central

    Brazier, Andrew J.; Avril, Marion; Bernabeu, Maria; Benjamin, Maxwell

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the human malaria parasites, is a member of the Laverania subgenus that also infects African Great Apes. The virulence of P. falciparum is related to cytoadhesion of infected erythrocytes in microvasculature, but the origin of dangerous parasite adhesion traits is poorly understood. To investigate the evolutionary history of the P. falciparum cytoadhesion pathogenicity determinant, we studied adhesion domains from the chimpanzee malaria parasite P. reichenowi. We demonstrate that the P. reichenowi var gene repertoire encodes cysteine-rich interdomain region (CIDR) domains which bind human CD36 and endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) with the same levels of affinity and at binding sites similar to those bound by P. falciparum. Moreover, P. reichenowi domains interfere with the protective function of the activated protein C-EPCR pathway on endothelial cells, a presumptive virulence trait in humans. These findings provide evidence for ancient evolutionary origins of two key cytoadhesion properties of P. falciparum that contribute to human infection and pathogenicity. IMPORTANCE Cytoadhesion of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes in the microcirculation is a major virulence determinant. P. falciparum is descended from a subgenus of parasites that also infect chimpanzees and gorillas and exhibits strict host species specificity. Despite their high genetic similarity to P. falciparum, it is unknown whether ape parasites encode adhesion properties similar to those of P. falciparum or are as virulent in their natural hosts. Consequently, it has been unclear when virulent adhesion traits arose in P. falciparum and how long they have been present in the parasite population. It is also unknown whether cytoadhesive interactions pose a barrier to cross-species transmission. We show that parasite domains from the chimpanzee malaria parasite P. reichenowi bind human receptors with specificity similar to that of P

  15. Inhibiting the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Blocks the Development of Experimental Cerebral Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Emile B.; Hart, Geoffrey T.; Tran, Tuan M.; Waisberg, Michael; Akkaya, Munir; Skinner, Jeff; Zinöcker, Severin; Pena, Mirna; Yazew, Takele; Qi, Chen-Feng; Miller, Louis H.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasites of several Plasmodium spp. Cerebral malaria (CM) is a common form of severe malaria resulting in nearly 700,000 deaths each year in Africa alone. At present, there is no adjunctive therapy for CM. Although the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of CM are incompletely understood, it is likely that both intrinsic features of the parasite and the human host’s immune response contribute to disease. The kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of immune responses, and drugs that inhibit the mTOR pathway have been shown to be antiparasitic. In a mouse model of CM, experimental CM (ECM), we show that the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin protects against ECM when administered within the first 4 days of infection. Treatment with rapamycin increased survival, blocked breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and brain hemorrhaging, decreased the influx of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells into the brain and the accumulation of parasitized red blood cells in the brain. Rapamycin induced marked transcriptional changes in the brains of infected mice, and analysis of transcription profiles predicted that rapamycin blocked leukocyte trafficking to and proliferation in the brain. Remarkably, animals were protected against ECM even though rapamycin treatment significantly increased the inflammatory response induced by infection in both the brain and spleen. These results open a new avenue for the development of highly selective adjunctive therapies for CM by targeting pathways that regulate host and parasite metabolism. PMID:26037126

  16. Mitochondrial genes support a common origin of rodent malaria parasites and Plasmodium falciparum's relatives infecting great apes.

    PubMed

    Blanquart, Samuel; Gascuel, Olivier

    2011-03-15

    Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the most acute form of human malaria. Most recent studies demonstrate that it belongs to a monophyletic lineage specialized in the infection of great ape hosts. Several other Plasmodium species cause human malaria. They all belong to another distinct lineage of parasites which infect a wider range of primate species. All known mammalian malaria parasites appear to be monophyletic. Their clade includes the two previous distinct lineages of parasites of primates and great apes, one lineage of rodent parasites, and presumably Hepatocystis species. Plasmodium falciparum and great ape parasites are commonly thought to be the sister-group of all other mammal-infecting malaria parasites. However, some studies supported contradictory origins and found parasites of great apes to be closer to those of rodents, or to those of other primates. To distinguish between these mutually exclusive hypotheses on the origin of Plasmodium falciparum and its great ape infecting relatives, we performed a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis based on a data set of three mitochondrial genes from 33 to 84 malaria parasites. We showed that malarial mitochondrial genes have evolved slowly and are compositionally homogeneous. We estimated their phylogenetic relationships using Bayesian and maximum-likelihood methods. Inferred trees were checked for their robustness to the (i) site selection, (ii) assumptions of various probabilistic models, and (iii) taxon sampling. Our results robustly support a common ancestry of rodent parasites and Plasmodium falciparum's relatives infecting great apes. Our results refute the most common view of the origin of great ape malaria parasites, and instead demonstrate the robustness of a less well-established phylogenetic hypothesis, under which Plasmodium falciparum and its relatives infecting great apes are closely related to rodent parasites. This study sheds light on the evolutionary history of Plasmodium falciparum, a

  17. Parasite impairment by targeting Plasmodium-infected RBCs using glyceryl-dilaurate nanostructured lipid carriers.

    PubMed

    Jain, Soniya A; Basu, Himanish; Prabhu, Priyanka S; Soni, Umangi; Joshi, Medha D; Mathur, Deepak; Patravale, Vandana B; Pathak, Sulabha; Sharma, Shobhona

    2014-08-01

    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.

  18. Towards genome-wide experimental genetics in the in vivo malaria model parasite Plasmodium berghei.

    PubMed

    Matz, Joachim M; Kooij, Taco W A

    2015-03-01

    Plasmodium berghei was identified as a parasite of thicket rats (Grammomys dolichurus) and Anopheles dureni mosquitoes in African highland forests. Successful adaptation to a range of rodent and mosquito species established P. berghei as a malaria model parasite. The introduction of stable transfection technology, permitted classical reverse genetics strategies and thus systematic functional profiling of the gene repertoire. In the past 10 years following the publication of the P. berghei genome sequence, many new tools for experimental genetics approaches have been developed and existing ones have been improved. The infection of mice is the principal limitation towards a genome-wide repository of mutant parasite lines. In the past few years, there have been some promising and most welcome developments that allow rapid selection and isolation of recombinant parasites while simultaneously minimising animal usage. Here, we provide an overview of all the currently available tools and methods.

  19. Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts.

    PubMed

    Otto, Thomas D; Rayner, Julian C; Böhme, Ulrike; Pain, Arnab; Spottiswoode, Natasha; Sanders, Mandy; Quail, Michael; Ollomo, Benjamin; Renaud, François; Thomas, Alan W; Prugnolle, Franck; Conway, David J; Newbold, Chris; Berriman, Matthew

    2014-09-09

    Plasmodium falciparum causes most human malaria deaths, having prehistorically evolved from parasites of African Great Apes. Here we explore the genomic basis of P. falciparum adaptation to human hosts by fully sequencing the genome of the closely related chimpanzee parasite species P. reichenowi, and obtaining partial sequence data from a more distantly related chimpanzee parasite (P. gaboni). The close relationship between P. reichenowi and P. falciparum is emphasized by almost complete conservation of genomic synteny, but against this strikingly conserved background we observe major differences at loci involved in erythrocyte invasion. The organization of most virulence-associated multigene families, including the hypervariable var genes, is broadly conserved, but P. falciparum has a smaller subset of rif and stevor genes whose products are expressed on the infected erythrocyte surface. Genome-wide analysis identifies other loci under recent positive selection, but a limited number of changes at the host-parasite interface may have mediated host switching.

  20. An image analysis algorithm for malaria parasite stage classification and viability quantification.

    PubMed

    Moon, Seunghyun; Lee, Sukjun; Kim, Heechang; Freitas-Junior, Lucio H; Kang, Myungjoo; Ayong, Lawrence; Hansen, Michael A E

    2013-01-01

    With more than 40% of the world's population at risk, 200-300 million infections each year, and an estimated 1.2 million deaths annually, malaria remains one of the most important public health problems of mankind today. With the propensity of malaria parasites to rapidly develop resistance to newly developed therapies, and the recent failures of artemisinin-based drugs in Southeast Asia, there is an urgent need for new antimalarial compounds with novel mechanisms of action to be developed against multidrug resistant malaria. We present here a novel image analysis algorithm for the quantitative detection and classification of Plasmodium lifecycle stages in culture as well as discriminating between viable and dead parasites in drug-treated samples. This new algorithm reliably estimates the number of red blood cells (isolated or clustered) per fluorescence image field, and accurately identifies parasitized erythrocytes on the basis of high intensity DAPI-stained parasite nuclei spots and Mitotracker-stained mitochondrial in viable parasites. We validated the performance of the algorithm by manual counting of the infected and non-infected red blood cells in multiple image fields, and the quantitative analyses of the different parasite stages (early rings, rings, trophozoites, schizonts) at various time-point post-merozoite invasion, in tightly synchronized cultures. Additionally, the developed algorithm provided parasitological effective concentration 50 (EC50) values for both chloroquine and artemisinin, that were similar to known growth inhibitory EC50 values for these compounds as determined using conventional SYBR Green I and lactate dehydrogenase-based assays.

  1. Horizontal gene transfer of epigenetic machinery and evolution of parasitism in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and other apicomplexans.

    PubMed

    Kishore, Sandeep P; Stiller, John W; Deitsch, Kirk W

    2013-02-11

    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. 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. 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

  2. Horizontal gene transfer of epigenetic machinery and evolution of parasitism in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and other apicomplexans

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    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

  3. Plasmodium falciparum kelch 13: a potential molecular marker for tackling artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Mita, Toshihiro; Tachibana, Shin-Ichiro; Hashimoto, Muneaki; Hirai, Makoto

    2016-01-01

    Although artemisinin combination therapies have been deployed as a first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in almost all endemic countries, artemisinin-resistant parasites have emerged and have gradually spread across the Greater Mekong subregions. There is growing concern that the resistant parasites may migrate to or emerge indigenously in sub-Saharan Africa, which might provoke a global increase in malaria-associated morbidity and mortality. Therefore, development of molecular markers that enable identification of artemisinin resistance with high sensitivity is urgently required to combat this issue. In 2014, a potential artemisinin-resistance responsible gene, Plasmodium falciparum kelch13, was discovered. Here, we review the genetic features of P. falciparum kelch13 and discuss its related resistant mechanisms and potential as a molecular marker.

  4. Static and dynamic light scattering of healthy and malaria-parasite invaded red blood cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Yongkeun; Diez-Silva, Monica; Fu, Dan; Popescu, Gabriel; Choi, Wonshik; Barman, Ishan; Suresh, Subra; Feld, Michael S.

    2010-03-01

    We present the light scattering of individual Plasmodium falciparum-parasitized human red blood cells (Pf-RBCs), and demonstrate progressive alterations to the scattering signal arising from the development of malaria-inducing parasites. By selectively imaging the electric fields using quantitative phase microscopy and a Fourier transform light scattering technique, we calculate the light scattering maps of individual Pf-RBCs. We show that the onset and progression of pathological states of the Pf-RBCs can be clearly identified by the static scattering maps. Progressive changes to the biophysical properties of the Pf-RBC membrane are captured from dynamic light scattering.

  5. A mosquito 2-Cys peroxiredoxin protects against nitrosative and oxidative stresses associated with malaria parasite infection.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Tina M L; Luckhart, Shirley

    2006-03-15

    Malaria parasite infection in anopheline mosquitoes induces nitrosative and oxidative stresses that limit parasite development, but also damage mosquito tissues in proximity to the response. Based on these observations, we proposed that cellular defenses in the mosquito may be induced to minimize self-damage. Specifically, we hypothesized that peroxiredoxins (Prxs), enzymes known to detoxify reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen oxide species (RNOS), protect mosquito cells. We identified an Anopheles stephensi 2-Cys Prx ortholog of Drosophila melanogaster Prx-4783, which protects fly cells against oxidative stresses. To assess function, AsPrx-4783 was overexpressed in D. melanogaster S2 and in A. stephensi (MSQ43) cells and silenced in MSQ43 cells with RNA interference before treatment with various ROS and RNOS. Our data revealed that AsPrx-4783 and DmPrx-4783 differ in host cell protection and that AsPrx-4783 protects A. stephensi cells against stresses that are relevant to malaria parasite infection in vivo, namely nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen peroxide, nitroxyl, and peroxynitrite. Further, AsPrx-4783 expression is induced in the mosquito midgut by parasite infection at times associated with peak nitrosative and oxidative stresses. Hence, whereas the NO-mediated defense response is toxic to both host and parasite, AsPrx-4783 may shift the balance in favor of the mosquito.

