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Sample records for malaria targeting parasite

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-14

    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.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26173178

  4. Targeting of a Transporter to the Outer Apicoplast Membrane in the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Goodman, Christopher D.; McFadden, Geoffrey I.

    2016-01-01

    Apicoplasts are vestigial plastids in apicomplexan parasites like Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria. Apicomplexan parasites are dependant on their apicoplasts for synthesis of various molecules that they are unable to scavenge in sufficient quantity from their host, which makes apicoplasts attractive drug targets. Proteins known as plastid phosphate translocators (pPTs) are embedded in the outer apicoplast membrane and are responsible for the import of carbon, energy and reducing power to drive anabolic synthesis in the organelle. We investigated how a pPT is targeted into the outer apicoplast membrane of the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. We showed that a transmembrane domain is likely to act as a recessed signal anchor to direct the protein into the endomembrane system, and that a tyrosine in the cytosolic N-terminus of the protein is essential for targeting, but one or more, as yet unidentified, factors are also essential to direct the protein into the outer apicoplast membrane. PMID:27442138

  5. Targeting of a Transporter to the Outer Apicoplast Membrane in the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Lim, Liting; Sayers, Claire P; Goodman, Christopher D; McFadden, Geoffrey I

    2016-01-01

    Apicoplasts are vestigial plastids in apicomplexan parasites like Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria. Apicomplexan parasites are dependant on their apicoplasts for synthesis of various molecules that they are unable to scavenge in sufficient quantity from their host, which makes apicoplasts attractive drug targets. Proteins known as plastid phosphate translocators (pPTs) are embedded in the outer apicoplast membrane and are responsible for the import of carbon, energy and reducing power to drive anabolic synthesis in the organelle. We investigated how a pPT is targeted into the outer apicoplast membrane of the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. We showed that a transmembrane domain is likely to act as a recessed signal anchor to direct the protein into the endomembrane system, and that a tyrosine in the cytosolic N-terminus of the protein is essential for targeting, but one or more, as yet unidentified, factors are also essential to direct the protein into the outer apicoplast membrane. PMID:27442138

  6. In silico multiple-targets identification for heme detoxification in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Phaiphinit, Suthat; Pattaradilokrat, Sittiporn; Lursinsap, Chidchanok; Plaimas, Kitiporn

    2016-01-01

    Detoxification of hemoglobin byproducts or free heme is an essential step and considered potential targets for anti-malaria drug development. However, most of anti-malaria drugs are no longer effective due to the emergence and spread of the drug resistant malaria parasites. Therefore, it is an urgent need to identify potential new targets and even for target combinations for effective malaria drug design. In this work, we reconstructed the metabolic networks of Plasmodium falciparum and human red blood cells for the simulation of steady mass and flux flows of the parasite's metabolites under the blood environment by flux balance analysis (FBA). The integrated model, namely iPF-RBC-713, was then adjusted into two stage-specific metabolic models, which first was for the pathological stage metabolic model of the parasite when invaded the red blood cell without any treatment and second was for the treatment stage of the parasite when a drug acted by inhibiting the hemozoin formation and caused high production rate of heme toxicity. The process of identifying target combinations consisted of two main steps. Firstly, the optimal fluxes of reactions in both the pathological and treatment stages were computed and compared to determine the change of fluxes. Corresponding enzymes of the reactions with zero fluxes in the treatment stage but non-zero fluxes in the pathological stage were predicted as a preliminary list of potential targets in inhibiting heme detoxification. Secondly, the combinations of all possible targets listed in the first step were examined to search for the best promising target combinations resulting in more effective inhibition of the detoxification to kill the malaria parasites. Finally, twenty-three enzymes were identified as a preliminary list of candidate targets which mostly were in pyruvate metabolism and citrate cycle. The optimal set of multiple targets for blocking the detoxification was a set of heme ligase, adenosine transporter, myo

  7. Serine Proteases of Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum: Potential as Antimalarial Drug Targets

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Malaria is a major global parasitic disease and a cause of enormous mortality and morbidity. Widespread drug resistance against currently available antimalarials warrants the identification of novel drug targets and development of new drugs. Malarial proteases are a group of molecules that serve as potential drug targets because of their essentiality for parasite life cycle stages and feasibility of designing specific inhibitors against them. Proteases belonging to various mechanistic classes are found in P. falciparum, of which serine proteases are of particular interest due to their involvement in parasite-specific processes of egress and invasion. In P. falciparum, a number of serine proteases belonging to chymotrypsin, subtilisin, and rhomboid clans are found. This review focuses on the potential of P. falciparum serine proteases as antimalarial drug targets. PMID:24799897

  8. 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

  9. 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

    2015-01-01

    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. 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

  11. 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

  12. Ungulate malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    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.

  13. Ungulate malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    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

  14. Insights into the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway of human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum as chemotherapeutic target.

    PubMed

    Krungkrai, Sudaratana R; Krungkrai, Jerapan

    2016-06-01

    Malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Artemisinins remain as the first-line treatment for Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) malaria although drug resistance has already emerged and spread in Southeast Asia. Thus, to fight this disease, there is an urgent need to develop new antimalarial drugs for malaria chemotherapy. Unlike human host cells, P. falciparum cannot salvage preformed pyrimidine bases or nucleosides from the extracellular environment and relies solely on nucleotides synthesized through the de novo biosynthetic pathway. This review presents significant progress on understanding the de novo pyrimidine pathway and the functional enzymes in the human parasite P. falciparum. Current knowledge in genomics and metabolomics are described, particularly focusing on the parasite purine and pyrimidine nucleotide metabolism. These include gene annotation, characterization and molecular mechanism of the enzymes that are different from the human host pathway. Recent elucidation of the three-dimensional crystal structures and the catalytic reactions of three enzymes: dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, orotate phosphoribosyltransferase, and orotidine 5'-monophosphate decarboxylase, as well as their inhibitors are reviewed in the context of their therapeutic potential against malaria. PMID:27262062

  15. Insights into the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway of human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum as chemotherapeutic target.

    PubMed

    Krungkrai, Sudaratana R; Krungkrai, Jerapan

    2016-06-01

    Malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Artemisinins remain as the first-line treatment for Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) malaria although drug resistance has already emerged and spread in Southeast Asia. Thus, to fight this disease, there is an urgent need to develop new antimalarial drugs for malaria chemotherapy. Unlike human host cells, P. falciparum cannot salvage preformed pyrimidine bases or nucleosides from the extracellular environment and relies solely on nucleotides synthesized through the de novo biosynthetic pathway. This review presents significant progress on understanding the de novo pyrimidine pathway and the functional enzymes in the human parasite P. falciparum. Current knowledge in genomics and metabolomics are described, particularly focusing on the parasite purine and pyrimidine nucleotide metabolism. These include gene annotation, characterization and molecular mechanism of the enzymes that are different from the human host pathway. Recent elucidation of the three-dimensional crystal structures and the catalytic reactions of three enzymes: dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, orotate phosphoribosyltransferase, and orotidine 5'-monophosphate decarboxylase, as well as their inhibitors are reviewed in the context of their therapeutic potential against malaria.

  16. The distinctive features of Indian malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Das, Aparup

    2015-03-01

    Malaria and factors driving malaria are heterogeneous in India, unlike in other countries, and the epidemiology of malaria therefore is considered 'highly complex'. This complexity is primarily attributed to several unique features of the malaria parasites, mosquito vectors, malaria-susceptible populations, and ecoclimatic variables in India. Recent research on the genetic epidemiology of Indian malaria parasites has been successful in partly unraveling the mysteries underlying these complexities.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2016-02-23

    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

  19. 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

  20. Malaria Parasites Produce Volatile Mosquito Attractants

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Megan; Su, Chih-Ying; Schaber, Chad; Crowley, Jan R.; Hsu, Fong-Fu; Carlson, John R.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains a nonphotosynthetic plastid organelle that possesses plant-like metabolic pathways. Plants use the plastidial isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway to produce volatile odorants, known as terpenes. In this work, we describe the volatile chemical profile of cultured malaria parasites. Among the identified compounds are several plant-like terpenes and terpene derivatives, including known mosquito attractants. We establish the molecular identity of the odorant receptors of the malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae, which responds to these compounds. The malaria parasite produces volatile signals that are recognized by mosquitoes and may thereby mediate host attraction and facilitate transmission. PMID:25805727

  1. Malaria parasite pre-erythrocytic stage infection: Gliding and Hiding

    PubMed Central

    Vaughan, Ashley M.; Aly, Ahmed S. I.; Kappe, Stefan H. I.

    2008-01-01

    Summary Malaria is caused by red blood cell-infectious forms of Plasmodium parasites resulting in illness and possible death of infected hosts. The mosquito-borne sporozoite stage of the parasite and the initial infection in the liver, however cause little pathology and no symptoms. Nevertheless, these pre-erythrocytic parasite stages are attracting passionate research efforts not least because they are the most promising targets for malaria vaccine development. Here, we review how the infectious sporozoite makes its way to the liver, subsequently develops in hepatocytes and the factors, both parasite and host, involved in the interactions that occur during this ‘silent’ phase of infection. PMID:18779047

  2. Mobile phones and malaria: modeling human and parasite travel

    PubMed Central

    Buckee, Caroline O.; Wesolowski, Amy; Eagle, Nathan; Hansen, Elsa; Snow, Robert W.

    2013-01-01

    Human mobility plays an important role in the dissemination of malaria parasites between regions of variable transmission intensity. Asymptomatic individuals can unknowingly carry parasites to regions where mosquito vectors are available, for example, undermining control programs and contributing to transmission when they travel. Understanding how parasites are imported between regions in this way is therefore an important goal for elimination planning and the control of transmission, and would enable control programs to target the principal sources of malaria. Measuring human mobility has traditionally been difficult to do on a population scale, but the widespread adoption of mobile phones in low-income settings presents a unique opportunity to directly measure human movements that are relevant to the spread of malaria. Here, we discuss the opportunities for measuring human mobility using data from mobile phones, as well as some of the issues associated with combining mobility estimates with malaria infection risk maps to meaningfully estimate routes of parasite importation. PMID:23478045

  3. Na+ Regulation in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodiumfalciparum Involves the Cation ATPase PfATP4 and Is a Target of the Spiroindolone Antimalarials

    PubMed Central

    Spillman, Natalie J.; Allen, Richard J.W.; McNamara, Case W.; Yeung, Bryan K.S.; Winzeler, Elizabeth A.; Diagana, Thierry T.; Kirk, Kiaran

    2013-01-01

    Summary The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum establishes in the host erythrocyte plasma membrane new permeability pathways that mediate nutrient uptake into the infected cell. These pathways simultaneously allow Na+ influx, causing [Na+] in the infected erythrocyte cytosol to increase to high levels. The intraerythrocytic parasite itself maintains a low cytosolic [Na+] via unknown mechanisms. Here we present evidence that the intraerythrocytic parasite actively extrudes Na+ against an inward gradient via PfATP4, a parasite plasma membrane protein with sequence similarities to Na+-ATPases of lower eukaryotes. Mutations in PfATP4 confer resistance to a potent class of antimalarials, the spiroindolones. Consistent with this, the spiroindolones cause a profound disruption in parasite Na+ homeostasis, which is attenuated in parasites bearing resistance-conferring mutations in PfATP4. The mutant parasites also show some impairment of Na+ regulation. Taken together, our results are consistent with PfATP4 being a Na+ efflux ATPase and a target of the spiroindolones. PMID:23414762

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Rosenthal, Philip J.

    2013-01-01

    Summary 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 to 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. PMID:23899091

  8. The rediscovery of malaria parasites of ungulates.

    PubMed

    Templeton, Thomas J; Martinsen, Ellen; Kaewthamasorn, Morakot; Kaneko, Osamu

    2016-10-01

    Over a hundred years since their first description in 1913, the sparsely described malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) of ungulates have been rediscovered using molecular typing techniques. In the span of weeks, three studies have appeared describing the genetic characterization and phylogenetic analyses of malaria parasites from African antelope (Cephalophus spp.) and goat (Capra aegagrus hircus), Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), and North American white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Here we unify the contributions from those studies with the literature on pre-molecular characterizations of ungulate malaria parasites, which are largely based on surveys of Giemsa-reagent stained blood smears. We present a phylogenetic tree generated from all available ungulate malaria parasite sequence data, and show that parasites from African duiker antelope and goat, Asian water buffalo and New World white-tailed deer group together in a clade, which branches early in Plasmodium evolution. Anopheline mosquitoes appear to be the dominant, if not sole vectors for parasite transmission. We pose questions for future phylogenetic studies, and discuss topics that we hope will spur further molecular and cellular studies of ungulate malaria parasites.

  9. The rediscovery of malaria parasites of ungulates.

    PubMed

    Templeton, Thomas J; Martinsen, Ellen; Kaewthamasorn, Morakot; Kaneko, Osamu

    2016-10-01

    Over a hundred years since their first description in 1913, the sparsely described malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) of ungulates have been rediscovered using molecular typing techniques. In the span of weeks, three studies have appeared describing the genetic characterization and phylogenetic analyses of malaria parasites from African antelope (Cephalophus spp.) and goat (Capra aegagrus hircus), Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), and North American white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Here we unify the contributions from those studies with the literature on pre-molecular characterizations of ungulate malaria parasites, which are largely based on surveys of Giemsa-reagent stained blood smears. We present a phylogenetic tree generated from all available ungulate malaria parasite sequence data, and show that parasites from African duiker antelope and goat, Asian water buffalo and New World white-tailed deer group together in a clade, which branches early in Plasmodium evolution. Anopheline mosquitoes appear to be the dominant, if not sole vectors for parasite transmission. We pose questions for future phylogenetic studies, and discuss topics that we hope will spur further molecular and cellular studies of ungulate malaria parasites. PMID:27444556

  10. Rerooting the evolutionary tree of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Outlaw, Diana C; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2011-08-01

    Malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) have plagued humans for millennia. Less well known are related parasites (Haemosporida), with diverse life cycles and dipteran vectors that infect other vertebrates. Understanding the evolution of parasite life histories, including switches between hosts and vectors, depends on knowledge of evolutionary relationships among parasite lineages. In particular, inferences concerning time of origin and trait evolution require correct placement of the root of the evolutionary tree. Phylogenetic reconstructions of the diversification of malaria parasites from DNA sequences have suffered from uncertainty concerning outgroup taxa, limited taxon sampling, and selection on genes used to assess relationships. As a result, inferred relationships among the Haemosporida have been unstable, and questions concerning evolutionary diversification and host switching remain unanswered. A recent phylogeny placed mammalian malaria parasites, as well as avian/reptilian Plasmodium, in a derived position relative to the avian parasite genera Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus, implying that the ancestral forms lacked merogony in the blood and that their vectors were non-mosquito dipterans. Bayesian, outgroup-free phylogenetic reconstruction using relaxed molecular clocks with uncorrelated rates instead suggested that mammalian and avian/reptilian Plasmodium parasites, spread by mosquito vectors, are ancestral sister taxa, from which a variety of specialized parasite lineages with modified life histories have evolved.

  11. Paths to a malaria vaccine illuminated by parasite genomics

    PubMed Central

    Conway, David J.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25620796

  12. Rationale for the coadministration of albendazole and ivermectin to humans for malaria parasite transmission control.

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Cross-species malaria immunity induced by chemically attenuated parasites

    PubMed Central

    Good, Michael F.; Reiman, Jennifer M.; Rodriguez, I. Bibiana; Ito, Koichi; Yanow, Stephanie K.; El-Deeb, Ibrahim M.; Batzloff, Michael R.; Stanisic, Danielle I.; Engwerda, Christian; Spithill, Terry; Hoffman, Stephen L.; Lee, Moses; McPhun, Virginia

    2013-01-01

    Vaccine development for the blood stages of malaria has focused on the induction of antibodies to parasite surface antigens, most of which are highly polymorphic. An alternate strategy has evolved from observations that low-density infections can induce antibody-independent immunity to different strains. To test this strategy, we treated parasitized red blood cells from the rodent parasite Plasmodium chabaudi with seco-cyclopropyl pyrrolo indole analogs. These drugs irreversibly alkylate parasite DNA, blocking their ability to replicate. After administration in mice, DNA from the vaccine could be detected in the blood for over 110 days and a single vaccination induced profound immunity to different malaria parasite species. Immunity was mediated by CD4+ T cells and was dependent on the red blood cell membrane remaining intact. The human parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, could also be attenuated by treatment with seco-cyclopropyl pyrrolo indole analogs. These data demonstrate that vaccination with chemically attenuated parasites induces protective immunity and provide a compelling rationale for testing a blood-stage parasite-based vaccine targeting human Plasmodium species. PMID:23863622

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Discovery of Dual-Stage Malaria Inhibitors with New Targets

    PubMed Central

    Raphemot, Rene; Lafuente-Monasterio, Maria J.; Gamo-Benito, Francisco Javier; Clardy, Jon

    2015-01-01

    Malaria remains a major global health problem, with more than half of the world population at risk of contracting the disease and nearly a million deaths each year. Here, we report the discovery of inhibitors that target multiple stages of malaria parasite growth. To identify these inhibitors, we took advantage of the Tres Cantos Antimalarial Compound Set (TCAMS) small-molecule library, which is comprised of diverse and potent chemical scaffolds with activities against the blood stage of the malaria parasite, and investigated their effects against the elusive liver stage of the malaria parasite using a forward chemical screen. From a screen of nearly 14,000 compounds, we identified and confirmed 103 compounds as dual-stage malaria inhibitors. Interestingly, these compounds show preferential inhibition of parasite growth in liver- versus blood-stage malaria parasite assays, highlighting the drug susceptibility of this parasite form. Mode-of-action studies were completed using genetically modified and drug-resistant Plasmodium parasite strains. While we identified some compound targets as classical antimalarial pathways, such as the mitochondrial electron transport chain through cytochrome bc1 complex inhibition or the folate biosynthesis pathway, most compounds induced parasite death through as yet unknown mechanisms of action. Importantly, the identification of new chemotypes with different modes of action in killing Plasmodium parasites represents a promising opportunity for probing essential and novel molecular processes that remain to be discovered. The chemical scaffolds identified with activity against drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites represent starting points for dual-stage antimalarial development to surmount the threat of malaria parasite drug resistance. PMID:26666931

  2. Discovery of Dual-Stage Malaria Inhibitors with New Targets.

    PubMed

    Raphemot, Rene; Lafuente-Monasterio, Maria J; Gamo-Benito, Francisco Javier; Clardy, Jon; Derbyshire, Emily R

    2016-03-01

    Malaria remains a major global health problem, with more than half of the world population at risk of contracting the disease and nearly a million deaths each year. Here, we report the discovery of inhibitors that target multiple stages of malaria parasite growth. To identify these inhibitors, we took advantage of the Tres Cantos Antimalarial Compound Set (TCAMS) small-molecule library, which is comprised of diverse and potent chemical scaffolds with activities against the blood stage of the malaria parasite, and investigated their effects against the elusive liver stage of the malaria parasite using a forward chemical screen. From a screen of nearly 14,000 compounds, we identified and confirmed 103 compounds as dual-stage malaria inhibitors. Interestingly, these compounds show preferential inhibition of parasite growth in liver- versus blood-stage malaria parasite assays, highlighting the drug susceptibility of this parasite form. Mode-of-action studies were completed using genetically modified and drug-resistant Plasmodium parasite strains. While we identified some compound targets as classical antimalarial pathways, such as the mitochondrial electron transport chain through cytochrome bc1 complex inhibition or the folate biosynthesis pathway, most compounds induced parasite death through as yet unknown mechanisms of action. Importantly, the identification of new chemotypes with different modes of action in killing Plasmodium parasites represents a promising opportunity for probing essential and novel molecular processes that remain to be discovered. The chemical scaffolds identified with activity against drug-resistant Plasmodium parasites represent starting points for dual-stage antimalarial development to surmount the threat of malaria parasite drug resistance. PMID:26666931

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  6. Folate metabolism in human malaria parasites--75 years on.

    PubMed

    Müller, Ingrid B; Hyde, John E

    2013-03-01

    Malaria still poses one of the most serious threats to human health worldwide and the prevailing lack of effective, clinically licensed, vaccines means that prophylaxis and treatment depend heavily on a small number of compounds whose efficacies are progressively compromised at varying rates by the inevitable emergence of drug-resistant parasite populations. Of these antimalarials, those inhibiting steps in folate metabolism, along with chloroquine, are the oldest synthetic compounds, with origins dating back three-quarters of a century. Despite widespread parasite resistance, the antifolates still play an important role in malaria control, and our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of folate metabolism and genesis of drug resistance has increased considerably over the last twenty years. Folate de novo synthesis in the parasite, interconversion of active folate derivatives and their utilisation as multifunctional cofactors involve numerous enzymes, although only two of these have ever served as targets of clinical antimalarial inhibitors. The current application of antifolates, resistance to this class of drugs, new insights into folate metabolism in the parasite, its potential for providing novel targets of inhibition and some of the questions that are still outstanding are reviewed here.

  7. Targeting Lysine Deacetylases (KDACs) in Parasites.

    PubMed

    Wang, Qi; Rosa, Bruce A; Nare, Bakela; Powell, Kerrie; Valente, Sergio; Rotili, Dante; Mai, Antonello; Marshall, Garland R; Mitreva, Makedonka

    2015-01-01

    Due to an increasing problem of drug resistance among almost all parasites species ranging from protists to worms, there is an urgent need to explore new drug targets and their inhibitors to provide new and effective parasitic therapeutics. In this regard, there is growing interest in exploring known drug leads of human epigenetic enzymes as potential starting points to develop novel treatments for parasitic diseases. This approach of repurposing (starting with validated targets and inhibitors) is quite attractive since it has the potential to reduce the expense of drug development and accelerate the process of developing novel drug candidates for parasite control. Lysine deacetylases (KDACs) are among the most studied epigenetic drug targets of humans, and a broad range of small-molecule inhibitors for these enzymes have been reported. In this work, we identify the KDAC protein families in representative species across important classes of parasites, screen a compound library of 23 hydroxamate- or benzamide-based small molecules KDAC inhibitors, and report their activities against a range of parasitic species, including the pathogen of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), kinetoplastids (Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania donovani), and nematodes (Brugia malayi, Dirofilaria immitis and Haemonchus contortus). Compound activity against parasites is compared to that observed against the mammalian cell line (L929 mouse fibroblast) in order to determine potential parasite-versus-host selectivity). The compounds showed nanomolar to sub-nanomolar potency against various parasites, and some selectivity was observed within the small panel of compounds tested. The possible binding modes of the active compounds at the different protein target sites within different species were explored by docking to homology models to help guide the discovery of more selective, parasite-specific inhibitors. This current work supports previous studies that explored the use of KDAC inhibitors in

  8. Liver-stage malaria parasites vulnerable to diverse chemical scaffolds

    PubMed Central

    Derbyshire, Emily R.; Prudêncio, Miguel; Mota, Maria M.; Clardy, Jon

    2012-01-01

    Human malaria infection begins with a one-time asymptomatic liver stage followed by a cyclic symptomatic blood stage. All high-throughput malaria drug discovery efforts have focused on the cyclic blood stage, which has limited potential for the prophylaxis, transmission blocking, and eradication efforts that will be needed in the future. To address these unmet needs, a high-throughput phenotypic liver-stage Plasmodium parasite screen was developed to systematically identify molecules with liver-stage efficacy. The screen recapitulates liver-stage infection by isolating luciferase-expressing Plasmodium berghei parasites directly from the salivary glands of infected mosquitoes, adding them to confluent human liver cells in 384-well plates, and measuring luciferase activity after a suitable incubation period. Screening 5,375 known bioactive compounds identified 37 liver-stage malaria inhibitors with diverse modes of action, as shown by inhibition time course experiments. Further analysis of the hits in the Food and Drug Administration-approved drug subset revealed compounds that seem to act specifically on the liver stage of infection, suggesting that this phase of the parasite’s life cycle presents a promising area for new drug discovery. Notably, many active compounds in this screen have molecular structures and putative targets distinctly different from those of known antimalarial agents. PMID:22586124

  9. Efficient editing of malaria parasite genome using the CRISPR/Cas9 system.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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. Importance: Malaria, caused by infection of Plasmodium parasites, remains a world-wide public health burden. Although the genomes of many malaria parasites have been sequenced, we still do not know the functions of approximately half of the genes in the genomes. Studying gene function has become the focus of many studies; however, editing genes in malaria parasite genomes is still inefficient. Here we designed several efficient approaches, based on the CRISPR/Cas9 system, to introduce site-specific DNA double-strand breaks in the Plasmodium yoelii genome that can be repaired through homologous recombination. Using this system, we achieved high efficiencies in gene deletion, reporter tagging, and allelic replacement in multiple parasite genes. This technique for editing the malaria parasite

  10. 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.

  11. How can we determine the molecular clock of malaria parasites?

    PubMed

    Bensch, Staffan; Hellgren, Olof; Križanauskienė, Asta; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Outlaw, Diana; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2013-08-01

    The association of contemporary hosts and their parasites might reflect either cospeciation or more recent shifts among existing hosts. Cospeciation implies that lineages of hosts and parasites diverge in parallel at the same time, but testing this prediction requires time-calibrated phylogenies, which are particularly difficult to obtain in organisms that leave few fossils. It has successively become clear that host shifts have been frequent in the evolutionary history of malaria parasites, but dating these host shifts cannot be done without calibrated phylogenies. Hence, it remains unresolved how long contemporary hosts and vectors have been coevolving with their malaria parasites. This review addresses conflicting rate estimates of molecular evolution and suggests research directions to aid dating diversification events in malaria parasites.

  12. 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.

  13. Surface Properties of Extracellular Malaria Parasites: Morphological and Cytochemical Study 1

    PubMed Central

    Seed, Thomas M.; Aikawa, Masamichi; Sterling, Charles; Rabbege, John

    1974-01-01

    Morphological and cytochemical surface characteristics of isolated malaria parasites (Plasmodium berghei) and host erythrocytes were compared by electron microscopy by using thin section and carbon replica techniques. Erythrocytes were uniform in shape and had fine, granular surfaces. In contrast, free parasites exhibited a variety of sizes, shapes, and surface textures. Fine surface stippling was a common topographical feature of isolated parasites. Small, infective forms often had patterned surfaces resulting from the protuberance of an underlying thick intermediate layer. Results of cytochemical analysis using a sialophilic colloidal iron stain indicated that the malaria parasite's surface lacked exposed sialic acid groups which would normally give rise to a net negative surface charge common to erythrocytes. Biochemical assay demonstrated that malaria parasites contained about one-half the amount of sialic acid per unit weight as did control red cell extracts. Similarly, external acidic mucopolysaccharide coats of free parasites, as revealed by ruthenium red staining were extremely thin as compared with the thick glycocalyx layer of red cells. Lipid plaques at the surface of parasites and red cells were localized by lipophilic iron colloid staining. Although the gross patchwork distribution of plaques was somewhat similar for the two cell types, the parasites were stained more intensely and had a closer-knit patchwork pattern than those exhibited by the erythrocytes. Such findings indicate that there are slight differences in the arrangement of phospholipids at the surfaces of limiting membranes of host cells and parasites. The significance of the above cytochemical surface properties of the malaria parasite (which are seemingly akin to those of intracellular organelles is discussed in relation to certain host-parasite interactions, such as parasite adhesion to target cells and enhanced clearance of extracellular parasites. Images PMID:4132619

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

  20. Malaria

    MedlinePlus

    MENU Return to Web version Malaria Overview What is malaria? Malaria is an infection of a part of the blood called the red blood cells. It is ... by mosquitoes that carry a parasite that causes malaria. If a mosquito carrying this parasite bites you, ...

  1. Plasmodium interspersed repeats: the major multigene superfamily of malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Janssen, Christoph S.; Phillips, R. Stephen; Turner, C. Michael R.; Barrett, Michael P.

    2004-01-01

    Functionally related homologues of known genes can be difficult to identify in divergent species. In this paper, we show how multi-character analysis can be used to elucidate the relationships among divergent members of gene superfamilies. We used probabilistic modelling in conjunction with protein structural predictions and gene-structure analyses on a whole-genome scale to find gene homologies that are missed by conventional similarity-search strategies and identified a variant gene superfamily in six species of malaria (Plasmodium interspersed repeats, pir). The superfamily includes rif in P.falciparum, vir in P.vivax, a novel family kir in P.knowlesi and the cir/bir/yir family in three rodent malarias. Our data indicate that this is the major multi-gene family in malaria parasites. Protein localization of products from pir members to the infected erythrocyte membrane in the rodent malaria parasite P.chabaudi, demonstrates phenotypic similarity to the products of pir in other malaria species. The results give critical insight into the evolutionary adaptation of malaria parasites to their host and provide important data for comparative immunology between malaria parasites obtained from laboratory models and their human counterparts. PMID:15507685

  2. 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.

  3. Targeting Lysine Deacetylases (KDACs) in Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Qi; Rosa, Bruce A.; Nare, Bakela; Powell, Kerrie; Valente, Sergio; Rotili, Dante; Mai, Antonello; Marshall, Garland R.; Mitreva, Makedonka

    2015-01-01

    Due to an increasing problem of drug resistance among almost all parasites species ranging from protists to worms, there is an urgent need to explore new drug targets and their inhibitors to provide new and effective parasitic therapeutics. In this regard, there is growing interest in exploring known drug leads of human epigenetic enzymes as potential starting points to develop novel treatments for parasitic diseases. This approach of repurposing (starting with validated targets and inhibitors) is quite attractive since it has the potential to reduce the expense of drug development and accelerate the process of developing novel drug candidates for parasite control. Lysine deacetylases (KDACs) are among the most studied epigenetic drug targets of humans, and a broad range of small-molecule inhibitors for these enzymes have been reported. In this work, we identify the KDAC protein families in representative species across important classes of parasites, screen a compound library of 23 hydroxamate- or benzamide-based small molecules KDAC inhibitors, and report their activities against a range of parasitic species, including the pathogen of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), kinetoplastids (Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania donovani), and nematodes (Brugia malayi, Dirofilaria immitis and Haemonchus contortus). Compound activity against parasites is compared to that observed against the mammalian cell line (L929 mouse fibroblast) in order to determine potential parasite-versus-host selectivity). The compounds showed nanomolar to sub-nanomolar potency against various parasites, and some selectivity was observed within the small panel of compounds tested. The possible binding modes of the active compounds at the different protein target sites within different species were explored by docking to homology models to help guide the discovery of more selective, parasite-specific inhibitors. This current work supports previous studies that explored the use of KDAC inhibitors in

  4. Targeting Lysine Deacetylases (KDACs) in Parasites.

    PubMed

    Wang, Qi; Rosa, Bruce A; Nare, Bakela; Powell, Kerrie; Valente, Sergio; Rotili, Dante; Mai, Antonello; Marshall, Garland R; Mitreva, Makedonka

    2015-01-01

    Due to an increasing problem of drug resistance among almost all parasites species ranging from protists to worms, there is an urgent need to explore new drug targets and their inhibitors to provide new and effective parasitic therapeutics. In this regard, there is growing interest in exploring known drug leads of human epigenetic enzymes as potential starting points to develop novel treatments for parasitic diseases. This approach of repurposing (starting with validated targets and inhibitors) is quite attractive since it has the potential to reduce the expense of drug development and accelerate the process of developing novel drug candidates for parasite control. Lysine deacetylases (KDACs) are among the most studied epigenetic drug targets of humans, and a broad range of small-molecule inhibitors for these enzymes have been reported. In this work, we identify the KDAC protein families in representative species across important classes of parasites, screen a compound library of 23 hydroxamate- or benzamide-based small molecules KDAC inhibitors, and report their activities against a range of parasitic species, including the pathogen of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), kinetoplastids (Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania donovani), and nematodes (Brugia malayi, Dirofilaria immitis and Haemonchus contortus). Compound activity against parasites is compared to that observed against the mammalian cell line (L929 mouse fibroblast) in order to determine potential parasite-versus-host selectivity). The compounds showed nanomolar to sub-nanomolar potency against various parasites, and some selectivity was observed within the small panel of compounds tested. The possible binding modes of the active compounds at the different protein target sites within different species were explored by docking to homology models to help guide the discovery of more selective, parasite-specific inhibitors. This current work supports previous studies that explored the use of KDAC inhibitors in

  5. Polysome profiling of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Lacsina, Joshua R; LaMonte, Gregory; Nicchitta, Christopher V; Chi, Jen-Tsan

    2011-09-01

    In the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, global studies of translational regulation have been hampered by the inability to isolate malaria polysomes. We describe here a novel method for polysome profiling in P. falciparum, a powerful approach which allows both a global view of translation and the measurement of ribosomal loading and density for specific mRNAs. Simultaneous lysis of infected erythrocytes and parasites releases stable, intact malaria polysomes, which are then purified by centrifugation through a sucrose cushion. The polysomes are resuspended, separated by velocity sedimentation and then fractionated, yielding a characteristic polysome profile reflecting the global level of translational activity in the parasite. RNA isolated from specific fractions can be used to determine the density of ribosomes loaded onto a particular transcript of interest, and is free of host ribosome contamination. Thus, our approach opens translational regulation in malaria to genome-wide analysis.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Malaria proteomics: insights into the parasite-host interactions in the pathogenic space.

    PubMed

    Bautista, José M; Marín-García, Patricia; Diez, Amalia; Azcárate, Isabel G; Puyet, Antonio

    2014-01-31

    Proteomics is improving malaria research by providing global information on relevant protein sets from the parasite and the host in connection with its cellular structures and specific functions. In the last decade, reports have described biologically significant elements in the proteome of Plasmodium, which are selectively targeted and quantified, allowing for sensitive and high-throughput comparisons. The identification of molecules by which the parasite and the host react during the malaria infection is crucial to the understanding of the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. Hence, proteomics is playing a major role by defining the elements within the pathogenic space between both organisms that change across the parasite life cycle in association with the host transformation and response. Proteomics has identified post-translational modifications in the parasite and the host that are discussed in terms of functional interactions in malaria parasitism. Furthermore, the contribution of proteomics to the investigation of immunogens for potential vaccine candidates is summarized. The malaria-specific technological advances in proteomics are particularly suited now for identifying host-parasite interactions that could lead to promising targets for therapy, diagnosis or prevention. In this review, we examine the knowledge gained on the biology, pathogenesis, immunity and diagnosis of Plasmodium infection from recent proteomic studies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Trends in Microbial Proteomics.

  9. Malaria proteomics: insights into the parasite-host interactions in the pathogenic space.

    PubMed

    Bautista, José M; Marín-García, Patricia; Diez, Amalia; Azcárate, Isabel G; Puyet, Antonio

    2014-01-31

    Proteomics is improving malaria research by providing global information on relevant protein sets from the parasite and the host in connection with its cellular structures and specific functions. In the last decade, reports have described biologically significant elements in the proteome of Plasmodium, which are selectively targeted and quantified, allowing for sensitive and high-throughput comparisons. The identification of molecules by which the parasite and the host react during the malaria infection is crucial to the understanding of the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. Hence, proteomics is playing a major role by defining the elements within the pathogenic space between both organisms that change across the parasite life cycle in association with the host transformation and response. Proteomics has identified post-translational modifications in the parasite and the host that are discussed in terms of functional interactions in malaria parasitism. Furthermore, the contribution of proteomics to the investigation of immunogens for potential vaccine candidates is summarized. The malaria-specific technological advances in proteomics are particularly suited now for identifying host-parasite interactions that could lead to promising targets for therapy, diagnosis or prevention. In this review, we examine the knowledge gained on the biology, pathogenesis, immunity and diagnosis of Plasmodium infection from recent proteomic studies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Trends in Microbial Proteomics. PMID:24140976

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Redox sensing and signaling by malaria parasite in vertebrate host.

    PubMed

    Tripathy, Satyajit; Roy, Somenath

    2015-09-01

    Plasmodium parasites, which is responsible to cause malaria, are also exceedingly receptive to oxidative stress during their intraerythrocytic life stage as they devour haemoglobin inside their food vacuoles and engender toxic haem moieties and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Other than, several studies suggest that the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS) associated with oxidative stress, plays a decisive role in the ripeness of systemic complications caused by malaria. Malaria infection provokes the generation of hydroxyl radicals (OH(•)), which most probably is the main reason for the induction of oxidative stress and apoptosis. In this study, it has been described to understand how redox molecules and NO carry out their diverse functions in both parasites and host. It is very important to understand the chemical reactions that produce those outcomes and how its regulation carried out by parasite during erythrocytic phase.

  13. 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.

  14. Unsupervised malaria parasite detection based on phase spectrum.

    PubMed

    Fang, Yuming; Xiong, Wei; Lin, Weisi; Chen, Zhenzhong

    2011-01-01

    In this paper, we propose a novel method for malaria parasite detection based on phase spectrum. The method first obtains the amplitude spectrum and phase spectrum for blood smear images through Quaternion Fourier Transform (QFT). Then it gets the reconstructed image based on Inverse Quaternion Fourier transform (IQFT) on a constant amplitude spectrum and the original phase spectrum. The malaria parasite areas can be detected easily from the reconstructed blood smear images. Extensive experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of this novel method. PMID:22256196

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Type II fatty acid synthesis is essential only for malaria parasite late liver stage development

    PubMed Central

    Vaughan, Ashley M; O'Neill, Matthew T; Tarun, Alice S; Camargo, Nelly; Phuong, Thuan M; Aly, Ahmed S I; Cowman, Alan F; Kappe, Stefan H I

    2009-01-01

    Intracellular malaria parasites require lipids for growth and replication. They possess a prokaryotic type II fatty acid synthesis (FAS II) pathway that localizes to the apicoplast plastid organelle and is assumed to be necessary for pathogenic blood stage replication. However, the importance of FAS II throughout the complex parasite life cycle remains unknown. We show in a rodent malaria model that FAS II enzymes localize to the sporozoite and liver stage apicoplast. Targeted deletion of FabB/F, a critical enzyme in fatty acid synthesis, did not affect parasite blood stage replication, mosquito stage development and initial infection in the liver. This was confirmed by knockout of FabZ, another critical FAS II enzyme. However, FAS II-deficient Plasmodium yoelii liver stages failed to form exo-erythrocytic merozoites, the invasive stage that first initiates blood stage infection. Furthermore, deletion of FabI in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum did not show a reduction in asexual blood stage replication in vitro. Malaria parasites therefore depend on the intrinsic FAS II pathway only at one specific life cycle transition point, from liver to blood. PMID:19068099

  18. 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.

  19. 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. PMID:25121742

  20. 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. PMID:27303038

  1. Interactions between malaria parasites and the host immune system.

    PubMed

    Engwerda, Christian R; Good, Michael F

    2005-08-01

    Malaria remains one of the greatest impediments to development in many tropical regions of the world. Understanding host immune responses to malaria parasites is crucial for the effective design and implementation of new vaccines and drugs. Recent research has seen the identification of the first pattern recognition receptor (TLR9) on dendritic cells for a defined product of malaria infection (hemozoin). In addition, progress has been made in understanding the role of dendritic cell subsets in malaria, and how they promote specific components of the host immune response. Potentially important advances in vaccine design have also been made by inserting a Plasmodium sporozoite epitope into the yellow fever vaccine 17D, as well as using a whole, live-attenuated sporozoite vaccine. PMID:15950450

  2. Implications of temperature variation for malaria parasite development across Africa

    PubMed Central

    Blanford, J. I.; Blanford, S.; Crane, R. G.; Mann, M. E.; Paaijmans, K. P.; Schreiber, K. V.; Thomas, M. B.

    2013-01-01

    Temperature is an important determinant of malaria transmission. Recent work has shown that mosquito and parasite biology are influenced not only by average temperature, but also by the extent of the daily temperature variation. Here we examine how parasite development within the mosquito (Extrinsic Incubation Period) is expected to vary over time and space depending on the diurnal temperature range and baseline mean temperature in Kenya and across Africa. Our results show that under cool conditions, the typical approach of using mean monthly temperatures alone to characterize the transmission environment will underestimate parasite development. In contrast, under warmer conditions, the use of mean temperatures will overestimate development. Qualitatively similar patterns hold using both outdoor and indoor temperatures. These findings have important implications for defining malaria risk. Furthermore, understanding the influence of daily temperature dynamics could provide new insights into ectotherm ecology both now and in response to future climate change. PMID:23419595

  3. African origin of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.

    PubMed

    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.

  4. 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

  5. Antigen export during liver infection of the malaria parasite augments protective immunity.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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. Importance: Vaccine development against Plasmodium parasites remains a priority in malaria research. The most advanced malaria subunit vaccine candidates contain Plasmodium surface proteins with important roles for parasite vital functions. A fundamental question is whether recognition by effector CD8(+) T cells is restricted to sporozoite surface antigens or extends to parasite proteins that are synthesized during the extensive parasite expansion phase in the liver. Using a surrogate model antigen, we found that a cytoplasmic antigen is able to induce

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

    PubMed

    Santos, Jorge M; Duarte, Neuza; Kehrer, Jessica; 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

    2016-06-28

    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

  7. Copper-transporting ATPase is important for malaria parasite fertility.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Homeostasis of the trace element copper is essential to all eukaryotic life. Copper serves as a cofactor in metalloenzymes and catalyses electron transfer reactions as well as the generation of potentially toxic reactive oxygen species. Here, we describe the functional characterization of an evolutionarily highly conserved, predicted copper-transporting P-type ATPase (CuTP) in the murine malaria model parasite Plasmodium berghei. Live imaging of a parasite line expressing a fluorescently tagged CuTP demonstrated that CuTP is predominantly located in vesicular bodies of the parasite. A P. berghei loss-of-function mutant line was readily obtained and showed no apparent defect in in vivo blood stage growth. Parasite transmission through the mosquito vector was severely affected, but not entirely abolished. We show that male and female gametocytes are abundant in cutp(-) parasites, but activation of male microgametes and exflagellation were strongly impaired. This specific defect could be mimicked by addition of the copper chelator neocuproine to wild-type gametocytes. A cross-fertilization assay demonstrated that female fertility was also severely abrogated. In conclusion, we provide experimental genetic and pharmacological evidence that a healthy copper homeostasis is critical to malaria parasite fertility of both genders of gametocyte and, hence, to transmission to the mosquito vector.

  8. Protective efficacy and safety of liver stage attenuated malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Hirdesh; Sattler, Julia Magdalena; Singer, Mirko; Heiss, Kirsten; Reinig, Miriam; Hammerschmidt-Kamper, Christiane; Heussler, Volker; Mueller, Ann-Kristin; Frischknecht, Friedrich

    2016-01-01

    During the clinically silent liver stage of a Plasmodium infection the parasite replicates from a single sporozoite into thousands of merozoites. Infection of humans and rodents with large numbers of sporozoites that arrest their development within the liver can cause sterile protection from subsequent infections. Disruption of genes essential for liver stage development of rodent malaria parasites has yielded a number of attenuated parasite strains. A key question to this end is how increased attenuation relates to vaccine efficacy. Here, we generated rodent malaria parasite lines that arrest during liver stage development and probed the impact of multiple gene deletions on attenuation and protective efficacy. In contrast to P. berghei strain ANKA LISP2(–) or uis3(–) single knockout parasites, which occasionally caused breakthrough infections, the double mutant lacking both genes was completely attenuated even when high numbers of sporozoites were administered. However, different vaccination protocols showed that LISP2(–) parasites protected better than uis3(–) and double mutants. Hence, deletion of several genes can yield increased safety but might come at the cost of protective efficacy. PMID:27241521

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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 M; Hoffman, Stephen L; Wortman, Jennifer R; Gardner, Malcolm J; Galinski, Mary R; Barnwell, John W; Fraser-Liggett, Claire M

    2008-10-01

    The human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax is responsible for 25-40% of the approximately 515 million annual cases of malaria worldwide. Although seldom fatal, the parasite elicits severe and incapacitating clinical symptoms and often causes 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 continuously in the laboratory except in non-human primates. We sequenced the genome of P. vivax to shed light on its distinctive biological 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 alternative 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 investigation into this neglected species.

  11. [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.

  12. In Vivo Function of PTEX88 in Malaria Parasite Sequestration and Virulence.

    PubMed

    Matz, Joachim M; Ingmundson, Alyssa; Costa Nunes, Jean; Stenzel, Werner; Matuschewski, Kai; Kooij, Taco W A

    2015-06-01

    Malaria pathology is linked to remodeling of red blood cells by eukaryotic Plasmodium parasites. Central to host cell refurbishment is the trafficking of parasite-encoded virulence factors through the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins (PTEX). Much of our understanding of its function is based on experimental work with cultured Plasmodium falciparum, yet direct consequences of PTEX impairment during an infection remain poorly defined. Using the murine malaria model parasite Plasmodium berghei, it is shown here that efficient sequestration to the pulmonary, adipose, and brain tissue vasculature is dependent on the PTEX components thioredoxin 2 (TRX2) and PTEX88. While TRX2-deficient parasites remain virulent, PTEX88-deficient parasites no longer sequester in the brain, correlating with abolishment of cerebral complications in infected mice. However, an apparent trade-off for virulence attenuation was spleen enlargement, which correlates with a strongly reduced schizont-to-ring-stage transition. Strikingly, general protein export is unaffected in PTEX88-deficient mutants that mature normally in vitro. Thus, PTEX88 is pivotal for tissue sequestration in vivo, parasite virulence, and preventing exacerbation of spleen pathology, but these functions do not correlate with general protein export to the host erythrocyte. The presented data suggest that the protein export machinery of Plasmodium parasites and their underlying mechanistic features are considerably more complex than previously anticipated and indicate challenges for targeted intervention strategies.

  13. Design and synthesis of potent inhibitors of the malaria parasite dihydroorotate dehydrogenase.

    PubMed

    Heikkilä, Timo; Ramsey, Christopher; Davies, Matthew; Galtier, Christophe; Stead, Andrew M W; Johnson, A Peter; Fishwick, Colin W G; Boa, Andrew N; McConkey, Glenn A

    2007-01-25

    Pyrimidine biosynthesis presents an attractive drug target in malaria parasites due to the absence of a pyrimidine salvage pathway. A set of compounds designed to inhibit the Plasmodium falciparum pyrimidine biosynthetic enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) was synthesized. PfDHODH-specific inhibitors with low nanomolar binding affinities were identified that bind in the N-terminal hydrophobic channel of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, the presumed site of ubiquinone binding during oxidation of dihydroorotate to orotate. These compounds also prevented growth of cultured parasites at low micromolar concentrations. Models that suggest the mode of inhibitor binding is based on shape complementarity, matching hydrophobic regions of inhibitor and enzyme, and interaction of inhibitors with amino acid residues F188, H185, and R265 are supported by mutagenesis data. These results further highlight PfDHODH as a promising new target for chemotherapeutic intervention in prevention of malaria and provide better understanding of the factors that determine specificity over human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase.

  14. Malaria: a tumour necrosis factor inhibitor from parasitized erythrocytes.

    PubMed Central

    Sheikh, N A; Caro, H N; Taverne, J; Playfair, J H; Rademacher, T W

    1996-01-01

    The excessive production of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is associated with the pathology of blood-stage malaria and phosphatidylinositol-containing phospholipid antigens from parasitized erythrocytes stimulate its secretion by macrophages, thus acting as toxins. This brief report describes some properties of an inhibitor present in lysates from erythrocytes infected with malarial parasites that blocked the detection of recombinant TNF in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and diminished or abolished the cytotoxicity of TNF. It was not found in control lysates of normal erythrocytes. Its addition to macrophage cultures stimulated by toxic malarial preparations or by bacterial lipopolysaccharide also blocked the detection of TNF. These findings may explain the contradictory results obtained from different assays for TNF, and emphasize the need for caution when interpreting the results of a single assay system. If released when parasitized erythrocytes rupture in vivo, the inhibitor could help protect both parasite and host from the damaging effects of TNF. PMID:8778034

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Effects of Malaria Parasite Density on Blood Cell Parameters

    PubMed Central

    Kotepui, Manas; Piwkham, Duangjai; PhunPhuech, Bhukdee; Phiwklam, Nuoil; Chupeerach, Chaowanee; Duangmano, Suwit

    2015-01-01

    Changes in blood cell parameters are already a well-known feature of malarial infections. To add to this information, the objective of this study was to investigate the varying effects that different levels of parasite density have on blood cell parameters. Patients diagnosed with malaria at Phobphra Hospital, Tak Province, Thailand between January 1st 2009 and January 1st 2012 were recruited as subjects for data collection. Blood cell parameters of 2,024 malaria-infected patients were evaluated and statistically analyzed. Neutrophil and platelet counts were significantly higher, however, RBC count was significantly lower in patients with P. falciparum infection compared to those with P. vivax infection (p<0.0001). Leukocyte counts were also significantly higher in patients with high parasitemia compared to those with low and moderate parasitemia. In terms of differential leukocyte count, neutrophil count was significantly higher in patients with high parasitemia compared to those with low and moderate parasitemia (p<0.0001). On the other hand, both lymphocyte and monocyte counts were significantly lower in patients with high parasitemia (p<0.0001). RBC count and Hb concentration, as well as platelet count were also significantly reduced (p<0.05) and (p<0.0001), respectively. To summarize, patients infected with different malaria parasites exhibited important distinctive hematological parameters, with neutrophil and eosinophil counts being the two hematological parameters most affected. In addition, patients infected with different malarial densities also exhibited important changes in leukocyte count, platelet count and hemoglobin concentration during the infection. These findings offer the opportunity to recognize and diagnose malaria related anemia, help support the treatment thereof, as well as relieve symptoms of severe malaria in endemic regions. PMID:25807235

  18. Plasmodium dipeptidyl aminopeptidases as malaria transmission-blocking drug targets.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, Takeshi Q; Deu, Edgar; Molina-Cruz, Alvaro; Ashburne, Michael J; Ali, Omar; Suri, Amreena; Kortagere, Sandhya; Bogyo, Matthew; Williamson, Kim C

    2013-10-01

    The Plasmodium falciparum and P. berghei genomes each contain three dipeptidyl aminopeptidase (dpap) homologs. dpap1 and -3 are critical for asexual growth, but the role of dpap2, the gametocyte-specific homolog, has not been tested. If DPAPs are essential for transmission as well as asexual growth, then a DPAP inhibitor could be used for treatment and to block transmission. To directly analyze the role of DPAP2, a dpap2-minus P. berghei (Pbdpap2Δ) line was generated. The Pbdpap2Δ parasites grew normally, differentiated into gametocytes, and generated sporozoites that were infectious to mice when fed to a mosquito. However, Pbdpap1 transcription was >2-fold upregulated in the Pbdpap2Δ clonal lines, possibly compensating for the loss of Pbdpap2. The role of DPAP1 and -3 in the dpap2Δ parasites was then evaluated using a DPAP inhibitor, ML4118S. When ML4118S was added to the Pbdpap2Δ parasites just before a mosquito membrane feed, mosquito infectivity was not affected. To assess longer exposures to ML4118S and further evaluate the role of DPAPs during gametocyte development in a parasite that causes human malaria, the dpap2 deletion was repeated in P. falciparum. Viable P. falciparum dpap2 (Pfdpap2)-minus parasites were obtained that produced morphologically normal gametocytes. Both wild-type and Pfdpap2-negative parasites were sensitive to ML4118S, indicating that, unlike many antimalarials, ML4118S has activity against parasites at both the asexual and sexual stages and that DPAP1 and -3 may be targets for a dual-stage drug that can treat patients and block malaria transmission.

  19. Continuous in vitro propagation of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.

    PubMed

    Golenda, C F; Li, J; Rosenberg, R

    1997-06-24

    The difficulty in controlling Plasmodium vivax, the most common cause of human malaria, has been complicated by growing drug resistance. We have established a method to cycle parasite generations in continuous culture using human blood cells. Chesson strain parasites were passaged from owl monkey erythrocytes to human reticulocytes in McCoy's 5A medium modified with L-glutamine with 25 mM Hepes buffer supplemented with 20% AB+ human serum. Reticulocytes were separated by differential centrifugation in homologous plasma from the peripheral blood of a hemochromatosis patient. Parasites were grown during each 48-hr cycle in a static candle jar environment until the beginning of schizogony, at about 36-40 hr, when reticulocytes were added and cultures transferred to a shaker for 10-12 hr. The addition of a concentration of 10% reticulocytes resulted in stabilizing parasite densities between 0.28 and 0.57 after cycle 3 and increasing the total number of parasites at least 2-fold with each generational cycle. Cultured parasites successfully infected an owl monkey. The morphology of cultured parasites was typical of P. vivax, with highly ameboid trophozoites evident; however, infected erythrocytes were enlarged and distorted on thin film preparations. The species identity of cultivated parasites was confirmed by analysis of the A and C 18S rRNA genes from genomic DNA and expression of only the A gene during erythrocytic asexual growth. The ability to culture P. vivax opens new opportunities to develop vaccines, test drugs, and clone parasites for genome sequencing.

  20. Distinct Roles of Plasmodium Rhomboid 1 in Parasite Development and Malaria Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Srinivasan, Prakash; Coppens, Isabelle; Jacobs-Lorena, Marcelo

    2009-01-01

    Invasion of host cells by the malaria parasite involves recognition and interaction with cell-surface receptors. A wide variety of parasite surface proteins participate in this process, most of which are specific to the parasite's particular invasive form. Upon entry, the parasite has to dissociate itself from the host-cell receptors. One mechanism by which it does so is by shedding its surface ligands using specific enzymes. Rhomboid belongs to a family of serine proteases that cleave cell-surface proteins within their transmembrane domains. Here we identify and partially characterize a Plasmodium berghei rhomboid protease (PbROM1) that plays distinct roles during parasite development. PbROM1 localizes to the surface of sporozoites after salivary gland invasion. In blood stage merozoites, PbROM1 localizes to the apical end where proteins involved in invasion are also present. Our genetic analysis suggests that PbROM1 functions in the invasive stages of parasite development. Whereas wild-type P. berghei is lethal to mice, animals infected with PbROM1 null mutants clear the parasites efficiently and develop long-lasting protective immunity. The results indicate that P. berghei Rhomboid 1 plays a nonessential but important role during parasite development and identify rhomboid proteases as potential targets for disease control. PMID:19148267

  1. Predicting Secretory Proteins of Malaria Parasite by Incorporating Sequence Evolution Information into Pseudo Amino Acid Composition via Grey System Model

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Wei-Zhong; Fang, Jian-An; Xiao, Xuan; Chou, Kuo-Chen

    2012-01-01

    The malaria disease has become a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development. The culprit of the disease is the parasite, which secretes an array of proteins within the host erythrocyte to facilitate its own survival. Accordingly, the secretory proteins of malaria parasite have become a logical target for drug design against malaria. Unfortunately, with the increasing resistance to the drugs thus developed, the situation has become more complicated. To cope with the drug resistance problem, one strategy is to timely identify the secreted proteins by malaria parasite, which can serve as potential drug targets. However, it is both expensive and time-consuming to identify the secretory proteins of malaria parasite by experiments alone. To expedite the process for developing effective drugs against malaria, a computational predictor called “iSMP-Grey” was developed that can be used to identify the secretory proteins of malaria parasite based on the protein sequence information alone. During the prediction process a protein sample was formulated with a 60D (dimensional) feature vector formed by incorporating the sequence evolution information into the general form of PseAAC (pseudo amino acid composition) via a grey system model, which is particularly useful for solving complicated problems that are lack of sufficient information or need to process uncertain information. It was observed by the jackknife test that iSMP-Grey achieved an overall success rate of 94.8%, remarkably higher than those by the existing predictors in this area. As a user-friendly web-server, iSMP-Grey is freely accessible to the public at http://www.jci-bioinfo.cn/iSMP-Grey. Moreover, for the convenience of most experimental scientists, a step-by-step guide is provided on how to use the web-server to get the desired results without the need to follow the complicated mathematical equations involved in this paper. PMID:23189138

  2. Predicting secretory proteins of malaria parasite by incorporating sequence evolution information into pseudo amino acid composition via grey system model.

    PubMed

    Lin, Wei-Zhong; Fang, Jian-An; Xiao, Xuan; Chou, Kuo-Chen

    2012-01-01

    The malaria disease has become a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development. The culprit of the disease is the parasite, which secretes an array of proteins within the host erythrocyte to facilitate its own survival. Accordingly, the secretory proteins of malaria parasite have become a logical target for drug design against malaria. Unfortunately, with the increasing resistance to the drugs thus developed, the situation has become more complicated. To cope with the drug resistance problem, one strategy is to timely identify the secreted proteins by malaria parasite, which can serve as potential drug targets. However, it is both expensive and time-consuming to identify the secretory proteins of malaria parasite by experiments alone. To expedite the process for developing effective drugs against malaria, a computational predictor called "iSMP-Grey" was developed that can be used to identify the secretory proteins of malaria parasite based on the protein sequence information alone. During the prediction process a protein sample was formulated with a 60D (dimensional) feature vector formed by incorporating the sequence evolution information into the general form of PseAAC (pseudo amino acid composition) via a grey system model, which is particularly useful for solving complicated problems that are lack of sufficient information or need to process uncertain information. It was observed by the jackknife test that iSMP-Grey achieved an overall success rate of 94.8%, remarkably higher than those by the existing predictors in this area. As a user-friendly web-server, iSMP-Grey is freely accessible to the public at http://www.jci-bioinfo.cn/iSMP-Grey. Moreover, for the convenience of most experimental scientists, a step-by-step guide is provided on how to use the web-server to get the desired results without the need to follow the complicated mathematical equations involved in this paper.

  3. Parasites

    MedlinePlus

    ... CME and CNE for clinicians... Parasitic Disease and Malaria Strategic Priorities: 2015—2020... Cyclosporiasis: Most U.S. cases ... R S T U V W X Y Z Malaria An ancient disease that affects millions of people ...

  4. Synthesis of brequinar analogue inhibitors of malaria parasite dihydroorotate dehydrogenase.

    PubMed

    Boa, Andrew N; Canavan, Shane P; Hirst, Paul R; Ramsey, Christopher; Stead, Andrew M W; McConkey, Glenn A

    2005-03-15

    A series of 2-phenyl quinoline-4-carboxylic acid derivatives related to brequinar, an inhibitor of human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), has been prepared and evaluated as inhibitors of DHODH from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Brequinar was essentially inactive against PfDHODH (IC(50) 880 microM) whereas several members of the series inhibited PfDHODH. Unexpectedly, replacement of the carboxylic acid required for brequinar to inhibit hDHODH was not essential in the diisopropylamides that inhibited PfDHODH.

  5. History, Dynamics, and Public Health Importance of Malaria Parasite Resistance

    PubMed Central

    Talisuna, Ambrose O.; Bloland, Peter; D’Alessandro, Umberto

    2004-01-01

    Despite considerable efforts, malaria is still one of the most devastating infectious diseases in the tropics. The rapid spread of antimalarial drug resistance currently compounds this grim picture. In this paper, we review the history of antimalarial drug resistance and the methods for monitoring it and assess the current magnitude and burden of parasite resistance to two commonly used drugs: chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Furthermore, we review the factors involved in the emergence and spread of drug resistance and highlight its public health importance. Finally, we discuss ways of dealing with such a problem by using combination therapy and suggest some of the research themes needing urgent answers. PMID:14726463

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2013-12-12

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2013-12-12

    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. PMID:24284631

  10. 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.

  11. Ape parasite origins of human malaria virulence genes.

    PubMed

    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

  12. Characterization of class II apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease activities in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed Central

    Haltiwanger, B M; Karpinich, N O; Taraschi, T F

    2000-01-01

    We have reported that the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, repairs apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites on DNA by a long-patch base excision repair (BER) pathway. This biology is different from that in mammalian cells, which predominantly repair AP sites by a DNA-polymerase-beta-dependent, one-nucleotide patch BER pathway. As a starting point for the identification and biochemical characterization of the enzymes involved in the parasite DNA BER pathway, we chose characterization of the AP endonuclease activity in a P. falciparum cell-free lysate. Evidence is provided for the presence of class II, Mg(2+)-dependent and independent AP endonucleases in the parasite lysate. The investigation of the processing of AP sites in Plasmodium will provide new information about long-patch BER pathways; if they are different from those in the human host they might provide a new target for anti-malarial chemotherapy. PMID:10600642

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2014-01-01

    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 goal1. We show here 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 likely 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 loci2,3 prone to spontaneous activation4. 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 identification of a transcriptional switch controlling a differentiation decision in protozoan parasites. PMID:24572369

  15. 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

  16. 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. PMID:26466097

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2010-09-23

    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 develop a single-genome amplification strategy to identify and characterize Plasmodium spp. DNA sequences in faecal samples from 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 made up 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 comprised 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 origin and not of chimpanzee, bonobo or ancient human origin.

  19. 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

  20. Geometrical model for malaria parasite migration in structured environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battista, Anna; Frischknecht, Friedrich; Schwarz, Ulrich S.

    2014-10-01

    Malaria is transmitted to vertebrates via a mosquito bite, during which rodlike and crescent-shaped parasites, called sporozoites, are injected into the skin of the host. Searching for a blood capillary to penetrate, sporozoites move quickly in locally helical trajectories, that are frequently perturbed by interactions with the extracellular environment. Here we present a theoretical analysis of the active motility of sporozoites in a structured environment. The sporozoite is modelled as a self-propelled rod with spontaneous curvature and bending rigidity. It interacts with hard obstacles through collision rules inferred from experimental observation of two-dimensional sporozoite movement in pillar arrays. Our model shows that complex motion patterns arise from the geometrical shape of the parasite and that its mechanical flexibility is crucial for stable migration patterns. Extending the model to three dimensions reveals that a bent and twisted rod can associate to cylindrical obstacles in a manner reminiscent of the association of sporozoites to blood capillaries, supporting the notion of a prominent role of cell shape during malaria transmission.

  1. Direct Tests of Enzymatic Heme Degradation by the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum*

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Malaria parasites generate vast quantities of heme during blood stage infection via hemoglobin digestion and limited de novo biosynthesis, but it remains unclear if parasites metabolize heme for utilization or disposal. Recent in vitro experiments with a heme oxygenase (HO)-like protein from Plasmodium falciparum suggested that parasites may enzymatically degrade some heme to the canonical HO product, biliverdin (BV), or its downstream metabolite, bilirubin (BR). To directly test for BV and BR production by P. falciparum parasites, we DMSO-extracted equal numbers of infected and uninfected erythrocytes and developed a sensitive LC-MS/MS assay to quantify these tetrapyrroles. We found comparable low levels of BV and BR in both samples, suggesting the absence of HO activity in parasites. We further tested live parasites by targeted expression of a fluorescent BV-binding protein within the parasite cytosol, mitochondrion, and plant-like plastid. This probe could detect exogenously added BV but gave no signal indicative of endogenous BV production within parasites. Finally, we recombinantly expressed and tested the proposed heme degrading activity of the HO-like protein, PfHO. Although PfHO bound heme and protoporphyrin IX with modest affinity, it did not catalyze heme degradation in vivo within bacteria or in vitro in UV absorbance and HPLC assays. These observations are consistent with PfHO's lack of a heme-coordinating His residue and suggest an alternative function within parasites. We conclude that P. falciparum parasites lack a canonical HO pathway for heme degradation and thus rely fully on alternative mechanisms for heme detoxification and iron acquisition during blood stage infection. PMID:22992734

  2. EVALUATING THE COSTS OF MOSQUITO RESISTANCE TO MALARIA PARASITES

    PubMed Central

    Hurd, H.; Taylor, P. J.; Adams, D.; Underhill, A.; Eggleston, P.

    2006-01-01

    Costly resistance mechanisms have been cited as an explanation for the widespread occurrence of parasitic infections, yet few studies have examined these costs in detail. A malaria-mosquito model has been used to test this concept by making a comparison of the fitness of highly susceptible lines of mosquitoes with lines that are resistant to infection. Malaria infection is known to cause a decrease in fecundity and fertility of mosquitoes; resistant mosquitoes were thus predicted to be fitter than susceptible ones. Anopheles gambiae were selected for refractoriness/resistance or for increased susceptibility to infection by Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis. Additional lines that acted as controls for inbreeding depression were raised in parallel but not exposed to selection pressure. Selections were made in triplicate so that founder effects could be detected. Resistance mechanisms that were selected included melanotic encapsulation of parasites within 24 h postinfection and the complete disappearance of parasites from the gut. Costs of immune surveillance were assessed after an uninfected feed, and costs of immune deployment were assessed after exposure to infection and to infection and additional stresses. Mosquito survivorship was unaffected by either resistance to infection or by an increased burden of infection when compared with low levels of infection. In most cases reproductive fitness was equally affected by refractoriness or by infection. Resistant mosquitoes did not gain a fitness advantage by eliminating the parasites. Costs were consistently associated with larval production and egg hatch rate but rarely attributed to changes in blood feeding and never to changes in mosquito size. No advantages appeared to be gained by the offspring of resistant mosquitoes. Furthermore, we were unable to select for refractoriness in groups of mosquitoes in which 100% or 50% of the population were exposed to infection every generation for 22 generations. Under these

  3. Malaria

    MedlinePlus

    ... Malaria can be carried by mosquitoes in temperate climates, but the parasite disappears over the winter. The ... a major disease hazard for travelers to warm climates. In some areas of the world, mosquitoes that ...

  4. Malaria

    MedlinePlus

    ... a parasite. You get it when an infected mosquito bites you. Malaria is a major cause of ... insect repellent with DEET Cover up Sleep under mosquito netting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Cytoplasmic free Ca2+ is essential for multiple steps in malaria parasite egress from infected erythrocytes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Egress of Plasmodium falciparum, from erythrocytes at the end of its asexual cycle and subsequent parasite invasion into new host cells, is responsible for parasite dissemination in the human body. The egress pathway is emerging as a coordinated multistep programme that extends in time for tens of minutes, ending with rapid parasite extrusion from erythrocytes. While the Ca2+ regulation of the invasion of P. falciparum in erythrocytes is well established, the role of Ca2+ in parasite egress is poorly understood. This study analysed the involvement of cytoplasmic free Ca2+ in infected erythrocytes during the multistep egress programme of malaria parasites. Methods Live-cell fluorescence microscopy was used to image parasite egress from infected erythrocytes, assessing the effect of drugs modulating Ca2+ homeostasis on the egress programme. Results A steady increase in cytoplasmic free Ca2+ is found to precede parasite egress. This increase is independent of extracellular Ca2+ for at least the last two hours of the cycle, but is dependent upon Ca2+ release from internal stores. Intracellular BAPTA chelation of Ca2+ within the last 45 minutes of the cycle inhibits egress prior to parasitophorous vacuole swelling and erythrocyte membrane poration, two characteristic morphological transformations preceding parasite egress. Inhibitors of the parasite endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+-ATPase accelerate parasite egress, indicating that Ca2+ stores within the ER are sufficient in supporting egress. Markedly accelerated egress of apparently viable parasites was achieved in mature schizonts using Ca2+ ionophore A23187. Ionophore treatment overcomes the BAPTA-induced block of parasite egress, confirming that free Ca2+ is essential in egress initiation. Ionophore treatment of immature schizonts had an adverse effect inducing parasitophorous vacuole swelling and killing the parasites within the host cell. Conclusions The parasite egress programme requires intracellular

  8. CRISPR-mediated genome editing of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Lee, Marcus Cs; Fidock, David A

    2014-01-01

    The development of the CRISPR-Cas system is revolutionizing genome editing in a variety of organisms. The system has now been used to manipulate the genome of Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal malaria-causing species. The ability to generate gene deletions or nucleotide substitutions rapidly and economically promises to accelerate the analysis of novel drug targets and to help elucidate the function of specific genes or gene families, while complementing genome-wide association studies.

  9. Genome-wide mapping of DNA methylation in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Ponts, Nadia; Fu, Lijuan; Harris, Elena Y.; Zhang, Jing; Chung, Duk-Won D.; Cervantes, Michael C.; Prudhomme, Jacques; Atanasova-Penichon, Vessela; Zehraoui, Enric; Bunnik, Evelien; Rodrigues, Elisandra M.; Lonardi, Stefano; Hicks, Glenn R.; Wang, Yinsheng; Le Roch, Karine G.

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Cytosine DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark in most eukaryotic cells that regulates numerous processes, including gene expression and stress responses. We performed a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We mapped the positions of methylated cytosines and identified a single functional DNA methyltransferase, PfDNMT, that may mediate these genomic modifications. These analyses revealed that the malaria genome is asymmetrically methylated, in which only one DNA strand is methylated, and shares common features with undifferentiated plant and mammalian cells. Notably, core promoters are hypomethylated and transcript levels correlate with intra-exonic methylation. Additionally, there are sharp methylation transitions at nucleosome and exon-intron boundaries. These data suggest that DNA methylation could regulate virulence gene expression and transcription elongation. Furthermore, the broad range of action of DNA methylation and uniqueness of PfDNMT suggest that the methylation pathway is a potential target for anti-malarial strategies. PMID:24331467

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

    PubMed

    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

  11. 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

  12. Malaria.

    PubMed

    Garcia, Lynne S

    2010-03-01

    Malaria has had a greater impact on world history than any other infectious disease. More than 300 to 500 million individuals worldwide are infected with Plasmodium spp, and 1.5 to 2.7 million people a year, most of whom are children, die from the infection. Malaria is endemic in over 90 countries in which 2400 million people live; this represents 40% of the world's population. Approximately 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Despite continuing efforts in vaccine development, malaria prevention is difficult, and no drug is universally effective. This article examines malaria caused by the 4 most common Plasmodium spp that infect humans, P vivax, P ovale, P malariae, and P falciparum, as well as mixed infections and the simian parasite P knowlesi. A comprehensive review of the microbiology, clinical presentation, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of these forms of malaria is given.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

    2015-01-01

    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 ≥ 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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. PMID:25043043

  18. Asparagine requirement in Plasmodium berghei as a target to prevent malaria transmission and liver infections.

    PubMed

    Nagaraj, Viswanathan A; Mukhi, Dhanunjay; Sathishkumar, Vinayagam; Subramani, Pradeep A; Ghosh, Susanta K; Pandey, Rajeev R; Shetty, Manjunatha C; Padmanaban, Govindarajan

    2015-01-01

    The proteins of Plasmodium, the malaria parasite, are strikingly rich in asparagine. Plasmodium depends primarily on host haemoglobin degradation for amino acids and has a rudimentary pathway for amino acid biosynthesis, but retains a gene encoding asparagine synthetase (AS). Here we show that deletion of AS in Plasmodium berghei (Pb) delays the asexual- and liver-stage development with substantial reduction in the formation of ookinetes, oocysts and sporozoites in mosquitoes. In the absence of asparagine synthesis, extracellular asparagine supports suboptimal survival of PbAS knockout (KO) parasites. Depletion of blood asparagine levels by treating PbASKO-infected mice with asparaginase completely prevents the development of liver stages, exflagellation of male gametocytes and the subsequent formation of sexual stages. In vivo supplementation of asparagine in mice restores the exflagellation of PbASKO parasites. Thus, the parasite life cycle has an absolute requirement for asparagine, which we propose could be targeted to prevent malaria transmission and liver infections. PMID:26531182

  19. Asparagine requirement in Plasmodium berghei as a target to prevent malaria transmission and liver infections.

    PubMed

    Nagaraj, Viswanathan A; Mukhi, Dhanunjay; Sathishkumar, Vinayagam; Subramani, Pradeep A; Ghosh, Susanta K; Pandey, Rajeev R; Shetty, Manjunatha C; Padmanaban, Govindarajan

    2015-01-01

    The proteins of Plasmodium, the malaria parasite, are strikingly rich in asparagine. Plasmodium depends primarily on host haemoglobin degradation for amino acids and has a rudimentary pathway for amino acid biosynthesis, but retains a gene encoding asparagine synthetase (AS). Here we show that deletion of AS in Plasmodium berghei (Pb) delays the asexual- and liver-stage development with substantial reduction in the formation of ookinetes, oocysts and sporozoites in mosquitoes. In the absence of asparagine synthesis, extracellular asparagine supports suboptimal survival of PbAS knockout (KO) parasites. Depletion of blood asparagine levels by treating PbASKO-infected mice with asparaginase completely prevents the development of liver stages, exflagellation of male gametocytes and the subsequent formation of sexual stages. In vivo supplementation of asparagine in mice restores the exflagellation of PbASKO parasites. Thus, the parasite life cycle has an absolute requirement for asparagine, which we propose could be targeted to prevent malaria transmission and liver infections.

  20. Asparagine requirement in Plasmodium berghei as a target to prevent malaria transmission and liver infections

    PubMed Central

    Nagaraj, Viswanathan A.; Mukhi, Dhanunjay; Sathishkumar, Vinayagam; Subramani, Pradeep A.; Ghosh, Susanta K.; Pandey, Rajeev R.; Shetty, Manjunatha C.; Padmanaban, Govindarajan

    2015-01-01

    The proteins of Plasmodium, the malaria parasite, are strikingly rich in asparagine. Plasmodium depends primarily on host haemoglobin degradation for amino acids and has a rudimentary pathway for amino acid biosynthesis, but retains a gene encoding asparagine synthetase (AS). Here we show that deletion of AS in Plasmodium berghei (Pb) delays the asexual- and liver-stage development with substantial reduction in the formation of ookinetes, oocysts and sporozoites in mosquitoes. In the absence of asparagine synthesis, extracellular asparagine supports suboptimal survival of PbAS knockout (KO) parasites. Depletion of blood asparagine levels by treating PbASKO-infected mice with asparaginase completely prevents the development of liver stages, exflagellation of male gametocytes and the subsequent formation of sexual stages. In vivo supplementation of asparagine in mice restores the exflagellation of PbASKO parasites. Thus, the parasite life cycle has an absolute requirement for asparagine, which we propose could be targeted to prevent malaria transmission and liver infections. PMID:26531182

  1. Enlightening the malaria parasite life cycle: bioluminescent Plasmodium in fundamental and applied research

    PubMed Central

    Siciliano, Giulia; Alano, Pietro

    2015-01-01

    The unicellular protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium impose on human health worldwide the enormous burden of malaria. The possibility to genetically modify several species of malaria parasites represented a major advance in the possibility to elucidate their biology and is now turning laboratory lines of transgenic Plasmodium into precious weapons to fight malaria. Amongst the various genetically modified plasmodia, transgenic parasite lines expressing bioluminescent reporters have been essential to unveil mechanisms of parasite gene expression and to develop in vivo imaging approaches in mouse malaria models. Mainly the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and the rodent parasite P. berghei have been engineered to express bioluminescent reporters in almost all the developmental stages of the parasite along its complex life cycle between the insect and the vertebrate hosts. Plasmodium lines expressing conventional and improved luciferase reporters are now gaining a central role to develop cell based assays in the much needed search of new antimalarial drugs and to open innovative approaches for both fundamental and applied research in malaria. PMID:26029172

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

  4. 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

  5. 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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  6. Phosphoproteomics reveals malaria parasite Protein Kinase G as a signalling hub regulating egress and invasion

    PubMed Central

    Alam, Mahmood M.; Solyakov, Lev; Bottrill, Andrew R.; Flueck, Christian; Siddiqui, Faiza A.; Singh, Shailja; Mistry, Sharad; Viskaduraki, Maria; Lee, Kate; Hopp, Christine S.; Chitnis, Chetan E.; Doerig, Christian; Moon, Robert W.; Green, Judith L.; Holder, Anthony A.; Baker, David A.; Tobin, Andrew B.

    2015-01-01

    Our understanding of the key phosphorylation-dependent signalling pathways in the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, remains rudimentary. Here we address this issue for the essential cGMP-dependent protein kinase, PfPKG. By employing chemical and genetic tools in combination with quantitative global phosphoproteomics, we identify the phosphorylation sites on 69 proteins that are direct or indirect cellular targets for PfPKG. These PfPKG targets include proteins involved in cell signalling, proteolysis, gene regulation, protein export and ion and protein transport, indicating that cGMP/PfPKG acts as a signalling hub that plays a central role in a number of core parasite processes. We also show that PfPKG activity is required for parasite invasion. This correlates with the finding that the calcium-dependent protein kinase, PfCDPK1, is phosphorylated by PfPKG, as are components of the actomyosin complex, providing mechanistic insight into the essential role of PfPKG in parasite egress and invasion. PMID:26149123

  7. Synergistic Malaria Parasite Killing by Two Types of Plasmodial Surface Anion Channel Inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Pain, Margaret; Fuller, Alexandra W; Basore, Katherine; Pillai, Ajay D; Solomon, Tsione; Bokhari, Abdullah A B; Desai, Sanjay A

    2016-01-01

    Malaria parasites increase their host erythrocyte's permeability to a broad range of ions and organic solutes. The plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC) mediates this uptake and is an established drug target. Development of therapies targeting this channel is limited by several problems including interactions between known inhibitors and permeating solutes that lead to incomplete channel block. Here, we designed and executed a high-throughput screen to identify a novel class of PSAC inhibitors that overcome this solute-inhibitor interaction. These new inhibitors differ from existing blockers and have distinct effects on channel-mediated transport, supporting a model of two separate routes for solute permeation though PSAC. Combinations of inhibitors specific for the two routes had strong synergistic action against in vitro parasite propagation, whereas combinations acting on a single route produced only additive effects. The magnitude of synergism depended on external nutrient concentrations, consistent with an essential role of the channel in parasite nutrient acquisition. The identified inhibitors will enable a better understanding of the channel's structure-function and may be starting points for novel combination therapies that produce synergistic parasite killing. PMID:26866812

  8. Synergistic Malaria Parasite Killing by Two Types of Plasmodial Surface Anion Channel Inhibitors

    PubMed Central

    Pain, Margaret; Fuller, Alexandra W.; Basore, Katherine; Pillai, Ajay D.; Solomon, Tsione; Bokhari, Abdullah A. B.; Desai, Sanjay A.

    2016-01-01

    Malaria parasites increase their host erythrocyte’s permeability to a broad range of ions and organic solutes. The plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC) mediates this uptake and is an established drug target. Development of therapies targeting this channel is limited by several problems including interactions between known inhibitors and permeating solutes that lead to incomplete channel block. Here, we designed and executed a high-throughput screen to identify a novel class of PSAC inhibitors that overcome this solute-inhibitor interaction. These new inhibitors differ from existing blockers and have distinct effects on channel-mediated transport, supporting a model of two separate routes for solute permeation though PSAC. Combinations of inhibitors specific for the two routes had strong synergistic action against in vitro parasite propagation, whereas combinations acting on a single route produced only additive effects. The magnitude of synergism depended on external nutrient concentrations, consistent with an essential role of the channel in parasite nutrient acquisition. The identified inhibitors will enable a better understanding of the channel’s structure-function and may be starting points for novel combination therapies that produce synergistic parasite killing. PMID:26866812

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Effect of mature blood-stage Plasmodium parasite sequestration on pathogen biomass in mathematical and in vivo models of malaria.