  6. Phenotypic plasticity in reproductive effort: malaria parasites respond to resource availability.

    PubMed

    Birget, Philip L G; Repton, Charlotte; O'Donnell, Aidan J; Schneider, Petra; Reece, Sarah E

    2017-08-16

    The trade-off between survival and reproduction is fundamental in the life history of all sexually reproducing organisms. This includes malaria parasites, which rely on asexually replicating stages for within-host survival and on sexually reproducing stages (gametocytes) for between-host transmission. The proportion of asexual stages that form gametocytes (reproductive effort) varies during infections-i.e. is phenotypically plastic-in response to changes in a number of within-host factors, including anaemia. However, how the density and age structure of red blood cell (RBC) resources shape plasticity in reproductive effort and impacts upon parasite fitness is controversial. Here, we examine how and why the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi alters its reproductive effort in response to experimental perturbations of the density and age structure of RBCs. We show that all four of the genotypes studied increase reproductive effort when the proportion of RBCs that are immature is elevated during host anaemia, and that the responses of the genotypes differ. We propose that anaemia (counterintuitively) generates a resource-rich environment in which parasites can afford to allocate more energy to reproduction (i.e. transmission) and that anaemia also exposes genetic variation to selection. From an applied perspective, adaptive plasticity in parasite reproductive effort could explain the maintenance of genetic variation for virulence and why anaemia is often observed as a risk factor for transmission in human infections. © 2017 The Authors.

  7. A mosquito 2-Cys peroxiredoxin protects against nitrosative and oxidative stresses associated with malaria parasite infection

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Tina M.L.; Luckhart, Shirley

    2008-01-01

    Malaria parasite infection in anopheline mosquitoes induces nitrosative and oxidative stresses that limit parasite development, but also damage mosquito tissues in proximity to the response. Based on these observations, we proposed that cellular defenses in the mosquito may be induced to minimize self-damage. Specifically, we hypothesized that peroxiredoxins (Prxs), enzymes known to detoxify reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen oxide species (RNOS), protect mosquito cells. We identified an Anopheles stephensi 2-Cys Prx ortholog of Drosophila melanogaster Prx-4783, which protects fly cells against oxidative stresses. To assess function, AsPrx-4783 was overexpressed in D. melanogaster (S2) and in A. stephensi (MSQ43) cells and silenced in MSQ43 cells with RNA interference before treatment with various ROS and RNOS. Our data revealed that AsPrx-4783 and DmPrx-4783 differ in host cell protection and that AsPrx-4783 protects A. stephensi cells against stresses that are relevant to malaria parasite infection in vivo, namely nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen peroxide, nitroxyl, and peroxynitrite. Further, AsPrx-4783 expression is induced in the mosquito midgut by parasite infection at times associated with peak nitrosative and oxidative stresses. Hence, whereas the NO-mediated defense response is toxic to both host and parasite, AsPrx-4783 may shift the balance in favor of the mosquito. PMID:16540402

  8. Development and Application of a Simple Plaque Assay for the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, James A.; Collins, Christine R.; Das, Sujaan; Hackett, Fiona; Graindorge, Arnault; Bell, Donald; Deu, Edgar; Blackman, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Malaria is caused by an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite that replicates within and destroys erythrocytes. Asexual blood stages of the causative agent of the most virulent form of human malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, can be cultivated indefinitely in vitro in human erythrocytes, facilitating experimental analysis of parasite cell biology, biochemistry and genetics. However, efforts to improve understanding of the basic biology of this important pathogen and to develop urgently required new antimalarial drugs and vaccines, suffer from a paucity of basic research tools. This includes a simple means of quantifying the effects of drugs, antibodies and gene modifications on parasite fitness and replication rates. Here we describe the development and validation of an extremely simple, robust plaque assay that can be used to visualise parasite replication and resulting host erythrocyte destruction at the level of clonal parasite populations. We demonstrate applications of the plaque assay by using it for the phenotypic characterisation of two P. falciparum conditional mutants displaying reduced fitness in vitro. PMID:27332706

  9. The malaria parasite Plasmodium relictum in the endemic avifauna of eastern Cuba.

    PubMed

    Soares, Letícia; Marra, Peter; Gray, Lindsey; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2017-08-02

    Island populations are vulnerable to introduced pathogens, as evidenced by extinction or population decline of several endemic Hawaiian birds caused by the malaria parasite, Plasmodium relictum (order Haemosporida). We analyzed blood samples from 363 birds caught near Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the presence of haemosporidian infections. We characterized parasite lineages by determining nucleotide variation of the parasite's mitochondrial cyt b gene. Fifty-nine individuals were infected, and we identified 7 lineages of haemosporidian parasites. Fifty individuals were infected by 6 Haemoproteus sp. lineages, including a newly characterized lineage of Haem. (Parahaemoproteus) sp. CUH01. Nine individuals carried the P. relictum lineage GRW4, including 5 endemic Cuban Grassquits (Tiaris canorus) and 1 migratory Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina). A sequence of the merozoite surface protein gene from one Cuban Grassquit infected with GRW4 matched that of the Hawaiian haplotype Pr9. Our results indicate that resident and migratory Cuban birds are infected with a malaria lineage that has severely affected populations of several endemic Hawaiian birds. We suggest GRW4 may be associated with the lack of several bird species on Cuba that are ubiquitous elsewhere in the West Indies. From the standpoint of avian conservation in the Caribbean Basin, it will be important to determine the distribution of haemosporidian parasites, especially P. relictum GRW4, in Cuba as well as the pathogenicity of this lineage in species that occur and are absent from Cuba. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.

  10. Plasmodium knowlesi and human malaria parasites in Khan Phu, Vietnam: Gametocyte production in humans and frequent co-infection of mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    Maeno, Y; Culleton, R; Quang, N T; Kawai, S; Marchand, R P; Nakazawa, S

    2017-04-01

    Four species of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi infect humans living in the Khanh Phu commune, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. The latter species also infects wild macaque monkeys in this region. In order to understand the transmission dynamics of the three species, we attempted to detect gametocytes of the three species in the blood of infected individuals, and sporozoites in the salivary glands of mosquitoes from the same region. For the detection of gametocyte-specific mRNA, we targeted region 3 of pfg377, pvs25, pmg and pks25 as indicators of the presence of P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. knowlesi gametocytes, respectively. Gametocyte-specific mRNA was present in 37, 61, 0 and 47% of people infected with P. falciparum (n = 95), P. vivax (n = 69), P. malariae (n = 6) or P. knowlesi (n = 32), respectively. We found that 70% of mosquitoes that had P. knowlesi in their salivary glands also carried human malaria parasites, suggesting that mosquitoes are infected with P. knowlesi from human infections.

  11. Virulence of lizard malaria: the evolutionary ecology of an ancient parasite-host association.

    PubMed

    Schall, J J

    1990-01-01

    The negative consequences of parasitic infection (virulence) were examined for two lizard malaria parasite-host associations: Plasmodium agamae and P. giganteum, parasites of the rainbow lizard, Agama agama, in Sierra Leone, West Africa; and P. mexicanum in the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis, in northern California. These malaria species vary greatly in their reproductive characteristics: P. agamae produces only 8 merozoites per schizont, P. giganteum yields over 100, and P. mexicanum an intermediate number. All three parasites appear to have had an ancient association with their host. In fence lizards, infection with malaria is associated with increased numbers of immature erythrocytes, decreased haemoglobin levels, decreased maximal oxygen consumption, and decreased running stamina. Not affected were numbers of erythrocytes, resting metabolic rate, and sprint running speed which is supported by anaerobic means in lizards. Infected male fence lizards had smaller testes, stored less fat in preparation for winter dormancy, were more often socially submissive and, unexpectedly, were more extravagantly coloured on the ventral surface (a sexually dimorphic trait) than non-infected males. Females also stored less fat and produced smaller clutches of eggs, a directly observed reduction in fitness. Infected fence lizards do not develop behavioural fevers. P. mexicanum appears to have broad thermal buffering abilities and thermal tolerance; the parasite's population growth was unaffected by experimental alterations in the lizard's body temperature. The data are less complete for A. agama, but infected lizards suffered similar haematological and physiological effects. Infected animals may be socially submissive because they appear to gather less insect prey, possibly a result of being forced into inferior territories. Infection does not reduce clutch size in rainbow lizards, but may lengthen the time between clutches. These results are compared with

  12. Avian malaria parasites in the last supper: identifying encounters between parasites and the invasive Asian mosquito tiger and native mosquito species in Italy.

    PubMed

    Martínez-de la Puente, Josué; Muñoz, Joaquín; Capelli, Gioia; Montarsi, Fabrizio; Soriguer, Ramón; Arnoldi, Daniele; Rizzoli, Annapaola; Figuerola, Jordi

    2015-01-28

    The invasive Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus has dramatically expanded its distribution range, being catalogued as one of the world's 100 worst invasive alien species. As vectors of pathogens, Ae. albopictus may create novel epidemiological scenarios in the invaded areas. Here, the frequency of encounters of Ae. albopictus with the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium and the related Haemoproteus was studied in an area with established populations in northeastern Italy and compared with those from four native mosquito species, Anopheles maculipennis s.l., Culex hortensis, Culex pipiens, and Ochlerotatus caspius. The abdomens of mosquitoes with a recent blood meal were used to identify both the blood meal source and the parasites harboured. Aedes albopictus had a clear antropophilic behaviour while An. maculipennis and Oc. caspius fed mainly on non-human mammals. Birds were the most common hosts of Cx. pipiens and reptiles of Cx. hortensis. Parasites were isolated from three mosquito species, with Cx. pipiens (30%) showing the highest parasite prevalence followed by Cx. hortensis (9%) and Ae. albopictus (5%). These results are the first identifying the avian malaria parasites harboured by mosquitoes in Italy and represent the first evidence supporting that, although Ae. albopictus could be involved in the transmission of avian malaria parasites, the risk of avian malaria parasite spread by this invasive mosquito in Europe would be minimal.

  13. The 'permeome' of the malaria parasite: an overview of the membrane transport proteins of Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Rowena E; Henry, Roselani I; Abbey, Janice L; Clements, John D; Kirk, Kiaran

    2005-01-01

    Background The uptake of nutrients, expulsion of metabolic wastes and maintenance of ion homeostasis by the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite is mediated by membrane transport proteins. Proteins of this type are also implicated in the phenomenon of antimalarial drug resistance. However, the initial annotation of the genome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum identified only a limited number of transporters, and no channels. In this study we have used a combination of bioinformatic approaches to identify and attribute putative functions to transporters and channels encoded by the malaria parasite, as well as comparing expression patterns for a subset of these. Results A computer program that searches a genome database on the basis of the hydropathy plots of the corresponding proteins was used to identify more than 100 transport proteins encoded by P. falciparum. These include all the transporters previously annotated as such, as well as a similar number of candidate transport proteins that had escaped detection. Detailed sequence analysis enabled the assignment of putative substrate specificities and/or transport mechanisms to all those putative transport proteins previously without. The newly-identified transport proteins include candidate transporters for a range of organic and inorganic nutrients (including sugars, amino acids, nucleosides and vitamins), and several putative ion channels. The stage-dependent expression of RNAs for 34 candidate transport proteins of particular interest are compared. Conclusion The malaria parasite possesses substantially more membrane transport proteins than was originally thought, and the analyses presented here provide a range of novel insights into the physiology of this important human pathogen. PMID:15774027

  14. Reduced erythrocyte susceptibility and increased host clearance of young parasites slows Plasmodium growth in a murine model of severe malaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khoury, David S.; Cromer, Deborah; Best, Shannon E.; James, Kylie R.; Sebina, Ismail; Haque, Ashraful; Davenport, Miles P.

    2015-05-01

    The best correlate of malaria severity in human Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) infection is the total parasite load. Pf-infected humans could control parasite loads by two mechanisms, either decreasing parasite multiplication, or increasing parasite clearance. However, few studies have directly measured these two mechanisms in vivo. Here, we have directly quantified host clearance of parasites during Plasmodium infection in mice. We transferred labelled red blood cells (RBCs) from Plasmodium infected donors into uninfected and infected recipients, and tracked the fate of donor parasites by frequent blood sampling. We then applied age-based mathematical models to characterise parasite clearance in the recipient mice. Our analyses revealed an increased clearance of parasites in infected animals, particularly parasites of a younger developmental stage. However, the major decrease in parasite multiplication in infected mice was not mediated by increased clearance alone, but was accompanied by a significant reduction in the susceptibility of RBCs to parasitisation.

  15. Malaria parasite sequences from chimpanzee support the co-speciation hypothesis for the origin of virulent human malaria (Plasmodium falciparum).