    PubMed

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

    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

  14. Plasmodium (Haemamoeba) cathemerium gene sequences for phylogenetic analysis of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Wiersch, S C; Maier, W A; Kampen, H

    2005-05-01

    The DNA sequence information on avian malaria parasites of the genus Plasmodium is quite limited. At present, sequences of only 6 out of 34 valid species are available. However, sequence data of avian malaria parasites are particularly important with regard to the resolution of the phylogenetic relationships of the most virulent human malaria agent, Plasmodium falciparum. The question as to whether P. falciparum originates from avian or from mammalian parasites would contribute to our understanding of its biology and would probably facilitate the interpretation of experimental results. To add to the body of molecular data, we sequenced three genes (cytochrome b, 18 SSU rRNA, caseinolytic protease C) of different organellar origin of one of the most widespread avian malaria parasites, Plasmodium (Haemamoeba) cathemerium, which once used to be an important laboratory in vivo model in human malaria research. The analysis of the new P. cathemerium sequences in direct comparison with the rodent parasite P. berghei and the four human malaria parasites by pairwise distance calculation do not suggest a closer relationship of P. cathemerium to P. falciparum than to the other species involved.

  15. Plasma Concentration of Parasite DNA as a Measure of Disease Severity in Falciparum Malaria

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25344520

  16. Ecotope-based entomological surveillance and molecular xenomonitoring of multidrug resistant malaria parasites in anopheles vectors.

    PubMed

    Sorosjinda-Nunthawarasilp, Prapa; Bhumiratana, Adisak

    2014-01-01

    The emergence and spread of multidrug resistant (MDR) malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax have become increasingly important in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). MDR malaria is the heritable and hypermutable property of human malarial parasite populations that can decrease in vitro and in vivo susceptibility to proven antimalarial drugs as they exhibit dose-dependent drug resistance and delayed parasite clearance time in treated patients. MDR malaria risk situations reflect consequences of the national policy and strategy as this influences the ongoing national-level or subnational-level implementation of malaria control strategies in endemic GMS countries. Based on our experience along with current literature review, the design of ecotope-based entomological surveillance (EES) and molecular xenomonitoring of MDR falciparum and vivax malaria parasites in Anopheles vectors is proposed to monitor infection pockets in transmission control areas of forest and forest fringe-related malaria, so as to bridge malaria landscape ecology (ecotope and ecotone) and epidemiology. Malaria ecotope and ecotone are confined to a malaria transmission area geographically associated with the infestation of Anopheles vectors and particular environments to which human activities are related. This enables the EES to encompass mosquito collection and identification, salivary gland DNA extraction, Plasmodium- and species-specific identification, molecular marker-based PCR detection methods for putative drug resistance genes, and data management. The EES establishes strong evidence of Anopheles vectors carrying MDR P. vivax in infection pockets epidemiologically linked with other data obtained during which a course of follow-up treatment of the notified P. vivax patients receiving the first-line treatment was conducted. For regional and global perspectives, the EES would augment the epidemiological surveillance and monitoring of MDR falciparum and vivax malaria

  17. Ecotope-Based Entomological Surveillance and Molecular Xenomonitoring of Multidrug Resistant Malaria Parasites in Anopheles Vectors

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    The emergence and spread of multidrug resistant (MDR) malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax have become increasingly important in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). MDR malaria is the heritable and hypermutable property of human malarial parasite populations that can decrease in vitro and in vivo susceptibility to proven antimalarial drugs as they exhibit dose-dependent drug resistance and delayed parasite clearance time in treated patients. MDR malaria risk situations reflect consequences of the national policy and strategy as this influences the ongoing national-level or subnational-level implementation of malaria control strategies in endemic GMS countries. Based on our experience along with current literature review, the design of ecotope-based entomological surveillance (EES) and molecular xenomonitoring of MDR falciparum and vivax malaria parasites in Anopheles vectors is proposed to monitor infection pockets in transmission control areas of forest and forest fringe-related malaria, so as to bridge malaria landscape ecology (ecotope and ecotone) and epidemiology. Malaria ecotope and ecotone are confined to a malaria transmission area geographically associated with the infestation of Anopheles vectors and particular environments to which human activities are related. This enables the EES to encompass mosquito collection and identification, salivary gland DNA extraction, Plasmodium- and species-specific identification, molecular marker-based PCR detection methods for putative drug resistance genes, and data management. The EES establishes strong evidence of Anopheles vectors carrying MDR P. vivax in infection pockets epidemiologically linked with other data obtained during which a course of follow-up treatment of the notified P. vivax patients receiving the first-line treatment was conducted. For regional and global perspectives, the EES would augment the epidemiological surveillance and monitoring of MDR falciparum and vivax malaria

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. A Class of Tricyclic Compounds Blocking Malaria Parasite Oocyst Development and Transmission

    PubMed Central

    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

    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. PMID:23129054

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Methodology and application of flow cytometry for investigation of human malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Grimberg, Brian T

    2011-03-31

    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.

  10. 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

  11. Functional consequences of perturbing polyamine metabolism in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Clark, K; Niemand, J; Reeksting, S; Smit, S; van Brummelen, A C; Williams, M; Louw, A I; Birkholtz, L

    2010-02-01

    Inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis and/or the perturbation of polyamine functionality have been exploited with success against parasitic diseases such as Trypanosoma infections. However, when the classical polyamine biosynthesis inhibitor, alpha-difluoromethylornithine, is used against the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, it results in only a cytostatic growth arrest. Polyamine metabolism in this parasite has unique properties not shared by any other organism. These include the bifunctional arrangement of the catalytic decarboxylases and an apparent absence of the typical polyamine interconversion pathways implying different mechanisms for the regulation of polyamine homeostasis that includes the uptake of exogenous polyamines at least in vitro. These properties make polyamine metabolism an enticing drug target in P. falciparum provided that the physiological and functional consequences of polyamine metabolism perturbation are understood. This review highlights our current understanding of the biological consequences of inhibition of the biosynthetic enzymes in the polyamine pathway in P. falciparum as revealed by several global analytical approaches. Ultimately, the evidence suggests that polyamine metabolism in P. falciparum is a validated drug target worth exploiting. PMID:19997948

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  14. 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

  15. Malaria Parasite Infection Compromises Control of Concurrent Systemic Non-typhoidal Salmonella Infection via IL-10-Mediated Alteration of Myeloid Cell Function

    PubMed Central

    Butler, Brian P.; Xavier, Mariana N.; Chau, Jennifer Y.; Schaltenberg, Nicola; Begum, Ramie H.; Müller, Werner; Luckhart, Shirley; Tsolis, Renée M.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24787713

  16. 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.

  17. Malaria parasite strain characterization, cryopreservation, and banking of isolates: a WHO Memorandum*

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:7032732

  18. 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

  19. On the effects of malaria treatment on parasite drug resistance--probability modelling of genotyped malaria infections.

    PubMed

    Kum, Cletus Kwa; Thorburn, Daniel; Ghilagaber, Gebrenegus; Gil, Pedro; Björkman, Anders

    2013-10-12

    We compare the frequency of resistant genes of malaria parasites before treatment and at first malaria incidence after treatment. The data come from a clinical trial at two health facilities in Tanzania and concerns single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at three positions believed to be related to resistance to malaria treatment. A problem is that mixed infections are common, which both obscures the underlying frequency of alleles at each locus as well as the associations between loci in samples where alleles are mixed. We use combinatorics and quite involved probability methods to handle multiple infections and multiple haplotypes. The infection with the different haplotypes seemed to be independent of each other. We showed that at two of the three studied SNPs, the proportion of resistant genes had increased after treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine alone but when treated in combination with artesunate, no effect was noticed. First recurrences of malaria associated more with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine alone as treatment than when in combination with artesunate. We also found that the recruited children had two different ongoing malaria infections where the parasites had different gene types.

  20. On the effects of malaria treatment on parasite drug resistance--probability modelling of genotyped malaria infections.

    PubMed

    Kum, Cletus Kwa; Thorburn, Daniel; Ghilagaber, Gebrenegus; Gil, Pedro; Björkman, Anders

    2013-01-01

    We compare the frequency of resistant genes of malaria parasites before treatment and at first malaria incidence after treatment. The data come from a clinical trial at two health facilities in Tanzania and concerns single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at three positions believed to be related to resistance to malaria treatment. A problem is that mixed infections are common, which both obscures the underlying frequency of alleles at each locus as well as the associations between loci in samples where alleles are mixed. We use combinatorics and quite involved probability methods to handle multiple infections and multiple haplotypes. The infection with the different haplotypes seemed to be independent of each other. We showed that at two of the three studied SNPs, the proportion of resistant genes had increased after treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine alone but when treated in combination with artesunate, no effect was noticed. First recurrences of malaria associated more with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine alone as treatment than when in combination with artesunate. We also found that the recruited children had two different ongoing malaria infections where the parasites had different gene types. PMID:24127546

  1. The Malaria Parasite Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Plays a Central Role in Blood-Stage Schizogony▿ † §

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Helen M.; McRobert, Louisa; Grainger, Munira; Sicard, Audrey; Dluzewski, Anton R.; Hopp, Christine S.; Holder, Anthony A.; Baker, David A.

    2010-01-01

    A role for the Plasmodium falciparum cyclic GMP (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase (PfPKG) in gametogenesis in the malaria parasite was elucidated previously. In the present study we examined the role of PfPKG in the asexual blood-stage of the parasite life cycle, the stage that causes malaria pathology. A specific PKG inhibitor (compound 1, a trisubstituted pyrrole) prevented the progression of P. falciparum schizonts through to ring stages in erythrocyte invasion assays. Addition of compound 1 to ring-stage parasites allowed normal development up to 30 h postinvasion, and segmented schizonts were able to form. However, synchronized schizonts treated with compound 1 for ≥6 h became large and dysmorphic and were unable to rupture or liberate merozoites. To conclusively demonstrate that the effect of compound 1 on schizogony was due to its selective action on PfPKG, we utilized genetically manipulated P. falciparum parasites expressing a compound 1-insensitive PfPKG. The mutant parasites were able to complete schizogony in the presence of compound 1 but not in the presence of the broad-spectrum protein kinase inhibitor staurosporine. This shows that PfPKG is the primary target of compound 1 during schizogony and provides direct evidence of a role for PfPKG in this process. Discovery of essential roles for the P. falciparum PKG in both asexual and sexual development demonstrates that cGMP signaling is a key regulator of both of these crucial life cycle phases and defines this molecule as an exciting potential drug target for both therapeutic and transmission blocking action against malaria. PMID:19915077

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:26975691

  6. How selection forces dictate the variant surface antigens used by malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Severins, Maite; Klinkenberg, Don; Heesterbeek, Hans

    2012-02-01

    Red blood cells infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum express variant surface antigens (VSAs) that evade host immunity and allow the parasites to persist in the human population. There exist many different VSAs and the differential expression of these VSAs is associated with the virulence (damage to the host) of the parasites. The aim of this study is to unravel the differences in the effect key selection forces have on parasites expressing different VSAs such that we can better understand how VSAs enable the parasites to adapt to changes in their environment (like control measures) and how this may impact the virulence of the circulating parasites. To this end, we have built an individual-based model that captures the main selective forces on malaria parasites, namely parasite competition, host immunity, host death and mosquito abundance at both the within- and between-host levels. VSAs are defined by the net growth rates they infer to the parasites and the model keeps track of the expression of, and antibody build-up against, each VSA in all hosts. Our results show an ordered acquisition of VSA-specific antibodies with host age, which causes a dichotomy between the more virulent VSAs that reach high parasitaemias but are restricted to young relatively non-immune hosts, and less virulent VSAs that do not reach such high parasitaemias but can infect a wider range of hosts. The outcome of a change in the parasite's environment in terms of parasite virulence depends on the exact balance between the selection forces, which sets the limiting factor for parasite survival. Parasites will evolve towards expressing more virulent VSAs when the limiting factor for parasite survival is the within-host parasite growth and the parasites are able to minimize this limitation by expressing more virulent VSAs.

  7. Genome editing in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum using the CRISPR-Cas9 system.

    PubMed

    Ghorbal, Mehdi; Gorman, Molly; Macpherson, Cameron Ross; Martins, Rafael Miyazawa; Scherf, Artur; Lopez-Rubio, Jose-Juan

    2014-08-01

    Genome manipulation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum remains largely intractable and improved genomic tools are needed to further understand pathogenesis and drug resistance. We demonstrated the CRISPR-Cas9 system for use in P. falciparum by disrupting chromosomal loci and generating marker-free, single-nucleotide substitutions with high efficiency. Additionally, an artemisinin-resistant strain was generated by introducing a previously implicated polymorphism, thus illustrating the value of efficient genome editing in malaria research.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:22568719

  9. Mouse-Based Research on Quiescent Primate Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Markus, Miles B

    2016-04-01

    Mice engrafted with primate tissue make two important plasmodial dormancy-related questions researchable. The first is concerned with whether latent merozoites in the lymphatic system can give rise to relapse-like, recurrent malaria in primates. The second is that genetic evidence of hypnozoite activation as the source of relapsing primate malaria can be looked for.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-08-01

    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.

  12. Chromatin-driven de novo discovery of DNA binding motifs in the human malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Despite extensive efforts to discover transcription factors and their binding sites in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, only a few transcription factor binding motifs have been experimentally validated to date. As a consequence, gene regulation in P. falciparum is still poorly understood. There is now evidence that the chromatin architecture plays an important role in transcriptional control in malaria. Results We propose a methodology for discovering cis-regulatory elements that uses for the first time exclusively dynamic chromatin remodeling data. Our method employs nucleosome positioning data collected at seven time points during the erythrocytic cycle of P. falciparum to discover putative DNA binding motifs and their transcription factor binding sites along with their associated clusters of target genes. Our approach results in 129 putative binding motifs within the promoter region of known genes. About 75% of those are novel, the remaining being highly similar to experimentally validated binding motifs. About half of the binding motifs reported show statistically significant enrichment in functional gene sets and strong positional bias in the promoter region. Conclusion Experimental results establish the principle that dynamic chromatin remodeling data can be used in lieu of gene expression data to discover binding motifs and their transcription factor binding sites. Our approach can be applied using only dynamic nucleosome positioning data, independent from any knowledge of gene function or expression. PMID:22165844

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26239987

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

    PubMed Central

    Kay, Katherine; Hodel, Eva Maria

    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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Analysis of antibodies directed against merozoite surface protein 1 of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

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

    2006-02-01

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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. PMID:25771870

  4. Malaria Research

    MedlinePlus

    ... Malaria > Research Malaria Understanding Research NIAID Role Basic Biology Prevention and Control Strategies Strategic Partnerships and Research ... the malaria parasite. Related Links Global Research​ Vector Biology International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) ...

  5. Selection and refinement: the malaria parasite's infection and exploitation of host hepatocytes.

    PubMed

    Kaushansky, Alexis; Kappe, Stefan Hi

    2015-08-01

    Plasmodium parasites belong to the Apicomplexan phylum, which consists mostly of obligate intracellular pathogens that vary dramatically in host cell tropism. Plasmodium sporozoites are highly hepatophilic. The specific molecular mechanisms, which facilitate sporozoite selection and successful infection of hepatocytes, remain poorly defined. Here, we discuss the parasite and host factors which are critical to hepatocyte infection. We derive a model where sporozoites initially select host cells that constitute a permissive environment and then further refine the chosen hepatocyte during liver stage development, ensuring life cycle progression. While many unknowns of pre-erythrocytic infection remain, advancing models and technologies that enable analysis of human malaria parasites and of single infected cells will catalyze a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between the malaria parasite and its hepatocyte host. PMID:26102161

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:22355635

  7. Parasite biomass-related inflammation, endothelial activation, microvascular dysfunction and disease severity in vivax malaria.

    PubMed

    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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Rachel L.; Kelly, Megan L.; Hodge, Dana M.; Tolia, Niraj H.; Odom, Audrey R.

    2014-01-01

    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. 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 homologs in plants and bacteria, other HAD proteins may be MEP pathway regulators. PMID:25058848

  10. Human red blood cell-adapted Plasmodium knowlesi parasites: a new model system for malaria research

    PubMed Central

    Grüring, Christof; Moon, Robert W.; Lim, Caeul; Holder, Anthony A.; Blackman, Michael J.; Duraisingh, Manoj T.

    2014-01-01

    Summary Plasmodium knowlesi is a simian malaria parasite primarily infecting macaque species in Southeast Asia. Although its capacity to infect humans has been recognized since the early part of the last century, it has recently become evident that human infections are widespread and potentially life threatening. Historically, P. knowlesi has proven to be a powerful tool in early studies of malaria parasites, providing key breakthroughs in understanding many aspects of Plasmodium biology. However, the necessity to grow the parasite either in macaques or in vitro using macaque blood restricted research to laboratories with access to these resources. The recent adaptation of P. knowlesi to grow and proliferate in vitro in human red blood cells (RBCs) is therefore a substantial step towards revitalizing and expanding research on P. knowlesi. Furthermore, the development of a highly efficient transfection system to genetically modify the parasite makes P. knowlesi an ideal model to study parasite biology. In this review we elaborate on the importance of P. knowlesi in earlier phases of malaria research and highlight the future potential of the newly available human adapted P. knowlesi parasite lines. PMID:24506567

  11. 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. PMID:25435059

  12. Comparative efficacy of pre-erythrocytic whole organism vaccine strategies against the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Friesen, Johannes; Matuschewski, Kai

    2011-09-16

    Despite major efforts over the past 50 years to develop a malaria vaccine, no product has been licensed yet. Irradiated sporozoites are the benchmark for an experimental live-attenuated malaria vaccine that induces potent protection against re-infection in humans and animal models. Lasting protection can also be elicited by parasite attenuation via tailored genetic modification or drug cover leading to renewed interest in whole-organism vaccination strategies. In this study, we systematically compared the protective efficacy of different whole-organism vaccination approaches in the Plasmodium berghei/C57bl/6 rodent malaria model. We applied blood stage parasitemia and quantitative RT-PCR of liver parasite loads as two complementary primary endpoints of a malaria challenge infection. We were able to demonstrate similar potency of genetic attenuation, i.e., uis3(-) and p36p(-) parasites, and prophylactic drug cover, i.e., azithromycin, pyrimethamine, primaquine and chloroquine, during sporozoite exposure in comparison to irradiated sporozoites. Importantly, when animals were covered with the antibiotic azithromycin during sporozoite exposure we observed superior protection. On the other end, immunizations with heat-killed and over-irradiated sporozoites failed to confer any detectable protection. Together, we show that systematic pre-clinical evaluation and quantification of vaccine efficacy is vital for identification of the most potent whole organism anti-malaria vaccine strategy.

  13. Baculovirus-Vectored Multistage Plasmodium vivax Vaccine Induces Both Protective and Transmission-Blocking Immunities against Transgenic Rodent Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25092912

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:26989785

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25918423

  20. The evolution of virulence in primate malaria parasites based on Bayesian reconstructions of ancestral states.

    PubMed

    Garamszegi, László Zsolt

    2011-02-01

    Plasmodium parasites, the causative agents of malaria, are generally considered as harmful parasites, but many of them cause mild symptoms. Little is known about the evolutionary history and phylogenetic constraints that generate this interspecific variation in virulence due to uncertainties about the phylogenetic associations of parasites. Here, to account for such phylogenetic uncertainty, phylogenetic methods based on Bayesian statistics were followed in combination with sequence data from five genes to estimate the ancestral state of virulence in primate Plasmodium parasites. When recent parasites were categorised according to the damage caused to the host, Bayesian estimates of ancestral states indicated that the acquisition of a harmful host exploitation strategy is more likely to be a recent evolutionary event than a result of an ancient change in a character state altering virulence. On the contrary, there was more evidence for moderate host exploitation having a deep origin along the phylogenetic tree. Moreover, the evolution of host severity is determined by the phylogenetic relationships of parasites, as severity gains did not appear randomly on the evolutionary tree. Such phylogenetic constraints can be mediated by the acquisition of virulence genes. As the impact of a parasite on a host is the result of both the parasite's investment in reproduction and host sensitivity, virulence was also estimated by calculating peak parasitemia after eliminating host effects. A directional random-walk evolutionary model showed that the ancestral primate malarias reproduced at very low parasitemia in their hosts. Consequently, the extreme variation in the outcome of malaria infection in different host species can be better understood in light of the phylogeny of parasites.

  1. Parasite and the Circulating Pool- Characterisation of Leukocyte Number and Morphology in Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Chandrashekhar, Jayaprakash

    2016-01-01

    presence of malaria and should prompt a repeat blood smear examination in case of initial negative results for the parasite. PMID:27437231

  2. Population Genomic Scan for Candidate Signatures of Balancing Selection to Guide Antigen Characterization in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Tetteh, Kevin K. A.; Manske, Magnus; Gomez-Escobar, Natalia; Stewart, Lindsay B.; Deerhake, M. Elizabeth; Cheeseman, Ian H.; Newbold, Christopher I.; Holder, Anthony A.; Knuepfer, Ellen; Janha, Omar; Jallow, Muminatou; Campino, Susana; MacInnis, Bronwyn; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P.; Conway, David J.

    2012-01-01

    Acquired immunity in vertebrates maintains polymorphisms in endemic pathogens, leading to identifiable signatures of balancing selection. To comprehensively survey for genes under such selection in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, we generated paired-end short-read sequences of parasites in clinical isolates from an endemic Gambian population, which were mapped to the 3D7 strain reference genome to yield high-quality genome-wide coding sequence data for 65 isolates. A minority of genes did not map reliably, including the hypervariable var, rifin, and stevor families, but 5,056 genes (90.9% of all in the genome) had >70% sequence coverage with minimum read depth of 5 for at least 50 isolates, of which 2,853 genes contained 3 or more single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for analysis of polymorphic site frequency spectra. Against an overall background of negatively skewed frequencies, as expected from historical population expansion combined with purifying selection, the outlying minority of genes with signatures indicating exceptionally intermediate frequencies were identified. Comparing genes with different stage-specificity, such signatures were most common in those with peak expression at the merozoite stage that invades erythrocytes. Members of clag, PfMC-2TM, surfin, and msp3-like gene families were highly represented, the strongest signature being in the msp3-like gene PF10_0355. Analysis of msp3-like transcripts in 45 clinical and 11 laboratory adapted isolates grown to merozoite-containing schizont stages revealed surprisingly low expression of PF10_0355. In diverse clonal parasite lines the protein product was expressed in a minority of mature schizonts (<1% in most lines and ∼10% in clone HB3), and eight sub-clones of HB3 cultured separately had an intermediate spectrum of positive frequencies (0.9 to 7.5%), indicating phase variable expression of this polymorphic antigen. This and other identified targets of balancing selection are now

  3. Enzymatic Characterization of Recombinant Food Vacuole Plasmepsin 4 from the Rodent Malaria Parasite Plasmodium berghei

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Peng; Robbins, Arthur H.; Marzahn, Melissa R.; McClung, Scott H.; Yowell, Charles A.; Stevens, Stanley M.; Dame, John B.; Dunn, Ben M.

    2015-01-01

    The rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei is a practical model organism for experimental studies of human malaria. Plasmepsins are a class of aspartic proteinase isoforms that exert multiple pathological effects in malaria parasites. Plasmepsins residing in the food vacuole (FV) of the parasite hydrolyze hemoglobin in red blood cells. In this study, we cloned PbPM4, the FV plasmepsin gene of P. berghei that encoded an N-terminally truncated pro-segment and the mature enzyme from genomic DNA. We over-expressed this PbPM4 zymogen as inclusion bodies (IB) in Escherichia coli, and purified the protein following in vitro IB refolding. Auto-maturation of the PbPM4 zymogen to mature enzyme was carried out at pH 4.5, 5.0, and 5.5. Interestingly, we found that the PbPM4 zymogen exhibited catalytic activity regardless of the presence of the pro-segment. We determined the optimal catalytic conditions for PbPM4 and studied enzyme kinetics on substrates and inhibitors of aspartic proteinases. Using combinatorial chemistry-based peptide libraries, we studied the active site preferences of PbPM4 at subsites S1, S2, S3, S1’, S2’ and S3’. Based on these results, we designed and synthesized a selective peptidomimetic compound and tested its inhibition of PbPM4, seven FV plasmepsins from human malaria parasites, and human cathepsin D (hcatD). We showed that this compound exhibited a >10-fold selectivity to PbPM4 and human malaria parasite plasmepsin 4 orthologs versus hcatD. Data from this study furthesr our understanding of enzymatic characteristics of the plasmepsin family and provides leads for anti-malarial drug design. PMID:26510189

  4. Malaria endemicity and co-infection with tissue-dwelling parasites in Sub-Saharan Africa: a review.

    PubMed

    Onkoba, Nyamongo W; Chimbari, Moses J; Mukaratirwa, Samson

    2015-01-01

    Mechanisms and outcomes of host-parasite interactions during malaria co-infections with gastrointestinal helminths are reasonably understood. In contrast, very little is known about such mechanisms in cases of malaria co-infections with tissue-dwelling parasites. This is lack of knowledge is exacerbated by misdiagnosis, lack of pathognomonic clinical signs and the chronic nature of tissue-dwelling helminthic infections. A good understanding of the implications of tissue-dwelling parasitic co-infections with malaria will contribute towards the improvement of the control and management of such co-infections in endemic areas. This review summarises and discusses current information available and gaps in research on malaria co-infection with gastro-intestinal helminths and tissue-dwelling parasites with emphasis on helminthic infections, in terms of the effects of migrating larval stages and intra and extracellular localisations of protozoan parasites and helminths in organs, tissues, and vascular and lymphatic circulations. PMID:26377900

  5. Genetic variability and population structure of Plasmodium falciparum parasite populations from different malaria ecological regions of Kenya.

    PubMed

    Ingasia, Luicer A; Cheruiyot, Jelagat; Okoth, Sheila Akinyi; Andagalu, Ben; Kamau, Edwin

    2016-04-01

    Transmission intensity, movement of human and vector hosts, biogeographical features, and malaria control measures are some of the important factors that determine Plasmodium falciparum parasite genetic variability and population structure. Kenya has different malaria ecologies which might require different disease intervention methods. Refined parasite population genetic studies are critical for informing malaria control and elimination strategies. This study describes the genetic diversity and population structure of P. falciparum parasites from the different malaria ecological zones in Kenya. Twelve multi-locus microsatellite (MS) loci previously described were genotyped in 225 P. falciparum isolates collected between 2012 and 2013 from five sites; three in lowland endemic regions (Kisumu, Kombewa, and Malindi) and two in highland, epidemic regions (Kisii and Kericho). Parasites from the lowland endemic and highland epidemic regions of western Kenya had high genetic diversity compared to coastal lowland endemic region of Kenya [Malindi]. The Kenyan parasites had a mean genetic differentiation index (FST) of 0.072 (p=0.011). The multi-locus genetic analysis of the 12 MS revealed all the parasites had unique haplotypes. Significant linkage disequilibrium (LD) was observed in all the five parasite populations. Kisumu had the most significant index of association values (0.16; p<0.0001) whereas Kisii had the least significant index of association values (0.03; p<0.0001). Our data suggest high genetic diversity in Kenyan parasite population with the exception of parasite from Malindi where malaria has been on the decline. The presence of significant LD suggests that there is occurrence of inbreeding in the parasite population. Parasite populations from Kisii showed the strongest evidence for epidemic population structure whereas the rest of the regions showed panmixia. Defining the genetic diversity of the parasites in different ecological regions of Kenya after

  6. 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

  7. Drug resistance. Population transcriptomics of human malaria parasites reveals the mechanism of artemisinin resistance.

    PubMed

    Mok, Sachel; Ashley, Elizabeth A; Ferreira, Pedro E; Zhu, Lei; Lin, Zhaoting; Yeo, Tomas; Chotivanich, Kesinee; Imwong, Mallika; Pukrittayakamee, Sasithon; Dhorda, Mehul; Nguon, Chea; Lim, Pharath; Amaratunga, Chanaki; Suon, Seila; Hien, Tran Tinh; Htut, Ye; Faiz, M Abul; Onyamboko, Marie A; Mayxay, Mayfong; Newton, Paul N; Tripura, Rupam; Woodrow, Charles J; Miotto, Olivo; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P; Nosten, François; Day, Nicholas P J; Preiser, Peter R; White, Nicholas J; Dondorp, Arjen M; Fairhurst, Rick M; Bozdech, Zbynek

    2015-01-23

    Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum threatens global efforts to control and eliminate malaria. Polymorphisms in the kelch domain-carrying protein K13 are associated with artemisinin resistance, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. We analyzed the in vivo transcriptomes of 1043 P. falciparum isolates from patients with acute malaria and found that artemisinin resistance is associated with increased expression of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways involving the major PROSC and TRiC chaperone complexes. Artemisinin-resistant parasites also exhibit decelerated progression through the first part of the asexual intraerythrocytic development cycle. These findings suggest that artemisinin-resistant parasites remain in a state of decelerated development at the young ring stage, whereas their up-regulated UPR pathways mitigate protein damage caused by artemisinin. The expression profiles of UPR-related genes also associate with the geographical origin of parasite isolates, further suggesting their role in emerging artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

  8. Understanding drug resistance in malaria parasites: basic science for public health.

    PubMed

    Sibley, Carol Hopkins

    2014-07-01

    The worlds of basic scientists and those involved in treating patients and making public health decisions do not always intersect. Yet, assuring that when patients are treated, they are efficiently and completely cured, and that public health decisions are based on solid evidence requires a broad foundation of up to date basic research. Research on the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum provides a useful illustration of the role that basic scientific studies have played in the very long relationship between humans and this deadly parasite. Drugs have always been a principal tool in malaria treatment. The ongoing struggle between evolution of resistance to antimalarials by the parasite and public health responses is used here as an illustration of the key contributions of basic scientists to this long history.

  9. 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. PMID:22326740

  10. Drug resistance. Population transcriptomics of human malaria parasites reveals the mechanism of artemisinin resistance.

    PubMed

    Mok, Sachel; Ashley, Elizabeth A; Ferreira, Pedro E; Zhu, Lei; Lin, Zhaoting; Yeo, Tomas; Chotivanich, Kesinee; Imwong, Mallika; Pukrittayakamee, Sasithon; Dhorda, Mehul; Nguon, Chea; Lim, Pharath; Amaratunga, Chanaki; Suon, Seila; Hien, Tran Tinh; Htut, Ye; Faiz, M Abul; Onyamboko, Marie A; Mayxay, Mayfong; Newton, Paul N; Tripura, Rupam; Woodrow, Charles J; Miotto, Olivo; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P; Nosten, François; Day, Nicholas P J; Preiser, Peter R; White, Nicholas J; Dondorp, Arjen M; Fairhurst, Rick M; Bozdech, Zbynek

    2015-01-23

    Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum threatens global efforts to control and eliminate malaria. Polymorphisms in the kelch domain-carrying protein K13 are associated with artemisinin resistance, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. We analyzed the in vivo transcriptomes of 1043 P. falciparum isolates from patients with acute malaria and found that artemisinin resistance is associated with increased expression of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways involving the major PROSC and TRiC chaperone complexes. Artemisinin-resistant parasites also exhibit decelerated progression through the first part of the asexual intraerythrocytic development cycle. These findings suggest that artemisinin-resistant parasites remain in a state of decelerated development at the young ring stage, whereas their up-regulated UPR pathways mitigate protein damage caused by artemisinin. The expression profiles of UPR-related genes also associate with the geographical origin of parasite isolates, further suggesting their role in emerging artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion. PMID:25502316

  11. Malaria parasites tolerate a broad range of ionic environments and do not require host cation remodelling.

    PubMed

    Pillai, Ajay D; Addo, Rachel; Sharma, Paresh; Nguitragool, Wang; Srinivasan, Prakash; Desai, Sanjay A

    2013-04-01

    Malaria parasites grow within erythrocytes, but are also free in host plasma between cycles of asexual replication. As a result, the parasite is exposed to fluctuating levels of Na(+) and K(+) , ions assumed to serve important roles for the human pathogen, Plasmodium falciparum. We examined these assumptions and the parasite's ionic requirements by establishing continuous culture in novel sucrose-based media. With sucrose as the primary osmoticant and K(+) and Cl(-) as the main extracellular ions, we obtained parasite growth and propagation at rates indistinguishable from those in physiological media. These conditions abolish long-known increases in intracellular Na(+) via parasite-induced channels, excluding a requirement for erythrocyte cation remodelling. We also dissected Na(+) , K(+) and Cl(-) requirements and found that unexpectedly low concentrations of each ion meet the parasite's demands. Surprisingly, growth was not adversely affected by up to 148 mM K(+) , suggesting that low extracellular K(+) is not an essential trigger for erythrocyte invasion. At the same time, merozoite egress and invasion required a threshold ionic strength, suggesting critical electrostatic interactions between macromolecules at these stages. These findings provide insights into transmembrane signalling in malaria and reveal fundamental differences between host and parasite ionic requirements.

  12. Genetic Evaluation of the Performance of Malaria Parasite Clearance Rate Metrics

    PubMed Central

    Nkhoma, Standwell C.; Stepniewska, Kasia; Nair, Shalini; Phyo, Aung Pyae; McGready, Rose; Nosten, François; Anderson, Tim J. C.

    2013-01-01

    Accurate measurement of malaria parasite clearance rates (CRs) following artemisinin (ART) treatment is critical for resistance surveillance and research, and various CR metrics are currently used. We measured 13 CR metrics in 1472 ART-treated hyperparasitemia infections for which 6-hour parasite counts and parasite genotypes (93 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) were available. We used heritability to evaluate the performance of each metric. Heritability ranged from 0.06 ± 0.06 (SD) for 50% parasite clearance times to 0.67 ± 0.04 (SD) for clearance half-lives estimated from 6-hour parasite counts. These results identify the measures that should be avoided and show that reliable clearance measures can be obtained with abbreviated monitoring protocols. PMID:23592863

  13. Genetic evaluation of the performance of malaria parasite clearance rate metrics.

    PubMed

    Nkhoma, Standwell C; Stepniewska, Kasia; Nair, Shalini; Phyo, Aung Pyae; McGready, Rose; Nosten, François; Anderson, Tim J C

    2013-07-15

    Accurate measurement of malaria parasite clearance rates (CRs) following artemisinin (ART) treatment is critical for resistance surveillance and research, and various CR metrics are currently used. We measured 13 CR metrics in 1472 ART-treated hyperparasitemia infections for which 6-hour parasite counts and parasite genotypes (93 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) were available. We used heritability to evaluate the performance of each metric. Heritability ranged from 0.06 ± 0.06 (SD) for 50% parasite clearance times to 0.67 ± 0.04 (SD) for clearance half-lives estimated from 6-hour parasite counts. These results identify the measures that should be avoided and show that reliable clearance measures can be obtained with abbreviated monitoring protocols.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. PMID:26722868

  16. Reduced Parasite Burden in Children with Falciparum Malaria and Bacteremia Coinfections: Role of Mediators of Inflammation.

    PubMed

    Davenport, Gregory C; Hittner, James B; Otieno, Vincent; Karim, Zachary; Mukundan, Harshini; Fenimore, Paul W; Hengartner, Nicolas W; McMahon, Benjamin H; Kempaiah, Prakasha; Ong'echa, John M; Perkins, Douglas J

    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

  17. Variation in infection length and superinfection enhance selection efficiency in the human malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Chang, Hsiao-Han; Childs, Lauren M; Buckee, Caroline O

    2016-01-01

    The capacity for adaptation is central to the evolutionary success of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria epidemiology is characterized by the circulation of multiple, genetically diverse parasite clones, frequent superinfection, and highly variable infection lengths, a large number of which are chronic and asymptomatic. The impact of these characteristics on the evolution of the parasite is largely unknown, however, hampering our understanding of the impact of interventions and the emergence of drug resistance. In particular, standard population genetic frameworks do not accommodate variation in infection length or superinfection. Here, we develop a population genetic model of malaria including these variations, and show that these aspects of malaria infection dynamics enhance both the probability and speed of fixation for beneficial alleles in complex and non-intuitive ways. We find that populations containing a mixture of short- and long-lived infections promote selection efficiency. Interestingly, this increase in selection efficiency occurs even when only a small fraction of the infections are chronic, suggesting that selection can occur efficiently in areas of low transmission intensity, providing a hypothesis for the repeated emergence of drug resistance in the low transmission setting of Southeast Asia. PMID:27193195

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Host immune constraints on malaria transmission: insights from population biology of within-host parasites

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Plasmodium infections trigger complex immune reactions from their hosts against several life stages of the parasite, including gametocytes. These immune responses are highly variable, depending on age, genetics, and exposure history of the host as well as species and strain of parasite. Although the effects of host antibodies that act against gamete stages in the mosquito (due to uptake in the blood meal) are well documented, the effects of host immunity upon within-host gametocytes are not as well understood. This report consists of a theoretical population biology-based analysis to determine constraints that host immunity impose upon gametocyte population growth. The details of the mathematical models used for the analysis were guided by published reports of clinical and animal studies, incorporated plausible modalities of immune reactions to parasites, and were tailored to the life cycl es of the two most widespread human malaria pathogens, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Results For the same ability to bind and clear a target, the model simulations suggest that an antibody attacking immature gametocytes would tend to lower the overall density of transmissible mature gametocytes more than an antibody attacking the mature forms directly. Transmission of P. falciparum would be especially vulnerable to complete blocking by antibodies to its immature forms since its gametocytes take much longer to reach maturity than those of P. vivax. On the other hand, antibodies attacking the mature gametocytes directly would reduce the time the mature forms can linger in the host. Simulation results also suggest that varying the standard deviation in the time necessary for individual asexual parasites to develop and produce schizonts can affect the efficiency of production of transmissible gametocytes. Conclusions If mature gametocyte density determines the probability of transmission, both Plasmodium species, but especially P. falciparum, could bolster

  7. Do malaria parasites follow the algebra of sex ratio theory?

    PubMed

    Schall, Jos J

    2009-03-01

    The ratio of male to female gametocytes seen in infections of Plasmodium and related haemosporidian parasites varies substantially, both within and among parasite species. Sex ratio theory, a mainstay of evolutionary biology, accounts for this variation. The theory provides an algebraic solution for the optimal sex ratio that will maximize parasite fitness. A crucial term in this solution is the probability of selfing by clone-mates within the vector (based on the clone number and their relative abundance). Definitive tests of the theory have proven elusive because of technical challenges in measuring clonal diversity within infections. Newly developed molecular methods now provide opportunities to test the theory with an exquisite precision. PMID:19201653

  8. Mitochondrial genes support a common origin of rodent malaria parasites and Plasmodium falciparum's relatives infecting great apes

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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

  9. Recombinant tumour necrosis factor inhibits malaria parasites in vivo but not in vitro.

    PubMed Central

    Taverne, J; Tavernier, J; Fiers, W; Playfair, J H

    1987-01-01

    As tumour necrosis serum kills malarial parasites in vitro and inhibits the multiplication of some species of Plasmodium in mice, we examined the effect of recombinant mouse tumour necrosis factor (rTNF) on P. yoelii both in vitro and in vivo. Parasites incubated overnight with rTNF showed no loss of viability, but repeated injection of rTNF into infected mice reduced parasitaemia and significantly prolonged survival of mice infected with a lethal variant of the parasite. We conclude that TNF acts on blood-stage malaria in vivo via a host cell and that another molecule in tumour necrosis serum is involved in killing the parasite in vitro. PMID:3621669

  10. A paper microfluidic cartridge for automated staining of malaria parasites with an optically transparent microscopy window.

    PubMed

    Horning, Matthew P; Delahunt, Charles B; Singh, S Ryan; Garing, Spencer H; Nichols, Kevin P

    2014-06-21

    A paper microfluidic cartridge for the automated staining of malaria parasites (Plasmodium) with acridine orange prior to microscopy is presented. The cartridge enables simultaneous, sub-minute generation of both thin and thick smears of acridine orange stained parasites. Parasites are stained in a cellulose matrix, after which the parasites are ejected via capillary forces into an optically transparent chamber. The unique slanted design of the chamber ensures that a high percentage of the stained blood will be of the required thickness for a thin smear, without resorting to spacers or other methods that can increase production cost or require tight quality controls. A hydrophobic snorkel facilitates the removal of air bubbles during filling. The cartridge contains both a thin smear region, where a single layer of cells is presented unobstructed, for ease of species identification, and a thick smear region, containing multiple cell layers, for enhanced limit of detection.

  11. Towards genome-wide experimental genetics in the in vivo malaria model parasite Plasmodium berghei

    PubMed Central

    Matz, Joachim M.; Kooij, Taco W. A.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25789828

  12. 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.

  13. Malaria Parasite Survival Depends on Conserved Binding Peptides' Critical Biological Functions.

    PubMed

    Patarroyo, Manuel E; Arevalo-Pinzon, Gabriela; Reyes, Cesar; Moreno-Vranich, Armando; Patarroyo, Manuel A

    2016-01-01

    Biochemical, structural and single amino acid level analysis of 49 Plasmodium falciparum protein regions (13 sporozoite and 36 merozoite proteins) has highlighted the functional role of each conserved high activity binding peptide (cHABP) in cell host-microbe interaction, involving biological functions such as gliding motility, traversal activity, binding invasion, reproduction, nutrient ion transport and the development of severe malaria. Each protein's key function in the malaria parasite's asexual lifecycle (pre-erythrocyte and erythro-cyte) is described in terms of cHABPs; their sequences were located in elegant work published by other groups regarding critical binding regions implicated in malarial parasite invasion. Such cHABPs represent the starting point for developing a logical and rational methodology for selecting an appropriate mixture of modified cHABPs to be used in a completely effective, synthetic antimalarial vaccine. Such methodology could be used for developing vaccines against diseases scourging humanity. PMID:26317369

  14. 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.

  15. Characterizing the genetic diversity of the monkey malaria parasite Plasmodium cynomolgi.

    PubMed

    Sutton, Patrick L; Luo, Zunping; Divis, Paul C S; Friedrich, Volney K; Conway, David J; Singh, Balbir; Barnwell, John W; Carlton, Jane M; Sullivan, Steven A

    2016-06-01

    Plasmodium cynomolgi is a malaria parasite that typically infects Asian macaque monkeys, and humans on rare occasions. P. cynomolgi serves as a model system for the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax, with which it shares such important biological characteristics as formation of a dormant liver stage and a preference to invade reticulocytes. While genomes of three P. cynomolgi strains have been sequenced, genetic diversity of P. cynomolgi has not been widely investigated. To address this we developed the first panel of P. cynomolgi microsatellite markers to genotype eleven P. cynomolgi laboratory strains and 18 field isolates from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. We found diverse genotypes among most of the laboratory strains, though two nominally different strains were found to be genetically identical. We also investigated sequence polymorphism in two erythrocyte invasion gene families, the reticulocyte binding protein and Duffy binding protein genes, in these strains. We also observed copy number variation in rbp genes. PMID:26980604

  16. Novel Gene Discovery in the Human Malaria Parasite using Nucleosome Positioning Data

    PubMed Central

    Pokhriyal, N.; Ponts, N.; Harris, E. Y.; Le Roch, K. G.; Lonardi, S.

    2013-01-01

    Recent genome-wide studies on nucleosome positioning in model organisms have shown strong evidence that nucleosome landscapes in the proximity of protein-coding genes exhibit regular characteristic patterns. Here, we propose a computational framework to discover novel genes in the human malaria parasite genome P. falciparum using nucleosome positioning inferred from MAINE-seq data. We rely on a classifier trained on the nucleosome landscape profiles of experimentally verified genes, and then used to discover new genes (without considering the primary DNA sequence). Cross-validation experiments show that our classifier is very accurate. About two thirds of the locations reported by the classifier match experimentally determined expressed sequence tags in GenBank, for which no gene has been annotated in the human malaria parasite. PMID:25076982

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Full-Malaria/Parasites and Full-Arthropods: databases of full-length cDNAs of parasites and arthropods, update 2009.

    PubMed

    Wakaguri, Hiroyuki; Suzuki, Yutaka; Katayama, Toshiaki; Kawashima, Shuichi; Kibukawa, Eri; Hiranuka, Kazushi; Sasaki, Masahide; Sugano, Sumio; Watanabe, Junichi

    2009-01-01

    Full-Malaria/Parasites is a database for transcriptome studies of apicomplexa and other parasites, which is based on our original full-length cDNA sequences and physical cDNA clone resources. In this update, the database has been expanded to contain the shogun sequencing for the entire sequences of 14,818 non-redundant full-length cDNA clones from six apicomplexa parasites and 6.8 million of transcription start sites (TSS), both of which had been produced by novel protocols using the oligo-capping method and the Illumina GA sequencer. The former should be the ultimate data for exact annotation of the expressed genes, while the latter should be useful for ultra-deep expression analysis. Furthermore, we have launched Full-Arthropods, a full-length cDNA database for arthropods of medical importance. Full-Arthropods contains 50 343 one-pass sequences, 10 399 shotgun complete sequences and 22.4 million TSS tags in anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria, tsetse flies that transmit trypanosomiasis and dust mites that cause allergic dermatitis and bronchial asthma. By providing the largest integrated full-length cDNA data resources in the apicomplexa parasites as well as their vectors, Full-Malaria/Parasites and Full-Arthropods should help combat parasitic diseases. Full-Malaria/Parasites and Full-Arthropods are accessible from http://fullmal.hgc.jp/.

  2. Contrasting infection susceptibility of the Japanese macaques and cynomolgus macaques to closely related malaria parasites, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium cynomolgi.

    PubMed

    Tachibana, Shin-Ichiro; Kawai, Satoru; Katakai, Yuko; Takahashi, Hideo; Nakade, Toru; Yasutomi, Yasuhiro; Horii, Toshihiro; Tanabe, Kazuyuki

    2015-06-01

    Although the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax is closely related to Asian Old World monkey malaria parasites, there are no reports of P. vivax infections in macaques. In this study, we compared the infectivity of P. vivax and Plasmodium cynomolgi in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) and in cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis). The Japanese macaques were highly susceptible to P. cynomolgi but not to P. vivax, whereas cynomolgus macaques showed mild/limited P. cynomolgi infection and were, also, not susceptible to P. vivax. Serotyping and amino acid sequence comparison of erythrocyte surface Duffy antigen/receptor for chemokines (DARC) indicate that the Japanese macaque DARC sequence is nearly identical to that of rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques. This suggests that the macaques share a common mechanism for preventing P. vivax infection. Comparison of amino acid sequences of the Duffy-binding-like (DBL) domain from several different Plasmodium species suggests that P. vivax DBLs will not bind to macaque DARCs, which can explain the lack of P. vivax infectivity. The DBL sequence analyses also suggest that P. cynomolgi DBLs may target Japanese macaque erythrocytes through a DARC-independent interaction.

  3. Molecular Architecture of a Complex between an Adhesion Protein from the Malaria Parasite and Intracellular Adhesion Molecule 1*

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Alan; Turner, Louise; Christoffersen, Stig; Andrews, Katrina A.; Szestak, Tadge; Zhao, Yuguang; Larsen, Sine; Craig, Alister G.; Higgins, Matthew K.

    2013-01-01

    The adhesion of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to human tissues or endothelium is central to the pathology caused by the parasite during malaria. It contributes to the avoidance of parasite clearance by the spleen and to the specific pathologies of cerebral and placental malaria. The PfEMP1 family of adhesive proteins is responsible for this sequestration by mediating interactions with diverse human ligands. In addition, as the primary targets of acquired, protective immunity, the PfEMP1s are potential vaccine candidates. PfEMP1s contain large extracellular ectodomains made from CIDR (cysteine-rich interdomain regions) and DBL (Duffy-binding-like) domains and show extensive variation in sequence, size, and domain organization. Here we use biophysical methods to characterize the entire ∼300-kDa ectodomain from IT4VAR13, a protein that interacts with the host receptor, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). We show through small angle x-ray scattering that IT4VAR13 is rigid, elongated, and monomeric. We also show that it interacts with ICAM-1 through the DBLβ domain alone, forming a 1:1 complex. These studies provide a first low resolution structural view of a PfEMP1 ectodomain in complex with its ligand. They show that it combines a modular domain arrangement consisting of individual ligand binding domains, with a defined higher order architecture that exposes the ICAM-1 binding surface to allow adhesion. PMID:23297413

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Protein C system defects inflicted by the malaria parasite protein PfEMP1 can be overcome by a soluble EPCR variant.

    PubMed

    Petersen, Jens E V; Bouwens, Eveline A M; Tamayo, Ibai; Turner, Louise; Wang, Christian W; Stins, Monique; Theander, Thor G; Hermida, José; Mosnier, Laurent O; Lavstsen, Thomas

    2015-11-01

    The Endothelial Protein C receptor (EPCR) is essential for the anticoagulant and cytoprotective functions of the Protein C (PC) system. Selected variants of the malaria parasite protein, Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) associated with severe malaria, including cerebral malaria, specifically target EPCR on vascular endothelial cells. Here, we examine the cellular response to PfEMP1 engagement to elucidate its role in malaria pathogenesis. Binding of the CIDRα1.1 domain of PfEMP1 to EPCR obstructed activated PC (APC) binding to EPCR and induced a loss of cellular EPCR functions. CIDRα1.1 severely impaired endothelial PC activation and effectively blocked APC-mediated activation of protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1) and associated barrier protective effects of APC on endothelial cells. A soluble EPCR variant (E86A-sEPCR) bound CIDRα1.1 with high affinity and did not interfere with (A)PC binding to cellular EPCR. E86A-sEPCR used as a decoy to capture PfEMP1, permitted normal PC activation on endothelial cells, normal barrier protective effects of APC, and greatly reduced cytoadhesion of infected erythrocytes to brain endothelial cells. These data imply important contributions of PfEMP1-induced protein C pathway defects in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Furthermore, the E86A-sEPCR decoy provides a proof-of-principle strategy for the development of novel adjunct therapies for severe malaria.

  7. 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.

  8. Feedback inhibition of pantothenate kinase regulates pantothenol uptake by the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Lehane, Adele M; Marchetti, Rosa V; Spry, Christina; van Schalkwyk, Donelly A; Teng, Rongwei; Kirk, Kiaran; Saliba, Kevin J

    2007-08-31

    To survive, the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum must acquire pantothenate (vitamin B5) from the external medium. Pantothenol (provitamin B5) inhibits parasite growth by competing with pantothenate for pantothenate kinase, the first enzyme in the coenzyme A biosynthesis pathway. In this study we investigated pantothenol uptake by P. falciparum and in doing so gained insights into the regulation of the parasite's coenzyme A biosynthesis pathway. Pantothenol was shown to enter P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes via two routes, the furosemide-inhibited "new permeation pathways" induced by the parasite in the infected erythrocyte membrane (the sole access route for pantothenate) and a second, furosemide-insensitive pathway. Having entered the erythrocyte, pantothenol is taken up by the intracellular parasite via a mechanism showing functional characteristics distinct from those of the parasite's pantothenate uptake mechanism. On reaching the parasite cytosol, pantothenol is phosphorylated and thereby trapped by pantothenate kinase, shown here to be under feedback inhibition control by coenzyme A. Furosemide reduced this inherent feedback inhibition by competing with coenzyme A for binding to pantothenate kinase, thereby increasing pantothenol uptake. PMID:17581817

  9. Targeting mosquito FREP1 with a fungal metabolite blocks malaria transmission

    PubMed Central

    Niu, Guodong; Wang, Bin; Zhang, Genwei; King, Jarrod B.; Cichewicz, Robert H.; Li, Jun

    2015-01-01

    Inhibiting Plasmodium development in mosquitoes will block malaria transmission. Fibrinogen-related protein 1 (FREP1) is critical for parasite infection in Anopheles gambiae and facilitates Plasmodium invasion in mosquitoes through interacting with gametocytes and ookinetes. To test the hypothesis that small molecules that disrupt this interaction will prevent parasites from infecting mosquitoes, we developed an ELISA-based method to screen a fungal extract library. We obtained a candidate fungal extract of Aspergillus niger that inhibited the interaction between FREP1 and P. falciparum infected cells by about 92%. The inhibition specificity was confirmed by immunofluorescence assays. Notably, feeding mosquitoes with the candidate fungal extract significantly inhibited P. falciparum infection in the midgut without cytotoxicity or inhibition of the development of P. falciparum gametocytes or ookinetes. A bioactive natural product that prevents FREP1 from binding to gametocytes or ookinetes was isolated and identified as P-orlandin. Importantly, the nontoxic orlandin significantly reduced P. falciparum infection intensity in mosquitoes. Therefore, disruption of the interaction between FREP1 and parasites effectively reduces Plasmodium infection in mosquitoes. Targeting FREP1 with small molecules is thus an effective novel approach to block malaria transmission. PMID:26437882

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. The malaria parasite egress protease SUB1 is a calcium-dependent redox switch subtilisin

    PubMed Central

    Withers-Martinez, Chrislaine; Strath, Malcolm; Hackett, Fiona; Haire, Lesley F.; Howell, Steven A.; Walker, Philip A.; Evangelos, Christodoulou; Dodson, Guy G.; Blackman, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite that replicates within an intraerythrocytic parasitophorous vacuole. Release (egress) of malaria merozoites from the host erythrocyte is a highly regulated and calcium-dependent event that is critical for disease progression. Minutes before egress, an essential parasite serine protease called SUB1 is discharged into the parasitophorous vacuole, where it proteolytically processes a subset of parasite proteins that play indispensable roles in egress and invasion. Here we report the first crystallographic structure of Plasmodium falciparum SUB1 at 2.25 Å, in complex with its cognate prodomain. The structure highlights the basis of the calcium dependence of SUB1, as well as its unusual requirement for interactions with substrate residues on both prime and non-prime sides of the scissile bond. Importantly, the structure also reveals the presence of a solvent-exposed redox-sensitive disulphide bridge, unique among the subtilisin family, that likely acts as a regulator of protease activity in the parasite. PMID:24785947

  13. Parasite Cathepsin D-Like Peptidases and Their Relevance as Therapeutic Targets.

    PubMed

    Sojka, Daniel; Hartmann, David; Bartošová-Sojková, Pavla; Dvořák, Jan

    2016-09-01

    Inhibition of aspartic cathepsin D-like peptidases (APDs) has been often discussed as an antiparasite intervention strategy. APDs have been considered as virulence factors of Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania spp., and have been demonstrated to have important roles in protein trafficking mechanisms of apicomplexan parasites. APDs also initiate blood digestion as components of multienzyme proteolytic complexes in malaria, platyhelminths, nematodes, and ticks. Increasing DNA and RNA sequencing data indicate that parasites express multiple APD isoenzymes of various functions that can now be specifically evaluated using new functional-genomic and biochemical tools, from which we can further assess the potential of APDs as targets for novel effective intervention strategies against parasitic diseases that still pose an alarming threat to mankind. PMID:27344362

  14. Parasite-induced permeation of nucleosides in Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

    PubMed

    Upston, J M; Gero, A M

    1995-06-14

    A mechanism which mediates the transport of the nonphysiological nucleoside, L-adenosine, was demonstrated in Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes and naturally released merozoites. L-Adenosine was not a substrate for influx in freed intraerythrocytic parasites or in normal human erythrocytes nor was L-adenosine transported in a variety of cell types including other parasitic protozoa such as Crithidia luciliae, Trichomonas vaginalis, Giardia intestinalis, or the mammalian cells, Buffalo Green Monkey and HeLa cells. L-Adenosine transport in P. falciparum infected cells was nonsaturable, with a rate of 0.13 +/- 0.01 pmol/microliter cell water per s per microM L-adenosine, yet the transport was inhibited by furosemide, phloridzin and piperine with IC50 values between 1-13 microM, distinguishing the transport pathway from simple diffusion. The channel-like permeation was selective as disaccharides were not permeable to parasitised cells. In addition, an unusual metabolic property of parasitic adenosine deaminase was found in that L-adenosine was metabolised to L-inosine by both P. falciparum infected erythrocytes and merozoites, an activity which was inhibited by 50 nM deoxycoformycin. No other cell type examined displayed this enzymic activity. The results further substantiate that nucleoside transport in P. falciparum infected cells was significantly altered compared to uninfected erythrocytes and that L-adenosine transport and metabolism was a biochemical property of Plasmodium infected cells and merozoites and not found in normal erythrocytes nor any of the other cell types investigated.

  15. Reduced Parasite Burden in Children with Falciparum Malaria and Bacteremia Coinfections: Role of Mediators of Inflammation

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Davenport, Gregory C.; Hittner, James B.; Otieno, Vincent; Karim, Zachary; Mukundan, Harshini; Fenimore, Paul W.; Hengartner, Nicolas W.; McMahon, Benjamin H.; Kempaiah, Prakasha; Ong’echa, John M.; et al

    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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. REEVALUATION OF MALARIA PARASITES IN EL-FAYOUM GOVERNORATE, EGYPT USING RAPID DIAGNOSTIC TESTS (RDTS).

    PubMed

    Dahesh, Salwa M A; Mostafa, Heba I

    2015-12-01

    Malaria as a disease has been identified in Egypt since ancient times. Malaria was endemic in almost all parts of the country but prevalence showed a steady decrease by 1990, and regressed in most of the Governorates. Then by the end of 1998 till now Egypt become free from local transmission of malaria. All reported cases were imported mainly from Sudan. However, the outbreak of falciparum (1 case) and vivax (23 cases) that occurred (May 2014) in Aswan Governorate strongly indicated that malaria is reemerging in the country. El-Fayoum should be take special attention, rather than being the last residual focus. The efficient malaria vector A. sergenti, the proven vector A. pharoensis and the suspected vector A. multicolor were encountered. This work reevaluated malaria status by using RDTs in survey and Giemsa stained thick films to confirm positive cases and estimation of parasite rate, formula, densities and species, also to study the ecological and entomological efficacy factors. The result showed that out of 2044 examined persons, 14 (0.68%) were passive cases, i.e., attending themselves to El-Fayoum Malaria Units after their return from Sudan. Microscopic examination of their stained thick films obtained from MOH&P shows that 9 (64.2%) out of passive cases were positive 3 of them are P. falciparum (33.3%) and the rest P. vivax 6 (66.7%) The species formulas of P. falciparum and P. vivax were 33.3% and 66.7% respectively. Concerning the density class, only one vivax case was of low density class while the other cases were of high density class. All positive cases were males, imported from Sudan and most of them were merchants having trade activities in Sudan. All examined persons during active case detection ACD (1551) and neighborhood of detected cases NOD (479) were malaria negative by rapid diagnostic tests. The areas recording the highest number of imported cases were Abu Shanap, Aboxa (Ballona) and Kafr Aboud (Abshaway Center) but no Anopheline spp larvae

  19. REEVALUATION OF MALARIA PARASITES IN EL-FAYOUM GOVERNORATE, EGYPT USING RAPID DIAGNOSTIC TESTS (RDTS).

    PubMed

    Dahesh, Salwa M A; Mostafa, Heba I

    2015-12-01

    Malaria as a disease has been identified in Egypt since ancient times. Malaria was endemic in almost all parts of the country but prevalence showed a steady decrease by 1990, and regressed in most of the Governorates. Then by the end of 1998 till now Egypt become free from local transmission of malaria. All reported cases were imported mainly from Sudan. However, the outbreak of falciparum (1 case) and vivax (23 cases) that occurred (May 2014) in Aswan Governorate strongly indicated that malaria is reemerging in the country. El-Fayoum should be take special attention, rather than being the last residual focus. The efficient malaria vector A. sergenti, the proven vector A. pharoensis and the suspected vector A. multicolor were encountered. This work reevaluated malaria status by using RDTs in survey and Giemsa stained thick films to confirm positive cases and estimation of parasite rate, formula, densities and species, also to study the ecological and entomological efficacy factors. The result showed that out of 2044 examined persons, 14 (0.68%) were passive cases, i.e., attending themselves to El-Fayoum Malaria Units after their return from Sudan. Microscopic examination of their stained thick films obtained from MOH&P shows that 9 (64.2%) out of passive cases were positive 3 of them are P. falciparum (33.3%) and the rest P. vivax 6 (66.7%) The species formulas of P. falciparum and P. vivax were 33.3% and 66.7% respectively. Concerning the density class, only one vivax case was of low density class while the other cases were of high density class. All positive cases were males, imported from Sudan and most of them were merchants having trade activities in Sudan. All examined persons during active case detection ACD (1551) and neighborhood of detected cases NOD (479) were malaria negative by rapid diagnostic tests. The areas recording the highest number of imported cases were Abu Shanap, Aboxa (Ballona) and Kafr Aboud (Abshaway Center) but no Anopheline spp larvae

  20. 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

  1. Molecular detection of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum in Thailand.

    PubMed

    Pattaradilokrat, Sittiporn; Tiyamanee, Wisawa; Simpalipan, Phumin; Kaewthamasorn, Morakot; Saiwichai, Tawee; Li, Jian; Harnyuttanakorn, Pongchai

    2015-05-30

    Avian malaria is one of the most common veterinary problems in Southeast Asia. The standard molecular method for detection of the avian malaria parasite involves the phenol-chloroform extraction of parasite genomic (g)DNA followed by the amplification of parasite gDNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, the phenol-chloroform extraction method is time-consuming and requires large amounts of samples and toxic organic solvents, thereby limiting its applications for parasite detection in the field. This study aimed to compare the performance of chelex-100 resin and phenol/chloroform extraction methods for the extraction of Plasmodium gallinaceum gDNA from whole avian blood that had been dried on filter papers (a common field sampling method). The specificity and sensitivity of PCR assays for P. gallinaceum cytochrome B (cytb) and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (coxI) gene fragments (544 and 588bp, respectively) were determined, and found to be more sensitive with gDNA extracted by the chelex-100 resin method than with the phenol/chloroform method. These PCR assays were also performed to detect P. gallinaceum in 29 blood samples dried on filter papers from domestic chickens in a malaria endemic area, where the reliable identification of seven field isolates of P. gallinaceum was obtained with an accuracy of 100%. The analysis of cytb and coxI gene nucleotide sequences revealed the existence of at least two genetically distinct populations of P. gallinaceum in Thailand, both of which differed from the reference strain 8A of P. gallinaceum. In conclusion, the chelex-100 resin extraction method is a simple and sensitive method for isolating gDNA from whole avian blood dried on filter paper. Genomic DNA extracted by the chelex method could subsequently be applied for the PCR-based detection of P. gallinaceum and DNA sequencing. Our PCR assays provide a reliable diagnostic tool for molecular epidemiological studies of P. gallinaceum infections in domestic chickens

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Interleukin-27-Producing CD4(+) T Cells Regulate Protective Immunity during Malaria Parasite Infection.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Daisuke; Miyakoda, Mana; Kimura, Kazumi; Honma, Kiri; Hara, Hiromitsu; Yoshida, Hiroki; Yui, Katsuyuki

    2016-03-15

    Interleukin-27 (IL-27) is a heterodimeric regulatory cytokine of the IL-12 family, which is produced by macrophages, dendritic cells, and B cells upon stimulation through innate immune receptors. Here, we described regulatory CD4(+) T cells that produce IL-27 in response to T cell receptor stimulation during malaria infection, inhibiting IL-2 production and clonal expansion of other T cells in an IL-27-dependent manner. IL-27-producing CD4(+) T cells were Foxp3(-)CD11a(+)CD49d(+) malaria antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells and were distinct from interferon-γ (IFN-γ) producing Th1 or IL-10 producing Tr1 cells. In mice lacking IL-27 in T cells, IL-2 production was restored and clonal expansion and IFN-γ production by specific CD4(+) T cells were improved, culminating in reduced parasite burden. This study highlights a unique population of IL-27 producing regulatory CD4(+) T cells and their critical role in the regulation of the protective immune response against malaria parasites.

  6. Development of severe pathology in immunized pregnant mice challenged with lethal malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Mineo, Shoichiro; Niikura, Mamoru; Inoue, Shin-Ichi; Kuroda, Masahiko; Kobayashi, Fumie

    2013-10-01

    Pregnant women are highly susceptible to malaria infection because of their low immunity and are at increased risk of maternal illness or death, in addition to spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, premature delivery, and low birth weight. However, the detailed pathogenesis of maternal malaria remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated a mouse model that shows similar severe pathological features of pregnant women during Plasmodium falciparum infection and investigated the pathogenesis of maternal malaria. Pregnant mice immunized by infection with an attenuated parasite, Plasmodium berghei XAT, were more susceptible to virulent P. berghei NK65 challenge/infection than were nonpregnant mice and showed high levels of parasitemia and a poor pregnancy outcome associated with placental pathology, such as accumulation of parasitized red blood cells, in the late phase of pregnancy. Notably, the pregnant immune mice challenged/infected with P. berghei NK65 developed liver injury associated with microvesicular fatty infiltration in late pregnancy. The pathological features were similar to acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Higher levels of gamma interferon and nitric oxide (NO) were found in plasma from pregnant immune mice infected with P. berghei NK65 than in plasma from nonpregnant mice. These findings suggest that development of liver injury and placental pathology in pregnant immune mice challenged/infected with P. berghei NK65 is accompanied by enhanced production of proinflammatory cytokines. PMID:23897619

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:26984625

  11. 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

  12. Species concepts and malaria parasites: detecting a cryptic species of Plasmodium.

    PubMed

    Perkins, S L

    2000-11-22

    Species of malaria parasite (phylum Apicomplexa: genus Plasmodium) have traditionally been described using the similarity species concept (based primarily on differences in morphological or life-history characteristics). The biological species concept (reproductive isolation) and phylogenetic species concept (based on monophyly) have not been used before in defining species of Plasmodium. Plasmodium azurophilum, described from Anolis lizards in the eastern Caribbean, is actually a two-species cryptic complex. The parasites were studied from eight islands, from Puerto Rico in the north to Grenada in the south. Morphology of the two species is very similar (differences are indistinguishable to the eye), but one infects only erythrocytes and the other only white blood cells. Molecular data for the cytochrome b gene reveal that the two forms are reproductively isolated; distinct haplotypes are present on each island and are never shared between the erythrocyte-infecting and leucocyte-infecting species. Each forms a monophyletic lineage indicating that they diverged before becoming established in the anoles of the eastern Caribbean. This comparison of the similarity, biological and phylogenetic species concepts for malaria parasites reveals the limited value of using only similarity measures in defining protozoan species. PMID:11413654

  13. Leukocyte profiles for western fence lizards, Sceloporus occidentalis, naturally infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum.

    PubMed

    Motz, Victoria L; Lewis, William D; Vardo-Zalik, Anne M

    2014-10-01

    Plasmodium mexicanum is a malaria parasite that naturally infects the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis , in northern California. We set out to determine whether lizards naturally infected with this malaria parasite have different leukocyte profiles, indicating an immune response to infection. We used 29 naturally infected western fence lizards paired with uninfected lizards based on sex, snout-to-vent length, tail status, and the presence-absence of ectoparasites such as ticks and mites, as well as the presence-absence of another hemoparasite, Schellackia occidentalis. Complete white blood cell (WBC) counts were conducted on blood smears stained with Giemsa, and the proportion of granulocytes per microliter of blood was estimated using the Avian Leukopet method. The abundance of each WBC class (lymphocytes, monocytes, heterophils, eosinophils, and basophils) in infected and uninfected lizards was compared to determine whether leukocyte densities varied with infection status. We found that the numbers of WBCs and lymphocytes per microliter of blood significantly differed (P < 0.05) between the 2 groups for females but not for males, whereas parasitemia was significantly correlated with lymphocyte counts for males, but not for females. This study supports the theory that infection with P. mexicanum stimulates the lizard's immune response to increase the levels of circulating WBCs, but what effect this has on the biology of the parasite remains unclear. PMID:24945903

  14. Leukocyte profiles for western fence lizards, Sceloporus occidentalis, naturally infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum.

    PubMed

    Motz, Victoria L; Lewis, William D; Vardo-Zalik, Anne M

    2014-10-01

    Plasmodium mexicanum is a malaria parasite that naturally infects the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis , in northern California. We set out to determine whether lizards naturally infected with this malaria parasite have different leukocyte profiles, indicating an immune response to infection. We used 29 naturally infected western fence lizards paired with uninfected lizards based on sex, snout-to-vent length, tail status, and the presence-absence of ectoparasites such as ticks and mites, as well as the presence-absence of another hemoparasite, Schellackia occidentalis. Complete white blood cell (WBC) counts were conducted on blood smears stained with Giemsa, and the proportion of granulocytes per microliter of blood was estimated using the Avian Leukopet method. The abundance of each WBC class (lymphocytes, monocytes, heterophils, eosinophils, and basophils) in infected and uninfected lizards was compared to determine whether leukocyte densities varied with infection status. We found that the numbers of WBCs and lymphocytes per microliter of blood significantly differed (P < 0.05) between the 2 groups for females but not for males, whereas parasitemia was significantly correlated with lymphocyte counts for males, but not for females. This study supports the theory that infection with P. mexicanum stimulates the lizard's immune response to increase the levels of circulating WBCs, but what effect this has on the biology of the parasite remains unclear.

  15. Does Magnetic Field Affect Malaria Parasite Replication in Human Red Blood Cells?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chanturiya, Alexandr N.; Glushakova, Svetlana; Yin, Dan; Zimmerberg, Joshua

    2004-01-01

    Digestion of red blood cell (RBC) hemoglobin by the malaria parasite results in the formation of paramagnetic hemazoin crystals inside the parasite body. A number of reports suggest that magnetic field interaction with hamazoin crystals significantly reduces the number of infected cells in culture, and thus magnetic field can be used to combat malaria. We studies the effects of magnetic filed on the Plasmodium falciparum asexual life cycle inside RBCs under various experimental conditions. No effect was found during prolonged exposure of infected RBCs to constant magnetic fields up to 6000 Gauss. Infected RBCs were also exposed, under temperature-controlled conditions, to oscillating magnetic fields with frequencies in the range of 500-20000 kHz, and field strength 30-600 Gauss. This exposure often changed the proportion of different parasite stages in treated culture compared to controls. However, no significant effect on parasitemia was observed in treated cultures. This result indicates that the magnetic field effect on Plasmodium falciparum is negligible, or that hypothetical negative and positive effects on different stages within one 48-hour compensate each other.

  16. A genomic glimpse of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Plasmodium parasites are causative agents of malaria which affects >500 million people and claims ~2 million lives annually. The completion of Plasmodium genome sequencing and availability of PlasmoDB database has provided a platform for systematic study of parasite genome. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are pivotal enzymes for protein translation and other vital cellular processes. We report an extensive analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum genome to identify and classify aaRSs in this organism. Results Using various computational and bioinformatics tools, we have identified 37 aaRSs in P. falciparum. Our key observations are: (i) fraction of proteome dedicated to aaRSs in P. falciparum is very high compared to many other organisms; (ii) 23 out of 37 Pf-aaRS sequences contain signal peptides possibly directing them to different cellular organelles; (iii) expression profiles of Pf-aaRSs vary considerably at various life cycle stages of the parasite; (iv) several PfaaRSs posses very unusual domain architectures; (v) phylogenetic analyses reveal evolutionary relatedness of several parasite aaRSs to bacterial and plants aaRSs; (vi) three dimensional structural modelling has provided insights which could be exploited in inhibitor discovery against parasite aaRSs. Conclusion We have identified 37 Pf-aaRSs based on our bioinformatics analysis. Our data reveal several unique attributes in this protein family. We have annotated all 37 Pf-aaRSs based on predicted localization, phylogenetics, domain architectures and their overall protein expression profiles. The sets of distinct features elaborated in this work will provide a platform for experimental dissection of this family of enzymes, possibly for the discovery of novel drugs against malaria. PMID:20042123

  17. 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

  18. A more appropriate white blood cell count for estimating malaria parasite density in Plasmodium vivax patients in northeastern Myanmar.

    PubMed

    Liu, Huaie; Feng, Guohua; Zeng, Weilin; Li, Xiaomei; Bai, Yao; Deng, Shuang; Ruan, Yonghua; Morris, James; Li, Siman; Yang, Zhaoqing; Cui, Liwang

    2016-04-01

    The conventional method of estimating parasite densities employ an assumption of 8000 white blood cells (WBCs)/μl. However, due to leucopenia in malaria patients, this number appears to overestimate parasite densities. In this study, we assessed the accuracy of parasite density estimated using this assumed WBC count in eastern Myanmar, where Plasmodium vivax has become increasingly prevalent. From 256 patients with uncomplicated P. vivax malaria, we estimated parasite density and counted WBCs by using an automated blood cell counter. It was found that WBC counts were not significantly different between patients of different gender, axillary temperature, and body mass index levels, whereas they were significantly different between age groups of patients and the time points of measurement. The median parasite densities calculated with the actual WBC counts (1903/μl) and the assumed WBC count of 8000/μl (2570/μl) were significantly different. We demonstrated that using the assumed WBC count of 8000 cells/μl to estimate parasite densities of P. vivax malaria patients in this area would lead to an overestimation. For P. vivax patients aged five years and older, an assumed WBC count of 5500/μl best estimated parasite densities. This study provides more realistic assumed WBC counts for estimating parasite densities in P. vivax patients from low-endemicity areas of Southeast Asia.

  19. Genomic organization, structure and possible function of histidine-rich proteins of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Y D

    1988-01-01

    The current status of histidine-rich proteins in malaria parasites with regard to their genomic organization, protein structure and function is discussed, one of such protein present in an avian malaria parasite Plasmodium lophurae contains about 73% histidine and called as HRP (histidine-rich protein). Among human malaria parasites, in Plasmodium falciparum, only three such proteins have been described, namely knob protein also known as knob associated histidine-rich protein (KP or KAHRP), soluble histidine-alanine rich protein (soluble HARP or PfHRP II) and small histidine-alanine rich protein (SHARP) containing 8, 35 and 30% histidine contents respectively. With rapid emergence of powerful tools in molecular biology the genes of all these histidine-rich proteins have been cloned and sequenced within a short period of time. The genomic organizations of all these proteins are very much similar to each other, in each case the gene contains a signal peptide coding sequence (exon 1) followed by an intron. This intron is followed by the main coding region (exon 2) which has no further intervening sequences. In the main coding region of each gene, the histidine-rich sequences start after 25-30 amino acids from N-terminal end (75-90 nucleotides from 5' in exon 2). All the three histidine-rich proteins of P. falciparum share some homology with the HRP of P. lophurae; they all cross react with anti HRP and incorporate higher amount of exogenous histidine. The relationship between KP and HRP resides in the repeated polyhistidine sequences, (His) 6-9, from the core of the multiple tandem repeats of HRP, whereas, the peptide Ala-His-His is commonly shared by HRP and two other proteins of P. falciparum (soluble HARP and SHARP).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  20. Membrane-associated antigens of blood stages of Plasmodium, brasilianum, a quartan malaria parasite.

    PubMed Central

    Cochrane, A H; Matsumoto, Y; Kamboj, K K; Maracic, M; Nussenzweig, R S; Aikawa, M

    1988-01-01

    The localization of Plasmodium brasilianum-derived antigens in short and long clefts within the cytoplasm of infected erythrocytes and in association with knobs of the host cell membrane was demonstrated by immunoelectron microscopy with monoclonal antibodies. Our results document that malaria-induced short and long clefts, previously distinguishable only by morphology, differ also in antigenic composition. Another parasite-derived antigen was found to be associated with the parasitophorous vacuole space in schizonts. In segmenters, this antigen was present in large amounts between merozoites and in the cytoplasm of infected cells. These antigens were characterized by biosynthetic labeling and gel electrophoresis. Images PMID:3397184

  1. Newly incriminated anopheline vectors of human malaria parasites in Junin Department, Peru.

    PubMed

    Hayes, J; Calderon, G; Falcon, R; Zambrano, V

    1987-09-01

    Sporozoite data from salivary gland dissections are presented that clearly incriminate Anopheles trinkae, An. pseudopunctipennis, An. sp. near fluminensis, An. oswaldoi, An. nuneztovari and An. rangeli as vectors of malaria parasites in the Rio Ene Valley, a hyperendemic malarious area in Junin Department, eastern Peru. Anopheles trinkae is considered the most important vector based on dissections, abundance and man-vector contact. Other notes are presented on the relative abundance, bionomics and previous records of these species in Peru and in the study sites.

  2. 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.