    PubMed

    Hughes, Austin L; Verra, Federica

    2010-10-01

    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) to P. reichenowi, constitute a paraphyletic assemblage. The assumption that P. falciparum diverged from P. reichenowi as recently as 5000-50,000 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.

  16. Probability of Transmission of Malaria from Mosquito to Human Is Regulated by Mosquito Parasite Density in Naïve and Vaccinated Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Sinden, Robert E.; Poulton, Ian D.; Griffin, Jamie T.; Upton, Leanna M.; Sala, Katarzyna A.; Angrisano, Fiona; Hill, Adrian V. S.; Blagborough, Andrew M.

    2017-01-01

    Over a century since Ronald Ross discovered that malaria is caused by the bite of an infectious mosquito it is still unclear how the number of parasites injected influences disease transmission. Currently it is assumed that all mosquitoes with salivary gland sporozoites are equally infectious irrespective of the number of parasites they harbour, though this has never been rigorously tested. Here we analyse >1000 experimental infections of humans and mice and demonstrate a dose-dependency for probability of infection and the length of the host pre-patent period. Mosquitoes with a higher numbers of sporozoites in their salivary glands following blood-feeding are more likely to have caused infection (and have done so quicker) than mosquitoes with fewer parasites. A similar dose response for the probability of infection was seen for humans given a pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidate targeting circumsporozoite protein (CSP), and in mice with and without transfusion of anti-CSP antibodies. These interventions prevented infection more efficiently from bites made by mosquitoes with fewer parasites. The importance of parasite number has widespread implications across malariology, ranging from our basic understanding of the parasite, how vaccines are evaluated and the way in which transmission should be measured in the field. It also provides direct evidence for why the only registered malaria vaccine RTS,S was partially effective in recent clinical trials. PMID:28081253

  17. Three Divergent Subpopulations of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium knowlesi

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Lee C.; Rovie-Ryan, Jeffrine J.; Kadir, Khamisah A.; Anderios, Fread; Hisam, Shamilah; Sharma, Reuben S.K.; Singh, Balbir; Conway, David J.

    2017-01-01

    Multilocus microsatellite genotyping of Plasmodium knowlesi isolates previously indicated 2 divergent parasite subpopulations in humans on the island of Borneo, each associated with a different macaque reservoir host species. Geographic divergence was also apparent, and independent sequence data have indicated particularly deep divergence between parasites from mainland Southeast Asia and Borneo. To resolve the overall population structure, multilocus microsatellite genotyping was conducted on a new sample of 182 P. knowlesi infections (obtained from 134 humans and 48 wild macaques) from diverse areas of Malaysia, first analyzed separately and then in combination with previous data. All analyses confirmed 2 divergent clusters of human cases in Malaysian Borneo, associated with long-tailed macaques and pig-tailed macaques, and a third cluster in humans and most macaques in peninsular Malaysia. High levels of pairwise divergence between each of these sympatric and allopatric subpopulations have implications for the epidemiology and control of this zoonotic species. PMID:28322705

  18. Experiential relationship between malaria parasite density and some haematological parameters in malaria infected male subjects in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

    PubMed

    M, Eze Evelyn; Ezeiruaku, F C; Ukaji, D C

    2012-06-15

    This study examined the experiential relationship between the parasite density and haematological parameters in male patients with Plasmodium falciparum infection in Port Harcourt, Nigeria reporting to malaria clinics. A total of one hundred and thirty-six (136) male patients were recruited. QBC haematological analysis, QBC malaria parasite specie identification and quantification and thin blood film for differential leucocytes count was used. The mean values of the haematological parameters in each quartile of parasite densities were determined using Microsoft Excel statistical package. Regression analysis was employed to model the experiential relationship between parasite density and haematological parameters. All regression relationships were tested and the relationship with the highest coefficient of determination (R2) was accepted as the valid relationship. The relationships tested included linear, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and power relationships. The X- axis of the regression graphs stand for the parasite density while Y-axis stands for the respective haematological parameters  Neutrophil count had a negative  exponential relationship with the parasite density and is related to the parasite density by a polynomial equation model: ynm = -7E-07x2 - 0.0003x + 56.685.The coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.6140. This means that the rate of change of the parasitemia will depend on the initial value of the neutrophil. As the neutrophil increases, the parasitemia will tend to decrease in a double, triple and quadruple manner. The relationship between lymphocyte count, monocyte count and eosinophil count and parasite density was logarithmic and expressed by the following linear equation models: ylm = -2.371ln(x) + 37.296, ymm = 0.6965ln(x) + 5.7692 and yem = 0.9334ln(x) + 4.1718 in the same order. Their respective high coefficients of determination (R2) were 0.8027, 0.8867 and 0.9553. This logarithmic relationship means that each doubling of

  19. Experiential Relationship between Malaria Parasite Density and Some Haematological Parameters in Malaria Infected Male Subjects in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

    PubMed Central

    M., Eze Evelyn; Ezeiruaku, F. C.; Ukaji, D. C.

    2012-01-01

    This study examined the experiential relationship between the parasite density and haematological parameters in male patients with Plasmodium falciparum infection in Port Harcourt, Nigeria reporting to malaria clinics. A total of one hundred and thirty-six (136) male patients were recruited. QBC haematological analysis, QBC malaria parasite specie identification and quantification and thin blood film for differential leucocytes count was used. The mean values of the haematological parameters in each quartile of parasite densities were determined using Microsoft Excel statistical package. Regression analysis was employed to model the experiential relationship between parasite density and haematological parameters. All regression relationships were tested and the relationship with the highest coefficient of determination (R2) was accepted as the valid relationship. The relationships tested included linear, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and power relationships. The X- axis of the regression graphs stand for the parasite density while Y-axis stands for the respective haematological parameters Neutrophil count had a negative exponential relationship with the parasite density and is related to the parasite density by a polynomial equation model: ynm = -7E-07x2 - 0.0003x + 56.685. The coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.6140. This means that the rate of change of the parasitemia will depend on the initial value of the neutrophil. As the neutrophil increases, the parasitemia will tend to decrease in a double, triple and quadruple manner. The relationship between lymphocyte count, monocyte count and eosinophil count and parasite density was logarithmic and expressed by the following linear equation models: ylm = -2.371ln(x) + 37.296, ymm = 0.6965ln(x) + 5.7692 and yem = 0.9334ln(x) + 4.1718 in the same order. Their respective high coefficients of determination (R2) were 0.8027, 0.8867 and 0.9553. This logarithmic relationship means that each doubling of monocyte

  20. Fate of haem iron in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed Central

    Egan, Timothy J; Combrinck, Jill M; Egan, Joanne; Hearne, Giovanni R; Marques, Helder M; Ntenteni, Skhumbuzo; Sewell, B Trevor; Smith, Peter J; Taylor, Dale; van Schalkwyk, Donelly A; Walden, Jason C

    2002-01-01

    Chemical analysis has shown that Plasmodium falciparum trophozoites contain 61+/-2% of the iron within parasitized erythrocytes, of which 92+/-6% is located within the food vacuole. Of this, 88+/-9% is in the form of haemozoin. (57)Fe-Mössbauer spectroscopy shows that haemozoin is the only detectable iron species in trophozoites. Electron spectroscopic imaging confirms this conclusion. PMID:12033986

  1. Automatic detection of malaria parasite in blood images using two parameters.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jong-Dae; Nam, Kyeong-Min; Park, Chan-Young; Kim, Yu-Seop; Song, Hye-Jeong

    2015-01-01

    Malaria must be diagnosed quickly and accurately at the initial infection stage and treated early to cure it properly. The malaria diagnosis method using a microscope requires much labor and time of a skilled expert and the diagnosis results vary greatly between individual diagnosticians. Therefore, to be able to measure the malaria parasite infection quickly and accurately, studies have been conducted for automated classification techniques using various parameters. In this study, by measuring classification technique performance according to changes of two parameters, the parameter values were determined that best distinguish normal from plasmodium-infected red blood cells. To reduce the stain deviation of the acquired images, a principal component analysis (PCA) grayscale conversion method was used, and as parameters, we used a malaria infected area and a threshold value used in binarization. The parameter values with the best classification performance were determined by selecting the value (72) corresponding to the lowest error rate on the basis of cell threshold value 128 for the malaria threshold value for detecting plasmodium-infected red blood cells.

  2. Prospects and Pitfalls of Pregnancy-Associated Malaria Vaccination Based on the Natural Immune Response to Plasmodium falciparum VAR2CSA-Expressing Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Kane, Elizabeth G.; Taylor-Robinson, Andrew W.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:22363896

  3. Geographic genetic differentiation of a malaria parasite, Plasmodium mexicanum, and its lizard host, Sceloporus occidentalis.

    PubMed

    Fricke, Jennifer M; Vardo-Zalik, Anne M; Schall, Jos J

    2010-04-01

    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.

  4. Acid extrusion from the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite is not via a Na(+)/H(+) exchanger.

    PubMed

    Spillman, Natalie J; Allen, Richard J W; Kirk, Kiaran

    2008-11-01

    The intraerythrocytic malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum maintains an intracellular pH (pH(i)) of around 7.3. If subjected to an experimentally imposed acidification the parasite extrudes H(+), thereby undergoing a pH(i) recovery. In a recent study, Bennett et al. [Bennett TN, Patel J, Ferdig MT, Roepe PD. P. falciparum Na(+)/H(+) exchanger activity and quinine resistance. Mol Biochem Parasitol 2007;153:48-58] used the H(+) ionophore nigericin, in conjunction with an acidic medium, to acidify the parasite cytosol, and then used bovine serum albumin (BSA) to scavenge the nigericin from the parasite membrane. The ensuing Na(+)-dependent pH(i) recovery, seen following an increase in the extracellular pH, was attributed to a plasma membrane Na(+)/H(+) exchanger. This is at odds with previous reports that the primary H(+) extrusion mechanism in the parasite is a plasma membrane V-type H(+)-ATPase. Here we present evidence that the Na(+)-dependent efflux of H(+) from parasites acidified using nigericin/BSA is attributable to Na(+)/H(+) exchange via residual nigericin remaining in the parasite plasma membrane, rather than to endogenous transporter activity.

  5. Relevance of undetectably rare resistant malaria parasites in treatment failure: experimental evidence from Plasmodium chabaudi.

    PubMed

    Huijben, Silvie; Chan, Brian H K; Read, Andrew F

    2015-06-01

    Resistant malaria parasites are frequently found in mixed infections with drug-sensitive parasites. Particularly early in the evolutionary process, the frequency of these resistant mutants can be extremely low and below the level of molecular detection. We tested whether the rarity of resistance in infections impacted the health outcomes of treatment failure and the potential for onward transmission of resistance. Mixed infections of different ratios of resistant and susceptible Plasmodium chabaudi parasites were inoculated in laboratory mice and dynamics tracked during the course of infection using highly sensitive genotype-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Frequencies of resistant parasites ranged from 10% to 0.003% at the onset of treatment. We found that the rarer the resistant parasites were, the lower the likelihood of their onward transmission, but the worse the treatment failure was in terms of parasite numbers and disease severity. Strikingly, drug resistant parasites had the biggest impact on health outcomes when they were too rare to be detected by any molecular methods currently available for field samples. Indeed, in the field, these treatment failures would not even have been attributed to resistance.

  6. Laser capture microdissection microscopy and genome sequencing of the avian malaria parasite, Plasmodium relictum.

    PubMed

    Lutz, Holly L; Marra, Nicholas J; Grewe, Felix; Carlson, Jenny S; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Stanhope, Michael J

    2016-12-01

    Acquiring genomic material from avian malaria parasites for genome sequencing has proven problematic due to the nucleation of avian erythrocytes, which produces a large ratio of host to parasite DNA (∼1 million to 1 bp). We tested the ability of laser capture microdissection microscopy to isolate parasite cells from individual avian erythrocytes for four avian Plasmodium species, and subsequently applied whole genome amplification and Illumina sequencing methods to Plasmodium relictum (lineage pSGS1) to produce sequence reads of the P. relictum genome. We assembled ∼335 kbp of parasite DNA from this species, but were unable to completely avoid contamination by host DNA and other sources. However, it is clear that laser capture microdissection holds promise for the isolation of genomic material from haemosporidian parasites in intracellular life stages. In particular, laser capture microdissection may prove useful for isolating individual parasite species from co-infected hosts. Although not explicitly tested in this study, laser capture microdissection may also have important applications for isolation of rare parasite lineages and museum specimens for which no fresh material exists.

  7. Severe adult malaria is associated with specific PfEMP1 adhesion types and high parasite biomass

    PubMed Central

    Bernabeu, Maria; Danziger, Samuel A.; Avril, Marion; Vaz, Marina; Babar, Prasad H.; Brazier, Andrew J.; Herricks, Thurston; Maki, Jennifer N.; Pereira, Ligia; Mascarenhas, Anjali; Gomes, Edwin; Chery, Laura; Aitchison, John D.; Rathod, Pradipsinh K.; Smith, Joseph D.