  3. Evidence of a Mild Mutator Phenotype in Cambodian Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Lee, Andrew H; Fidock, David A

    2016-01-01

    Malaria control efforts have been continuously stymied by drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, which typically originate in Southeast Asia prior to spreading into high-transmission settings in Africa. One earlier proposed explanation for Southeast Asia being a hotbed of resistance has been the hypermutability or "Accelerated Resistance to Multiple Drugs" (ARMD) phenotype, whereby multidrug-resistant Southeast Asian parasites were reported to exhibit 1,000-fold higher rates of resistance to unrelated antimalarial agents when compared to drug-sensitive parasites. However, three recent studies do not recapitulate this hypermutability phenotype. Intriguingly, genome sequencing of recently derived multidrug-resistant Cambodian isolates has identified a high proportion of DNA repair gene mutations in multidrug-resistant parasites, suggesting their potential role in shaping local parasite evolution. By adapting fluctuation assays for use in P. falciparum, we have examined the in vitro mutation rates of five recent Cambodian isolates and three reference laboratory strains. For these studies we also generated a knockout parasite line lacking the DNA repair factor Exonuclease I. In these assays, parasites were typed for their ability to acquire resistance to KAE609, currently in advanced clinical trials, yielding 13 novel mutations in the Na+/H+-ATPase PfATP4, the primary resistance determinant. We observed no evidence of hypermutability. Instead, we found evidence of a mild mutator (up to a 3.4-fold increase in mutation rate) phenotype in two artemisinin-resistant Cambodian isolates, which carry DNA repair gene mutations. We observed that one such mutation in the Mismatch Repair protein Mlh1 contributes to the mild mutator phenotype when modeled in yeast (scmlh1-P157S). Compared to basal rates of mutation, a mild mutator phenotype may provide a greater overall benefit for parasites in Southeast Asia in terms of generating drug resistance without incurring

  4. Evidence of a Mild Mutator Phenotype in Cambodian Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Parasites.

    PubMed

    Lee, Andrew H; Fidock, David A

    2016-01-01

    Malaria control efforts have been continuously stymied by drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, which typically originate in Southeast Asia prior to spreading into high-transmission settings in Africa. One earlier proposed explanation for Southeast Asia being a hotbed of resistance has been the hypermutability or "Accelerated Resistance to Multiple Drugs" (ARMD) phenotype, whereby multidrug-resistant Southeast Asian parasites were reported to exhibit 1,000-fold higher rates of resistance to unrelated antimalarial agents when compared to drug-sensitive parasites. However, three recent studies do not recapitulate this hypermutability phenotype. Intriguingly, genome sequencing of recently derived multidrug-resistant Cambodian isolates has identified a high proportion of DNA repair gene mutations in multidrug-resistant parasites, suggesting their potential role in shaping local parasite evolution. By adapting fluctuation assays for use in P. falciparum, we have examined the in vitro mutation rates of five recent Cambodian isolates and three reference laboratory strains. For these studies we also generated a knockout parasite line lacking the DNA repair factor Exonuclease I. In these assays, parasites were typed for their ability to acquire resistance to KAE609, currently in advanced clinical trials, yielding 13 novel mutations in the Na+/H+-ATPase PfATP4, the primary resistance determinant. We observed no evidence of hypermutability. Instead, we found evidence of a mild mutator (up to a 3.4-fold increase in mutation rate) phenotype in two artemisinin-resistant Cambodian isolates, which carry DNA repair gene mutations. We observed that one such mutation in the Mismatch Repair protein Mlh1 contributes to the mild mutator phenotype when modeled in yeast (scmlh1-P157S). Compared to basal rates of mutation, a mild mutator phenotype may provide a greater overall benefit for parasites in Southeast Asia in terms of generating drug resistance without incurring

  5. Evidence of a Mild Mutator Phenotype in Cambodian Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Andrew H.; Fidock, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Malaria control efforts have been continuously stymied by drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, which typically originate in Southeast Asia prior to spreading into high-transmission settings in Africa. One earlier proposed explanation for Southeast Asia being a hotbed of resistance has been the hypermutability or “Accelerated Resistance to Multiple Drugs” (ARMD) phenotype, whereby multidrug-resistant Southeast Asian parasites were reported to exhibit 1,000-fold higher rates of resistance to unrelated antimalarial agents when compared to drug-sensitive parasites. However, three recent studies do not recapitulate this hypermutability phenotype. Intriguingly, genome sequencing of recently derived multidrug-resistant Cambodian isolates has identified a high proportion of DNA repair gene mutations in multidrug-resistant parasites, suggesting their potential role in shaping local parasite evolution. By adapting fluctuation assays for use in P. falciparum, we have examined the in vitro mutation rates of five recent Cambodian isolates and three reference laboratory strains. For these studies we also generated a knockout parasite line lacking the DNA repair factor Exonuclease I. In these assays, parasites were typed for their ability to acquire resistance to KAE609, currently in advanced clinical trials, yielding 13 novel mutations in the Na+/H+-ATPase PfATP4, the primary resistance determinant. We observed no evidence of hypermutability. Instead, we found evidence of a mild mutator (up to a 3.4-fold increase in mutation rate) phenotype in two artemisinin-resistant Cambodian isolates, which carry DNA repair gene mutations. We observed that one such mutation in the Mismatch Repair protein Mlh1 contributes to the mild mutator phenotype when modeled in yeast (scmlh1-P157S). Compared to basal rates of mutation, a mild mutator phenotype may provide a greater overall benefit for parasites in Southeast Asia in terms of generating drug resistance without incurring

  6. Definition of an electronic profile of compounds with inhibitory activity against hematin aggregation in malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Portela, César; Afonso, Carlos M M; Pinto, Madalena M M; Ramos, Maria João

    2004-06-15

    Malaria is one of the most important parasitic diseases, affecting almost half of the world and posing a threat to the other half. Xanthone derivatives can behave as antimalarial drugs in the same mechanistic way as chloroquine and other related quinolines. This action is due to the inhibition of the detoxification pathway of the parasite, responsible for the production of hemozoin. We report a study of the electronic properties of the xanthonic and quinolinic compounds based on DFT calculations, in order to determine a pattern that could be applied to the development of new potentially active antimalarial molecules. As a result, a new interpretation of structure-activity relationship of the quinoline antimalarial drugs, and of the active hydroxylated xanthones is proposed here. We conclude that electronic features rather than steric factors control primarily the inhibitory activity of the studied compounds against hematin aggregation, concurring to a potential antimalarial activity.

  7. Plasmodium falciparum STEVOR phosphorylation regulates host erythrocyte deformability enabling malaria parasite transmission.

    PubMed

    Naissant, Bernina; Dupuy, Florian; Duffier, Yoann; Lorthiois, Audrey; Duez, Julien; Scholz, Judith; Buffet, Pierre; Merckx, Anais; Bachmann, Anna; Lavazec, Catherine

    2016-06-16

    Deformability of Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte-infected erythrocytes (GIEs) allows them to persist for several days in blood circulation and to ensure transmission to mosquitoes. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which the parasite proteins STEVOR (SubTElomeric Variable Open Reading frame) exert changes on GIE deformability. Using the microsphiltration method, immunoprecipitation, and mass spectrometry, we produce evidence that GIE stiffness is dependent on the cytoplasmic domain of STEVOR that interacts with ankyrin complex at the erythrocyte skeleton. Moreover, we show that GIE deformability is regulated by protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of the STEVOR C-terminal domain at a specific serine residue (S324). Finally, we show that the increase of GIE stiffness induced by sildenafil (Viagra) is dependent on STEVOR phosphorylation status and on another independent mechanism. These data provide new insights into mechanisms by which phosphodiesterase inhibitors may block malaria parasite transmission. PMID:27136945

  8. Plasmodium falciparum STEVOR phosphorylation regulates host erythrocyte deformability enabling malaria parasite transmission.

    PubMed

    Naissant, Bernina; Dupuy, Florian; Duffier, Yoann; Lorthiois, Audrey; Duez, Julien; Scholz, Judith; Buffet, Pierre; Merckx, Anais; Bachmann, Anna; Lavazec, Catherine

    2016-06-16

    Deformability of Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte-infected erythrocytes (GIEs) allows them to persist for several days in blood circulation and to ensure transmission to mosquitoes. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which the parasite proteins STEVOR (SubTElomeric Variable Open Reading frame) exert changes on GIE deformability. Using the microsphiltration method, immunoprecipitation, and mass spectrometry, we produce evidence that GIE stiffness is dependent on the cytoplasmic domain of STEVOR that interacts with ankyrin complex at the erythrocyte skeleton. Moreover, we show that GIE deformability is regulated by protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of the STEVOR C-terminal domain at a specific serine residue (S324). Finally, we show that the increase of GIE stiffness induced by sildenafil (Viagra) is dependent on STEVOR phosphorylation status and on another independent mechanism. These data provide new insights into mechanisms by which phosphodiesterase inhibitors may block malaria parasite transmission.

  9. Inhibition of the growth and development of asexual and sexual stages of drug-sensitive and resistant strains of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum by Neem (Azadirachta indica) fractions.

    PubMed

    Dhar, R; Zhang, K; Talwar, G P; Garg, S; Kumar, N

    1998-05-01

    Neem (Azadirachta indica) has been shown to possess anti-malarial activity. In this study we systematically evaluated extracts of neem seeds and purified fractions further enriched in polar or non-polar constituents for their effect on in vitro growth and development of asexual and sexual stages of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Use of synchronized stages of parasites suggested trophozoites/schizonts as the susceptible target stages to various neem extracts. In addition, all the maturation stages of gametocytes were also killed by various neem fractions tested. The anti-plasmodial effect of neem components was also observed on parasites previously shown to be resistant to other anti-malarial drugs, i.e. chloroquine and pyrimethamine suggesting a different mode of action. Neem seed fractions are thus active not only against the parasite stages that cause the clinical infection but also against the stages responsible for continued malaria transmission. PMID:9687079

  10. Infectivity of Plasmodium falciparum in Malaria-Naive Individuals Is Related to Knob Expression and Cytoadherence of the Parasite.

    PubMed

    Stanisic, Danielle I; Gerrard, John; Fink, James; Griffin, Paul M; Liu, Xue Q; Sundac, Lana; Sekuloski, Silvana; Rodriguez, Ingrid B; Pingnet, Jolien; Yang, Yuedong; Zhou, Yaoqi; Trenholme, Katharine R; Wang, Claire Y T; Hackett, Hazel; Chan, Jo-Anne A; Langer, Christine; Hanssen, Eric; Hoffman, Stephen L; Beeson, James G; McCarthy, James S; Good, Michael F

    2016-09-01

    Plasmodium falciparum is the most virulent human malaria parasite because of its ability to cytoadhere in the microvasculature. Nonhuman primate studies demonstrated relationships among knob expression, cytoadherence, and infectivity. This has not been examined in humans. Cultured clinical-grade P. falciparum parasites (NF54, 7G8, and 3D7B) and ex vivo-derived cell banks were characterized. Knob and knob-associated histidine-rich protein expression, CD36 adhesion, and antibody recognition of parasitized erythrocytes (PEs) were evaluated. Parasites from the cell banks were administered to malaria-naive human volunteers to explore infectivity. For the NF54 and 3D7B cell banks, blood was collected from the study participants for in vitro characterization. All parasites were infective in vivo However, infectivity of NF54 was dramatically reduced. In vitro characterization revealed that unlike other cell bank parasites, NF54 PEs lacked knobs and did not cytoadhere. Recognition of NF54 PEs by immune sera was observed, suggesting P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 expression. Subsequent recovery of knob expression and CD36-mediated adhesion were observed in PEs derived from participants infected with NF54. Knobless cell bank parasites have a dramatic reduction in infectivity and the ability to adhere to CD36. Subsequent infection of malaria-naive volunteers restored knob expression and CD36-mediated cytoadherence, thereby showing that the human environment can modulate virulence.

  11. Dynamic Structure and Inhibition of a Malaria Drug Target: Geranylgeranyl Diphosphate Synthase.

    PubMed

    G Ricci, Clarisse; Liu, Yi-Liang; Zhang, Yonghui; Wang, Yang; Zhu, Wei; Oldfield, Eric; McCammon, J Andrew

    2016-09-13

    We report a molecular dynamics investigation of the structure, function, and inhibition of geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (GGPPS), a potential drug target, from the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax. We discovered several GGPPS inhibitors, benzoic acids, and determined their structures crystallographically. We then used molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the dynamics of three such inhibitors and two bisphosphonate inhibitors, zoledronate and a lipophilic analogue of zoledronate, as well as the enzyme's product, GGPP. We were able to identify the main motions that govern substrate binding and product release as well as the molecular features required for GGPPS inhibition by both classes of inhibitor. The results are of broad general interest because they represent the first detailed investigation of the mechanism of action, and inhibition, of an important antimalarial drug target, geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase, and may help guide the development of other, novel inhibitors as new drug leads. PMID:27564465

  12. Parasite sources and sinks in a patched Ross-Macdonald malaria model with human and mosquito movement: Implications for control.

    PubMed

    Ruktanonchai, Nick W; Smith, David L; De Leenheer, Patrick

    2016-09-01

    We consider the dynamics of a mosquito-transmitted pathogen in a multi-patch Ross-Macdonald malaria model with mobile human hosts, mobile vectors, and a heterogeneous environment. We show the existence of a globally stable steady state, and a threshold that determines whether a pathogen is either absent from all patches, or endemic and present at some level in all patches. Each patch is characterized by a local basic reproduction number, whose value predicts whether the disease is cleared or not when the patch is isolated: patches are known as "demographic sinks" if they have a local basic reproduction number less than one, and hence would clear the disease if isolated; patches with a basic reproduction number above one would sustain endemic infection in isolation, and become "demographic sources" of parasites when connected to other patches. Sources are also considered focal areas of transmission for the larger landscape, as they export excess parasites to other areas and can sustain parasite populations. We show how to determine the various basic reproduction numbers from steady state estimates in the patched network and knowledge of additional model parameters, hereby identifying parasite sources in the process. This is useful in the context of control of the infection on natural landscapes, because a commonly suggested strategy is to target focal areas, in order to make their corresponding basic reproduction numbers less than one, effectively turning them into sinks. We show that this is indeed a successful control strategy-albeit a conservative and possibly expensive one-in case either the human host, or the vector does not move. However, we also show that when both humans and vectors move, this strategy may fail, depending on the specific movement patterns exhibited by hosts and vectors. PMID:27436636

  13. Pooled sequencing and rare variant association tests for identifying the determinants of emerging drug resistance in malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Cheeseman, Ian H; McDew-White, Marina; Phyo, Aung Pyae; Sriprawat, Kanlaya; Nosten, François; Anderson, Timothy J C

    2015-04-01

    We explored the potential of pooled sequencing to swiftly and economically identify selective sweeps due to emerging artemisinin (ART) resistance in a South-East Asian malaria parasite population. ART resistance is defined by slow parasite clearance from the blood of ART-treated patients and mutations in the kelch gene (chr. 13) have been strongly implicated to play a role. We constructed triplicate pools of 70 slow-clearing (resistant) and 70 fast-clearing (sensitive) infections collected from the Thai-Myanmar border and sequenced these to high (∼ 150-fold) read depth. Allele frequency estimates from pools showed almost perfect correlation (Lin's concordance = 0.98) with allele frequencies at 93 single nucleotide polymorphisms measured directly from individual infections, giving us confidence in the accuracy of this approach. By mapping genome-wide divergence (FST) between pools of drug-resistant and drug-sensitive parasites, we identified two large (>150 kb) regions (on chrs. 13 and 14) and 17 smaller candidate genome regions. To identify individual genes within these genome regions, we resequenced an additional 38 parasite genomes (16 slow and 22 fast-clearing) and performed rare variant association tests. These confirmed kelch as a major molecular marker for ART resistance (P = 6.03 × 10(-6)). This two-tier approach is powerful because pooled sequencing rapidly narrows down genome regions of interest, while targeted rare variant association testing within these regions can pinpoint the genetic basis of resistance. We show that our approach is robust to recurrent mutation and the generation of soft selective sweeps, which are predicted to be common in pathogen populations with large effective population sizes, and may confound more traditional gene mapping approaches. PMID:25534029

  14. Pooled Sequencing and Rare Variant Association Tests for Identifying the Determinants of Emerging Drug Resistance in Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Cheeseman, Ian H.; McDew-White, Marina; Phyo, Aung Pyae; Sriprawat, Kanlaya; Nosten, François; Anderson, Timothy J.C.

    2015-01-01

    We explored the potential of pooled sequencing to swiftly and economically identify selective sweeps due to emerging artemisinin (ART) resistance in a South-East Asian malaria parasite population. ART resistance is defined by slow parasite clearance from the blood of ART-treated patients and mutations in the kelch gene (chr. 13) have been strongly implicated to play a role. We constructed triplicate pools of 70 slow-clearing (resistant) and 70 fast-clearing (sensitive) infections collected from the Thai–Myanmar border and sequenced these to high (∼150-fold) read depth. Allele frequency estimates from pools showed almost perfect correlation (Lin’s concordance = 0.98) with allele frequencies at 93 single nucleotide polymorphisms measured directly from individual infections, giving us confidence in the accuracy of this approach. By mapping genome-wide divergence (FST) between pools of drug-resistant and drug-sensitive parasites, we identified two large (>150 kb) regions (on chrs. 13 and 14) and 17 smaller candidate genome regions. To identify individual genes within these genome regions, we resequenced an additional 38 parasite genomes (16 slow and 22 fast-clearing) and performed rare variant association tests. These confirmed kelch as a major molecular marker for ART resistance (P = 6.03 × 10−6). This two-tier approach is powerful because pooled sequencing rapidly narrows down genome regions of interest, while targeted rare variant association testing within these regions can pinpoint the genetic basis of resistance. We show that our approach is robust to recurrent mutation and the generation of soft selective sweeps, which are predicted to be common in pathogen populations with large effective population sizes, and may confound more traditional gene mapping approaches. PMID:25534029

  15. A Mechanism for Actin Filament Severing by Malaria Parasite Actin Depolymerizing Factor 1 via a Low Affinity Binding Interface*

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Wilson; Webb, Andrew I.; Olshina, Maya A.; Infusini, Giuseppe; Tan, Yan Hong; Hanssen, Eric; Catimel, Bruno; Suarez, Cristian; Condron, Melanie; Angrisano, Fiona; NebI, Thomas; Kovar, David R.; Baum, Jake

    2014-01-01

    Actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilins are essential regulators of actin turnover in eukaryotic cells. These multifunctional proteins facilitate both stabilization and severing of filamentous (F)-actin in a concentration-dependent manner. At high concentrations ADF/cofilins bind stably to F-actin longitudinally between two adjacent actin protomers forming what is called a decorative interaction. Low densities of ADF/cofilins, in contrast, result in the optimal severing of the filament. To date, how these two contrasting modalities are achieved by the same protein remains uncertain. Here, we define the proximate amino acids between the actin filament and the malaria parasite ADF/cofilin, PfADF1 from Plasmodium falciparum. PfADF1 is unique among ADF/cofilins in being able to sever F-actin but do so without stable filament binding. Using chemical cross-linking and mass spectrometry (XL-MS) combined with structure reconstruction we describe a previously overlooked binding interface on the actin filament targeted by PfADF1. This site is distinct from the known binding site that defines decoration. Furthermore, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy imaging of single actin filaments confirms that this novel low affinity site is required for F-actin severing. Exploring beyond malaria parasites, selective blocking of the decoration site with human cofilin (HsCOF1) using cytochalasin D increases its severing rate. HsCOF1 may therefore also use a decoration-independent site for filament severing. Thus our data suggest that a second, low affinity actin-binding site may be universally used by ADF/cofilins for actin filament severing. PMID:24371134

  16. The role of palmitoylation for protein recruitment to the inner membrane complex of the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, Johanna; Herrmann, Susann; Swapna, Lakshmipuram Seshadri; Prusty, Dhaneswar; John Peter, Arun T; Kono, Maya; Saini, Sidharth; Nellimarla, Srinivas; Wong, Tatianna Wai Ying; Wilcke, Louisa; Ramsay, Olivia; Cabrera, Ana; Biller, Laura; Heincke, Dorothee; Mossman, Karen; Spielmann, Tobias; Ungermann, Christian; Parkinson, John; Gilberger, Tim W

    2015-01-16

    To survive and persist within its human host, the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum utilizes a battery of lineage-specific innovations to invade and multiply in human erythrocytes. With central roles in invasion and cytokinesis, the inner membrane complex, a Golgi-derived double membrane structure underlying the plasma membrane of the parasite, represents a unique and unifying structure characteristic to all organisms belonging to a large phylogenetic group called Alveolata. More than 30 structurally and phylogenetically distinct proteins are embedded in the IMC, where a portion of these proteins displays N-terminal acylation motifs. Although N-terminal myristoylation is catalyzed co-translationally within the cytoplasm of the parasite, palmitoylation takes place at membranes and is mediated by palmitoyl acyltransferases (PATs). Here, we identify a PAT (PfDHHC1) that is exclusively localized to the IMC. Systematic phylogenetic analysis of the alveolate PAT family reveals PfDHHC1 to be a member of a highly conserved, apicomplexan-specific clade of PATs. We show that during schizogony this enzyme has an identical distribution like two dual-acylated, IMC-localized proteins (PfISP1 and PfISP3). We used these proteins to probe into specific sequence requirements for IMC-specific membrane recruitment and their interaction with differentially localized PATs of the parasite.

  17. Manipulation of the vertebrate host's testosterone does not affect gametocyte sex ratio of a malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Osgood, Sarah M; Eisen, Rebecca J; Wargo, Andrew R; Schall, Jos J

    2003-02-01

    Gametocyte sex ratio of the malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum is variable in its host, the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), both among infections and within infections over time. We sought to determine the effect of host physiological quality on the gametocyte sex ratio in experimentally induced infections of P. mexicanum. Adult male lizards were assigned to 4 treatment groups: castrated, castrated + testosterone implant, sham implant, and unmanipulated control. No significant difference in gametocyte sex ratio was found among the 4 treatment groups. Two other analyses were performed. A surgery stress analysis compared infection sex ratio of castrated, castrated + testosterone implant, and sham implant groups with the unmanipulated control group. A testosterone alteration analysis compared infection sex ratio of the castrated and castrated + testosterone implant groups with the sham implant and unmanipulated control groups. Again, no significant difference was observed for these 2 comparisons. Thus, physiological changes expected for experimentally induced variation in host testosterone and the stress of surgery were not associated with any change in the gametocyte sex ratio. Also, theex-periment suggests testosterone is not a cue for shaping the sex ratio of gametocytes in P. mexicanum. These results are related to the evolutionary theory of sex ratios as applied to malaria parasites. PMID:12659329

  18. cAMP-Signalling Regulates Gametocyte-Infected Erythrocyte Deformability Required for Malaria Parasite Transmission

    PubMed Central

    Thompson, Eloise; Breil, Florence; Lorthiois, Audrey; Dupuy, Florian; Cummings, Ross; Duffier, Yoann; Corbett, Yolanda; Mercereau-Puijalon, Odile; Vernick, Kenneth; Taramelli, Donatella; Baker, David A.; Langsley, Gordon; Lavazec, Catherine

    2015-01-01

    Blocking Plasmodium falciparum transmission to mosquitoes has been designated a strategic objective in the global agenda of malaria elimination. Transmission is ensured by gametocyte-infected erythrocytes (GIE) that sequester in the bone marrow and at maturation are released into peripheral blood from where they are taken up during a mosquito blood meal. Release into the blood circulation is accompanied by an increase in GIE deformability that allows them to pass through the spleen. Here, we used a microsphere matrix to mimic splenic filtration and investigated the role of cAMP-signalling in regulating GIE deformability. We demonstrated that mature GIE deformability is dependent on reduced cAMP-signalling and on increased phosphodiesterase expression in stage V gametocytes, and that parasite cAMP-dependent kinase activity contributes to the stiffness of immature gametocytes. Importantly, pharmacological agents that raise cAMP levels in transmissible stage V gametocytes render them less deformable and hence less likely to circulate through the spleen. Therefore, phosphodiesterase inhibitors that raise cAMP levels in P. falciparum infected erythrocytes, such as sildenafil, represent new candidate drugs to block transmission of malaria parasites. PMID:25951195

  19. Translational repression of the cpw-wpc gene family in the malaria parasite Plasmodium.

    PubMed

    Rao, Pavitra N; Santos, Jorge M; Pain, Arnab; Templeton, Thomas J; Mair, Gunnar R

    2016-10-01

    The technical challenges of working with the sexual stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium have hindered the characterization of sexual stage antigens in the quest for a successful malaria transmission-blocking vaccine. One such predicted and largely uncharacterized group of sexual stage candidate antigens is the CPW-WPC family of proteins. CPW-WPC proteins are named for a characteristic domain that contains two conserved motifs, CPxxW and WPC. Conserved across Apicomplexa, this family is also present earlier in the Alveolata in the free-living, non-parasitophorous, photosynthetic chromerids, Chromera and Vitrella. In Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei blood stage parasites, the transcripts of all nine cpw-wpc genes have been detected in gametocytes. RNA immunoprecipitation followed by reverse transcriptase-PCR reveals all P. berghei cpw-wpc transcripts to be bound by the translational repressors DOZI and CITH, and thus are likely under translational control prior to transmission from the rodent host to the mosquito vector in P. berghei. The GFP tagging of two endogenous P. berghei genes confirmed translational silencing in the gametocyte and translation in ookinetes. By establishing a luciferase transgene assay, we show that the 3' untranslated region of PF3D7_1331400 controls protein expression of this reporter in P. falciparum gametocytes. Our analyses suggest that cpw-wpc genes are translationally silenced in gametocytes across Plasmodium spp. and activated during ookinete formation and thus may have a role in transmission to the mosquito.

  20. Selective killing of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum by a benzylthiazolium dye.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Jane X; Winter, Rolf W; Braun, Theodore P; Osei-Agyemang, Myralyn; Hinrichs, David J; Riscoe, Michael K

    2007-06-01

    Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. The most virulent form of the disease is caused by Plasmodium falciparum which infects hundreds of millions of people and is responsible for the deaths of 1-2 million individuals each year. An essential part of the parasitic process is the remodeling of the red blood cell membrane and its protein constituents to permit a higher flux of nutrients and waste products into or away from the intracellular parasite. Much of this increased permeability is due to a single type of broad specificity channel variously called the new permeation pathway (NPP), the nutrient channel, and the Plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC). This channel is permeable to a range of low molecular weight solutes both charged and uncharged, with a strong preference for anions. Drugs such as furosemide that are known to block anion-selective channels inhibit PSAC. In this study, we have investigated a dye known as benzothiocarboxypurine, BCP, which had been studied as a possible diagnostic aid given its selective uptake by P. falciparum infected red cells. We found that the dye enters parasitized red cells via the furosemide-inhibitable PSAC, forms a brightly fluorescent complex with parasite nucleic acids, and is selectively toxic to infected cells. Our study describes an antimalarial agent that exploits the altered permeability of Plasmodium-infected red cells as a means to killing the parasite and highlights a chemical reagent that may prove useful in high throughput screening of compounds for inhibitors of the channel.

  1. Selective Killing of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum by a Benzylthiazolium dye

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Jane X.; Winter, Rolf W.; Braun, Theodore P.; Osei-Agyemang, Myralyn; Hinrichs, David J.; Riscoe, Michael K.

    2007-01-01

    Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. The most virulent form of the disease is caused by P. falciparum which infects hundreds of millions of people and is responsible for the deaths of 1 to 2 million individuals each year. An essential part of the parasitic process is the remodeling of the red blood cell membrane and its protein constituents to permit a higher flux of nutrients and waste products into or away from the intracellular parasite. Much of this increased permeability is due to a single type of broad specificity channel variously called the new permeation pathway (NPP), the nutrient channel, and the Plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC). This channel is permeable to a range of low molecular weight solutes both charged and uncharged, with a strong preference for anions. Drugs such as furosemide that are known to block anion-selective channels inhibit PSAC. In this study we have investigated a dye known as benzothiocarboxypurine, BCP, which had been studied as a possible diagnostic aid given its selective uptake by P. falciparum infected red cells. We found that the dye enters parasitized red cells via the furosemide-inhibitable PSAC, forms a brightly fluorescent complex with parasite nucleic acids, and is selectively toxic to infected cells. Our study describes an antimalarial agent that exploits the altered permeability of Plasmodium-infected red cells as a means to killing the parasite and highlights a chemical reagent that may prove useful in high throughput screening of compounds for inhibitors of the channel. PMID:17266952

  2. The Impact of Hotspot-Targeted Interventions on Malaria Transmission in Rachuonyo South District in the Western Kenyan Highlands: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, John; Knight, Philip; Stone, William; Osoti, Victor; Makori, Euniah; Owaga, Chrispin; Odongo, Wycliffe; China, Pauline; Shagari, Shehu; Doumbo, Ogobara K.; Sauerwein, Robert W.; Kariuki, Simon; Drakeley, Chris; Stevenson, Jennifer; Cox, Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Background Malaria transmission is highly heterogeneous, generating malaria hotspots that can fuel malaria transmission across a wider area. Targeting hotspots may represent an efficacious strategy for reducing malaria transmission. We determined the impact of interventions targeted to serologically defined malaria hotspots on malaria transmission both inside hotspots and in surrounding communities. Methods and Findings Twenty-seven serologically defined malaria hotspots were detected in a survey conducted from 24 June to 31 July 2011 that included 17,503 individuals from 3,213 compounds in a 100-km2 area in Rachuonyo South District, Kenya. In a cluster-randomized trial from 22 March to 15 April 2012, we randomly allocated five clusters to hotspot-targeted interventions with larviciding, distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, and focal mass drug administration (2,082 individuals in 432 compounds); five control clusters received malaria control following Kenyan national policy (2,468 individuals in 512 compounds). Our primary outcome measure was parasite prevalence in evaluation zones up to 500 m outside hotspots, determined by nested PCR (nPCR) at baseline and 8 wk (16 June–6 July 2012) and 16 wk (21 August–10 September 2012) post-intervention by technicians blinded to the intervention arm. Secondary outcome measures were parasite prevalence inside hotpots, parasite prevalence in the evaluation zone as a function of distance from the hotspot boundary, Anopheles mosquito density, mosquito breeding site productivity, malaria incidence by passive case detection, and the safety and acceptability of the interventions. Intervention coverage exceeded 87% for all interventions. Hotspot-targeted interventions did not result in a change in nPCR parasite prevalence outside hotspot boundaries (p ≥ 0.187). We observed an average reduction in nPCR parasite prevalence of 10.2% (95% CI −1.3 to 21.7%) inside hotspots 8 wk post

  3. On the diversity of malaria parasites in African apes and the origin of Plasmodium falciparum from Bonobos.

    PubMed

    Krief, Sabrina; Escalante, Ananias A; Pacheco, M Andreina; Mugisha, Lawrence; André, Claudine; Halbwax, Michel; Fischer, Anne; Krief, Jean-Michel; Kasenene, John M; Crandfield, Mike; Cornejo, Omar E; Chavatte, Jean-Marc; Lin, Clara; Letourneur, Franck; Grüner, Anne Charlotte; McCutchan, Thomas F; Rénia, Laurent; Snounou, Georges

    2010-02-12

    The origin of Plasmodium falciparum, the etiological agent of the most dangerous forms of human malaria, remains controversial. Although investigations of homologous parasites in African Apes are crucial to resolve this issue, studies have been restricted to a chimpanzee parasite related to P. falciparum, P. reichenowi, for which a single isolate was available until very recently. Using PCR amplification, we detected Plasmodium parasites in blood samples from 18 of 91 individuals of the genus Pan, including six chimpanzees (three Pan troglodytes troglodytes, three Pan t. schweinfurthii) and twelve bonobos (Pan paniscus). We obtained sequences of the parasites' mitochondrial genomes and/or from two nuclear genes from 14 samples. In addition to P. reichenowi, three other hitherto unknown lineages were found in the chimpanzees. One is related to P. vivax and two to P. falciparum that are likely to belong to distinct species. In the bonobos we found P. falciparum parasites whose mitochondrial genomes indicated that they were distinct from those present in humans, and another parasite lineage related to P. malariae. Phylogenetic analyses based on this diverse set of Plasmodium parasites in African Apes shed new light on the evolutionary history of P. falciparum. The data suggested that P. falciparum did not originate from P. reichenowi of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), but rather evolved in bonobos (Pan paniscus), from which it subsequently colonized humans by a host-switch. Finally, our data and that of others indicated that chimpanzees and bonobos maintain malaria parasites, to which humans are susceptible, a factor of some relevance to the renewed efforts to eradicate malaria.

  4. Hematin−Hematin Self-Association States Involved in the Formation and Reactivity of the Malaria Parasite Pigment, Hemozoin

    SciTech Connect

    Klonis, Nectarios; Dilanian, Ruben; Hanssen, Eric; Darmanin, Connie; Streltsov, Victor; Deed, Samantha; Quiney, Harry; Tilley, Leann

    2010-10-22

    The malaria parasite pigment, hemozoin, is a crystal of ferriprotoporphyrin IX (FP-Fe(III)), a product of hemoglobin digestion. Hemozoin formation is essential for FP-Fe(III) detoxification in the parasite; it is the main target of quinoline antimalarials and can modulate immune and inflammation responses. To gain further insight into the likely mechanisms of crystal formation and hemozoin reactivity, we have reanalyzed the crystal structure data for {beta}-hematin and solved the crystal structure of Plasmodium falciparum hemozoin. The analysis reveals that the structures are very similar and highlights two previously unexplored modes of FP-Fe(III) self-association involving {pi}-{pi} interactions that may initiate crystal formation and help to stabilize the extended structure. Hemozoin can be considered to be a crystal composed of {pi}-{pi} dimers stabilized by iron-carboxylate linkages. As a result, it is predicted that two surfaces of the crystal would consist of {pi}-{pi} dimers with Fe(III) partly exposed to solvent and capable of undergoing redox reactions. Accordingly, we demonstrate that the crystal possesses both general peroxidase activity and the ability to cause lipid oxidation.

  5. Regulatory Elements within the Prodomain of Falcipain-2, a Cysteine Protease of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Pandey, Kailash C.; Barkan, David T.; Sali, Andrej; Rosenthal, Philip J.

    2009-01-01

    Falcipain-2, a papain family cysteine protease of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, plays a key role in parasite hydrolysis of hemoglobin and is a potential chemotherapeutic target. As with many proteases, falcipain-2 is synthesized as a zymogen, and the prodomain inhibits activity of the mature enzyme. To investigate the mechanism of regulation of falcipain-2 by its prodomain, we expressed constructs encoding different portions of the prodomain and tested their ability to inhibit recombinant mature falcipain-2. We identified a C-terminal segment (Leu155–Asp243) of the prodomain, including two motifs (ERFNIN and GNFD) that are conserved in cathepsin L sub-family papain family proteases, as the mediator of prodomain inhibitory activity. Circular dichroism analysis showed that the prodomain including the C-terminal segment, but not constructs lacking this segment, was rich in secondary structure, suggesting that the segment plays a crucial role in protein folding. The falcipain-2 prodomain also efficiently inhibited other papain family proteases, including cathepsin K, cathepsin L, cathepsin B, and cruzain, but it did not inhibit cathepsin C or tested proteases of other classes. A structural model of pro-falcipain-2 was constructed by homology modeling based on crystallographic structures of mature falcipain-2, procathepsin K, procathepsin L, and procaricain, offering insights into the nature of the interaction between the prodomain and mature domain of falcipain-2 as well as into the broad specificity of inhibitory activity of the falcipain-2 prodomain. PMID:19479029

  6. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Co-Infection Increases Placental Parasite Density and Transplacental Malaria Transmission in Western Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Perrault, Steven D.; Hajek, Jan; Zhong, Kathleen; Owino, Simon O.; Sichangi, Moses; Smith, Geoffrey; Shi, Ya Ping; Moore, Julie M.; Kain, Kevin C.

    2009-01-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 adversely interact in the context of pregnancy, however little is known regarding the influence of co-infection on the risk of congenital malaria. We aimed to determine the prevalence of placental and congenital malaria and impact of HIV co-infection on transplacental malaria transmission in 157 parturient women and their infants by microscopy and by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in western Kenya. The prevalence of placental and cord blood infections were 17.2% and 0% by microscopy, and 33.1% and 10.8% by PCR. HIV co-infection w as associated with a significant increase in placental parasite density (P < 0.05). Cord blood malaria prevalence was increased in co-infected women (odds ratio [OR] = 5.42; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.90–15.47) and correlated with placental parasite density (OR = 2.57; 95% CI = 1.80–3.67). A 1-log increase in placental monocyte count was associated with increased risk of congenital infection (P = 0.001) (OR = 48.15; 95% CI = 4.59–505.50). The HIV co-infected women have a significantly increased burden of placental malaria that increases the risk of congenital infection. PMID:19141849

  7. Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles from Botanical Sources and Their Use for Control of Medical Insects and Malaria Parasites

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The use of "green" processes for the synthesis of nanoparticles is a new branch of nanotechnology. However, knowledge of the bioactivity of nanoparticles against mosquitoes and malaria parasites is limited. We tested silver nanoparticles (average size 450 nm) bio-reduced in 5% Cassia occidentalis ...

  8. A simple, efficient and inexpensive method for malaria parasites' DNA catching from fixed Giemsa-stained blood slides.

    PubMed

    Eskandarian, Abbas Ali; Moradi, Sara; Abedi, Saeed

    2016-09-01

    As parasitological or microscopic method is the gold standard and the best method for diagnosis of malaria, so fixed Geimsa-stained blood slides in the form of thick and thin blood smears are the most important data collections of malaria, especially historical slides. The parasites are dead but their DNA is valuable for many molecular biologic researches. A simple and efficient method for catching and extraction malaria parasites' DNA with a desired yield from dried and stained blood on slides is the first and major step. Introduction of an applicable, efficient and inexpensive DNA catching method and assessment of its performance in following molecular applications  was the main objective of present study. PMID:27605792

  9. Endoplasmic Reticulum PI(3)P lipid binding targets malaria proteins to the host cell

    PubMed Central

    Bhattacharjee, Souvik; Stahelin, Robert V.; Speicher, Kaye D.; Speicher, David W.; Haldar, Kasturi

    2011-01-01

    SUMMARY Hundreds of effector proteins of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum constitute a `secretome', carrying a host-targeting (HT) signal, which predicts their export from the intracellular pathogen into the surrounding erythrocyte. Cleavage of the HT signal by a parasite endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protease, plasmepsin V, is the proposed export mechanism. Here we show that the HT signal exports by recognition of the lipid phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI(3)P) in the ER, prior to and independent of protease action. Secretome HT signals, including those of major virulence determinants bind PI(3)P with nanomolar affinity and amino acid specificities displayed by HT-mediated export. PI(3)P-enriched regions are detected within the parasite's ER, co-localize with endogenous HT signal on ER precursors, which also display high affinity binding to PI(3)P. A related, pathogenic oomycete's HT signal export is dependent on PI(3)P binding, without cleavage by plasmepsin V. Thus PI(3)P in the ER functions in mechanisms of secretion and pathogenesis. PMID:22265412

  10. The Clp Chaperones and Proteases of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    SciTech Connect

    Bakkouri, Majida El; Pow, Andre; Mulichak, Anne; Cheung, Kevin L.Y.; Artz, Jennifer D.; Amani, Mehrnaz; Fell, Stuart; de Koning-Ward, Tania F.; Goodman, C. Dean; McFadden, Geoffrey I.; Ortega, Joaquin; Hui, Raymond; Houry, Walid A.

    2015-02-09

    The Clp chaperones and proteases play an important role in protein homeostasis in the cell. They are highly conserved across prokaryotes and found also in the mitochondria of eukaryotes and the chloroplasts of plants. They function mainly in the disaggregation, unfolding and degradation of native as well as misfolded proteins. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the Clp chaperones and proteases in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The parasite contains four Clp ATPases, which we term PfClpB1, PfClpB2, PfClpC and PfClpM. One PfClpP, the proteolytic subunit, and one PfClpR, which is an inactive version of the protease, were also identified. Expression of all Clp chaperones and proteases was confirmed in blood-stage parasites. The proteins were localized to the apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic organelle that accommodates several important metabolic pathways in P. falciparum, with the exception of PfClpB2 (also known as Hsp101), which was found in the parasitophorous vacuole. Both PfClpP and PfClpR form mostly homoheptameric rings as observed by size-exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy. The X-ray structure of PfClpP showed the protein as a compacted tetradecamer similar to that observed for Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis ClpPs. Our data suggest the presence of a ClpCRP complex in the apicoplast of P. falciparum.

  11. Gametocyte sex ratio of a malaria parasite: experimental test of heritability.

    PubMed

    Osgood, Sarah M; Eisen, Rebecca J; Schall, Jos J

    2002-06-01

    The gametocyte sex ratio of Plasmodium mexicanum, a malaria parasite of western fence lizards, was studied in a modified garden experiment. Each of 6 naturally infected lizards was used to initiate 20 replicate-infections in naive western fence lizards. A significant donor effect was observed for the sex ratios of recipient infections at their maximal parasitemia, and this effect was associated with the sex ratio of the donor infection. In 20 infections in which sex ratio was followed during the course of the infection, 9 revealed constant sex ratios and 11 showed an increase in proportion of males over time. Recipient sex ratio was correlated with another life-history trait, a composite of rate of asexual replication and peak parasitemia, such that higher Rate-Peak scores were associated with infections with less female-biased sex ratios. These results are placed into the context of sex ratio theory that concludes that the degree of selfing of parasite genotypes (number of parasite clones) within the vector will influence the evolution of gametocyte sex ratio. The theory predicts that the sex ratio should be under some genetic control and thus be heritable as observed in the experiment. Clonal diversity should also influence the life-history trait, Rate-Peak, which was found to be correlated with sex ratio. PMID:12099417

  12. Ancient human sialic acid variant restricts an emerging zoonotic malaria parasite

    PubMed Central

    Dankwa, Selasi; Lim, Caeul; Bei, Amy K.; Jiang, Rays H. Y.; Abshire, James R.; Patel, Saurabh D.; Goldberg, Jonathan M.; Moreno, Yovany; Kono, Maya; Niles, Jacquin C.; Duraisingh, Manoj T.

    2016-01-01

    Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonotic parasite transmitted from macaques causing malaria in humans in Southeast Asia. Plasmodium parasites bind to red blood cell (RBC) surface receptors, many of which are sialylated. While macaques synthesize the sialic acid variant N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), humans cannot because of a mutation in the enzyme CMAH that converts N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) to Neu5Gc. Here we reconstitute CMAH in human RBCs for the reintroduction of Neu5Gc, which results in enhancement of P. knowlesi invasion. We show that two P. knowlesi invasion ligands, PkDBPβ and PkDBPγ, bind specifically to Neu5Gc-containing receptors. A human-adapted P. knowlesi line invades human RBCs independently of Neu5Gc, with duplication of the sialic acid-independent invasion ligand, PkDBPα and loss of PkDBPγ. Our results suggest that absence of Neu5Gc on human RBCs limits P. knowlesi invasion, but that parasites may evolve to invade human RBCs through the use of sialic acid-independent pathways. PMID:27041489

  13. Molecular cloning and biochemical characterization of iron superoxide dismutase from the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium vinckei.

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

    Plasmodium parasite utilizes superoxide dismutase family proteins to limit the toxicity of reactive oxygen species, such as produced through hemoglobin degradation. These proteins play an important role in parasite survival during intra-erythrocytic phase. We have identified, and biochemically characterized a putative iron dependent superoxide dismutase from rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium vinckei (PvSOD1). The recombinant PvSOD1 protein was purified to homogeneity through a combination of affinity and gel filtration chromatography. Crosslinking, Native-PAGE and FPLC gel filtration analyses documented that PvSOD1 exists as a dimer in solution, a common feature shared by other Fe-SODs. PvSOD1 is cytosolic in localization and its expression is comparatively higher during trophozoite as compared to that of ring and schizont stages. Enzymatic activity of recombinant PvSOD1 was validated using conventional zymogram analyses and xanthine-xanthine oxidase system. Under optimal conditions, PvSOD1 was highly active and catalyzed the dismutation of superoxide radicals. Furthermore, PvSOD1 showed activity over a broad range of pH and temperature. Inhibition studies suggested that PvSOD1 was inactivated by hydrogen peroxide, and peroxynitrite, but not by cyanide and azide. Since, PvSOD1 plays a central role in oxidative defense mechanism, therefore, characterization of PvSOD1 will be exploited in the screening of new superoxide dismutase inhibitors for their antimalarial activity.

  14. Analysis of short RNAs in the malaria parasite and its red blood cell host.

    PubMed

    Rathjen, Tina; Nicol, Clare; McConkey, Glenn; Dalmay, Tamas

    2006-10-01

    RNA interference (RNAi) is an RNA degradation process that involves short, double-stranded RNAs (dsRNA) as sequence specificity factors. The natural function of the RNAi machinery is to generate endogenous short double-stranded RNAs to regulate gene expression. It has been shown that treatment of Plasmodium falciparum, the etiologic agent of malaria, with dsRNA induces degradation of the corresponding microRNA (miRNA), yet typical RNAi-associated genes have not been identifiable in the parasite genome. To clarify this discrepancy we set out to clone short RNAs from P. falciparum-infected red blood cells and from purified parasites. We did not find any short RNA that was not a rRNA or tRNA fragment. Indeed, only known human miRNAs were isolated in parasite preparations indicating that very few if any short RNAs exist in P. falciparum. This suggests a different mechanism than classical RNAi in observations of dsRNA-mediated degradation. Of the human miRNAs identified, the human miRNA mir-451 accumulates at a very high level in both infected and healthy red blood cells. Interestingly, mir-451 was not detectable in a series of immortalised cell lines representing progenitor stages of all major blood lineages, suggesting that mir-451 may play a role in the differentiation of erythroid cells.

  15. Parasite Sequestration in Plasmodium falciparum Malaria: Spleen and Antibody Modulation of Cytoadherence of Infected Erythrocytes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    David, Peter H.; Hommel, Marcel; Miller, Louis H.; Udeinya, Iroka J.; Oligino, Lynette D.

    1983-08-01

    Sequestration, the adherence of infected erythrocytes containing late developmental stages of the parasite (trophozoites and schizonts) to the endothelium of capillaries and venules, is characteristic of Plasmodium falciparum infections. We have studied two host factors, the spleen and antibody, that influence sequestration of P. falciparum in the squirrel monkey. Sequestration of trophozoite/schizont-infected erythrocytes that occurs in intact animals is reduced in splenectomized animals; in vitro, when infected blood is incubated with monolayers of human melanoma cells, trophozoite/schizont-infected erythrocytes from intact animals but not from splenectomized animals bind to the melanoma cells. The switch in cytoadherence characteristics of the infected erythrocytes from nonbinding to binding occurs with a cloned parasite. Immune serum can inhibit and reverse in vitro binding to melanoma cells of infected erythrocytes from intact animals. Similarly, antibody can reverse in vivo sequestration as shown by the appearance of trophozoite/schizont-infected erythrocytes in the peripheral blood of an intact animal after inoculation with immune serum. These results indicate that the spleen modulates the expression of parasite alterations of the infected erythrocyte membrane responsible for sequestration and suggest that the prevention and reversal of sequestration could be one of the effector mechanisms involved in antibody-mediated protection against P. falciparum malaria.

  16. Targeting protozoan parasite metabolism: glycolytic enzymes in the therapeutic crosshairs.

    PubMed

    Harris, M T; Mitchell, W G; Morris, J C

    2014-01-01

    Glycolysis is an important metabolic pathway for most organisms, including protozoan parasites. Many of these primitive eukaryotes have streamlined their metabolism, favoring glycolysis for generating ATP in the glucose-rich environments in which they reside. Therefore, the enzymes involved in hexose metabolism could prove to be attractive targets for therapeutic development. This hypothesis is supported by a number of chemical and genetic validation studies. Additionally, the peculiar biochemistry of many of the components, along with limited protein sequence identity emphasizes the likelihood of developing compounds that selectively inhibit the parasite enzymes. In this review, we examine the status of target validation at the genetic and/or chemical levels from the protozoan parasites. While the proteins from some species have been interrogated to the point that well-defined lead compounds have been identified with activities against both enzyme and parasite growth, progress in other systems has to date been limited.

  17. Extracellular ATP triggers proteolysis and cytosolic Ca2+ rise in Plasmodium berghei and Plasmodium yoelii malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Plasmodium has a complex cell biology and it is essential to dissect the cell-signalling pathways underlying its survival within the host. Methods Using the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) peptide substrate Abz-AIKFFARQ-EDDnp and Fluo4/AM, the effects of extracellular ATP on triggering proteolysis and Ca2+ signalling in Plasmodium berghei and Plasmodium yoelii malaria parasites were investigated. Results The protease activity was blocked in the presence of the purinergic receptor blockers suramin (50 μM) and PPADS (50 μM) or the extracellular and intracellular calcium chelators EGTA (5 mM) and BAPTA/AM (25, 100, 200 and 500 μM), respectively for P. yoelii and P. berghei. Addition of ATP (50, 70, 200 and 250 μM) to isolated parasites previously loaded with Fluo4/AM in a Ca2+-containing medium led to an increase in cytosolic calcium. This rise was blocked by pre-incubating the parasites with either purinergic antagonists PPADS (50 μM), TNP-ATP (50 μM) or the purinergic blockers KN-62 (10 μM) and Ip5I (10 μM). Incubating P. berghei infected cells with KN-62 (200 μM) resulted in a changed profile of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) processing as revealed by western blot assays. Moreover incubating P. berghei for 17 h with KN-62 (10 μM) led to an increase in rings forms (82% ± 4, n = 11) and a decrease in trophozoite forms (18% ± 4, n = 11). Conclusions The data clearly show that purinergic signalling modulates P. berghei protease(s) activity and that MSP1 is one target in this pathway. PMID:22420332

  18. [Profiles of IgG responses against CSP, GLURP and LSA-3NR2 in urban malaria (Dakar): relations with haemoglobin levels and parasite densities].

    PubMed

    Mbengue, B; Kpodji, P; Sylla Niang, M; Varela, M L; Thiam, A; Sow, A; Ndiaye, K; Aidara, M; Thiam, F; Ndiaye, R; Diop, G; Nguer, C M; Perraut, R; Dièye, A

    2016-05-01

    Malaria remains a major health problem in sub- Saharan African countries despite substantial decreases in morbidity and mortality due to sustained control programs. Vaccines candidates were mainly tested in rural endemic setting; however increasing proportion of the population is living in urban area. Evaluation of the qualitative or quantitative immune responses to key targets of anti-Plasmodium immunity requires further investigation in urban area. In a cohort of 144 patients with mild malaria living in Dakar, we analyzed IgG responses against target antigens of P. falciparum: CSP, LSA-3NR2 and GLURP by ELISA. A mean age of 15 yrs (4-65 yrs) was found and patients were separated in 59 adults (<15yrs) and 85 children (≤15 yrs). Parasites densities (0,01-15%) did not differ between the two age groups. In contrast, haemoglobin levels appeared lower in children (4.5-16.6 g/dl) (p<0.01). For the immune results, the most recognized antigens were GLURP and CSP compared to LSA-3NR2. Levels of IgG against these antigens were significantly different between the two age groups and they were positively correlated (rho = 0.32; p<0.001). In addition, levels of IgG anti-GLURP were associated with low parasitemia (≤1%) and absence of anemia (≥11g/dl), particularly in adults (p<0.001). In a multiple regression analysis, no significant relationship was found between parasite densities and IgG responses against all the tested antigens. Our study shows the implication of IgG anti-GLURP in humoral immune response against the parasite. The present work contributes to determine IgG levels that can be used as relevant immunologic biomarkers in urban clinical malaria. PMID:27100862

  19. Molecular and morphological characterization of two avian malaria parasites (Haemosporida: Plasmodiidae), with description of Plasmodium homonucleophilum n. sp.

    PubMed

    Ilgūnas, Mikas; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Iezhova, Tatjana A; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    2013-01-01

    Plasmodium hoionucleophilum n. sp. was described from the Common Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia based on the morphology of blood stages and partial sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene. This malaria parasite belongs to the subgenus Novyella; it can be readily distinguished from all described Novyella parasites due to two features, i. e. the strict adherence of its meronts to the nuclei of infected erythrocytes and the lack of such adherence in the case of gametocytes. We also found the lineage pLZFUS01 in Red-Backed Shrike Lanius collurio, identified this parasite and conclude that it belongs to Plasiodium relictum. Illustrations of blood stages of these two parasites are given. DNA lineages associated with P. hoionucleophilum (pSW2, GenBank KC342643) and P. relictum (pLZFUS01, GenBank KC342644) are reported and can be used for molecular identification of these malarial infections. Phylogenetic analysis determines DNA lineages closely related to both reported parasites and is in accordance with the parasites' morphological identification. This study contributes to barcoding of avian malaria parasites using partial sequences of cyt b gene.

  20. Water and urea transport in human erythrocytes infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Zanner, M A; Galey, W R; Scaletti, J V; Brahm, J; Vander Jagt, D L

    1990-05-01

    The permeability properties of the human red cell membrane to various solutes are altered by malarial infection. In the present work we show that the permeability of the red cell membrane to water is also affected by the intraerythrocytic growth of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, whereas urea permeability appears unchanged. The data from infected cells show decreases in membrane surface area, cell volume, the osmotically active water fraction (Weff), and osmotic water permeability (Pf) as measured by stopped-flow spectroscopy. On the other hand, the data suggest an increase in diffusive water permeability (Pd) in infected cells with no change in urea permeability when measured by the continuous flow method. The decreased Pf/Pd ratio of infected cell membranes and its implications in the geometry of the red cell membrane water channel or pore are discussed. PMID:2194124

  1. Human Monoclonal Antibodies to Pf 155, a Major Antigen of Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Udomsangpetch, Rachanee; Lundgren, Katarina; Berzins, Klavs; Wahlin, Birgitta; Perlmann, Hedvig; Troye-Blomberg, Marita; Carlsson, Jan; Wahlgren, Mats; Perlmann, Peter; Bjorkman, Anders

    1986-01-01

    Pf 155, a protein of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, is strongly immunogenic in humans and is believed to be a prime candidate for the preparation of a vaccine. Human monoclonal antibodies to Pf 155 were obtained by cloning B cells that had been prepared from an immune donor and transformed with Epstein-Barr virus. When examined by indirect immunofluorescence, these antibodies stained the surface of infected erythrocytes, free merozoites, segmented schizonts, and gametocytes. They bound to a major polypeptide with a relative molecular weight of 155K and to two minor ones (135K and 120K), all having high affinity for human glycophorin. The antibodies strongly inhibited merozoite reinvasion in vitro, suggesting that they might be appropriate reagents for therapeutic administration in vivo.

  2. Recognition of Human Erythrocyte Receptors by the Tryptophan-Rich Antigens of Monkey Malaria Parasite Plasmodium knowlesi

    PubMed Central

    Tyagi, Kriti; Gupta, Deepali; Saini, Ekta; Choudhary, Shilpa; Jamwal, Abhishek; Alam, Mohd. Shoeb; Zeeshan, Mohammad; Tyagi, Rupesh K.; Sharma, Yagya D.

    2015-01-01

    Background The monkey malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi also infect humans. There is a lack of information on the molecular mechanisms that take place between this simian parasite and its heterologous human host erythrocytes leading to this zoonotic disease. Therefore, we investigated here the binding ability of P. knowlesi tryptophan-rich antigens (PkTRAgs) to the human erythrocytes and sharing of the erythrocyte receptors between them as well as with other commonly occurring human malaria parasites. Methods Six PkTRAgs were cloned and expressed in E.coli as well as in mammalian CHO-K1 cell to determine their human erythrocyte binding activity by cell-ELISA, and in-vitro rosetting assay, respectively. Results Three of six PkTRAgs (PkTRAg38.3, PkTRAg40.1, and PkTRAg67.1) showed binding to human erythrocytes. Two of them (PkTRAg40.1 and PkTRAg38.3) showed cross-competition with each other as well as with the previously described P.vivax tryptophan-rich antigens (PvTRAgs) for human erythrocyte receptors. However, the third protein (PkTRAg67.1) utilized the additional but different human erythrocyte receptor(s) as it did not cross-compete for erythrocyte binding with either of these two PkTRAgs as well as with any of the PvTRAgs. These three PkTRAgs also inhibited the P.falciparum parasite growth in in-vitro culture, further indicating the sharing of human erythrocyte receptors by these parasite species and the biological significance of this receptor-ligand interaction between heterologous host and simian parasite. Conclusions Recognition and sharing of human erythrocyte receptor(s) by PkTRAgs with human parasite ligands could be part of the strategy adopted by the monkey malaria parasite to establish inside the heterologous human host. PMID:26393350

  3. Real-Time Imaging of the Intracellular Glutathione Redox Potential in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Kasozi, Denis; Mohring, Franziska; Rahlfs, Stefan; Meyer, Andreas J.; Becker, Katja

    2013-01-01

    In the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the cellular redox potential influences signaling events, antioxidant defense, and mechanisms of drug action and resistance. Until now, the real-time determination of the redox potential in malaria parasites has been limited because conventional approaches disrupt sub-cellular integrity. Using a glutathione biosensor comprising human glutaredoxin-1 linked to a redox-sensitive green fluorescent protein (hGrx1-roGFP2), we systematically characterized basal values and drug-induced changes in the cytosolic glutathione-dependent redox potential (EGSH) of drug-sensitive (3D7) and resistant (Dd2) P. falciparum parasites. Via confocal microscopy, we demonstrated that hGrx1-roGFP2 rapidly detects EGSH changes induced by oxidative and nitrosative stress. The cytosolic basal EGSH of 3D7 and Dd2 were estimated to be −314.2±3.1 mV and −313.9±3.4 mV, respectively, which is indicative of a highly reducing compartment. We furthermore monitored short-, medium-, and long-term changes in EGSH after incubation with various redox-active compounds and antimalarial drugs. Interestingly, the redox cyclers methylene blue and pyocyanin rapidly changed the fluorescence ratio of hGrx1-roGFP2 in the cytosol of P. falciparum, which can, however, partially be explained by a direct interaction with the probe. In contrast, quinoline and artemisinin-based antimalarial drugs showed strong effects on the parasites' EGSH after longer incubation times (24 h). As tested for various conditions, these effects were accompanied by a drop in total glutathione concentrations determined in parallel with alternative methods. Notably, the effects were generally more pronounced in the chloroquine-sensitive 3D7 strain than in the resistant Dd2 strain. Based on these results hGrx1-roGFP2 can be recommended as a reliable and specific biosensor for real-time spatiotemporal monitoring of the intracellular EGSH in P. falciparum. Applying this technique in further

  4. Protein Export Marks the Early Phase of Gametocytogenesis of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum*

    PubMed Central

    Silvestrini, Francesco; Lasonder, Edwin; Olivieri, Anna; Camarda, Grazia; van Schaijk, Ben; Sanchez, Massimo; Younis Younis, Sumera; Sauerwein, Robert; Alano, Pietro

    2010-01-01

    Despite over a century of study of malaria parasites, parts of the Plasmodium falciparum life cycle remain virtually unknown. One of these is the early gametocyte stage, a round shaped cell morphologically similar to an asexual trophozoite in which major cellular transformations ensure subsequent development of the elongated gametocyte. We developed a protocol to obtain for the first time highly purified preparations of early gametocytes using a transgenic line expressing a green fluorescent protein from the onset of gametocytogenesis. We determined the cellular proteome (1427 proteins) of this parasite stage by high accuracy tandem mass spectrometry and newly determined the proteomes of asexual trophozoites and mature gametocytes, identifying altogether 1090 previously undetected parasite proteins. Quantitative label-free comparative proteomics analysis determined enriched protein clusters for the three parasite developmental stages. Gene set enrichment analysis on the 251 proteins enriched in the early gametocyte proteome revealed that proteins putatively exported and involved in erythrocyte remodeling are the most overrepresented protein set in these stages. One-tenth of the early gametocyte-enriched proteome is constituted of putatively exported proteins, here named PfGEXPs (P. falciparum gametocyte-exported proteins). N-terminal processing and N-acetylation at a conserved leucine residue within the Plasmodium export element pentamotif were detected by mass spectrometry for three such proteins in the early but not in the mature gametocyte sample, further supporting a specific role in protein export in early gametocytogenesis. Previous reports and results of our experiments confirm that the three proteins are indeed exported in the erythrocyte cytoplasm. This work indicates that protein export profoundly marks early sexual differentiation in P. falciparum, probably contributing to host cell remodeling in this phase of the life cycle, and that gametocyte

  5. Neutral sphingomyelinase activity dependent on Mg2+ and anionic phospholipids in the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed Central

    Hanada, K; Mitamura, T; Fukasawa, M; Magistrado, P A; Horii, T; Nishijima, M

    2000-01-01

    Sphingolipid metabolism and metabolites are important in various cellular events in eukaryotes. However, little is known about their function in plasmodial parasites. Here we demonstrate that neutral sphingomyelinase (SMase) involved in the sphingomyelin (SM) catabolism is retained by the intraerythrocytic parasite Plasmodium falciparum. When assayed in a neutral pH buffer supplemented with Mg(2+) and phosphatidylserine, an activity for the release of the phosphocholine group from SM was detected in parasite-infected, but not in uninfected, erythrocyte ghosts. The SMase activity in the parasite-infected erythrocyte ghosts was enhanced markedly by anionic phospholipids including unsaturated but not saturated phosphatidylserine. Mn(2+) could not substitute for Mg(2+) to activate SMase in parasite-infected erythrocyte ghosts, whereas both Mn(2+) and Mg(2+) activated mammalian neutral SMase. The specific activity level of SMase was higher in isolated parasites than in infected erythrocyte ghosts; further fractionation of lysates of the isolated parasites showed that the activity was bound largely to the membrane fraction of the parasites. The plasmodial SMase seemed not to hydrolyse phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylinositol. The plasmodial SMase, but not SM synthase, was sensitive to scyphostatin, an inhibitor of mammalian neutral SMase, indicating that the plasmodial activities for SM hydrolysis and SM synthesis are mediated by different catalysts. Our finding that the malaria parasites possess SMase activity might explain why the parasites seem to have an SM synthase activity but no activity to synthesize ceramide de novo. PMID:10698693

  6. Biochemical characterization of Anopheles gambiae SRPN6, a malaria parasite invasion marker in mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    An, Chunju; Hiromasa, Yasuaki; Zhang, Xin; Lovell, Scott; Zolkiewski, Michal; Tomich, John M; Michel, Kristin

    2012-01-01

    Serine proteinase inhibitors of the serpin family are well known as negative regulators of hemostasis, thrombolysis and innate immune responses. Additionally, non-inhibitory serpins serve functions as chaperones, hormone transporters, or anti-angiogenic factors. In the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae s.s., at least three serpins (SRPNs) are implicated in the innate immune response against malaria parasites. Based on reverse genetic and cell biological analyses, AgSRPN6 limits parasite numbers and transmission and has been postulated to control melanization and complement function in mosquitoes. This study aimed to characterize AgSRPN6 biophysically and determine its biochemical mode of action. The structure model of AgSRPN6, as predicted by I-Tasser showed the protein in the native serpin fold, with three central β-sheets, nine surrounding α-helices, and a protruding reactive center loop. This structure is in agreement with biophysical and functional data obtained from recombinant (r) AgSRPN6, produced in Escherichia coli. The physical properties of purified rAgSRPN6 were investigated by means of analytical ultracentrifugation, circular dichroism, and differential scanning calorimetry tools. The recombinant protein exists predominantly as a monomer in solution, is composed of a mixture of α-helices and β-sheets, and has a mid-point unfolding temperature of 56°C. Recombinant AgSRPN6 strongly inhibited porcine pancreatic kallikrein and to a lesser extent bovine pancreatic trypsin in vitro. Furthermore, rAgSRPN6 formed inhibitory, SDS-stable, higher molecular weight complexes with prophenoloxidase-activating proteinase (PAP)1, PAP3, and Hemolymph protein (HP)6, which are required for melanization in the lepidopteran model organism, Manduca sexta. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that AgSRPN6 takes on a native serpin fold and is an inhibitor of trypsin-like serine proteinases. PMID:23152794

  7. Evolutionary implications for the determination of gametocyte sex ratios under fecundity variation for the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Teboh-Ewungkem, Miranda I; Yuster, Thomas

    2016-11-01

    We investigate sex ratio determination strategies for the Malaria parasite based on putative changes in its male fecundity over the lifetime of an infection, and how such strategies might have evolved. We model fitness using the incomplete fertilization limit developed in Teboh-Ewungkem and Yuster (2010). We divide the infection lifetime of a strain into two periods, assume each human is infected by two different strains, and assume that there are two different strategies present among the many strains in the general malaria parasite population. A unique parameter dependent ESS exists for all parameter values in both of our main models, with many such strategies unbeatable. These strategies produce both male and female biased population sex ratios with female bias predominating over most of the parameter space. The first model (SKM) suggests that strains without the ability to detect characteristics of other strains present could still have evolved strategies to vary sex ratio over their lifetimes, and the second model (DKM) suggests strains with detection abilities might have evolved after that. Our analysis suggests that once the ability to detect the population sizes and fecundities of other strains has developed, detection of their sex ratio choices confers no additional selective advantage in that a DKM ESS is still an ESS among sex ratio detecting strategies. The sex ratio choices for each DKM ESS are given by the equilibrium values of the parameter equivalent sex ratio detecting strategy described in Teboh-Ewungkem and Wang (2012), in the case where two strains employing that strategy encounter each other.

  8. Malaria.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dupasquier, Isabelle

    1989-01-01

    Malaria, the greatest pandemia in the world, claims an estimated one million lives each year in Africa alone. While it may still be said that for the most part malaria is found in what is known as the world's poverty belt, cases are now frequently diagnosed in western countries. Due to resistant strains of malaria which have developed because of…

  9. Maintenance of phenotypic diversity within a set of virulence encoding genes of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Holding, Thomas; Recker, Mario

    2015-12-01

    Infection by the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum results in a broad spectrum of clinical outcomes, ranging from severe and potentially life-threatening malaria to asymptomatic carriage. In a process of naturally acquired immunity, individuals living in malaria-endemic regions build up a level of clinical protection, which attenuates infection severity in an exposure-dependent manner. Underlying this shift in the immunoepidemiology as well as the observed range in malaria pathogenesis is the var multigene family and the phenotypic diversity embedded within. The var gene-encoded surface proteins Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 mediate variant-specific binding of infected red blood cells to a diverse set of host receptors that has been linked to specific disease manifestations, including cerebral and pregnancy-associated malaria. Here, we show that cross-reactive immune responses, which minimize the within-host benefit of each additionally expressed gene during infection, can cause selection for maximum phenotypic diversity at the genome level. We further show that differential functional constraints on protein diversification stably maintain uneven ratios between phenotypic groups, in line with empirical observation. Our results thus suggest that the maintenance of phenotypic diversity within P. falciparum is driven by an evolutionary trade-off that optimizes between within-host parasite fitness and between-host selection pressure.

  10. Rapid response to selection, competitive release and increased transmission potential of artesunate-selected Plasmodium chabaudi malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Pollitt, Laura C; Huijben, Silvie; Sim, Derek G; Salathé, Rahel M; Jones, Matthew J; Read, Andrew F

    2014-04-01

    The evolution of drug resistance, a key challenge for our ability to treat and control infections, depends on two processes: de-novo resistance mutations, and the selection for and spread of resistant mutants within a population. Understanding the factors influencing the rates of these two processes is essential for maximizing the useful lifespan of drugs and, therefore, effective disease control. For malaria parasites, artemisinin-based drugs are the frontline weapons in the fight against disease, but reports from the field of slower parasite clearance rates during drug treatment are generating concern that the useful lifespan of these drugs may be limited. Whether slower clearance rates represent true resistance, and how this provides a selective advantage for parasites is uncertain. Here, we show that Plasmodium chabaudi malaria parasites selected for resistance to artesunate (an artemisinin derivative) through a step-wise increase in drug dose evolved slower clearance rates extremely rapidly. In single infections, these slower clearance rates, similar to those seen in the field, provided fitness advantages to the parasite through increased overall density, recrudescence after treatment and increased transmission potential. In mixed infections, removal of susceptible parasites by drug treatment led to substantial increases in the densities and transmission potential of resistant parasites (competitive release). Our results demonstrate the double-edged sword for resistance management: in our initial selection experiments, no parasites survived aggressive chemotherapy, but after selection, the fitness advantage for resistant parasites was greatest at high drug doses. Aggressive treatment of mixed infections resulted in resistant parasites dominating the pool of gametocytes, without providing additional health benefits to hosts. Slower clearance rates can evolve rapidly and can provide a strong fitness advantage during drug treatment in both single and mixed strain

  11. Rapid Response to Selection, Competitive Release and Increased Transmission Potential of Artesunate-Selected Plasmodium chabaudi Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Pollitt, Laura C.; Huijben, Silvie; Sim, Derek G.; Salathé, Rahel M.; Jones, Matthew J.; Read, Andrew F.

    2014-01-01

    The evolution of drug resistance, a key challenge for our ability to treat and control infections, depends on two processes: de-novo resistance mutations, and the selection for and spread of resistant mutants within a population. Understanding the factors influencing the rates of these two processes is essential for maximizing the useful lifespan of drugs and, therefore, effective disease control. For malaria parasites, artemisinin-based drugs are the frontline weapons in the fight against disease, but reports from the field of slower parasite clearance rates during drug treatment are generating concern that the useful lifespan of these drugs may be limited. Whether slower clearance rates represent true resistance, and how this provides a selective advantage for parasites is uncertain. Here, we show that Plasmodium chabaudi malaria parasites selected for resistance to artesunate (an artemisinin derivative) through a step-wise increase in drug dose evolved slower clearance rates extremely rapidly. In single infections, these slower clearance rates, similar to those seen in the field, provided fitness advantages to the parasite through increased overall density, recrudescence after treatment and increased transmission potential. In mixed infections, removal of susceptible parasites by drug treatment led to substantial increases in the densities and transmission potential of resistant parasites (competitive release). Our results demonstrate the double-edged sword for resistance management: in our initial selection experiments, no parasites survived aggressive chemotherapy, but after selection, the fitness advantage for resistant parasites was greatest at high drug doses. Aggressive treatment of mixed infections resulted in resistant parasites dominating the pool of gametocytes, without providing additional health benefits to hosts. Slower clearance rates can evolve rapidly and can provide a strong fitness advantage during drug treatment in both single and mixed strain

  12. Unique apicomplexan IMC sub-compartment proteins are early markers for apical polarity in the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Poulin, Benoit; Patzewitz, Eva-Maria; Brady, Declan; Silvie, Olivier; Wright, Megan H; Ferguson, David J P; Wall, Richard J; Whipple, Sarah; Guttery, David S; Tate, Edward W; Wickstead, Bill; Holder, Anthony A; Tewari, Rita

    2013-01-01

    The phylum Apicomplexa comprises over 5000 intracellular protozoan parasites, including Plasmodium and Toxoplasma, that are clinically important pathogens affecting humans and livestock. Malaria parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium possess a pellicle comprised of a plasmalemma and inner membrane complex (IMC), which is implicated in parasite motility and invasion. Using live cell imaging and reverse genetics in the rodent malaria model P. berghei, we localise two unique IMC sub-compartment proteins (ISPs) and examine their role in defining apical polarity during zygote (ookinete) development. We show that these proteins localise to the anterior apical end of the parasite where IMC organisation is initiated, and are expressed at all developmental stages, especially those that are invasive. Both ISP proteins are N-myristoylated, phosphorylated and membrane-bound. Gene disruption studies suggest that ISP1 is likely essential for parasite development, whereas ISP3 is not. However, an absence of ISP3 alters the apical localisation of ISP1 in all invasive stages including ookinetes and sporozoites, suggesting a coordinated function for these proteins in the organisation of apical polarity in the parasite.

  13. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to study physiological changes affecting the red blood cell after invasion by malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Ribaut, Clotilde; Reybier, Karine; Reynes, Olivier; Launay, Jérôme; Valentin, Alexis; Fabre, Paul Louis; Nepveu, Françoise

    2009-04-15

    The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, invades human erythrocytes and induces dramatic changes in the host cell. The idea of this work was to use RBC modified electrode to perform electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) with the aim of monitoring physiological changes affecting the erythrocyte after invasion by the malaria parasite. Impedance cell-based devices are potentially useful to give insight into cellular behavior and to detect morphological changes. The modelling of impedance plots (Nyquist diagram) in equivalent circuit taking into account the presence of the cellular layer, allowed us pointing out specific events associated with the development of the parasite such as (i) strong changes in the host cell cytoplasm illustrated by changes in the film capacity, (ii) perturbation of the ionic composition of the host cell illustrated by changes in the film resistance, (iii) releasing of reducer (lactic acid or heme) and an enhanced oxygen consumption characterized by changes in the charge transfer resistance and in the Warburg coefficient characteristic of the redox species diffusion. These results show that the RBC-based device may help to analyze strategic events in the malaria parasite development constituting a new tool in antimalarial research.

  14. DNA damage regulation and its role in drug-related phenotypes in the malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Devendra Kumar; Patra, Alok Tanala; Zhu, Lei; Gupta, Archana Patkar; Bozdech, Zbynek

    2016-01-01

    DNA of malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum, is subjected to extraordinary high levels of genotoxic insults during its complex life cycle within both the mosquito and human host. Accordingly, most of the components of DNA repair machinery are conserved in the parasite genome. Here, we investigated the genome-wide responses of P. falciparum to DNA damaging agents and provided transcriptional evidence of the existence of the double strand break and excision repair system. We also showed that acetylation at H3K9, H4K8, and H3K56 play a role in the direct and indirect response to DNA damage induced by an alkylating agent, methyl methanesulphonate (MMS). Artemisinin, the first line antimalarial chemotherapeutics elicits a similar response compared to MMS which suggests its activity as a DNA damaging agent. Moreover, in contrast to the wild-type P. falciparum, two strains (Dd2 and W2) previously shown to exhibit a mutator phenotype, fail to induce their DNA repair upon MMS-induced DNA damage. Genome sequencing of the two mutator strains identified point mutations in 18 DNA repair genes which may contribute to this phenomenon. PMID:27033103

  15. Use of Peptide Nucleic Acids to Manipulate Gene Expression in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Naik, Shankar; Yavin, Eylon; Dzikowski, Ron

    2014-01-01

    One of the major concerns in treating malaria by conventional small drug molecules is the rapid emergence of drug resistance. Specific silencing of essential genes by antisense oliogomers has been proposed as an alternative approach that may result in antimalarial activity which is not associated with drug resistance. In addition, such an approach could be an important biological tool for studying many genes' function by reverse genetics. Here we present a novel methodology of using peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) as a useful tool for gene silencing in Plasmodium falciparum. PNAs, designed as specific antisense molecules, were conjugated to a cell penetrating peptide (CPP); namely, octa-D-lysine via the C-terminus, to allow facile delivery through cell membranes. PNAs added to P. falciparum cultures were found exclusively in infected erythrocytes and were eventually localized in nuclei of the parasites at all stages of intra erythrocytic development. We show that these PNAs specifically down regulated both a stably expressed transgene as well as an endogenous essential gene, which significantly reduced parasites' viability. This study paves the way for a simple approach to silence a variety of P. falciparum genes as means of deciphering their function and potentially to develop highly specific and potent antimalarial agents. PMID:24466246

  16. Complete gene map of the plastid-like DNA of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Wilson, R J; Denny, P W; Preiser, P R; Rangachari, K; Roberts, K; Roy, A; Whyte, A; Strath, M; Moore, D J; Moore, P W; Williamson, D H

    1996-08-16

    Malaria parasites, and other parasitic protists of the Phylum Apicomplexa, carry a plastid-like genome with greatly reduced sequence complexity. This 35 kb DNA circle resembles the plastid DNA of non-photosynthetic plants, encoding almost exclusively components involved in gene expression. The complete gene map described here includes genes for duplicated large and small subunit rRNAs, 25 species of tRNA, three subunits of a eubacterial RNA polymerase, 17 ribosomal proteins, and a translation elongation factor. In addition, it codes for an unusual member of the Clp family of chaperones, as well as an open reading frame of unknown function found in red algal plastids. Transcription is polycistronic. This plastid-like DNA molecule is conserved in several genera of apicomplexans and is conjectured to have been acquired by an early progenitor of the Phylum by secondary endosymbiosis. The function of the organelle (plastid) carrying this DNA remains obscure, but appears to be specified by genes transferred to the nucleus.

  17. Clonal reproduction shapes evolution in the lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium floridense.

    PubMed

    Falk, Bryan G; Glor, Richard E; Perkins, Susan L

    2015-06-01

    The preponderant clonal evolution hypothesis (PCE) predicts that frequent clonal reproduction (sex between two clones) in many pathogens capable of sexual recombination results in strong linkage disequilibrium and the presence of discrete genetic subdivisions characterized by occasional gene flow. We expand on the PCE and predict that higher rates of clonal reproduction will result in: (1) morphologically cryptic species that exhibit (2) low within-species variation and (3) recent between-species divergence. We tested these predictions in the Caribbean lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium floridense using 63 single-infection samples in lizards collected from across the parasite's range, and sequenced them at two mitochondrial, one apicoplast, and five nuclear genes. We identified 11 provisionally cryptic species within P. floridense, each of which exhibits low intraspecific variation and recent divergence times between species (some diverged approximately 110,000 years ago). Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that clonal reproduction can profoundly affect diversification of species capable of sexual recombination, and suggest that clonal reproduction may have led to a large number of unrecognized pathogen species. The factors that may influence the rates of clonal reproduction among pathogens are unclear, and we discuss how prevalence and virulence may relate to clonal reproduction.

  18. Parasites and progress: ethical decision-making and the Santee-Cooper Malaria study, 1944-1949.

    PubMed

    Slater, Leo; Humphreys, Margaret

    2008-01-01

    As part of a mid-1940s malaria research program, U.S. Public Health Service researchers working in South Carolina chose to withhold treatment from a group of subjects while testing the efficacy of a new insecticide. Research during World War II had generated new tools to fight malaria, including the insecticide DDT and the medication chloroquine. The choices made about how to conduct research in one of the last pockets of endemic malaria in the United States reveal much about prevailing attitudes and assumptions with regard to malaria control. We describe this research and explore the ethical choices inherent in the tension between environmentally based interventions and the individual health needs of the population living within the study domain. The singular focus on the mosquito and its lifecycle led some researchers to view the humans in their study area as little more than parasite reservoirs, an attitude fueled by the frustrating disappearance of malaria just when the scientists were on the verge of establishing the efficacy of a powerful new agent in the fight against malaria. This analysis of their choices has relevance to broader questions in public health ethics.

  19. Distribution, prevalence and host specificity of avian malaria parasites across the breeding range of the migratory lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus).

    PubMed

    Swanson, Bethany L; Lyons, Amanda C; Bouzat, Juan L

    2014-06-01

    The lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) is a ground-nesting passerine that breeds across much of the central North American steppe and sand barrens. Through genotyping and sequencing of avian malaria parasites we examined levels of malaria prevalence and determined the distribution of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium lineages across the breeding range of the lark sparrow. Analysis of 365 birds collected from five breeding locations revealed relatively high levels of malaria prevalence in adults (80 %) and juveniles (46 %), with infections being primarily of Haemoproteus (91 % of sequenced samples). Levels of genetic diversity and genetic structure of malaria parasites with respect to the avian host populations revealed distinct patterns for Haemoproteus and Plasmodium, most likely as a result of their distinct life histories, host specificity, and transmission vectors. With the exception of one common Haemoproteus haplotype detected in all populations, all other haplotypes were either population-specific or shared by two to three populations. A hierarchical analysis of molecular variance of Haemoproteus sequences revealed that 15-18 % of the genetic variation can be explained by differences among host populations/locations (p < 0.001). In contrast to the regional patterns of genetic differentiation detected for the lark sparrow populations, Haemoproteus parasites showed high levels of population-specific variation and no significant differences among regions, which suggests that the population dynamics of the parasites may be driven by evolutionary processes operating at small spatial scales (e.g., at the level of host populations). These results highlight the potential effects of host population structure on the demographic and evolutionary dynamics of parasites.