    2016-01-01

    The interplay between cellular and molecular determinants that lead to severe malaria in adults is unexplored. Here, we analyzed parasite virulence factors in an infected adult population in India and investigated whether severe malaria isolates impair endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), a protein involved in coagulation and endothelial barrier permeability. Severe malaria isolates overexpressed specific members of the Plasmodium falciparum var gene/PfEMP1 (P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1) family that bind EPCR, including DC8 var genes that have previously been linked to severe pediatric malaria. Machine learning analysis revealed that DC6- and DC8-encoding var transcripts in combination with high parasite biomass were the strongest indicators of patient hospitalization and disease severity. We found that DC8 CIDRα1 domains from severe malaria isolates had substantial differences in EPCR binding affinity and blockade activity for its ligand activated protein C. Additionally, even a low level of inhibition exhibited by domains from two cerebral malaria isolates was sufficient to interfere with activated protein C-barrier protective activities in human brain endothelial cells. Our findings demonstrate an interplay between parasite biomass and specific PfEMP1 adhesion types in the development of adult severe malaria, and indicate that low impairment of EPCR function may contribute to parasite virulence. PMID:27185931

  8. Molecular Genetics Evidence for the in Vivo Roles of the Two Major NADPH-dependent Disulfide Reductases in the Malaria Parasite*

    PubMed Central

    Buchholz, Kathrin; Putrianti, Elyzana D.; Rahlfs, Stefan; Schirmer, R. Heiner; Becker, Katja; Matuschewski, Kai

    2010-01-01

    Malaria-associated pathology is caused by the continuous expansion of Plasmodium parasites inside host erythrocytes. To maintain a reducing intracellular milieu in an oxygen-rich environment, malaria parasites have evolved a complex antioxidative network based on two central electron donors, glutathione and thioredoxin. Here, we dissected the in vivo roles of both redox pathways by gene targeting of the respective NADPH-dependent disulfide reductases. We show that Plasmodium berghei glutathione reductase and thioredoxin reductase are dispensable for proliferation of the pathogenic blood stages. Intriguingly, glutathione reductase is vital for extracellular parasite development inside the insect vector, whereas thioredoxin reductase is dispensable during the entire parasite life cycle. Our findings suggest that glutathione reductase is the central player of the parasite redox network, whereas thioredoxin reductase fulfils a specialized and dispensable role for P. berghei. These results also indicate redundant roles of the Plasmodium redox pathways during the pathogenic blood phase and query their suitability as promising drug targets for antimalarial intervention strategies. PMID:20852334

  9. An essential dual-function complex mediates erythrocyte invasion and channel-mediated nutrient uptake in malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Ito, Daisuke; Schureck, Marc A; Desai, Sanjay A

    2017-01-01

    Malaria parasites evade immune detection by growth and replication within erythrocytes. After erythrocyte invasion, the intracellular pathogen must increase host cell uptake of nutrients from plasma. Here, we report that the parasite-encoded RhopH complex contributes to both invasion and channel-mediated nutrient uptake. As rhoph2 and rhoph3 gene knockouts were not viable in the human P. falciparum pathogen, we used conditional knockdowns to determine that the encoded proteins are essential and to identify their stage-specific functions. We exclude presumed roles for RhopH2 and CLAG3 in erythrocyte invasion but implicate a RhopH3 contribution either through ligand-receptor interactions or subsequent parasite internalization. These proteins then traffic via an export translocon to the host membrane, where they form a nutrient channel. Knockdown of either RhopH2 or RhopH3 disrupts the entire complex, interfering with organellar targeting and subsequent trafficking. Therapies targeting this complex should attack the pathogen at two critical points in its cycle. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.23485.001 PMID:28221136

  10. Pyrimidine metabolism in schistosomes: A comparison with other parasites and the search for potential chemotherapeutic targets.

    PubMed

    El Kouni, Mahmoud H

    2017-11-01

    Schistosomes are responsible for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis, an acute and chronic parasitic ailment that affects >240 million people in 70 countries worldwide. It is the second most devastating parasitic disease after malaria. At least 200,000 deaths per year are associated with the disease. In the absence of the availability of vaccines, chemotherapy is the main stay for combating schistosomiasis. The antischistosomal arsenal is currently limited to a single drug, Praziquantel, which is quite effective with a single-day treatment and virtually no host-toxicity. Recently, however, the question of reduced activity of Praziquantel has been raised. Therefore, the search for alternative antischistosomal drugs merits the study of new approaches of chemotherapy. The rational design of a drug is usually based on biochemical and physiological differences between pathogens and host. Pyrimidine metabolism is an excellent target for such studies. Schistosomes, unlike most of the host tissues, require a very active pyrimidine metabolism for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. This is essential for the production of the enormous numbers of eggs deposited daily by the parasite to which the granulomas response precipitates the pathogenesis of schistosomiasis. Furthermore, there are sufficient differences between corresponding enzymes of pyrimidine metabolism from the host and the parasite that can be exploited to design specific inhibitors or "subversive substrates" for the parasitic enzymes. Specificities of pyrimidine transport also diverge significantly between parasites and their mammalian host. This review deals with studies on pyrimidine metabolism in schistosomes and highlights the unique characteristic of this metabolism that could constitute excellent potential targets for the design of safe and effective antischistosomal drugs. In addition, pyrimidine metabolism in schistosomes is compared with that in other parasites where studies on pyrimidine metabolism have

  11. Initial Characterization of the Pf-Int Recombinase from the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Ghorbal, Mehdi; Scheidig-Benatar, Christine; Bouizem, Salma; Thomas, Christophe; Paisley, Genevieve; Faltermeier, Claire; Liu, Melanie; Scherf, Artur; Lopez-Rubio, Jose-Juan; Gopaul, Deshmukh N.

    2012-01-01

    Background Genetic variation is an essential means of evolution and adaptation in many organisms in response to environmental change. Certain DNA alterations can be carried out by site-specific recombinases (SSRs) that fall into two families: the serine and the tyrosine recombinases. SSRs are seldom found in eukaryotes. A gene homologous to a tyrosine site-specific recombinase has been identified in the genome of Plasmodium falciparum. The sequence is highly conserved among five other members of Plasmodia. Methodology/Principal Findings The predicted open reading frame encodes for a ∼57 kDa protein containing a C-terminal domain including the putative tyrosine recombinase conserved active site residues R-H-R-(H/W)-Y. The N-terminus has the typical alpha-helical bundle and potentially a mixed alpha-beta domain resembling that of λ-Int. Pf-Int mRNA is expressed differentially during the P. falciparum erythrocytic life stages, peaking in the schizont stage. Recombinant Pf-Int and affinity chromatography of DNA from genomic or synthetic origin were used to identify potential DNA targets after sequencing or micro-array hybridization. Interestingly, the sequences captured also included highly variable subtelomeric genes such as var, rif, and stevor sequences. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays with DNA were carried out to verify Pf-Int/DNA binding. Finally, Pf-Int knock-out parasites were created in order to investigate the biological role of Pf-Int. Conclusions/Significance Our data identify for the first time a malaria parasite gene with structural and functional features of recombinases. Pf-Int may bind to and alter DNA, either in a sequence specific or in a non-specific fashion, and may contribute to programmed or random DNA rearrangements. Pf-Int is the first molecular player identified with a potential role in genome plasticity in this pathogen. Finally, Pf-Int knock-out parasite is viable showing no detectable impact on blood stage development, which is

  12. Malaria.

    PubMed

    Heck, J E

    1991-03-01

    Human malaria is caused by four species of the genus plasmodium. The sexual stage of the parasite occurs in the mosquito and asexual reproduction occurs in man. Symptoms of fever, chills, headache, and myalgia result from the invasion and rupture of erythrocytes. Merozoites are released from erythrocytes and invade other cells, thus propagating the infection. The most vulnerable hosts are nonimmune travelers, young children living in the tropics, and pregnant women. P. falciparum causes the most severe infections because it infects RBCs of all ages and has the propensity to develop resistance to antimalarials. Rapid diagnosis can be made with a malarial smear, and treatment should be initiated promptly. In some regions (Mexico, Central America except Panama, and North Africa) chloroquine phosphate is effective therapy. In subsaharan Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia, chloroquine resistance has become widespread, and other antimalarials are necessary. The primary care physician should have a high index of suspicion for malaria in the traveler returning from the tropics. Malaria should also be suspected in the febrile transfusion recipient and newborns of mothers with malaria.

  13. A malaria serological map indicating the intersection between parasite antigenic diversity and host antibody repertoires.

    PubMed

    Giha, H A; Nasr, A A; Iriemenam, N C; Berzins, K; Troye-Blomberg, M; Arnot, D E; Elghazali, G

    2012-11-01

    A malaria vaccine targeting Plasmodium falciparum remains a strategic goal for malaria control. If a polyvalent vaccine is to be developed, its subunits would probably be chosen based on immunogenicity (concentration of elicited antibodies) and associations of selected antigens with protection. We propose an additional possible selection criterion for the inclusion of subunit antigens; that is, coordination between elicited antibodies. For the quantitative estimation of this coordination, we developed a malaria serological map (MSM). Construction of the MSM was based on three categories of variables: (i) malaria antigens, (ii) total IgG and IgG subclasses, (iii) different sources of plasma. To validate the MSM, in this study, we used four malaria antigens (AMA1, MSP2-3D7, MSP2-FC27 and Pf332-C231) and re-grouped the plasma samples into five pairs of subsets based on age, gender, residence, HbAS and malaria morbidity in 9 years. The plasma total IgG and IgG subclasses to the test antigens were measured, and the whole material was used for the MSM construction. Most of the variables in the MSM were previously tested and their associations with malaria morbidity are known. The coordination of response to each antigens pair in the MSM was quantified as the correlation rate (CR = overall number of significant correlations/total number of correlations × 100 %). Unexpectedly, the results showed that low CRs were mostly associated with variables linked with malaria protection and the antigen eliciting the least CRs was the one associated with protection. The MSM is, thus, of potential value for vaccine design and understanding of malaria natural immunity.

  14. High-speed shaking of frozen blood clots for extraction of human and malaria parasite DNA

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Frozen blood clots remaining after serum collection is an often disregarded source of host and pathogen DNA due to troublesome handling and suboptimal outcome. Methods High-speed shaking of clot samples in a cell disruptor manufactured for homogenization of tissue and faecal specimens was evaluated for processing frozen blood clots for DNA extraction. The method was compared to two commercial clot protocols based on a chemical kit and centrifugation through a plastic sieve, followed by the same DNA extraction protocol. Blood clots with different levels of parasitaemia (1-1,000 p/μl) were prepared from parasite cultures to assess sensitivity of PCR detection. In addition, clots retrieved from serum samples collected within two epidemiological studies in Kenya (n = 630) were processed by high speed shaking and analysed by PCR for detection of malaria parasites and the human α-thalassaemia gene. Results High speed shaking succeeded in fully dispersing the clots and the method generated the highest DNA yield. The level of PCR detection of P. falciparum parasites and the human thalassaemia gene was the same as samples optimally collected with an anticoagulant. The commercial clot protocol and centrifugation through a sieve failed to fully dissolve the clots and resulted in lower sensitivity of PCR detection. Conclusions High speed shaking was a simple and efficacious method for homogenizing frozen blood clots before DNA purification and resulted in PCR templates of high quality both from humans and malaria parasites. This novel method enables genetic studies from stored blood clots. PMID:21824391

  15. Cytometric quantification of singlet oxygen in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Butzloff, Sabine; Groves, Matthew R; Wrenger, Carsten; Müller, Ingrid B

    2012-08-01

    The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum proliferates within human erythrocytes and is thereby exposed to a variety of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical, superoxide anion, and highly reactive singlet oxygen ((1)O(2)). While most ROS are already well studied in the malaria parasite, singlet oxygen has been neglected to date. In this study we visualized the generation of (1)O(2) by live cell fluorescence microscopy using 3-(p-aminophenyl) fluorescein as an indicator dye. While (1) O(2) is found restrictively in the parasite, its amount varies during erythrocytic schizogony. Since the photosensitizer cercosporin generates defined amounts of (1)O(2) we have established a new cytometric method that allows the stage specific quantification of (1)O(2). Therefore, the parasites were first classified into three main stages according to their respective pixel-area of 200-600 pixels for rings, 700-1,200 pixels for trophozoites and 1,400-2,500 pixels for schizonts. Interestingly the highest mean concentration of endogenous (1)O(2) of 0.34 nM is found in the trophozoites stage, followed by 0.20 nM (ring stage) and 0.10 nM (schizont stage) suggesting that (1)O(2) derives predominantly from the digestion of hemoglobin.