  20. Treatment of Whole Blood With Riboflavin and UV Light: Impact on Malaria Parasite Viability and Whole Blood Storage

    PubMed Central

    Owusu-Ofori, Shirley; Kusi, Joseph; Owusu-Ofori, Alex; Freimanis, Graham; Olver, Christine; Martinez, Caitlyn R.; Wilkinson, Shilo; Mundt, Janna M.; Keil, Shawn D.; Goodrich, Raymond P.; Allain, Jean-Pierre

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Background: Sub-Saharan African countries utilize whole blood (WB) to treat severe anemia secondary to severe blood loss or malaria on an emergency basis. In many areas with high prevalence of transfusion-transmissible agents, blood safety measures are insufficient. Pathogen reduction technology applied to WB might considerably improve blood safety. Methods: Whole blood from 40 different donors were treated with riboflavin and UV light (pathogen reduction technology) in order to inactivate malaria parasite replication. The extent of parasite inactivation was determined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods and was correlated to studies evaluating the replication of malaria parasites in culture. Products were also stored for 21 days at +4°C and monitored for cell quality throughout storage. Results: Plasmodium amplicon was present in 21 samples (>100 copies/mL), doubtful in four (10–100 genome equivalents [gEq]/mL), and negative in 15 U. The majority of asymptomatic parasitemic donors carried low parasite levels, with only six donors above 5,000 copies/mL (15%). After treatment with riboflavin and UV light, these six samples demonstrated a 0.5 to 1.2 log reduction in quantitative polymerase chain reaction amplification. This correlated to equal to or greater than 6.4 log reductions in infectivity. In treated WB units, cell quality parameters remained stable; however, plasma hemoglobin increased to 0.15 g/dL. All markers behaved similarly to published data for stored, untreated WB. Conclusions: Pathogen reduction technology treatment can inactivate malaria parasites in WB while maintaining adequate blood quality during posttreatment cold storage for 21 days. PMID:25423125

  1. Impact of host nutritional status on infection dynamics and parasite virulence in a bird-malaria system.

    PubMed

    Cornet, Stéphane; Bichet, Coraline; Larcombe, Stephen; Faivre, Bruno; Sorci, Gabriele

    2014-01-01

    Host resources can drive the optimal parasite exploitation strategy by offering a good or a poor environment to pathogens. Hosts living in resource-rich habitats might offer a favourable environment to developing parasites because they provide a wealth of resources. However, hosts living in resource-rich habitats might afford a higher investment into costly immune defences providing an effective barrier against infection. Understanding how parasites can adapt to hosts living in habitats of different quality is a major challenge in the light of the current human-driven environmental changes. We studied the role of nutritional resources as a source of phenotypic variation in host exploitation by the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium relictum. We investigated how the nutritional status of birds altered parasite within-host dynamics and virulence, and how the interaction between past and current environments experienced by the parasite accounts for the variation in the infection dynamics. Experimentally infected canaries were allocated to control or supplemented diets. Plasmodium parasites experiencing the two different environments were subsequently transmitted in a full-factorial design to new hosts reared under similar control or supplemented diets. Food supplementation was effective since supplemented hosts gained body mass during a 15-day period that preceded the infection. Host nutrition had strong effects on infection dynamics and parasite virulence. Overall, parasites were more successful in control nonsupplemented birds, reaching larger population sizes and producing more sexual (transmissible) stages. However, supplemented hosts paid a higher cost of infection, and when keeping parasitaemia constant, they had lower haematocrit than control hosts. Parasites grown on control hosts were better able to exploit the subsequent hosts since they reached higher parasitaemia than parasites originating from supplemented hosts. They were also more virulent since they

  2. Chemical biology: Knockout for malaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krysiak, Joanna; Sieber, Stephan A.

    2014-02-01

    Discovering and validating new targets is urgently required to tackle the rise in resistance to antimalarial drugs. Now, inhibition of the enzyme N-myristoyltransferase has been shown to prevent the formation of a critical subcellular organelle in the parasite that causes malaria, leading to death of the parasite.

  3. Interactions between merozoite surface proteins 1, 6, and 7 of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Kauth, Christian W; Woehlbier, Ute; Kern, Michaela; Mekonnen, Zeleke; Lutz, Rolf; Mücke, Norbert; Langowski, Jörg; Bujard, Hermann

    2006-10-20

    Merozoites of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum expose at their surface a large multiprotein complex, composed of proteolytically processed, noncovalently associated products of at least three genes, msp-1, msp-6, and msp-7. During invasion of erythrocytes, this complex is shed from the surface except for a small glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored portion originating from MSP-1. The proteolytic cleavage separating the C-terminal portion of MSP-1 is required for successful invasion. Little is known about the structure and function of the abundant and essential multipartite complex. Using heterologously produced MSP-1, MSP-6, and MSP-7 in precursor and with the exception of MSP-7 in processed form, we have studied in vitro the complex formation between the different proteins to identify the interaction partners within the complex. Both MSP-6(36) and MSP-7 bind only to MSP-1 subunits that are shed, but although MSP-6(36) contacts just subunit p38, MSP-7 interacts with p83, p30, and p38. The intact C-terminal region of MSP-6 is required for the association with p38 as well as for its multimerization into tetramers. Furthermore, our data suggest that only the processed form and not the precursor form of MSP-1 interacts with MSP-6(36). MSP-6- as well as MSP-7-specific rabbit antibodies inhibit parasite multiplication in vitro as shown previously for antibodies directed against MSP-1. Our findings raise interesting questions with regard to proteolysis-mediated mechanisms of maturation of the MSP-1-MSP-6-MSP-7 complex and to the mode by which antibodies directed against this complex interfere with parasite multiplication.

  4. Gift from Nature: Cyclomarin A Kills Mycobacteria and Malaria Parasites by Distinct Modes of Action.

    PubMed

    Bürstner, Nathalie; Roggo, Silvio; Ostermann, Nils; Blank, Jutta; Delmas, Cecile; Freuler, Felix; Gerhartz, Bernd; Hinniger, Alexandra; Hoepfner, Dominic; Liechty, Brigitta; Mihalic, Manuel; Murphy, Jason; Pistorius, Dominik; Rottmann, Matthias; Thomas, Jason R; Schirle, Markus; Schmitt, Esther K

    2015-11-01

    Malaria continues to be one of the most devastating human diseases despite many efforts to limit its spread by prevention of infection or by pharmaceutical treatment of patients. We have conducted a screen for antiplasmodial compounds by using a natural product library. Here we report on cyclomarin A as a potent growth inhibitor of Plasmodium falciparum and the identification of its molecular target, diadenosine triphosphate hydrolase (PfAp3Aase), by chemical proteomics. Using a biochemical assay, we could show that cyclomarin A is a specific inhibitor of the plasmodial enzyme but not of the closest human homologue hFHIT. Co-crystallisation experiments demonstrate a unique binding mode of the inhibitor. One molecule of cyclomarin A binds a dimeric PfAp3Aase and prevents the formation of the enzyme⋅substrate complex. These results validate PfAp3Aase as a new drug target for the treatment of malaria. We have previously elucidated the structurally unrelated regulatory subunit ClpC1 of the ClpP protease as the molecular target of cyclomarin A in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Thus, cyclomarin A is a rare example of a natural product with two distinct and specific modes of action. PMID:26472355

  5. Targeting Protein-Protein Interactions for Parasite Control

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Christina M.; Fischer, Kerstin; Abubucker, Sahar; Wang, Zhengyuan; Martin, John; Jiang, Daojun; Magliano, Marc; Rosso, Marie-Noëlle; Li, Ben-Wen; Fischer, Peter U.; Mitreva, Makedonka

    2011-01-01

    Finding new drug targets for pathogenic infections would be of great utility for humanity, as there is a large need to develop new drugs to fight infections due to the developing resistance and side effects of current treatments. Current drug targets for pathogen infections involve only a single protein. However, proteins rarely act in isolation, and the majority of biological processes occur via interactions with other proteins, so protein-protein interactions (PPIs) offer a realm of unexplored potential drug targets and are thought to be the next-generation of drug targets. Parasitic worms were chosen for this study because they have deleterious effects on human health, livestock, and plants, costing society billions of dollars annually and many sequenced genomes are available. In this study, we present a computational approach that utilizes whole genomes of 6 parasitic and 1 free-living worm species and 2 hosts. The species were placed in orthologous groups, then binned in species-specific ortholgous groups. Proteins that are essential and conserved among species that span a phyla are of greatest value, as they provide foundations for developing broad-control strategies. Two PPI databases were used to find PPIs within the species specific bins. PPIs with unique helminth proteins and helminth proteins with unique features relative to the host, such as indels, were prioritized as drug targets. The PPIs were scored based on RNAi phenotype and homology to the PDB (Protein DataBank). EST data for the various life stages, GO annotation, and druggability were also taken into consideration. Several PPIs emerged from this study as potential drug targets. A few interactions were supported by co-localization of expression in M. incognita (plant parasite) and B. malayi (H. sapiens parasite), which have extremely different modes of parasitism. As more genomes of pathogens are sequenced and PPI databases expanded, this methodology will become increasingly applicable. PMID

  6. Aspidosperma (Apocynaceae) plant cytotoxicity and activity towards malaria parasites. Part I: Aspidosperma nitidum (Benth) used as a remedy to treat fever and malaria in the Amazon

    PubMed Central

    Coutinho, Julia Penna; Aguiar, Anna Caroline Campos; dos Santos, Pierre Alexandre; Lima, Joaquim Corsino; Rocha, Maria Gabrielle Lima; Zani, Carlos Leomar; Alves, Tânia Maria Almeida; Santana, Antônio Euzébio Goulart; Pereira, Maria de Meneses; Krettli, Antoniana Ursine

    2013-01-01

    Infusions of Aspidosperma nitidum (Apocynaceae) wood bark are used to treat fever and malaria in the Amazon Region. Several species of this family are known to possess indole alkaloids and other classes of secondary metabolites, whereas terpenoids, an inositol and the indole alkaloids harmane-3 acid and braznitidumine have been described in A. nitidum . In the present study, extracts from the wood bark, leaves and branches of this species were prepared for assays against malaria parasites and cytotoxicity testing using human hepatoma and normal monkey kidney cells. The wood bark extracts were active against Plasmodium falciparum and showed a low cytotoxicity in vitro, whereas the leaf and branch extracts and the pure alkaloid braznitidumine were inactive. A crude methanol extract was subjected to acid-base fractionation aimed at obtaining alkaloid-rich fractions, which were active at low concentrations against P. falciparum and in mice infected with and sensitive Plasmodium berghei parasites. Our data validate the antimalarial usefulness of A. nitidum wood bark, a remedy that can most likely help to control malaria. However, the molecules responsible for this antimalarial activity have not yet been identified. Considering their high selectivity index, the alkaloid-rich fractions from the plant bark might be useful in the development of new antimalarials. PMID:24402150

  7. A Basis for Rapid Clearance of Circulating Ring-Stage Malaria Parasites by the Spiroindolone KAE609

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Rou; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Malleret, Benoit; Cooke, Brian M.; Nosten, Francois; Lau, Yee-Ling; Dao, Ming; Lim, Chwee Teck; Renia, Laurent; Tan, Kevin Shyong Wei; Russell, Bruce

    2016-01-01

    Recent clinical trials revealed a surprisingly rapid clearance of red blood cells (RBCs) infected with malaria parasites by the spiroindolone KAE609. Here, we show that ring-stage parasite–infected RBCs exposed to KAE609 become spherical and rigid, probably through osmotic dysregulation consequent to the disruption of the parasite's sodium efflux pump (adenosine triphosphate 4). We also show that this peculiar drug effect is likely to cause accelerated splenic clearance of the rheologically impaired Plasmodium vivax– and Plasmodium falciparum–infected RBCs. PMID:26136472

  8. PfEMP1 - A Parasite Protein Family of Key Importance in Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Immunity and Pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Hviid, Lars; Jensen, Anja T R

    2015-04-01

    Plasmodium falciparum causes the most severe form of malaria and is responsible for essentially all malaria-related deaths. The accumulation in various tissues of erythrocytes infected by mature P. falciparum parasites can lead to circulatory disturbances and inflammation, and is thought to be a central element in the pathogenesis of the disease. It is mediated by the interaction of parasite ligands on the erythrocyte surface and a range of host receptor molecules in many organs and tissues. Among several proteins and protein families implicated in this process, the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) family of high-molecular weight and highly variable antigens appears to be the most prominent. In this chapter, we aim to provide a systematic overview of the current knowledge about these proteins, their structure, their function, how they are presented on the erythrocyte surface, and how the var genes encoding them are regulated. The role of PfEMP1 in the pathogenesis of malaria, PfEMP1-specific immune responses, and the prospect of PfEMP1-specific vaccination against malaria are also covered briefly.

  9. Towards a molecular understanding of the apicomplexan actin motor: on a road to novel targets for malaria remedies?

    SciTech Connect

    Kumpula, Esa-Pekka; Kursula, Inari

    2015-04-16

    In this review, current structural understanding of the apicomplexan glideosome and actin regulation is described. Apicomplexan parasites are the causative agents of notorious human and animal diseases that give rise to considerable human suffering and economic losses worldwide. The most prominent parasites of this phylum are the malaria-causing Plasmodium species, which are widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, and Toxoplasma gondii, which infects one third of the world’s population. These parasites share a common form of gliding motility which relies on an actin–myosin motor. The components of this motor and the actin-regulatory proteins in Apicomplexa have unique features compared with all other eukaryotes. This, together with the crucial roles of these proteins, makes them attractive targets for structure-based drug design. In recent years, several structures of glideosome components, in particular of actins and actin regulators from apicomplexan parasites, have been determined, which will hopefully soon allow the creation of a complete molecular picture of the parasite actin–myosin motor and its regulatory machinery. Here, current knowledge of the function of this motor is reviewed from a structural perspective.

  10. Inhibition of Plasmepsin V Activity Demonstrates Its Essential Role in Protein Export, PfEMP1 Display, and Survival of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Sleebs, Brad E.; Lopaticki, Sash; Marapana, Danushka S.; O'Neill, Matthew T.; Rajasekaran, Pravin; Gazdik, Michelle; Günther, Svenja; Whitehead, Lachlan W.; Lowes, Kym N.; Barfod, Lea; Hviid, Lars; Shaw, Philip J.; Hodder, Anthony N.; Smith, Brian J.; Cowman, Alan F.; Boddey, Justin A.

    2014-01-01

    The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum exports several hundred proteins into the infected erythrocyte that are involved in cellular remodeling and severe virulence. The export mechanism involves the Plasmodium export element (PEXEL), which is a cleavage site for the parasite protease, Plasmepsin V (PMV). The PMV gene is refractory to deletion, suggesting it is essential, but definitive proof is lacking. Here, we generated a PEXEL-mimetic inhibitor that potently blocks the activity of PMV isolated from P. falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Assessment of PMV activity in P. falciparum revealed PEXEL cleavage occurs cotranslationaly, similar to signal peptidase. Treatment of P. falciparum–infected erythrocytes with the inhibitor caused dose-dependent inhibition of PEXEL processing as well as protein export, including impaired display of the major virulence adhesin, PfEMP1, on the erythrocyte surface, and cytoadherence. The inhibitor killed parasites at the trophozoite stage and knockdown of PMV enhanced sensitivity to the inhibitor, while overexpression of PMV increased resistance. This provides the first direct evidence that PMV activity is essential for protein export in Plasmodium spp. and for parasite survival in human erythrocytes and validates PMV as an antimalarial drug target. PMID:24983235

  11. High resolution FTIR imaging provides automated discrimination and detection of single malaria parasite infected erythrocytes on glass.

    PubMed

    Perez-Guaita, David; Andrew, Dean; Heraud, Philip; Beeson, James; Anderson, David; Richards, Jack; Wood, Bayden R

    2016-06-23

    New highly sensitive tools for malaria diagnostics are urgently needed to enable the detection of infection in asymptomatic carriers and patients with low parasitemia. In pursuit of a highly sensitive diagnostic tool that can identify parasite infections at the single cell level, we have been exploring Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy using a Focal Plane Array (FPA) imaging detector. Here we report for the first time the application of a new optic configuration developed by Agilent that incorporates 25× condenser and objective Cassegrain optics with a high numerical aperture (NA = 0.81) along with additional high magnification optics within the microscope to provide 0.66 micron pixel resolution (total IR system magnification of 61×) to diagnose malaria parasites at the single cell level on a conventional glass microscope slide. The high quality images clearly resolve the parasite's digestive vacuole demonstrating sub-cellular resolution using this approach. Moreover, we have developed an algorithm that first detects the cells in the infrared image, and secondly extracts the average spectrum. The average spectrum is then run through a model based on Partial Least Squares-Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA), which diagnoses unequivocally the infected from normal cells. The high quality images, and the fact this measurement can be achieved without a synchrotron source on a conventional glass slide, shows promise as a potential gold standard for malaria detection at the single cell level. PMID:27071693

  12. A Model to Study the Impact of Polymorphism Driven Liver-Stage Immune Evasion by Malaria Parasites, to Help Design Effective Cross-Reactive Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Kirsty L.; Xiang, Sue D.; Plebanski, Magdalena

    2016-01-01

    Malaria parasites engage a multitude of strategies to evade the immune system of the host, including the generation of polymorphic T cell epitope sequences, termed altered peptide ligands (APLs). Herein we use an animal model to study how single amino acid changes in the sequence of the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), a major target antigen of pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccines, can lead to a reduction of cross reactivity by T cells. For the first time in any APL model, we further compare different inflammatory adjuvants (Montanide, Poly I:C), non-inflammatory adjuvants (nanoparticles), and peptide pulsed dendritic cells (DCs) for their potential capacity to induce broadly cross reactive immune responses. Results show that the capacity to induce a cross reactive response is primarily controlled by the T cell epitope sequence and cannot be modified by the use of different adjuvants. Moreover, we identify how specific amino acid changes lead to a one-way cross reactivity: where variant-x induced responses are re-elicited by variant-x and not variant-y, but variant-y induced responses can be re-elicited by variant-y and variant-x. We discuss the consequences of the existence of this one-way cross reactivity phenomenon for parasite immune evasion in the field, as well as the use of variant epitopes as a potential tool for optimized vaccine design. PMID:27014226

  13. A Model to Study the Impact of Polymorphism Driven Liver-Stage Immune Evasion by Malaria Parasites, to Help Design Effective Cross-Reactive Vaccines.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Kirsty L; Xiang, Sue D; Plebanski, Magdalena

    2016-01-01

    Malaria parasites engage a multitude of strategies to evade the immune system of the host, including the generation of polymorphic T cell epitope sequences, termed altered peptide ligands (APLs). Herein we use an animal model to study how single amino acid changes in the sequence of the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), a major target antigen of pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccines, can lead to a reduction of cross reactivity by T cells. For the first time in any APL model, we further compare different inflammatory adjuvants (Montanide, Poly I:C), non-inflammatory adjuvants (nanoparticles), and peptide pulsed dendritic cells (DCs) for their potential capacity to induce broadly cross reactive immune responses. Results show that the capacity to induce a cross reactive response is primarily controlled by the T cell epitope sequence and cannot be modified by the use of different adjuvants. Moreover, we identify how specific amino acid changes lead to a one-way cross reactivity: where variant-x induced responses are re-elicited by variant-x and not variant-y, but variant-y induced responses can be re-elicited by variant-y and variant-x. We discuss the consequences of the existence of this one-way cross reactivity phenomenon for parasite immune evasion in the field, as well as the use of variant epitopes as a potential tool for optimized vaccine design. PMID:27014226

  14. Potential of lichen secondary metabolites against Plasmodium liver stage parasites with FAS-II as the potential target.

    PubMed

    Lauinger, Ina L; Vivas, Livia; Perozzo, Remo; Stairiker, Christopher; Tarun, Alice; Zloh, Mire; Zhang, Xujie; Xu, Hua; Tonge, Peter J; Franzblau, Scott G; Pham, Duc-Hung; Esguerra, Camila V; Crawford, Alexander D; Maes, Louis; Tasdemir, Deniz

    2013-06-28

    Chemicals targeting the liver stage (LS) of the malaria parasite are useful for causal prophylaxis of malaria. In this study, four lichen metabolites, evernic acid (1), vulpic acid (2), psoromic acid (3), and (+)-usnic acid (4), were evaluated against LS parasites of Plasmodium berghei. Inhibition of P. falciparum blood stage (BS) parasites was also assessed to determine stage specificity. Compound 4 displayed the highest LS activity and stage specificity (LS IC50 value 2.3 μM, BS IC50 value 47.3 μM). The compounds 1-3 inhibited one or more enzymes (PfFabI, PfFabG, and PfFabZ) from the plasmodial fatty acid biosynthesis (FAS-II) pathway, a potential drug target for LS activity. To determine species specificity and to clarify the mechanism of reported antibacterial effects, 1-4 were also evaluated against FabI homologues and whole cells of various pathogens (S. aureus, E. coli, M. tuberculosis). Molecular modeling studies suggest that lichen acids act indirectly via binding to allosteric sites on the protein surface of the FAS-II enzymes. Potential toxicity of compounds was assessed in human hepatocyte and cancer cells (in vitro) as well as in a zebrafish model (in vivo). This study indicates the therapeutic and prophylactic potential of lichen metabolites as antibacterial and antiplasmodial agents.

  15. Malaria and blood transfusion: major issues of blood safety in malaria-endemic countries and strategies for mitigating the risk of Plasmodium parasites.

    PubMed

    Abdullah, Saleh; Karunamoorthi, Kaliyaperumal

    2016-01-01

    Malaria inflicts humankind over centuries, and it remains as a major threat to both clinical medicine and public health worldwide. Though hemotherapy is a life-sustaining modality, it continues to be a possible source of disease transmission. Hence, hemovigilance is a matter of grave concern in the malaria-prone third-world countries. In order to pursue an effective research on hemovigilance, a comprehensive search has been conducted by using the premier academic-scientific databases, WHO documents, and English-language search engines. One hundred two appropriate articles were chosen for data extraction, with a particular reference to emerging pathogens transmitted through blood transfusion, specifically malaria. Blood donation screening is done through microscopic examination and immunological assays to improve the safety of blood products by detection major blood-borne pathogens, viz., HIV, HBV, HCV, syphilis, and malarial parasites. Transfusion therapy significantly dwindles the preventable morbidity and mortality attributed to various illnesses and diseases, particularly AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Examination of thick and thin blood smears are performed to detect positivity and to identify the Plasmodium species, respectively. However, all of these existing diagnostic tools have their own limitations in terms of sensitivity, specificity, cost-effectiveness, and lack of resources and skilled personnel. Globally, despite the mandate need of screening blood and its components according to the blood-establishment protocols, it is seldom practiced in the low-income/poverty-stricken settings. In addition, each and every single phase of transfusion chain carries sizable inherent risks from donors to recipients. Interestingly, opportunities also lie ahead to enhance the safety of blood-supply chain and patients. It can be achieved through sustainable blood-management strategies like (1) appropriate usage of precise diagnostic tools/techniques, (2) promoting

  16. Malaria and blood transfusion: major issues of blood safety in malaria-endemic countries and strategies for mitigating the risk of Plasmodium parasites.

    PubMed

    Abdullah, Saleh; Karunamoorthi, Kaliyaperumal

    2016-01-01

    Malaria inflicts humankind over centuries, and it remains as a major threat to both clinical medicine and public health worldwide. Though hemotherapy is a life-sustaining modality, it continues to be a possible source of disease transmission. Hence, hemovigilance is a matter of grave concern in the malaria-prone third-world countries. In order to pursue an effective research on hemovigilance, a comprehensive search has been conducted by using the premier academic-scientific databases, WHO documents, and English-language search engines. One hundred two appropriate articles were chosen for data extraction, with a particular reference to emerging pathogens transmitted through blood transfusion, specifically malaria. Blood donation screening is done through microscopic examination and immunological assays to improve the safety of blood products by detection major blood-borne pathogens, viz., HIV, HBV, HCV, syphilis, and malarial parasites. Transfusion therapy significantly dwindles the preventable morbidity and mortality attributed to various illnesses and diseases, particularly AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Examination of thick and thin blood smears are performed to detect positivity and to identify the Plasmodium species, respectively. However, all of these existing diagnostic tools have their own limitations in terms of sensitivity, specificity, cost-effectiveness, and lack of resources and skilled personnel. Globally, despite the mandate need of screening blood and its components according to the blood-establishment protocols, it is seldom practiced in the low-income/poverty-stricken settings. In addition, each and every single phase of transfusion chain carries sizable inherent risks from donors to recipients. Interestingly, opportunities also lie ahead to enhance the safety of blood-supply chain and patients. It can be achieved through sustainable blood-management strategies like (1) appropriate usage of precise diagnostic tools/techniques, (2) promoting

  17. [Malaria].

    PubMed

    Burchard, G D

    2014-02-01

    Malaria is the most important infectious disease imported by travelers and migrants from tropical and subtropical areas. It is imported quite frequently. It is a life-threatening disease. Symptoms are nonspecific and cannot easily be distinguished from a wide range of other febrile conditions. Therefore, travel history must be taken in all patients with fever of unknown origin and malaria diagnostics must be performed immediately on suspicion of malaria. Uncomplicated falciparum malaria should be treated in the hospital with either atovaquone-proguanil or with an artemisinin-based combination preparation. If there is evidence of severe malaria, the patient must be moved to an intensive care unit. The antiparasitic agent of choice is then artesunate.

  18. Targeting of blood safety measures to affected areas with ongoing local transmission of malaria.

    PubMed

    Domanović, D; Kitchen, A; Politis, C; Panagiotopoulos, T; Bluemel, J; Van Bortel, W; Overbosch, D; Lieshout-Krikke, R; Fabra, C; Facco, G; Zeller, H

    2016-06-01

    An outbreak of locally acquired Plasmodium vivax malaria in Greece started in 2009 and peaked in 2011. Targeting of blood safety measures to affected areas with ongoing transmission of malaria raised questions of how to define spatial boundaries of such an area and when to trigger any specific blood safety measures, including whether and which blood donation screening strategy to apply. To provide scientific advice the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) organised expert meetings in 2013. The outcomes of these consultations are expert opinions covering spatial targeting of blood safety measures to affected areas with ongoing local transmission of malaria and blood donation screening strategy for evidence of malaria infection in these areas. Opinions could help EU national blood safety authorities in developing a preventive strategy during malaria outbreaks. PMID:27238883

  19. Autophagy in parasitic protists: unique features and drug targets.

    PubMed

    Brennand, Ana; Gualdrón-López, Melisa; Coppens, Isabelle; Rigden, Daniel J; Ginger, Michael L; Michels, Paul A M

    2011-06-01

    Eukaryotic cells can degrade their own components, cytosolic proteins and organelles, using dedicated hydrolases contained within the acidic interior of their lysosomes. This degradative process, called autophagy, is used under starvation conditions to recycle redundant or less important macromolecules, facilitates metabolic re-modeling in response to environmental cues, and is also often important during cell differentiation. In this review, we discuss the role played by autophagy during the life cycles of the major parasitic protists. To provide context, we also provide an overview of the different forms of autophagy and the successive steps in the autophagic processes, including the proteins involved, as revealed in recent decades by studies using the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae, methylotrophic yeasts and mammalian cells. We describe for trypanosomatid parasites how autophagy plays a role in the differentiation from one life cycle stage to the next one and, in the case of the intracellular parasites, for virulence. For malarial parasites, although only a limited repertoire of canonical autophagy-related proteins can be detected, autophagy seems to play a role in the removal of redundant organelles important for cell invasion, when sporozoites develop into intracellular trophozoites inside the hepatocytes. The complete absence of a canonical autophagy pathway from the microaerophile Giardia lamblia is also discussed. Finally, the essential role of autophagy for differentiation and pathogenicity of some pathogenic protists suggests that the proteins involved in this process may represent new targets for drug development. Opportunities and strategies for drug design targeting autophagy proteins are discussed.

  20. Parasite neuropeptide biology: Seeding rational drug target selection?

    PubMed Central

    McVeigh, Paul; Atkinson, Louise; Marks, Nikki J.; Mousley, Angela; Dalzell, Johnathan J.; Sluder, Ann; Hammerland, Lance; Maule, Aaron G.

    2011-01-01

    The rationale for identifying drug targets within helminth neuromuscular signalling systems is based on the premise that adequate nerve and muscle function is essential for many of the key behavioural determinants of helminth parasitism, including sensory perception/host location, invasion, locomotion/orientation, attachment, feeding and reproduction. This premise is validated by the tendency of current anthelmintics to act on classical neurotransmitter-gated ion channels present on helminth nerve and/or muscle, yielding therapeutic endpoints associated with paralysis and/or death. Supplementary to classical neurotransmitters, helminth nervous systems are peptide-rich and encompass associated biosynthetic and signal transduction components – putative drug targets that remain to be exploited by anthelmintic chemotherapy. At this time, no neuropeptide system-targeting lead compounds have been reported, and given that our basic knowledge of neuropeptide biology in parasitic helminths remains inadequate, the short-term prospects for such drugs remain poor. Here, we review current knowledge of neuropeptide signalling in Nematoda and Platyhelminthes, and highlight a suite of 19 protein families that yield deleterious phenotypes in helminth reverse genetics screens. We suggest that orthologues of some of these peptidergic signalling components represent appealing therapeutic targets in parasitic helminths. PMID:24533265

  1. Modeling the Effects of Relapse in the Transmission Dynamics of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Águas, Ricardo; Ferreira, Marcelo U.; Gomes, M. Gabriela M.

    2012-01-01

    Often regarded as “benign,” Plasmodium vivax infections lay in the shadows of the much more virulent P. falciparum infections. However, about 1.98 billion people are at risk of both parasites worldwide, stressing the need to understand the epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax, particularly under the scope of decreasing P. falciparum prevalence and ecological interactions between both species. Two epidemiological observations put the dynamics of both species into perspective: (1) ACT campaigns have had a greater impact on P. falciparum prevalence. (2) Complete clinical immunity is attained at younger ages for P. vivax, under similar infection rates. We systematically compared two mathematical models of transmission for both Plasmodium species. Simulations suggest that an ACT therapy combined with a hypnozoite killing drug would eliminate both species. However, P. vivax elimination is predicted to be unstable. Differences in age profiles of clinical malaria can be explained solely by P. vivax's ability to relapse, which accelerates the acquisition of clinical immunity and serves as an immunity boosting mechanism. P. vivax transmission can subsist in areas of low mosquito abundance and is robust to drug administration initiatives due to relapse, making it an inconvenient and cumbersome, yet less lethal alternative to P. falciparum. PMID:21966590

  2. High-speed holographic microscopy of malaria parasites reveals ambidextrous flagellar waveforms.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Laurence G; Carter, Lucy M; Reece, Sarah E

    2013-11-19

    Axonemes form the core of eukaryotic flagella and cilia, performing tasks ranging from transporting fluid in developing embryos to the propulsion of sperm. Despite their abundance across the eukaryotic domain, the mechanisms that regulate the beating action of axonemes remain unknown. The flagellar waveforms are 3D in general, but current understanding of how axoneme components interact stems from 2D data; comprehensive measurements of flagellar shape are beyond conventional microscopy. Moreover, current flagellar model systems (e.g., sea urchin, human sperm) contain accessory structures that impose mechanical constraints on movement, obscuring the "native" axoneme behavior. We address both problems by developing a high-speed holographic imaging scheme and applying it to the (male) microgametes of malaria (Plasmodium) parasites. These isolated flagella are a unique, mathematically tractable model system for the physics of microswimmers. We reveal the 3D flagellar waveforms of these microorganisms and map the differential shear between microtubules in their axonemes. Furthermore, we overturn claims that chirality in the structure of the axoneme governs the beat pattern [Hirokawa N, et al. (2009) Ann Rev Fluid Mech 41:53-72], because microgametes display a left- or right-handed character on alternate beats. This breaks the link between structural chirality in the axoneme and larger scale symmetry breaking (e.g., in developing embryos), leading us to conclude that accessory structures play a critical role in shaping the flagellar beat. PMID:24194551

  3. High-speed holographic microscopy of malaria parasites reveals ambidextrous flagellar waveforms

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Laurence G.; Carter, Lucy M.; Reece, Sarah E.

    2013-01-01

    Axonemes form the core of eukaryotic flagella and cilia, performing tasks ranging from transporting fluid in developing embryos to the propulsion of sperm. Despite their abundance across the eukaryotic domain, the mechanisms that regulate the beating action of axonemes remain unknown. The flagellar waveforms are 3D in general, but current understanding of how axoneme components interact stems from 2D data; comprehensive measurements of flagellar shape are beyond conventional microscopy. Moreover, current flagellar model systems (e.g., sea urchin, human sperm) contain accessory structures that impose mechanical constraints on movement, obscuring the “native” axoneme behavior. We address both problems by developing a high-speed holographic imaging scheme and applying it to the (male) microgametes of malaria (Plasmodium) parasites. These isolated flagella are a unique, mathematically tractable model system for the physics of microswimmers. We reveal the 3D flagellar waveforms of these microorganisms and map the differential shear between microtubules in their axonemes. Furthermore, we overturn claims that chirality in the structure of the axoneme governs the beat pattern [Hirokawa N, et al. (2009) Ann Rev Fluid Mech 41:53–72], because microgametes display a left- or right-handed character on alternate beats. This breaks the link between structural chirality in the axoneme and larger scale symmetry breaking (e.g., in developing embryos), leading us to conclude that accessory structures play a critical role in shaping the flagellar beat. PMID:24194551

  4. High-speed holographic microscopy of malaria parasites reveals ambidextrous flagellar waveforms.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Laurence G; Carter, Lucy M; Reece, Sarah E

    2013-11-19

    Axonemes form the core of eukaryotic flagella and cilia, performing tasks ranging from transporting fluid in developing embryos to the propulsion of sperm. Despite their abundance across the eukaryotic domain, the mechanisms that regulate the beating action of axonemes remain unknown. The flagellar waveforms are 3D in general, but current understanding of how axoneme components interact stems from 2D data; comprehensive measurements of flagellar shape are beyond conventional microscopy. Moreover, current flagellar model systems (e.g., sea urchin, human sperm) contain accessory structures that impose mechanical constraints on movement, obscuring the "native" axoneme behavior. We address both problems by developing a high-speed holographic imaging scheme and applying it to the (male) microgametes of malaria (Plasmodium) parasites. These isolated flagella are a unique, mathematically tractable model system for the physics of microswimmers. We reveal the 3D flagellar waveforms of these microorganisms and map the differential shear between microtubules in their axonemes. Furthermore, we overturn claims that chirality in the structure of the axoneme governs the beat pattern [Hirokawa N, et al. (2009) Ann Rev Fluid Mech 41:53-72], because microgametes display a left- or right-handed character on alternate beats. This breaks the link between structural chirality in the axoneme and larger scale symmetry breaking (e.g., in developing embryos), leading us to conclude that accessory structures play a critical role in shaping the flagellar beat.

  5. Antisense long noncoding RNAs regulate var gene activation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Amit-Avraham, Inbar; Pozner, Guy; Eshar, Shiri; Fastman, Yair; Kolevzon, Netanel; Yavin, Eylon; Dzikowski, Ron

    2015-03-01

    The virulence of Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the deadliest form of human malaria, is attributed to its ability to evade human immunity through antigenic variation. These parasites alternate between expression of variable antigens, encoded by members of a multicopy gene family named var. Immune evasion through antigenic variation depends on tight regulation of var gene expression, ensuring that only a single var gene is expressed at a time while the rest of the family is maintained transcriptionally silent. Understanding how a single gene is chosen for activation is critical for understanding mutually exclusive expression but remains a mystery. Here, we show that antisense long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) initiating from var introns are associated with the single active var gene at the time in the cell cycle when the single var upstream promoter is active. We demonstrate that these antisense transcripts are incorporated into chromatin, and that expression of these antisense lncRNAs in trans triggers activation of a silent var gene in a sequence- and dose-dependent manner. On the other hand, interference with these lncRNAs using complement peptide nucleic acid molecules down-regulated the active var gene, erased the epigenetic memory, and induced expression switching. Altogether, our data provide evidence that these antisense lncRNAs play a key role in regulating var gene activation and mutually exclusive expression.

  6. Reversible host cell remodeling underpins deformability changes in malaria parasite sexual blood stages

    PubMed Central

    Dearnley, Megan; Chu, Trang; Zhang, Yao; Looker, Oliver; Huang, Changjin; Klonis, Nectarios; Yeoman, Jeff; Kenny, Shannon; Arora, Mohit; Osborne, James M.; Chandramohanadas, Rajesh; Zhang, Sulin; Dixon, Matthew W. A.; Tilley, Leann

    2016-01-01

    The sexual blood stage of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum undergoes remarkable biophysical changes as it prepares for transmission to mosquitoes. During maturation, midstage gametocytes show low deformability and sequester in the bone marrow and spleen cords, thus avoiding clearance during passage through splenic sinuses. Mature gametocytes exhibit increased deformability and reappear in the peripheral circulation, allowing uptake by mosquitoes. Here we define the reversible changes in erythrocyte membrane organization that underpin this biomechanical transformation. Atomic force microscopy reveals that the length of the spectrin cross-members and the size of the skeletal meshwork increase in developing gametocytes, then decrease in mature-stage gametocytes. These changes are accompanied by relocation of actin from the erythrocyte membrane to the Maurer’s clefts. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching reveals reversible changes in the level of coupling between the membrane skeleton and the plasma membrane. Treatment of midstage gametocytes with cytochalasin D decreases the vertical coupling and increases their filterability. A computationally efficient coarse-grained model of the erythrocyte membrane reveals that restructuring and constraining the spectrin meshwork can fully account for the observed changes in deformability. PMID:27071094

  7. Hierarchical phosphorylation of apical membrane antigen 1 is required for efficient red blood cell invasion by malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Prinz, Boris; Harvey, Katherine L.; Wilcke, Louisa; Ruch, Ulrike; Engelberg, Klemens; Biller, Laura; Lucet, Isabelle; Erkelenz, Steffen; Heincke, Dorothee; Spielmann, Tobias; Doerig, Christian; Kunick, Conrad; Crabb, Brendan S.; Gilson, Paul R.; Gilberger, Tim W.

    2016-01-01

    Central to the pathogenesis of malaria is the proliferation of Plasmodium falciparum parasites within human erythrocytes. Parasites invade erythrocytes via a coordinated sequence of receptor-ligand interactions between the parasite and host cell. One key ligand, Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (AMA1), is a leading blood-stage vaccine and previous work indicates that phosphorylation of its cytoplasmic domain (CPD) is important to its function during invasion. Here we investigate the significance of each of the six available phospho-sites in the CPD. We confirm that the cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signalling pathway elicits a phospho-priming step upon serine 610 (S610), which enables subsequent phosphorylation in vitro of a conserved, downstream threonine residue (T613) by glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). Both phosphorylation steps are required for AMA1 to function efficiently during invasion. This provides the first evidence that the functions of key invasion ligands of the malaria parasite are regulated by sequential phosphorylation steps. PMID:27698395

  8. Translocation of sickle cell erythrocyte microRNAs into Plasmodium falciparum inhibits parasite translation and contributes to malaria resistance.