  16. Existing Infection Facilitates Establishment and Density of Malaria Parasites in Their Mosquito Vector

    PubMed Central

    Pollitt, Laura C.; Bram, Joshua T.; Blanford, Simon; Jones, Matthew J.; Read, Andrew F.

    2015-01-01

    Very little is known about how vector-borne pathogens interact within their vector and how this impacts transmission. Here we show that mosquitoes can accumulate mixed strain malaria infections after feeding on multiple hosts. We found that parasites have a greater chance of establishing and reach higher densities if another strain is already present in a mosquito. Mixed infections contained more parasites but these larger populations did not have a detectable impact on vector survival. Together these results suggest that mosquitoes taking multiple infective bites may disproportionally contribute to malaria transmission. This will increase rates of mixed infections in vertebrate hosts, with implications for the evolution of parasite virulence and the spread of drug-resistant strains. Moreover, control measures that reduce parasite prevalence in vertebrate hosts will reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes taking multiple infective feeds, and thus disproportionally reduce transmission. More generally, our study shows that the types of strain interactions detected in vertebrate hosts cannot necessarily be extrapolated to vectors. PMID:26181518

  17. Existing Infection Facilitates Establishment and Density of Malaria Parasites in Their Mosquito Vector.

    PubMed

    Pollitt, Laura C; Bram, Joshua T; Blanford, Simon; Jones, Matthew J; Read, Andrew F

    2015-07-01

    Very little is known about how vector-borne pathogens interact within their vector and how this impacts transmission. Here we show that mosquitoes can accumulate mixed strain malaria infections after feeding on multiple hosts. We found that parasites have a greater chance of establishing and reach higher densities if another strain is already present in a mosquito. Mixed infections contained more parasites but these larger populations did not have a detectable impact on vector survival. Together these results suggest that mosquitoes taking multiple infective bites may disproportionally contribute to malaria transmission. This will increase rates of mixed infections in vertebrate hosts, with implications for the evolution of parasite virulence and the spread of drug-resistant strains. Moreover, control measures that reduce parasite prevalence in vertebrate hosts will reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes taking multiple infective feeds, and thus disproportionally reduce transmission. More generally, our study shows that the types of strain interactions detected in vertebrate hosts cannot necessarily be extrapolated to vectors.

  18. Proteolysis at a Specific Extracellular Residue Implicates Integral Membrane CLAG3 in Malaria Parasite Nutrient Channels

    PubMed Central

    Nguitragool, Wang; Rayavara, Kempaiah; Desai, Sanjay A.

    2014-01-01

    The plasmodial surface anion channel mediates uptake of nutrients and other solutes into erythrocytes infected with malaria parasites. The clag3 genes of P. falciparum determine this channel’s activity in human malaria, but how the encoded proteins contribute to transport is unknown. Here, we used proteases to examine the channel’s composition and function. While proteases with distinct specificities all cleaved within an extracellular domain of CLAG3, they produced differing degrees of transport inhibition. Chymotrypsin-induced inhibition depended on parasite genotype, with channels induced by the HB3 parasite affected to a greater extent than those of the Dd2 clone. Inheritance of functional proteolysis in the HB3×Dd2 genetic cross, DNA transfection, and gene silencing experiments all pointed to the clag3 genes, providing independent evidence for a role of these genes. Protease protection assays with a Dd2-specific inhibitor and site-directed mutagenesis revealed that a variant L1115F residue on a CLAG3 extracellular loop contributes to inhibitor binding and accounts for differences in functional proteolysis. These findings indicate that surface-exposed CLAG3 is the relevant pool of this protein for channel function. They also suggest structural models for how exposed CLAG3 domains contribute to pore formation and parasite nutrient uptake. PMID:24699906

  19. Cyclic GMP Balance Is Critical for Malaria Parasite Transmission from the Mosquito to the Mammalian Host

    PubMed Central

    Lakshmanan, Viswanathan; Fishbaugher, Matthew E.; Morrison, Bob; Baldwin, Michael; Macarulay, Michael; Vaughan, Ashley M.; Mikolajczak, Sebastian A.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Transmission of malaria occurs during Anopheles mosquito vector blood meals, when Plasmodium sporozoites that have invaded the mosquito salivary glands are delivered to the mammalian host. Sporozoites display a unique form of motility that is essential for their movement across cellular host barriers and invasion of hepatocytes. While the molecular machinery powering motility and invasion is increasingly well defined, the signaling events that control these essential parasite activities have not been clearly delineated. Here, we identify a phosphodiesterase (PDEγ) in Plasmodium, a regulator of signaling through cyclic nucleotide second messengers. Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) analysis and epitope tagging of endogenous PDEγ detected its expression in blood stages and sporozoites of Plasmodium yoelii. Deletion of PDEγ (pdeγ−) rendered sporozoites nonmotile, and they failed to invade the mosquito salivary glands. Consequently, PDEγ deletion completely blocked parasite transmission by mosquito bite. Strikingly, pdeγ− sporozoites showed dramatically elevated levels of cyclic GMP (cGMP), indicating that a perturbation in cyclic nucleotide balance is involved in the observed phenotypic defects. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis of pdeγ− sporozoites revealed reduced transcript abundance of genes that encode key components of the motility and invasion apparatus. Our data reveal a crucial role for PDEγ in maintaining the cyclic nucleotide balance in the malaria parasite sporozoite stage, which in turn is essential for parasite transmission from mosquito to mammal. PMID:25784701

  20. The TLR2 is activated by sporozoites and suppresses intrahepatic rodent malaria parasite development

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Hong; Tan, Zhangping; Zhou, TaoLi; Zhu, Feng; Ding, Yan; Liu, Taiping; Wu, Yuzhang; Xu, Wenyue

    2015-01-01

    TLRs (Toll-like receptors) play an important role in the initiation of innate immune responses against invading microorganisms. Although several TLRs have been reported to be involved in the innate immune response against the blood-stage of malaria parasites, the role of TLRs in the development of the pre-erythrocytic stage is still largely unknown. Here, we found that sporozoite and its lysate could significantly activate the TLR2, and induce macrophages to release proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-6, MCP-1 and TNF-α, in a TLR2-dependent manner. Further studies showed that sporozoite and its lysate could be recognized by either TLR2 homodimers or TLR2/1 and TLR2/6 heterodimers, implicating the complexity of TLR2 agonist in sporozoite. Interestingly, the TLR2 signaling can significantly suppress the development of the pre-erythrocytic stage of Plasmodium yoelii, as both liver parasite load and subsequent parasitemia were significantly elevated in both TLR2- and MyD88-deficient mice. Additionally, the observed higher level of parasite burden in TLR2−/− mice was found to be closely associated with a reduction in proinflammatory cytokines in the liver. Therefore, we provide the first evidence that sporozoites can activate the TLR2 signaling, which in turn significantly inhibits the intrahepatic parasites. This may provide us with novel clues to design preventive anti-malaria therapies. PMID:26667391

  1. DNA repair mechanisms and their biological roles in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Lee, Andrew H; Symington, Lorraine S; Fidock, David A

    2014-09-01

    Research into the complex genetic underpinnings of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is entering a new era with the arrival of site-specific genome engineering. Previously restricted only to model systems but now expanded to most laboratory organisms, and even to humans for experimental gene therapy studies, this technology allows researchers to rapidly generate previously unattainable genetic modifications. This technological advance is dependent on DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR), specifically homologous recombination in the case of Plasmodium. Our understanding of DSBR in malaria parasites, however, is based largely on assumptions and knowledge taken from other model systems, which do not always hold true in Plasmodium. Here we describe the causes of double-strand breaks, the mechanisms of DSBR, and the differences between model systems and P. falciparum. These mechanisms drive basic parasite functions, such as meiosis, antigen diversification, and copy number variation, and allow the parasite to continually evolve in the contexts of host immune pressure and drug selection. Finally, we discuss the new technologies that leverage DSBR mechanisms to accelerate genetic investigations into this global infectious pathogen.

  2. DNA Repair Mechanisms and Their Biological Roles in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Andrew H.; Symington, Lorraine S.

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Research into the complex genetic underpinnings of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is entering a new era with the arrival of site-specific genome engineering. Previously restricted only to model systems but now expanded to most laboratory organisms, and even to humans for experimental gene therapy studies, this technology allows researchers to rapidly generate previously unattainable genetic modifications. This technological advance is dependent on DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR), specifically homologous recombination in the case of Plasmodium. Our understanding of DSBR in malaria parasites, however, is based largely on assumptions and knowledge taken from other model systems, which do not always hold true in Plasmodium. Here we describe the causes of double-strand breaks, the mechanisms of DSBR, and the differences between model systems and P. falciparum. These mechanisms drive basic parasite functions, such as meiosis, antigen diversification, and copy number variation, and allow the parasite to continually evolve in the contexts of host immune pressure and drug selection. Finally, we discuss the new technologies that leverage DSBR mechanisms to accelerate genetic investigations into this global infectious pathogen. PMID:25184562

  3. Anti-Schistosoma IgG responses in Schistosoma haematobium single and concomitant infection with malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Morenikeji, Olajumoke A.; Adeleye, Olumide; Omoruyi, Ewean C.; Oyeyemi, Oyetunde T.

    2016-01-01

    Areas prone to schistosomiasis are also at risk of malaria transmission. The interaction between the causal agents of the two diseases could modulate immune responses tailored toward protecting or aggravating morbidity dynamics and impair Schistosoma diagnostic precision. This study aimed at assessing the effect of Plasmodium spp. in concomitant infection with Schistosoma haematobium in modulation of anti-Schistosoma IgG antibodies. The school-based cross-sectional study recruited a total of 322 children screened for S. haematobium and Plasmodium spp. Levels of IgG against S. haematobium-soluble egg antigen (SEA) in single S. haematobium/malaria parasites infection and co-infection of the two parasites in schoolchildren were determined. Data were analyzed using χ2, Fisher’s exact test, and Tukey’s multiple comparison test analyses. The prevalence of single infection by S. haematobium, Plasmodium spp., and concurrent infection due to the two pathogens was 27.7, 41.0, and 9.3%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Anti-Schistosoma IgG production during co-infection of the two pathogens (1.950 ± 0.742 AU) was significantly higher than the value recorded for single malaria parasites’ infection (1.402 ± 0.670 AU) (p < 0.01) but not in S. haematobium infection (1.591 ± 0.604 AU) (p > 0.05). The anti-Schistosoma IgG production in co-infection status was however dependent on the intensity of Plasmodium spp. with individuals having high intensity of malaria parasites recording lower anti-Schistosoma IgG. This study has implication for diagnosis of schistosomiasis where anti-Schistosoma IgG is used as an indicator of infection. Efforts should be made to control the two infections simultaneously in order not to undermine the efforts targeted toward the control of one. PMID:27092873

  4. Of men in mice: the success and promise of humanized mouse models for human malaria parasite infections

    PubMed Central

    Kaushansky, Alexis; Mikolajczak, Sebastian A.; Vignali, Marissa; Kappe, Stefan H.I.

    2014-01-01

    Forty percent of people worldwide are at risk of malaria infection, and despite control efforts it remains the most deadly parasitic disease. Unfortunately, rapid discovery and development of new interventions for malaria are hindered by the lack of small animal models that support the complex life cycles of the main parasite species infecting humans. Such tools must accommodate human parasite tropism for human tissue. Mouse models with human tissue developed to date have already enhanced our knowledge of human parasites, and are useful tools for assessing anti-parasitic interventions. Although these systems are imperfect, their continued refinement will likely broaden their utility. Some of the malaria parasite’s interactions with human hepatocytes and human erythrocytes can already be modeled with available humanized mouse systems. However, interactions with other relevant human tissues such as the skin and immune system, as well as most transitions between life cycle stages in vivo will require refinement of existing humanized mouse models. Here, we review the recent successes achieved in modeling human malaria parasite biology in humanized mice, and discuss how these models have potential to become an valuable part of the toolbox used for understanding the biology of, and development of interventions to, malaria. PMID:24506682

  5. Reduced Parasite Burden in Children with Falciparum Malaria and Bacteremia Coinfections: Role of Mediators of Inflammation

    DOE PAGES

    Davenport, Gregory C.; Hittner, James B.; Otieno, Vincent; ...

    2016-01-01

    Bmore » acteremia and malaria coinfection is a common and life-threatening condition in children residing in sub-Saharan Africa. We previously showed that coinfection with Gram negative (G[−]) entericacilli and Plasmodium falciparum ( Pf [+]) was associated with reduced high-density parasitemia (HDP, >10,000 parasites/ μ L), enhanced respiratory distress, and severe anemia. Since inflammatory mediators are largely unexplored in such coinfections, circulating cytokines were determined in four groups of children ( n = 206 , aged <3 yrs): healthy; Pf [+] alone; G[−] coinfected; and G[+] coinfected. Staphylococcus aureus and non-Typhi Salmonella were the most frequently isolated G[+] and G[−] organisms, respectively. Coinfected children, particularly those with G[−] pathogens, had lower parasite burden (peripheral and geometric mean parasitemia and HDP). In addition, both coinfected groups had increased IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-12, IL-15, IL-17, IFN- γ , and IFN- α and decreased TNF- α relative to malaria alone. Children with G[−] coinfection had higher IL-1 β and IL-1Ra and lower IL-10 than the Pf [+] group and higher IFN- γ than the G[+] group. To determine how the immune response to malaria regulates parasitemia, cytokine production was investigated with a multiple mediation model. Cytokines with the greatest mediational impact on parasitemia were IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, and IFN- γ . Results here suggest that enhanced immune activation, especially in G[−] coinfected children, acts to reduce malaria parasite burden.« less

  6. Prediction of mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite using split amino acid composition and PSSM profile.

    PubMed

    Verma, Ruchi; Varshney, Grish C; Raghava, G P S

    2010-06-01

    The rate of human death due to malaria is increasing day-by-day. Thus the malaria causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum (PF) remains the cause of concern. With the wealth of data now available, it is imperative to understand protein localization in order to gain deeper insight into their functional roles. In this manuscript, an attempt has been made to develop prediction method for the localization of mitochondrial proteins. In this study, we describe a method for predicting mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite using machine-learning technique. All models were trained and tested on 175 proteins (40 mitochondrial and 135 non-mitochondrial proteins) and evaluated using five-fold cross validation. We developed a Support Vector Machine (SVM) model for predicting mitochondrial proteins of P. falciparum, using amino acids and dipeptides composition and achieved maximum MCC 0.38 and 0.51, respectively. In this study, split amino acid composition (SAAC) is used where composition of N-termini, C-termini, and rest of protein is computed separately. The performance of SVM model improved significantly from MCC 0.38 to 0.73 when SAAC instead of simple amino acid composition was used as input. In addition, SVM model has been developed using composition of PSSM profile with MCC 0.75 and accuracy 91.38%. We achieved maximum MCC 0.81 with accuracy 92% using a hybrid model, which combines PSSM profile and SAAC. When evaluated on an independent dataset our method performs better than existing methods. A web server PFMpred has been developed for predicting mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasites ( http://www.imtech.res.in/raghava/pfmpred/).

  7. Reduced Parasite Burden in Children with Falciparum Malaria and Bacteremia Coinfections: Role of Mediators of Inflammation

    PubMed Central

    Davenport, Gregory C.; Mukundan, Harshini; Fenimore, Paul W.; Hengartner, Nicolas W.; McMahon, Benjamin H.; Ong'echa, John M.

    2016-01-01

    Bacteremia and malaria coinfection is a common and life-threatening condition in children residing in sub-Saharan Africa. We previously showed that coinfection with Gram negative (G[−]) enteric Bacilli and Plasmodium falciparum (Pf[+]) was associated with reduced high-density parasitemia (HDP, >10,000 parasites/μL), enhanced respiratory distress, and severe anemia. Since inflammatory mediators are largely unexplored in such coinfections, circulating cytokines were determined in four groups of children (n = 206, aged <3 yrs): healthy; Pf[+] alone; G[−] coinfected; and G[+] coinfected. Staphylococcus aureus and non-Typhi Salmonella were the most frequently isolated G[+] and G[−] organisms, respectively. Coinfected children, particularly those with G[−] pathogens, had lower parasite burden (peripheral and geometric mean parasitemia and HDP). In addition, both coinfected groups had increased IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-12, IL-15, IL-17, IFN-γ, and IFN-α and decreased TNF-α relative to malaria alone. Children with G[−] coinfection had higher IL-1β and IL-1Ra and lower IL-10 than the Pf[+] group and higher IFN-γ than the G[+] group. To determine how the immune response to malaria regulates parasitemia, cytokine production was investigated with a multiple mediation model. Cytokines with the greatest mediational impact on parasitemia were IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, and IFN-γ. Results here suggest that enhanced immune activation, especially in G[−] coinfected children, acts to reduce malaria parasite burden. PMID:27418744

  8. The malaria parasite cation ATPase PfATP4 and its role in the mechanism of action of a new arsenal of antimalarial drugs.

    PubMed

    Spillman, Natalie Jane; Kirk, Kiaran

    2015-12-01

    The intraerythrocytic malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, maintains a low cytosolic Na(+) concentration and the plasma membrane P-type cation translocating ATPase 'PfATP4' has been implicated as playing a key role in this process. PfATP4 has been the subject of significant attention in recent years as mutations in this protein confer resistance to a growing number of new antimalarial compounds, including the spiroindolones, the pyrazoles, the dihydroisoquinolones, and a number of the antimalarial agents in the Medicines for Malaria Venture's 'Malaria Box'. On exposure of parasites to these compounds there is a rapid disruption of cytosolic Na(+). Whether, and if so how, such chemically distinct compounds interact with PfATP4, and how such interactions lead to parasite death, is not yet clear. The fact that multiple different chemical classes have converged upon PfATP4 highlights its significance as a potential target for new generation antimalarial agents. A spiroindolone (KAE609, now known as cipargamin) has progressed through Phase I and IIa clinical trials with favourable results. In this review we consider the physiological role of PfATP4, summarise the current repertoire of antimalarial compounds for which PfATP4 is implicated in their mechanism of action, and provide an outlook on translation from target identification in the laboratory to patient treatment in the field.

  9. Microbial hara-kiri: Exploiting lysosomal cell death in malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Ch’ng, Jun-Hong; Ursing, Johan; Tan, Kevin Shyong-Wei

    2015-01-01

    The antimalarial drug chloroquine (CQ) has been sidelined in the fight against falciparum malaria due to wide-spread CQ resistance. Replacement drugs like sulfadoxine, pyrimethamine and mefloquine have also since been surpassed with the evolution of multi-drug resistant parasites. Even the currently recommended artemisinin-based combination therapies show signs of compromise due to the recent spread of artemisinin delayed-clearance parasites. Though there have been promising breakthroughs in the pursuit of new effective antimalarials, the development and strategic deployment of such novel chemical entities takes time. We therefore argue that there is a crucial need to re-examine the usefulness of ‘outdated’ drugs like chloroquine, and explore if they might be effective alternative therapies in the interim. We suggest that a novel parasite cell death (pCD) pathway may be exploited through the reformulation of CQ to address this need.

  10. Genetic control of malaria parasite transmission: threshold levels for infection in an avian model system.

    PubMed

    Jasinskiene, Nijole; Coleman, Judy; Ashikyan, Aurora; Salampessy, Michael; Marinotti, Osvaldo; James, Anthony A

    2007-06-01

    Genetic strategies for controlling malaria transmission based on engineering pathogen resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes are being tested in a number of animal models. A key component is the effector molecule and the efficiency with which it reduces parasite transmission. Single-chain antibodies (scFvs) that bind the circumsporozoite protein of the avian parasite, Plasmodium gallinaceum, can reduce mean intensities of sporozoite infection of salivary glands by two to four orders of magnitude in transgenic Aedes aegypti. Significantly, mosquitoes with as few as 20 sporozoites in their salivary glands are infectious for a vertebrate host, Gallus gallus. Although scFvs hold promise as effector molecules, they will have to reduce mean intensities of infection to zero to prevent parasite transmission and disease. We conclude that similar endpoints must be reached with human pathogens if we are to expect an effect on disease transmission.

  11. Parasitic Central Nervous System Infections in Immunocompromised Hosts: Malaria, Microsporidiosis, Leishmaniasis, and African Trypanosomiasis

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Melanie; Kublin, James G.; Zunt, Joseph R.

    2009-01-01

    Immunosuppression associated with HIV infection or following transplantation increases susceptibility to central nervous system (CNS) infections. Because of increasing international travel, parasites that were previously limited to tropical regions pose an increasing infectious threat to populations at risk for acquiring opportunistic infection, especially people with HIV infection or individuals who have received a solid organ or bone marrow transplant. Although long-term immunosuppression caused by medications such as prednisone likely also increases the risk for acquiring infection and for developing CNS manifestations, little published information is available to support this hypothesis. In an earlier article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, we described the neurologic manifestations of some of the more common parasitic CNS infections. This review will discuss the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the following additional parasitic CNS infections: malaria, microsporidiosis, leishmaniasis, and African trypanosomiasis. PMID:16323101

  12. Parasitic central nervous system infections in immunocompromised hosts: malaria, microsporidiosis, leishmaniasis, and African trypanosomiasis.

    PubMed

    Walker, Melanie; Kublin, James G; Zunt, Joseph R

    2006-01-01

    Immunosuppression associated with HIV infection or following transplantation increases susceptibility to central nervous system (CNS) infections. Because of increasing international travel, parasites that were previously limited to tropical regions pose an increasing infectious threat to populations at risk for acquiring opportunistic infection, especially people with HIV infection or individuals who have received a solid organ or bone marrow transplant. Although long-term immunosuppression caused by medications such as prednisone likely also increases the risk for acquiring infection and for developing CNS manifestations, little published information is available to support this hypothesis. In an earlier article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, we described the neurologic manifestations of some of the more common parasitic CNS infections. This review will discuss the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the following additional parasitic CNS infections: malaria, microsporidiosis, leishmaniasis, and African trypanosomiasis.

  13. Targeted mutagenesis in the malaria mosquito using TALE nucleases.

    PubMed

    Smidler, Andrea L; Terenzi, Olivier; Soichot, Julien; Levashina, Elena A; Marois, Eric

    2013-01-01

    Anopheles gambiae, the main mosquito vector of human malaria, is a challenging organism to manipulate genetically. As a consequence, reverse genetics studies in this disease vector have been largely limited to RNA interference experiments. Here, we report the targeted disruption of the immunity gene TEP1 using transgenic expression of Transcription-Activator Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs), and the isolation of several TEP1 mutant A. gambiae lines. These mutations inhibited protein production and rendered TEP1 mutants hypersusceptible to Plasmodium berghei. The TALEN technology opens up new avenues for genetic analysis in this disease vector and may offer novel biotechnology-based approaches for malaria control.

  14. Apicomplexa-specific tRip facilitates import of exogenous tRNAs into malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Bour, Tania; Mahmoudi, Nassira; Kapps, Delphine; Thiberge, Sabine; Bargieri, Daniel; Ménard, Robert; Frugier, Magali

    2016-04-26

    The malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites are transmitted to vertebrates by mosquitoes. To support their growth and replication, these intracellular parasites, which belong to the phylum Apicomplexa, have developed mechanisms to exploit their hosts. These mechanisms include expropriation of small metabolites from infected host cells, such as purine nucleotides and amino acids. Heretofore, no evidence suggested that transfer RNAs (tRNAs) could also be exploited. We identified an unusual gene in Apicomplexa with a coding sequence for membrane-docking and structure-specific tRNA binding. This Apicomplexa protein-designated tRip (tRNA import protein)-is anchored to the parasite plasma membrane and directs import of exogenous tRNAs. In the absence of tRip, the fitness of the parasite stage that multiplies in the blood is significantly reduced, indicating that the parasite may need host tRNAs to sustain its own translation and/or as regulatory RNAs. Plasmodium is thus the first example, to our knowledge, of a cell importing exogenous tRNAs, suggesting a remarkable adaptation of this parasite to extend its reach into host cell biology.

  15. Apicomplexa-specific tRip facilitates import of exogenous tRNAs into malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Bour, Tania; Mahmoudi, Nassira; Kapps, Delphine; Thiberge, Sabine; Bargieri, Daniel; Ménard, Robert; Frugier, Magali

    2016-01-01

    The malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites are transmitted to vertebrates by mosquitoes. To support their growth and replication, these intracellular parasites, which belong to the phylum Apicomplexa, have developed mechanisms to exploit their hosts. These mechanisms include expropriation of small metabolites from infected host cells, such as purine nucleotides and amino acids. Heretofore, no evidence suggested that transfer RNAs (tRNAs) could also be exploited. We identified an unusual gene in Apicomplexa with a coding sequence for membrane-docking and structure-specific tRNA binding. This Apicomplexa protein—designated tRip (tRNA import protein)—is anchored to the parasite plasma membrane and directs import of exogenous tRNAs. In the absence of tRip, the fitness of the parasite stage that multiplies in the blood is significantly reduced, indicating that the parasite may need host tRNAs to sustain its own translation and/or as regulatory RNAs. Plasmodium is thus the first example, to our knowledge, of a cell importing exogenous tRNAs, suggesting a remarkable adaptation of this parasite to extend its reach into host cell biology. PMID:27071116

  16. The Strategy to Survive Primary Malaria Infection: An Experimental Study on Behavioural Changes in Parasitized Birds

    PubMed Central

    Mukhin, Andrey; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Platonova, Elena; Kobylkov, Dmitry; Vakoliuk, Irina; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    2016-01-01

    Avian malaria parasites (Haemosporida, Plasmodium) are of cosmopolitan distribution, and they have a significant impact on vertebrate host fitness. Experimental studies show that high parasitemia often develops during primary malaria infections. However, field studies only occasionally reveal high parasitemia in free-living birds sampled using the traditional methods of mist-netting or trapping, and light chronic infections predominate. The reason for this discrepancy between field observation and experimental data remains insufficiently understood. Since mist-netting is a passive capture method, two main parameters determine its success in sampling infected birds in wildlife, i. e. the presence of parasitized birds at a study site and their mobility. In other words, the trapping probability depends on the survival rate of birds and their locomotor activity during infection. Here we test (1) the mortality rate of wild birds infected with Plasmodium relictum (the lineage pSGS1), (2) the changes in their behaviour during presence of an aerial predator, and (3) the changes in their locomotor activity at the stage of high primary parasitemia.We show that some behavioural features which might affect a bird's survival during a predator attack (time of reaction, speed of flush flight and take off angle) did not change significantly during primary infection. However, the locomotor activity of infected birds was almost halved compared to control (non-infected) birds during the peak of parasitemia. We report (1) the markedly reduced mobility and (2) the 20% mortality rate caused by P. relictum and conclude that these factors are responsible for the underrepresentation of birds in mist nets and traps during the stage of high primary parasitemia in wildlife. This study indicates that the widespread parasite, P. relictum (pSGS1) influences the behaviour of birds during primary parasitemia. Experimental studies combined with field observations are needed to better understand the

  17. The Strategy to Survive Primary Malaria Infection: An Experimental Study on Behavioural Changes in Parasitized Birds.

    PubMed

    Mukhin, Andrey; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Platonova, Elena; Kobylkov, Dmitry; Vakoliuk, Irina; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    2016-01-01

    Avian malaria parasites (Haemosporida, Plasmodium) are of cosmopolitan distribution, and they have a significant impact on vertebrate host fitness. Experimental studies show that high parasitemia often develops during primary malaria infections. However, field studies only occasionally reveal high parasitemia in free-living birds sampled using the traditional methods of mist-netting or trapping, and light chronic infections predominate. The reason for this discrepancy between field observation and experimental data remains insufficiently understood. Since mist-netting is a passive capture method, two main parameters determine its success in sampling infected birds in wildlife, i. e. the presence of parasitized birds at a study site and their mobility. In other words, the trapping probability depends on the survival rate of birds and their locomotor activity during infection. Here we test (1) the mortality rate of wild birds infected with Plasmodium relictum (the lineage pSGS1), (2) the changes in their behaviour during presence of an aerial predator, and (3) the changes in their locomotor activity at the stage of high primary parasitemia.We show that some behavioural features which might affect a bird's survival during a predator attack (time of reaction, speed of flush flight and take off angle) did not change significantly during primary infection. However, the locomotor activity of infected birds was almost halved compared to control (non-infected) birds during the peak of parasitemia. We report (1) the markedly reduced mobility and (2) the 20% mortality rate caused by P. relictum and conclude that these factors are responsible for the underrepresentation of birds in mist nets and traps during the stage of high primary parasitemia in wildlife. This study indicates that the widespread parasite, P. relictum (pSGS1) influences the behaviour of birds during primary parasitemia. Experimental studies combined with field observations are needed to better understand the

  18. Appropriate targeting of artemisinin-based combination therapy by community health workers using malaria rapid diagnostic tests: findings from randomized trials in two contrasting areas of high and low malaria transmission in south-western Uganda.

    PubMed

    Ndyomugyenyi, Richard; Magnussen, Pascal; Lal, Sham; Hansen, Kristian; Clarke, Siân E

    2016-09-01

    To compare the impact of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDTs), used by community health workers (CHWs), on the proportion of children <5 years of age receiving appropriately targeted treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), vs. presumptive treatment. Cluster-randomized trials were conducted in two contrasting areas of moderate-to-high and low malaria transmission in rural Uganda. Each trial examined the effectiveness of mRDTs in the management of malaria and targeting of ACTs by CHWs comparing two diagnostic approaches: (i) presumptive clinical diagnosis of malaria [control arm] and (ii) confirmatory diagnosis with mRDTs followed by ACT treatment for positive patients [intervention arm], with village as the unit of randomisation. Treatment decisions by CHWs were validated by microscopy on a reference blood slide collected at the time of consultation, to compare the proportion of children <5 years receiving appropriately targeted ACT treatment, defined as patients with microscopically-confirmed presence of parasites in a peripheral blood smear receiving artemether-lumefantrine or rectal artesunate, and patients with no malaria parasites not given ACT. In the moderate-to-high transmission area, ACT treatment was appropriately targeted in 79.3% (520/656) of children seen by CHWs using mRDTs to diagnose malaria, vs. 30.8% (215/699) of children seen by CHWs using presumptive diagnosis (P < 0.001). In the low transmission area, 90.1% (363/403) children seen by CHWs using mRDTs received appropriately targeted ACT treatment vs. 7.8% (64/817) seen by CHWs using presumptive diagnosis (P < 0.001). Low mRDT sensitivity in children with low-density parasitaemia (<200 parasites/μl) was identified as a potential concern. When equipped with mRDTs, ACT treatments delivered by CHWs are more accurately targeted to children with malaria parasites. mRDT use could play an important role in reducing overdiagnosis of malaria and improving fever case management within

  19. Plasmodium falciparum-like parasites infecting wild apes in southern Cameroon do not represent a recurrent source of human malaria.

    PubMed

    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

    2013-04-23

    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.

  20. Plasmodium falciparum-like parasites infecting wild apes in southern Cameroon do not represent a recurrent source of human malaria

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23569255

  1. Increasing the potential for malaria elimination by targeting zoophilic vectors

    PubMed Central

    Waite, Jessica L.; Swain, Sunita; Lynch, Penelope A.; Sharma, S. K.; Haque, Mohammed Asrarul; Montgomery, Jacqui; Thomas, Matthew B.

    2017-01-01

    Countries in the Asia Pacific region aim to eliminate malaria by 2030. A cornerstone of malaria elimination is the effective management of Anopheles mosquito vectors. Current control tools such as insecticide treated nets or indoor residual sprays target mosquitoes in human dwellings. We find in a high transmission region in India, malaria vector populations show a high propensity to feed on livestock (cattle) and rest in outdoor structures such as cattle shelters. We also find evidence for a shift in vector species complex towards increased zoophilic behavior in recent years. Using a malaria transmission model we demonstrate that in such regions dominated by zoophilic vectors, existing vector control tactics will be insufficient to achieve elimination, even if maximized. However, by increasing mortality in the zoophilic cycle, the elimination threshold can be reached. Current national vector control policy in India restricts use of residual insecticide sprays to domestic dwellings. Our study suggests substantial benefits of extending the approach to treatment of cattle sheds, or deploying other tactics that target zoophilic behavior. Optimizing use of existing tools will be essential to achieving the ambitious 2030 elimination target. PMID:28091570

  2. Bottleneck Effects on Vaccine-Candidate Antigen Diversity of Malaria Parasites in Thailand

    PubMed Central

    Jongwutiwes, Somchai; Putaporntip, Chaturong; Hughes, Austin L.

    2010-01-01

    A number of cell surface antigens of the infective stages of malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) have been proposed as vaccine candidates, but high levels of polymorphism at the loci encoding these antigens are problematic for vaccine effectiveness. In order to test for the effects of anti-malarial control measures (including drugs and vector control) on polymorphism at antigen-encoding loci, we analyzed sequences of four antigen-encoding loci from P. vivax and two from P. falciparum collected in 2006–2007 from two areas of Thailand: (1) the NW, where malaria cases have remained high until recently; and (2) the South, where control measures have caused a dramatic decline in numbers of cases since 1990. Polymorphism in non-repeat regions of antigen-encoding loci was dramatically reduced in the South compared to the NW. These results suggest a two-pronged strategy for malaria eradication: (1) strenuous non-vaccine control measures that will cause a severe population bottleneck in the parasite; and (2) a subsequent local vaccine focused on one or a few locally occurring alleles at antigen-encoding loci. PMID:20199765

  3. Within-host competition and drug resistance in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Bushman, Mary; Morton, Lindsay; Duah, Nancy; Quashie, Neils; Abuaku, Benjamin; Koram, Kwadwo A; Dimbu, Pedro Rafael; Plucinski, Mateusz; Gutman, Julie; Lyaruu, Peter; Kachur, S Patrick; de Roode, Jacobus C; Udhayakumar, Venkatachalam

    2016-03-16

    Infections with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum typically comprise multiple strains, especially in high-transmission areas where infectious mosquito bites occur frequently. However, little is known about the dynamics of mixed-strain infections, particularly whether strains sharing a host compete or grow independently. Competition between drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, if it occurs, could be a crucial determinant of the spread of resistance. We analysed 1341 P. falciparum infections in children from Angola, Ghana and Tanzania and found compelling evidence for competition in mixed-strain infections: overall parasite density did not increase with additional strains, and densities of individual chloroquine-sensitive (CQS) and chloroquine-resistant (CQR) strains were reduced in the presence of competitors. We also found that CQR strains exhibited low densities compared with CQS strains (in the absence of chloroquine), which may underlie observed declines of chloroquine resistance in many countries following retirement of chloroquine as a first-line therapy. Our observations support a key role for within-host competition in the evolution of drug-resistant malaria. Malaria control and resistance-management efforts in high-transmission regions may be significantly aided or hindered by the effects of competition in mixed-strain infections. Consideration of within-host dynamics may spur development of novel strategies to minimize resistance while maximizing the benefits of control measures. © 2016 The Author(s).

  4. Proteomic analysis of Plasmodium falciparum parasites from patients with cerebral and uncomplicated malaria

    PubMed Central

    Bertin, Gwladys I.; Sabbagh, Audrey; Argy, Nicolas; Salnot, Virginie; Ezinmegnon, Sem; Agbota, Gino; Ladipo, Yélé; Alao, Jules M.; Sagbo, Gratien; Guillonneau, François; Deloron, Philippe

    2016-01-01

    Plasmodium falciparum is responsible of severe malaria, including cerebral malaria (CM). During its intra-erythrocytic maturation, parasite-derived proteins are expressed, exported and presented at the infected erythrocyte membrane. To identify new CM-specific parasite membrane proteins, we conducted a mass spectrometry-based proteomic study and compared the protein expression profiles between 9 CM and 10 uncomplicated malaria (UM) samples. Among the 1097 Plasmodium proteins identified, we focused on the 499 membrane-associated and hypothetical proteins for comparative analysis. Filter-based feature selection methods combined with supervised data analysis identified a subset of 29 proteins distinguishing CM and UM samples with high classification accuracy. A hierarchical clustering analysis of these 29 proteins based on the similarity of their expression profiles revealed two clusters of 15 and 14 proteins, respectively under- and over-expressed in CM. Among the over-expressed proteins, the MESA protein is expressed at the erythrocyte membrane, involved in proteins trafficking and in the export of variant surface antigens (VSAs), but without antigenic function. Antigen 332 protein is exported at the erythrocyte, also involved in protein trafficking and in VSAs export, and exposed to the immune system. Our proteomics data demonstrate an association of selected proteins in the pathophysiology of CM. PMID:27245217

  5. Phenylalanine metabolism regulates reproduction and parasite melanization in the malaria mosquito.

    PubMed

    Fuchs, Silke; Behrends, Volker; Bundy, Jacob G; Crisanti, Andrea; Nolan, Tony

    2014-01-01

    The blood meal of the female malaria mosquito is a pre-requisite to egg production and also represents the transmission route for the malaria parasite. The proper and rapid assimilation of proteins and nutrients in the blood meal creates a significant metabolic challenge for the mosquito. To better understand this process we generated a global profile of metabolite changes in response to blood meal of Anopheles gambiae, using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). To disrupt a key pathway of amino acid metabolism we silenced the gene phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) involved in the conversion of the amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine. We observed increased levels of phenylalanine and the potentially toxic metabolites phenylpyruvate and phenyllactate as well as a reduction in the amount of tyrosine available for melanin synthesis. This in turn resulted in a significant impairment of the melanotic encapsulation response against the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. Furthermore silencing of PAH resulted in a significant impairment of mosquito fertility associated with reduction of laid eggs, retarded vitellogenesis and impaired melanisation of the chorion. Carbidopa, an inhibitor of the downstream enzyme DOPA decarboxylase that coverts DOPA into dopamine, produced similar effects on egg melanization and hatching rate suggesting that egg chorion maturation is mainly regulated via dopamine. This study sheds new light on the role of amino acid metabolism in regulating reproduction and immunity.

  6. Parasite Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases as Drug Discovery Targets to Treat Human Protozoan Pathogens

    PubMed Central

    Brumlik, Michael J.; Pandeswara, Srilakshmi; Ludwig, Sara M.; Murthy, Kruthi; Curiel, Tyler J.

    2011-01-01

    Protozoan pathogens are a highly diverse group of unicellular organisms, several of which are significant human pathogens. One group of protozoan pathogens includes obligate intracellular parasites such as agents of malaria, leishmaniasis, babesiosis, and toxoplasmosis. The other group includes extracellular pathogens such as agents of giardiasis and amebiasis. An unfortunate unifying theme for most human protozoan pathogens is that highly effective treatments for them are generally lacking. We will review targeting protozoan mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) as a novel drug discovery approach towards developing better therapies, focusing on Plasmodia, Leishmania, and Toxoplasma, about which the most is known. PMID:21637385

  7. Nuclear receptors: emerging drug targets for parasitic diseases.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhu; Schaffer, Nathaniel E; Kliewer, Steven A; Mangelsdorf, David J

    2017-02-06

    Parasitic worms infect billions of people worldwide. Current treatments rely on a small group of drugs that have been used for decades. A shortcoming of these drugs is their inability to target the intractable infectious stage of the parasite. As well-known therapeutic targets in mammals, nuclear receptors have begun to be studied in parasitic worms, where they are widely distributed and play key roles in governing metabolic and developmental transcriptional networks. One such nuclear receptor is DAF-12, which is required for normal nematode development, including the all-important infectious stage. Here we review the emerging literature that implicates DAF-12 and potentially other nuclear receptors as novel anthelmintic targets.

  8. Generation of rodent malaria parasites with a high mutation rate by destructing proofreading activity of DNA polymerase δ.

    PubMed

    Honma, Hajime; Hirai, Makoto; Nakamura, Shota; Hakimi, Hassan; Kawazu, Shin-Ichiro; Palacpac, Nirianne M Q; Hisaeda, Hajime; Matsuoka, Hiroyuki; Kawai, Satoru; Endo, Hiroyoshi; Yasunaga, Teruo; Ohashi, Jun; Mita, Toshihiro; Horii, Toshihiro; Furusawa, Mitsuru; Tanabe, Kazuyuki

    2014-08-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria imposes a serious public health concern throughout the tropics. Although genetic tools are principally important to fully investigate malaria parasites, currently available forward and reverse tools are fairly limited. It is expected that parasites with a high mutation rate can readily acquire novel phenotypes/traits; however, they remain an untapped tool for malaria biology. Here, we generated a mutator malaria parasite (hereinafter called a 'malaria mutator'), using site-directed mutagenesis and gene transfection techniques. A mutator Plasmodium berghei line with a defective proofreading 3' → 5' exonuclease activity in DNA polymerase δ (referred to as PbMut) and a control P. berghei line with wild-type DNA polymerase δ (referred to as PbCtl) were maintained by weekly passage in ddY mice for 122 weeks. High-throughput genome sequencing analysis revealed that two PbMut lines had 175-178 mutations and a 86- to 90-fold higher mutation rate than that of a PbCtl line. PbMut, PbCtl, and their parent strain, PbWT, showed similar course of infection. Interestingly, PbMut lost the ability to form gametocytes during serial passages. We believe that the malaria mutator system could provide a novel and useful tool to investigate malaria biology.

  9. Pre-elimination stage of malaria in Sri Lanka: assessing the level of hidden parasites in the population.

    PubMed

    Rajakaruna, Rupika S; Alifrangis, Michael; Amerasinghe, Priyanie H; Konradsen, Flemming

    2010-01-20

    With the dramatic drop in the transmission of malaria in Sri Lanka in recent years, the country entered the malaria pre-elimination stage in 2008. Assessing the community prevalence of hidden malaria parasites following several years of extremely low transmission is central to the process of complete elimination. The existence of a parasite reservoir in a population free from clinical manifestations, would influence the strategy for surveillance and control towards complete elimination. The prevalence of hidden parasite reservoirs in two historically malaria endemic districts, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala, previously considered as high malaria transmission areas in Sri Lanka, where peaks of transmission follow the rainy seasons was assessed. Blood samples of non-febrile individuals aged five to 55 years were collected from randomly selected areas in the two districts at community level and a questionnaire was used to collect demographic information and movement of the participants. A simple, highly sensitive nested PCR was carried out to detect both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, simultaneously. In total, 3,023 individuals from 101 villages participated from both districts comprising mostly adults between the ages 19-55 years. Out of these, only about 1.4% of them (n = 19) could recall having had malaria during the past five years. Analysis of a subset of samples (n = 1322) from the two districts using PCR showed that none of the participants had hidden parasites. A reservoir of hidden parasites is unlikely to be a major concern or a barrier to the ongoing malaria elimination efforts in Sri Lanka. However, as very low numbers of indigenous cases are still recorded, an island-wide assessment and in particular, continued alertness and follow up action are still needed. The findings of this study indicate that any future assessments should be based on an adaptive sampling approach, involving prompt sampling of all subjects within a specified radius

  10. Antitumor effect of malaria parasite infection in a murine Lewis lung cancer model through induction of innate and adaptive immunity.

    PubMed

    Chen, Lili; He, Zhengxiang; Qin, Li; Li, Qinyan; Shi, Xibao; Zhao, Siting; Chen, Ling; Zhong, Nanshan; Chen, Xiaoping

    2011-01-01

    Lung cancer is the most common malignancy in humans and its high fatality means that no effective treatment is available. Developing new therapeutic strategies for lung cancer is urgently needed. Malaria has been reported to stimulate host immune responses, which are believed to be efficacious for combating some clinical cancers. This study is aimed to provide evidence that malaria parasite infection is therapeutic for lung cancer. Antitumor effect of malaria infection was examined in both subcutaneously and intravenously implanted murine Lewis lung cancer (LLC) model. The results showed that malaria infection inhibited LLC growth and metastasis and prolonged the survival of tumor-bearing mice. Histological analysis of tumors from mice infected with malaria revealed that angiogenesis was inhibited, which correlated with increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated (TUNEL) staining and decreased Ki-67 expression in tumors. Through natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity activity, cytokine assays, enzyme-linked immunospot assay, lymphocyte proliferation, and flow cytometry, we demonstrated that malaria infection provided anti-tumor effects by inducing both a potent anti-tumor innate immune response, including the secretion of IFN-γ and TNF-α and the activation of NK cells as well as adaptive anti-tumor immunity with increasing tumor-specific T-cell proliferation and cytolytic activity of CD8(+) T cells. Notably, tumor-bearing mice infected with the parasite developed long-lasting and effective tumor-specific immunity. Consequently, we found that malaria parasite infection could enhance the immune response of lung cancer DNA vaccine pcDNA3.1-hMUC1 and the combination produced a synergistic antitumor effect. Malaria infection significantly suppresses LLC growth via induction of innate and adaptive antitumor responses in a mouse model. These data suggest that the malaria parasite may provide a novel strategy or therapeutic vaccine vector for anti-lung cancer

  11. Antitumor Effect of Malaria Parasite Infection in a Murine Lewis Lung Cancer Model through Induction of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Lili; He, Zhengxiang; Qin, Li; Li, Qinyan; Shi, Xibao; Zhao, Siting; Chen, Ling; Zhong, Nanshan; Chen, Xiaoping

    2011-01-01

    Background Lung cancer is the most common malignancy in humans and its high fatality means that no effective treatment is available. Developing new therapeutic strategies for lung cancer is urgently needed. Malaria has been reported to stimulate host immune responses, which are believed to be efficacious for combating some clinical cancers. This study is aimed to provide evidence that malaria parasite infection is therapeutic for lung cancer. Methodology/Principal Findings Antitumor effect of malaria infection was examined in both subcutaneously and intravenously implanted murine Lewis lung cancer (LLC) model. The results showed that malaria infection inhibited LLC growth and metastasis and prolonged the survival of tumor-bearing mice. Histological analysis of tumors from mice infected with malaria revealed that angiogenesis was inhibited, which correlated with increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated (TUNEL) staining and decreased Ki-67 expression in tumors. Through natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity activity, cytokine assays, enzyme-linked immunospot assay, lymphocyte proliferation, and flow cytometry, we demonstrated that malaria infection provided anti-tumor effects by inducing both a potent anti-tumor innate immune response, including the secretion of IFN-γ and TNF-α and the activation of NK cells as well as adaptive anti-tumor immunity with increasing tumor-specific T-cell proliferation and cytolytic activity of CD8+ T cells. Notably, tumor-bearing mice infected with the parasite developed long-lasting and effective tumor-specific immunity. Consequently, we found that malaria parasite infection could enhance the immune response of lung cancer DNA vaccine pcDNA3.1-hMUC1 and the combination produced a synergistic antitumor effect. Conclusions/Significance Malaria infection significantly suppresses LLC growth via induction of innate and adaptive antitumor responses in a mouse model. These data suggest that the malaria parasite may provide a

  12. Drug target identification in intracellular and extracellular protozoan parasites.

    PubMed

    Müller, Joachim; Hemphill, Andrew

    2011-01-01

    The increasing demand for novel anti-parasitic drugs due to resistance formation to well-established chemotherapeutically important compounds has increased the demands for a better understanding of the mechanism(s) of action of existing drugs and of drugs in development. While different approaches have been developed to identify the targets and thus mode of action of anti-parasitic compounds, it has become clear that many drugs act not only on one, but possibly several parasite molecules or even pathways. Ideally, these targets are not present in any cells of the host. In the case of apicomplexan parasites, the unique apicoplast, provides a suitable target for compounds binding to DNA or ribosomal RNA of prokaryotic origin. In the case of intracellular pathogens, a given drug might not only affect the pathogen by directly acting on parasite-associated targets, but also indirectly, by altering the host cell physiology. This in turn could affect the parasite development and lead to parasite death. In this review, we provide an overview of strategies for target identification, and present examples of selected drug targets, ranging from proteins to nucleic acids to intermediary metabolism.

  13. The Effect of Intestinal Parasitic Infection on the Clinical Outcome of Malaria in Coinfected Children in Cameroon

    PubMed Central

    Kwenti, Tebit E.; Nkume, Franklin A.; Tanjeko, Ajime T.; Kwenti, Tayong D. B.

    2016-01-01

    Background The interaction between intestinal parasites and malaria is still not clear. Data in published literature are conflicting. We studied the effect of intestinal parasitic infection (IPI) on the clinical outcome of malaria in coinfected children. Methods In a cross sectional study performed between October 2014 and September 2015, children infected with malaria, as demonstrated by the presence of asexual parasites in Giemsa stained blood films, were enrolled. Stool samples were obtained from participants and subjected to the formol-ether concentration technique for the detection of intestinal parasites. The Complete blood count was performed using an automated haematology analyser (Mindray, BC-2800). The risk ratio, Pearson’s chi-square and the student T test were all performed as part of the statistical analyses. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results In all, 405 children successfully took part in the study. The children were between 1 week and 120 months of age (mean ± SD = 41.5 ± 33.5). Coinfection with intestinal parasites was observed in 11.6%. The rate of severe malaria (SM) attack in this study was 10.9%. SM was not observed to be associated with age (p = 0.377) or gender (p = 0.387), meanwhile coinfection with intestinal parasites was associated with age (p = 0.003). Among SM cases, IPI prevalence was higher in children with mild (WHO group 3) severe malaria (p = 0.027). Overall, IPI was not observed to be associated with SM (p = 0.656) or malaria parasite density (p = 0.185) or haemoglobin concentration (p = 0.205). The main clinical features of SM observed were hyperpyrexia (68.2%), severe malarial anaemia (61.4%), and multiple convulsion (52.3%). Conclusion IPI was not observed to be associated with the severity of malaria, the malaria parasite density, and the haemoglobin concentration in coinfected children in Cameroon. The clinical outcome of malaria in children coinfected with intestinal parasites may depend on the