    PubMed

    LaMonte, Gregory; Philip, Nisha; Reardon, Joseph; Lacsina, Joshua R; Majoros, William; Chapman, Lesley; Thornburg, Courtney D; Telen, Marilyn J; Ohler, Uwe; Nicchitta, Christopher V; Haystead, Timothy; Chi, Jen-Tsan

    2012-08-16

    Erythrocytes carrying a variant hemoglobin allele (HbS), which causes sickle cell disease and resists infection by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The molecular basis of this resistance, which has long been recognized as multifactorial, remains incompletely understood. Here we show that the dysregulated microRNA (miRNA) composition, of either heterozygous HbAS or homozygous HbSS erythrocytes, contributes to resistance against P. falciparum. During the intraerythrocytic life cycle of P. falciparum, a subset of erythrocyte miRNAs translocate into the parasite. Two miRNAs, miR-451 and let-7i, were highly enriched in HbAS and HbSS erythrocytes, and these miRNAs, along with miR-223, negatively regulated parasite growth. Surprisingly, we found that miR-451 and let-7i integrated into essential parasite messenger RNAs and, via impaired ribosomal loading, resulted in translational inhibition. Hence, sickle cell erythrocytes exhibit cell-intrinsic resistance to malaria in part through an atypical miRNA activity, which may represent a unique host defense strategy against complex eukaryotic pathogens.

  9. Network-based gene prediction for Plasmodium falciparum malaria towards genetics-based drug discovery

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Background Malaria is the most deadly parasitic infectious disease. Existing drug treatments have limited efficacy in malaria elimination, and the complex pathogenesis of the disease is not fully understood. Detecting novel malaria-associated genes not only contributes in revealing the disease pathogenesis, but also facilitates discovering new targets for anti-malaria drugs. Methods In this study, we developed a network-based approach to predict malaria-associated genes. We constructed a cross-species network to integrate human-human, parasite-parasite and human-parasite protein interactions. Then we extended the random walk algorithm on this network, and used known malaria genes as the seeds to find novel candidate genes for malaria. Results We validated our algorithms using 77 known malaria genes: 14 human genes and 63 parasite genes were ranked averagely within top 2% and top 4%, respectively among human and parasite genomes. We also evaluated our method for predicting novel malaria genes using a set of 27 genes with literature supporting evidence. Our approach ranked 12 genes within top 1% and 24 genes within top 5%. In addition, we demonstrated that top-ranked candied genes were enriched for drug targets, and identified commonalities underlying top-ranked malaria genes through pathway analysis. In summary, the candidate malaria-associated genes predicted by our data-driven approach have the potential to guide genetics-based anti-malaria drug discovery. PMID:26099491

  10. The importance of sensitive detection of malaria parasites in the human and insect hosts in epidemiological studies, as shown by the analysis of field samples from Guinea Bissau.

    PubMed

    Snounou, G; Pinheiro, L; Gonçalves, A; Fonseca, L; Dias, F; Brown, K N; do Rosario, V E

    1993-01-01

    A method based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for highly sensitive detection and identification of human malaria parasites was applied to blood and mosquito samples obtained from a village in Guinea Bissau. The prevalence of parasites in the human population was shown to be greatly underestimated by microscopical examination. In particular, a high incidence of Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale parasites was revealed only by the PCR assay. Preliminary evidence was obtained to show that the distribution of P. malariae infections within the village was non-random. This was supported by analysis of the parasite species infecting the mosquito vector. The implication of these results for the design and interpretation of epidemiological surveys is discussed.

  11. Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum and its apicoplast.

    PubMed

    Kalanon, Ming; McFadden, Geoffrey I

    2010-06-01

    Malaria, which is caused by species of the parasite genus Plasmodium, remains a major global health problem. A vestigial plastid homologous with the chloroplasts of plants and algae was discovered in malaria and related parasites from the phylum Apicomplexa and has radically changed our view of the evolutionary origins of these disease-causing protists. We now recognize that this large group of parasites had a photosynthetic ancestry and were converted into parasitism early in the evolution of animals. Apicomplexans have probably been parasitizing the animal kingdom for more than 500 million years. The relic plastid persists in most apicomplexans and is an essential component. Perturbation of apicoplast function or inheritance results in parasite death, making the organelle a promising target for chemotherapy. Plastids, including those of malaria parasites, are essentially reduced endosymbiotic bacteria living inside a eukaryotic host. This means that plastids have bacterial-type metabolic pathways and housekeeping processes, all of which are vulnerable to antibacterial compounds. Indeed, many antibacterials kill malaria parasites by blocking essential processes in the plastid. Furthermore, a range of herbicides that target plastid metabolism of undesired plants are also parasiticidal, making them potential new leads for antimalarial drugs. In the present review, we examine the evolutionary origins of the malaria parasite's plastid by endosymbiosis and outline the recent findings on how the organelle imports nuclear-encoded proteins through a set of translocation machineries in the membranes that bound the organelle.

  12. New malaria parasites of the subgenus Novyella in African rainforest birds, with remarks on their high prevalence, classification and diagnostics.

    PubMed

    Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Iezhova, Tatjana A; Loiseau, Claire; Smith, Thomas B; Sehgal, Ravinder N M

    2009-04-01

    Blood samples from 655 passerine birds were collected in rainforests of Ghana and Cameroon and examined both by microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based techniques. The overall prevalence of Plasmodium spp. was 46.6%, as determined by combining the results of both these diagnostic methods. In comparison to PCR-based diagnostics, microscopic examination of blood films was more sensitive in determining simultaneous infection of Plasmodium spp., but both detection methods showed similar trends of prevalence of malaria parasites in the same study sites. Plasmodium (Novyella) lucens n. sp., Plasmodium (Novyella) multivacuolaris n. sp. and Plasmodium (Novyella) parahexamerium n. sp. were found in the olive sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea (Nectariniidae), yellow-whiskered greenbul Andropadus latirostris (Picnonotidae), and white-tailed alethe Alethe diademata (Turdidae), respectively. These parasites are described based on the morphology of their blood stages and a segment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene, which can be used for molecular identification and diagnosis of these species. Illustrations of blood stages of new species are given, and phylogenetic analysis identifies DNA lineages closely related to these parasites. Malaria parasites of the subgenus Novyella with small erythrocytic meronts clearly predominate in African passerines. It is probable that the development of such meronts is a characteristic feature of evolution of Plasmodium spp. in African rainforest birds. Subgeneric taxonomy of avian Plasmodium spp. is discussed based on the recent molecular phylogenies of these parasites. It is concluded that a multi-genome phylogeny is needed before revising the current subgeneric classification of Plasmodium. We supported a hypothesis by Hellgren, Krizanauskiene, Valkiūnas, Bensch (J Parasitol 93:889-896, 2007), according to which, haemosporidian species with a genetic differentiation of over 5% in mitochondrial cyt b gene are expected to be

  13. Vaccines against malaria.

    PubMed

    Hill, Adrian V S

    2011-10-12

    There is no licenced vaccine against any human parasitic disease and Plasmodium falciparum malaria, a major cause of infectious mortality, presents a great challenge to vaccine developers. This has led to the assessment of a wide variety of approaches to malaria vaccine design and development, assisted by the availability of a safe challenge model for small-scale efficacy testing of vaccine candidates. Malaria vaccine development has been at the forefront of assessing many new vaccine technologies including novel adjuvants, vectored prime-boost regimes and the concept of community vaccination to block malaria transmission. Most current vaccine candidates target a single stage of the parasite's life cycle and vaccines against the early pre-erythrocytic stages have shown most success. A protein in adjuvant vaccine, working through antibodies against sporozoites, and viral vector vaccines targeting the intracellular liver-stage parasite with cellular immunity show partial efficacy in humans, and the anti-sporozoite vaccine is currently in phase III trials. However, a more effective malaria vaccine suitable for widespread cost-effective deployment is likely to require a multi-component vaccine targeting more than one life cycle stage. The most attractive near-term approach to develop such a product is to combine existing partially effective pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidates. PMID:21893544

  14. Challenges and Approaches for Mosquito Targeted Malaria Control

    PubMed Central

    Ramirez, José L.; Garver, Lindsey S.; Dimopoulos, George

    2010-01-01

    Malaria is one of today’s most serious diseases with an enormous socioeconomic impact. While anti-malarial drugs have existed for some time and vaccines development may be underway, the most successful malaria eradication programs have thus far relied on attacking the mosquito vector that spreads the disease causing agent Plasmodium. Here we will review past, current and future perspectives of malaria vector control strategies and how these approaches have taken a promising turn thanks recent advances in functional genomics and molecular biology. PMID:19275622

  15. Competitive release and facilitation of drug-resistant parasites after therapeutic chemotherapy in a rodent malaria model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wargo, A.R.; Huijben, S.; De Roode, J. C.; Shepherd, J.; Read, A.F.

    2007-01-01

    Malaria infections frequently consist of mixtures of drug-resistant and drug-sensitive parasites. If crowding occurs, where clonal population densities are suppressed by the presence of coinfecting clones, removal of susceptible clones by drug treatment could allow resistant clones to expand into the newly vacated niche space within a host. Theoretical models show that, if such competitive release occurs, it can be a potent contributor to the strength of selection, greatly accelerating the rate at which resistance spreads in a population. A variety of correlational field data suggest that competitive release could occur in human malaria populations, but direct evidence cannot be ethically obtained from human infections. Here we show competitive release after pyrimethamine curative chemotherapy of acute infections of the rodent malaria Plasmodium chabaudi in laboratory mice. The expansion of resistant parasite numbers after treatment resulted in enhanced transmission-stage densities. After the elimination or near-elimination of sensitive parasites, the number of resistant parasites increased beyond that achieved when a competitor had never been present. Thus, a substantial competitive release occurred, markedly elevating the fitness advantages of drug resistance above those arising from survival alone. This finding may explain the rapid spread of drug resistance and the subsequently brief useful lifespans of some antimalarial drugs. In a second experiment, where subcurative chemotherapy was administered, the resistant clone was only partly released from competitive suppression and experienced a restriction in the size of its expansion after treatment. This finding raises the prospect of harnessing in-host ecology to slow the spread of drug resistance. ?? 2007 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

  16. Emergence of Resistance to Atovaquone-Proguanil in Malaria Parasites: Insights from Computational Modeling and Clinical Case Reports

    PubMed Central

    Musset, Lise; Hubert, Véronique; Le Bras, Jacques

    2014-01-01

    The usefulness of atovaquone-proguanil (AP) as an antimalarial treatment is compromised by the emergence of atovaquone resistance during therapy. However, the origin of the parasite mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation conferring atovaquone resistance remains elusive. Here, we report a patient-based stochastic model that tracks the intrahost emergence of mutations in the multicopy mtDNA during the first erythrocytic parasite cycles leading to the malaria febrile episode. The effect of mtDNA copy number, mutation rate, mutation cost, and total parasite load on the mutant parasite load per patient was evaluated. Computer simulations showed that almost any infected patient carried, after four to seven erythrocytic cycles, de novo mutant parasites at low frequency, with varied frequencies of parasites carrying varied numbers of mutant mtDNA copies. A large interpatient variability in the size of this mutant reservoir was found; this variability was due to the different parameters tested but also to the relaxed replication and partitioning of mtDNA copies during mitosis. We also report seven clinical cases in which AP-resistant infections were treated by AP. These provided evidence that parasiticidal drug concentrations against AP-resistant parasites were transiently obtained within days after treatment initiation. Altogether, these results suggest that each patient carries new mtDNA mutant parasites that emerge before treatment but are killed by high starting drug concentrations. However, because the size of this mutant reservoir is highly variable from patient to patient, we propose that some patients fail to eliminate all of the mutant parasites, repeatedly producing de novo AP treatment failures. PMID:24867967

  17. Relative clonal proportions over time in mixed-genotype infections of the lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum.

    PubMed

    Ford, Alice Flynn; Schall, Jos J

    2011-06-01

    Vertebrate hosts of malaria parasites (Plasmodium) often harbour two or more genetically distinct clones of a single species, and interaction among these co-existing clones can play an important role in Plasmodium biology. However, how relative clonal proportions vary over time in a host is still poorly known. Experimental mixed-clone infections of the lizard malaria parasite, Plasmodium mexicanum, were followed in its natural host, the western fence lizard using microsatellite markers to determine the relative proportions of two to five co-existing clones over time (2-3 months). Results for two markers, and two PCR primer pairs for one of those, matched very closely, supporting the efficacy of the method. Of the 54 infections, 67% displayed stable relative clonal proportions, with the others showing a shift in proportions, usually with one clone outpacing the others. Infections with rapidly increasing or slowly increasing parasitemia were stable, showing that all clones within these infections reproduced at the same rapid or slow rate. Replicate infections containing the same clones did not always reveal the same growth rate, final parasitemia or dominant clone; thus there was no clone effect for these life history measures. The rate of increase in parasitemia was not associated with stable versus unstable relative proportions, but infections with four to five clones were more likely to be unstable than those with two to three clones. This rare look into events in genetically complex Plasmodium infections suggests that parasite clones may be interacting in complex and unexpected ways. PMID:21396372

  18. The separate and combined effects of MHC genotype, parasite clone, and host gender on the course of malaria in mice

    PubMed Central

    Wedekind, Claus; Walker, Mirjam; Little, Tom J

    2006-01-01

    Background The link between host MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genotype and malaria is largely based on correlative data with little or no experimental control of potential confounding factors. We used an experimental mouse model to test for main effects of MHC-haplotypes, MHC heterozygosity, and MHC × parasite clone interactions. We experimentally infected MHC-congenic mice (F2 segregants, homo- and heterozygotes, males and females) with one of two clones of Plasmodium chabaudi and recorded disease progression. Results We found that MHC haplotype and parasite clone each have a significant influence on the course of the disease, but there was no significant host genotype by parasite genotype interaction. We found no evidence for overdominance nor any other sort of heterozygote advantage or disadvantage. Conclusion When tested under experimental conditions, variation in the MHC can significantly influence the course of malaria. However, MHC heterozygote advantage through overdominance or dominance of resistance cannot be assumed in the case of single-strain infections. Future studies might focus on the interaction between MHC heterozygosity and multiple-clone infections. PMID:17118203

  19. Description, molecular characterisation, diagnostics and life cycle of Plasmodium elongatum (lineage pERIRUB01), the virulent avian malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Palinauskas, Vaidas; Žiegytė, Rita; Iezhova, Tatjana A; Ilgūnas, Mikas; Bernotienė, Rasa; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    2016-10-01

    Plasmodium elongatum causes severe avian malaria and is distributed worldwide. This parasite is of particular importance due to its ability to develop and cause lethal malaria not only in natural hosts, but also in non-adapted endemic birds such as the brown kiwi and different species of penguins. Information on vectors of this infection is available but is contradictory. PCR-based analysis indicated the possible existence of a cluster of closely related P. elongatum lineages which might differ in their ability to develop in certain mosquitoes and birds. This experimental study provides information about molecular and morphological characterisation of a virulent P. elongatum strain (lineage pERIRUB01) isolated from a naturally infected European robin, Erithacus rubecula. Phylogenetic analysis based on partial cytochrome b gene sequences showed that this parasite lineage is closely related to P. elongatum (lineage pGRW6). Blood stages of both parasite lineages are indistinguishable, indicating that they belong to the same species. Both pathogens develop in experimentally infected canaries, Serinus canaria, causing death of the hosts. In both these lineages, trophozoites and erythrocytic meronts develop in polychromatic erythrocytes and erythroblasts, gametocytes parasitize mature erythrocytes, exoerythrocytic stages develop in cells of the erythrocytic series in bone marrow and are occasionally reported in spleen and liver. Massive infestation of bone marrow cells is the main reason for bird mortality. We report here on syncytium-like remnants of tissue meronts, which slip out of the bone marrow into the peripheral circulation, providing evidence that the syncytia can be a template for PCR amplification. This finding contributes to better understanding positive PCR amplifications in birds when parasitemia is invisible and improved diagnostics of abortive haemosporidian infections. Sporogony of P. elongatum (pERIRUB01) completes the cycle and sporozoites develop in

  20. Targeting glutamine metabolism rescues mice from late-stage cerebral malaria

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Emile B.; Hart, Geoffrey T.; Tran, Tuan M.; Waisberg, Michael; Akkaya, Munir; Kim, Ann S.; Hamilton, Sara E.; Pena, Mirna; Yazew, Takele; Qi, Chen-Feng; Lee, Chen-Fang; Lo, Ying-Chun; Miller, Louis H.; Powell, Jonathan D.; Pierce, Susan K.

    2015-01-01

    The most deadly complication of Plasmodium falciparum infection is cerebral malaria (CM) with a case fatality rate of 15–25% in African children despite effective antimalarial chemotherapy. There are no adjunctive treatments for CM, so there is an urgent need to identify new targets for therapy. Here we show that the glutamine analog 6-diazo-5-oxo-l-norleucine (DON) rescues mice from CM when administered late in the infection a time at which mice already are suffering blood–brain barrier dysfunction, brain swelling, and hemorrhaging accompanied by accumulation of parasite-specific CD8+ effector T cells and infected red blood cells in the brain. Remarkably, within hours of DON treatment mice showed blood–brain barrier integrity, reduced brain swelling, decreased function of activated effector CD8+ T cells in the brain, and levels of brain metabolites that resembled those in uninfected mice. These results suggest DON as a strong candidate for an effective adjunctive therapy for CM in African children. PMID:26438846

  1. Target evaluation of deoxyhypusine synthase from Theileria parva the neglected animal parasite and its relationship to Plasmodium.

    PubMed

    Njuguna, James T; von Koschitzky, Imke; Gerhardt, Heike; Lämmerhofer, Michael; Choucry, Ali; Pink, Mario; Schmitz-Spahnke, Simone; Bakheit, Mohammed A; Strube, Christina; Kaiser, Annette

    2014-08-01

    East Coast fever (ECF) is a tick-borne disease caused by the parasite Theileria parva which infects cattle. In Sub-Saharan Africa it leads to enormous economic costs. After a bite of a tick, sporozoites invade the host lymphocytes and develop into schizonts. At this stage the parasite transforms host lymphocytes resulting in the clonal expansion of infected lymphocytes. Animals develop a lymphoma like disorder after infection which is rapidly fatal. Hitherto, a few drugs of the quinone type can cure the disease. However, therapy can only be successful after early diagnosis. The genera Theileria and Plasmodium, which includes the causative agent of human malaria, are closely related apicomplexan parasites. Enzymes of the hypusine pathway, a posttranslational modification in eukaryotic initiation factor EIF-5A, have shown to be druggable targets in Plasmodium. We identified the first enzyme of the hypusine pathway from T. parva, the deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS), which is located on chromosome 2 of the Muguga strain. Transcription is significantly increased in schizonts. The expressed T. parva DHS reveals an open reading frame (ORF) of 370 amino acids after expression in Escherichia coli Rosetta cells with a molecular size of 41.26 kDa and a theoretical pI of 5.26. Screening of the Malaria Box which consists of 400 active compounds resulted in a novel heterocyclic compound with a guanyl spacer which reduced the activity of T. parva DHS to 45%. In sum, the guanyl residue seems to be an important lead structure for inhibition of Theileria DHS. Currently, more different guanyl analogues from the Malaria Box are tested in inhibitor experiments to determine their efficacy. PMID:24909679

  2. Target evaluation of deoxyhypusine synthase from Theileria parva the neglected animal parasite and its relationship to Plasmodium.

    PubMed

    Njuguna, James T; von Koschitzky, Imke; Gerhardt, Heike; Lämmerhofer, Michael; Choucry, Ali; Pink, Mario; Schmitz-Spahnke, Simone; Bakheit, Mohammed A; Strube, Christina; Kaiser, Annette

    2014-08-01

    East Coast fever (ECF) is a tick-borne disease caused by the parasite Theileria parva which infects cattle. In Sub-Saharan Africa it leads to enormous economic costs. After a bite of a tick, sporozoites invade the host lymphocytes and develop into schizonts. At this stage the parasite transforms host lymphocytes resulting in the clonal expansion of infected lymphocytes. Animals develop a lymphoma like disorder after infection which is rapidly fatal. Hitherto, a few drugs of the quinone type can cure the disease. However, therapy can only be successful after early diagnosis. The genera Theileria and Plasmodium, which includes the causative agent of human malaria, are closely related apicomplexan parasites. Enzymes of the hypusine pathway, a posttranslational modification in eukaryotic initiation factor EIF-5A, have shown to be druggable targets in Plasmodium. We identified the first enzyme of the hypusine pathway from T. parva, the deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS), which is located on chromosome 2 of the Muguga strain. Transcription is significantly increased in schizonts. The expressed T. parva DHS reveals an open reading frame (ORF) of 370 amino acids after expression in Escherichia coli Rosetta cells with a molecular size of 41.26 kDa and a theoretical pI of 5.26. Screening of the Malaria Box which consists of 400 active compounds resulted in a novel heterocyclic compound with a guanyl spacer which reduced the activity of T. parva DHS to 45%. In sum, the guanyl residue seems to be an important lead structure for inhibition of Theileria DHS. Currently, more different guanyl analogues from the Malaria Box are tested in inhibitor experiments to determine their efficacy.

  3. Polymorphism at the apical membrane antigen 1 gene (AMA1) of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in a Vietnamese population.

    PubMed

    Quang, Nguyen Duc; Hoa, Phan Thi Phuong; Tuan, Mai Sy; Viet, Nguyen Xuan; Jalloh, Amadu; Matsuoka, Hiroyuki

    2009-06-01

    The patterns of molecular evolution of the most diverse region of the apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) gene in Plasmodium falciparum from a Vietnamese subpopulation (Bao Loc) were investigated. Within the Bao Loc population, the sequenced gene region showed relatively high allelic and nucleotide diversity (0.985 and 0.02694, respectively). Further, the level of population recombination was substantial, resulting in a significant decay of linkage disequilibrium along the gene region. The results suggest that AMA1 is a useful genetic marker for studying the relationships between adaptation of parasite populations (to the human host immune system) and malaria epidemiology.

  4. Cysteine Protease Inhibitors as Chemotherapy: Lessons from a Parasite Target

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Selzer, Paul M.; Pingel, Sabine; Hsieh, Ivy; Ugele, Bernhard; Chan, Victor J.; Engel, Juan C.; Bogyo, Matthew; Russell, David G.; Sakanari, Judy A.; McKerrow, James H.

    1999-09-01

    Papain family cysteine proteases are key factors in the pathogenesis of cancer invasion, arthritis, osteoporosis, and microbial infections. Targeting this enzyme family is therefore one strategy in the development of new chemotherapy for a number of diseases. Little is known, however, about the efficacy, selectivity, and safety of cysteine protease inhibitors in cell culture or in vivo. We now report that specific cysteine protease inhibitors kill Leishmania parasites in vitro, at concentrations that do not overtly affect mammalian host cells. Inhibition of Leishmania cysteine protease activity was accompanied by defects in the parasite's lysosome/endosome compartment resembling those seen in lysosomal storage diseases. Colocalization of anti-protease antibodies with biotinylated surface proteins and accumulation of undigested debris and protease in the flagellar pocket of treated parasites were consistent with a pathway of protease trafficking from flagellar pocket to the lysosome/endosome compartment. The inhibitors were sufficiently absorbed and stable in vivo to ameliorate the pathology associated with a mouse model of Leishmania infection.

  5. Protective CD8+ T cell responses against the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria parasites: an overview.

    PubMed

    Oliveira-Ferreira, J; Daniel-Ribeiro, C

    2001-02-01

    CD8+ T cells have been implicated as critical effector cells in protection against the pre-erythrocytic stage of malaria in mice and humans following irradiated sporozoite immunization. Immunization experiments in animal models by several investigators have suggested different strategies for vaccination against malaria and many of the targets from liver stage malaria antigens have been shown to be immunogenic and to protect mice from the sporozoite challenge. Several prime/boost protocols with replicating vectors, such as vaccinia/influenza, with non-replicating vectors, such as recombinant particles derived from yeast transposon (Ty-particles) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara, and DNA, significantly enhanced CD8+ T cell immunogenicity and also the protective efficacy against the circumsporosoite protein of Plasmodium berghei and P. yeti. Based on these experimental results the development of a CD8+ T cell inducing vaccine has moved forward from epitope identification to planning stages of safety and immunogenicity trials of candidate vaccines.

  6. Dynamics of the Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Processing and Presentation Pathway in the Course of Malaria Parasite Development in Human Hepatocytes: Implications for Vaccine Development

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Jinxia; Trop, Stefanie; Baer, Samantha; Rakhmanaliev, Elian; Arany, Zita; Dumoulin, Peter; Zhang, Hao; Romano, Julia; Coppens, Isabelle; Levitsky, Victor; Levitskaya, Jelena

    2013-01-01

    Control of parasite replication exerted by MHC class I restricted CD8+ T-cells in the liver is critical for vaccination-induced protection against malaria. While many intracellular pathogens subvert the MHC class I presentation machinery, its functionality in the course of malaria replication in hepatocytes has not been characterized. Using experimental systems based on specific identification, isolation and analysis of human hepatocytes infected with P. berghei ANKA GFP or P. falciparum 3D7 GFP sporozoites we demonstrated that molecular components of the MHC class I pathway exhibit largely unaltered expression in malaria-infected hepatocytes until very late stages of parasite development. Furthermore, infected cells showed no obvious defects in their capacity to upregulate expression of different molecular components of the MHC class I machinery in response to pro-inflammatory lymphokines or trigger direct activation of allo-specific or peptide-specific human CD8+ T-cells. We further demonstrate that ectopic expression of circumsporozoite protein does not alter expression of critical genes of the MHC class I pathway and its response to pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, we identified supra-cellular structures, which arose at late stages of parasite replication, possessed the characteristic morphology of merosomes and exhibited nearly complete loss of surface MHC class I expression. These data have multiple implications for our understanding of natural T-cell immunity against malaria and may promote development of novel, efficient anti-malaria vaccines overcoming immune escape of the parasite in the liver. PMID:24086507

  7. A semi-automated luminescence based standard membrane feeding assay identifies novel small molecules that inhibit transmission of malaria parasites by mosquitoes

    PubMed Central

    Vos, Martijn W.; Stone, Will J. R.; Koolen, Karin M.; van Gemert, Geert-Jan; van Schaijk, Ben; Leroy, Didier; Sauerwein, Robert W.; Bousema, Teun; Dechering, Koen J.

    2015-01-01

    Current first-line treatments for uncomplicated falciparum malaria rapidly clear the asexual stages of the parasite, but do not fully prevent parasite transmission by mosquitoes. The standard membrane feeding assay (SMFA) is the biological gold standard assessment of transmission reducing activity (TRA), but its throughput is limited by the need to determine mosquito infection status by dissection and microscopy. Here we present a novel dissection-free luminescence based SMFA format using a transgenic Plasmodium falciparum reporter parasite without resistance to known antimalarials and therefore unrestricted in its utility in compound screening. Analyses of sixty-five compounds from the Medicines for Malaria Venture validation and malaria boxes identified 37 compounds with high levels of TRA (>80%); different assay modes allowed discrimination between gametocytocidal and downstream modes of action. Comparison of SMFA data to published assay formats for predicting parasite infectivity indicated that individual in vitro screens show substantial numbers of false negatives. These results highlight the importance of the SMFA in the screening pipeline for transmission reducing compounds and present a rapid and objective method. In addition we present sixteen diverse chemical scaffolds from the malaria box that may serve as a starting point for further discovery and development of malaria transmission blocking drugs. PMID:26687564

  8. In Silico Designing and Analysis of Inhibitors against Target Protein Identified through Host-Pathogen Protein Interactions in Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Samant, Monika; Chadha, Nidhi; Tiwari, Anjani K.; Hasija, Yasha

    2016-01-01

    Malaria, a life-threatening blood disease, has been a major concern in the field of healthcare. One of the severe forms of malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum which is initiated through protein interactions of pathogen with the host proteins. It is essential to analyse the protein-protein interactions among the host and pathogen for better understanding of the process and characterizing specific molecular mechanisms involved in pathogen persistence and survival. In this study, a complete protein-protein interaction network of human host and Plasmodium falciparum has been generated by integration of the experimental data and computationally predicting interactions using the interolog method. The interacting proteins were filtered according to their biological significance and functional roles. α-tubulin was identified as a potential protein target and inhibitors were designed against it by modification of amiprophos methyl. Docking and binding affinity analysis showed two modified inhibitors exhibiting better docking scores of −10.5 kcal/mol and −10.43 kcal/mol and an improved binding affinity of −83.80 kJ/mol and −98.16 kJ/mol with the target. These inhibitors can further be tested and validated in vivo for their properties as an antimalarial drug. PMID:27057354

  9. Mast cells and histamine alter intestinal permeability during malaria parasite infection.

    PubMed

    Potts, Rashaun A; Tiffany, Caitlin M; Pakpour, Nazzy; Lokken, Kristen L; Tiffany, Connor R; Cheung, Kong; Tsolis, Renée M; Luckhart, Shirley

    2016-03-01

    Co-infections with malaria and non-typhoidal Salmonella serotypes (NTS) can present as life-threatening bacteremia, in contrast to self-resolving NTS diarrhea in healthy individuals. In previous work with our mouse model of malaria/NTS co-infection, we showed increased gut mastocytosis and increased ileal and plasma histamine levels that were temporally associated with increased gut permeability and bacterial translocation. Here, we report that gut mastocytosis and elevated plasma histamine are also associated with malaria in an animal model of falciparum malaria, suggesting a broader host distribution of this biology. In support of mast cell function in this phenotype, malaria/NTS co-infection in mast cell-deficient mice was associated with a reduction in gut permeability and bacteremia. Further, antihistamine treatment reduced bacterial translocation and gut permeability in mice with malaria, suggesting a contribution of mast cell-derived histamine to GI pathology and enhanced risk of bacteremia during malaria/NTS co-infection.

  10. Clonal diversity of a lizard malaria parasite, Plasmodium mexicanum, in its vertebrate host, the western fence lizard: role of variation in transmission intensity over time and space.

    PubMed

    Vardo, A M; Schall, J J

    2007-07-01

    Within the vertebrate host, infections of a malaria parasite (Plasmodium) could include a single genotype of cells (single-clone infections) or two to several genotypes (multiclone infections). Clonal diversity of infection plays an important role in the biology of the parasite, including its life history, virulence, and transmission. We determined the clonal diversity of Plasmodium mexicanum, a lizard malaria parasite at a study region in northern California, using variable microsatellite markers, the first such study for any malaria parasite of lizards or birds (the most common hosts for Plasmodium species). Multiclonal infections are common (50-88% of infections among samples), and measures of genetic diversity for the metapopulation (expected heterozygosity, number of alleles per locus, allele length variation, and effective population size) all indicated a substantial overall genetic diversity. Comparing years with high prevalence (1996-1998 = 25-32% lizards infected), and years with low prevalence (2001-2005 = 6-12%) found fewer alleles in samples taken from the low-prevalence years, but no reduction in overall diversity (H = 0.64-0.90 among loci). In most cases, rare alleles appeared to be lost as prevalence declined. For sites chronically experiencing low transmission intensity (prevalence approximately 1%), overall diversity was also high (H = 0.79-0.91), but there were fewer multiclonal infections. Theory predicts an apparent excess in expected heterozygosity follows a genetic bottleneck. Evidence for such a distortion in genetic diversity was observed after the drop in parasite prevalence under the infinite alleles mutation model but not for the stepwise mutation model. The results are similar to those reported for the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, worldwide, and support the conclusion that malaria parasites maintain high genetic diversity in host populations despite the potential for loss in alleles during the transmission cycle or

  11. The March Toward Malaria Vaccines.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Stephen L; Vekemans, Johan; Richie, Thomas L; Duffy, Patrick E

    2015-12-01

    In 2013 there were an estimated 584,000 deaths and 198 million clinical illnesses due to malaria, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccines would be the ideal addition to the existing armamentarium of anti-malaria tools. However, malaria is caused by parasites, and parasites are much more complex in terms of their biology than the viruses and bacteria for which we have vaccines, passing through multiple stages of development in the human host, each stage expressing hundreds of unique antigens. This complexity makes it more difficult to develop a vaccine for parasites than for viruses and bacteria, since an immune response targeting one stage may not offer protection against a later stage, because different antigens are the targets of protective immunity at different stages. Furthermore, depending on the life cycle stage and whether the parasite is extra- or intra-cellular, antibody and/or cellular immune responses provide protection. It is thus not surprising that there is no vaccine on the market for prevention of malaria, or any human parasitic infection. In fact, no vaccine for any disease with this breadth of targets and immune responses exists. In this limited review, we focus on four approaches to malaria vaccines, (1) a recombinant protein with adjuvant vaccine aimed at Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) pre-erythrocytic stages of the parasite cycle (RTS,S/AS01), (2) whole sporozoite vaccines aimed at Pf pre-erythrocytic stages (PfSPZ Vaccine and PfSPZ-CVac), (3) prime boost vaccines that include recombinant DNA, viruses and bacteria, and protein with adjuvant aimed primarily at Pf pre-erythrocytic, but also asexual erythrocytic stages, and (4) recombinant protein with adjuvant vaccines aimed at Pf and Plasmodium vivax sexual erythrocytic and mosquito stages. We recognize that we are not covering all approaches to malaria vaccine development, or most of the critically important work on development of vaccines against P. vivax, the second most important cause of

  12. The march toward malaria vaccines.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Stephen L; Vekemans, Johan; Richie, Thomas L; Duffy, Patrick E

    2015-11-27

    In 2013 there were an estimated 584,000 deaths and 198 million clinical illnesses due to malaria, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccines would be the ideal addition to the existing armamentarium of anti-malaria tools. However, malaria is caused by parasites, and parasites are much more complex in terms of their biology than the viruses and bacteria for which we have vaccines, passing through multiple stages of development in the human host, each stage expressing hundreds of unique antigens. This complexity makes it more difficult to develop a vaccine for parasites than for viruses and bacteria, since an immune response targeting one stage may not offer protection against a later stage, because different antigens are the targets of protective immunity at different stages. Furthermore, depending on the life cycle stage and whether the parasite is extra- or intra-cellular, antibody and/or cellular immune responses provide protection. It is thus not surprising that there is no vaccine on the market for prevention of malaria, or any human parasitic infection. In fact, no vaccine for any disease with this breadth of targets and immune responses exists. In this limited review, we focus on four approaches to malaria vaccines, (1) a recombinant protein with adjuvant vaccine aimed at Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) pre-erythrocytic stages of the parasite cycle (RTS,S/AS01), (2) whole sporozoite vaccines aimed at Pf pre-erythrocytic stages (PfSPZ Vaccine and PfSPZ-CVac), (3) prime boost vaccines that include recombinant DNA, viruses and bacteria, and protein with adjuvant aimed primarily at Pf pre-erythrocytic, but also asexual erythrocytic stages, and (4) recombinant protein with adjuvant vaccines aimed at Pf and Plasmodium vivax sexual erythrocytic and mosquito stages. We recognize that we are not covering all approaches to malaria vaccine development, or most of the critically important work on development of vaccines against P. vivax, the second most important cause of

  13. The March Toward Malaria Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, Stephen L.; Vekemans, Johan; Richie, Thomas L.; Duffy, Patrick E.

    2016-01-01

    In 2013 there were an estimated 584,000 deaths and 198 million clinical illnesses due to malaria, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccines would be the ideal addition to the existing armamentarium of anti-malaria tools. However, malaria is caused by parasites, and parasites are much more complex in terms of their biology than the viruses and bacteria for which we have vaccines, passing through multiple stages of development in the human host, each stage expressing hundreds of unique antigens. This complexity makes it more difficult to develop a vaccine for parasites than for viruses and bacteria, since an immune response targeting one stage may not offer protection against a later stage, because different antigens are the targets of protective immunity at different stages. Furthermore, depending on the life cycle stage and whether the parasite is extra- or intra-cellular, antibody and/or cellular immune responses provide protection. It is thus not surprising that there is no vaccine on the market for prevention of malaria, or any human parasitic infection. In fact, no vaccine for any disease with this breadth of targets and immune responses exists. In this limited review, we focus on four approaches to malaria vaccines, (1) a recombinant protein with adjuvant vaccine aimed at Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) pre-erythrocytic stages of the parasite cycle (RTS,S/AS01), (2) whole sporozoite vaccines aimed at Pf pre-erythrocytic stages (PfSPZ Vaccine and PfSPZ-CVac), (3) prime boost vaccines that include recombinant DNA, viruses and bacteria, and protein with adjuvant aimed primarily at Pf pre-erythrocytic, but also asexual erythrocytic stages, and (4) recombinant protein with adjuvant vaccines aimed at Pf and Plasmodium vivax sexual erythrocytic and mosquito stages. We recognize that we are not covering all approaches to malaria vaccine development, or most of the critically important work on development of vaccines against P. vivax, the second most important cause of

  14. Assumed white blood cell count of 8,000 cells/μL overestimates malaria parasite density in the Brazilian Amazon.

    PubMed

    Alves-Junior, Eduardo R; Gomes, Luciano T; Ribatski-Silva, Daniele; Mendes, Clebson Rodrigues J; Leal-Santos, Fabio A; Simões, Luciano R; Mello, Marcia Beatriz C; Fontes, Cor Jesus F

    2014-01-01

    Quantification of parasite density is an important component in the diagnosis of malaria infection. The accuracy of this estimation varies according to the method used. The aim of this study was to assess the agreement between the parasite density values obtained with the assumed value of 8,000 cells/μL and the automated WBC count. Moreover, the same comparative analysis was carried out for other assumed values of WBCs. The study was carried out in Brazil with 403 malaria patients who were infected in different endemic areas of the Brazilian Amazon. The use of a fixed WBC count of 8,000 cells/μL to quantify parasite density in malaria patients led to overestimated parasitemia and resulted in low reliability when compared to the automated WBC count. Assumed values ranging between 5,000 and 6,000 cells/μL, and 5,500 cells/μL in particular, showed higher reliability and more similar values of parasite density when compared between the 2 methods. The findings show that assumed WBC count of 5,500 cells/μL could lead to a more accurate estimation of parasite density for malaria patients in this endemic region.

  15. Immunological Cross-Reactivity between Malaria Vaccine Target Antigen P48/45 in Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum and Cross-Boosting of Immune Responses.

    PubMed

    Cao, Yi; Bansal, Geetha P; Merino, Kristen; Kumar, Nirbhay

    2016-01-01

    In general, malaria immunity has been suggested to be species specific with very little, if any, known cross-reactivity between Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum, both of which are responsible for >90% of human malaria, and co-endemic in many countries. It is therefore believed that species-specific immunity may be needed to target different species of Plasmodium. Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 are well established targets in the sexual stages of the malaria parasites, and are being pursued for the development of transmission blocking vaccines. Comparison of their sequences reveals 61% and 55% identity at the DNA and protein level, respectively raising the possibility that these two target antigens might share cross-reacting epitopes. Having succeeded in expressing recombinant Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 proteins, we hypothesized that these proteins will not only exhibit immunological cross-reactivity but also cross-boost immune responses. Mice were immunized with purified recombinant proteins using CFA, Montanide ISA-51 and alum as adjuvants, and the sera were analyzed by ELISA, Western blotting and indirect fixed and live IFA to address the hypothesis. Our studies revealed that Pvs48/45-immune sera showed strong cross-reactivity to full length Pfs48/45 protein, and the majority of this cross reactivity was in the amino-terminal and carboxyl-terminal sub-fragments of Pfs48/45. In cross-boosting experiments Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 antigens were able to cross-boost each other in mouse immunization studies. Additionally we also noticed an effect of adjuvants in the overall magnitude of observed cross-reactivity. These studies may have significant implications for immunity targeting transmission of both the species of malaria parasites. PMID:27438603

  16. Immunological Cross-Reactivity between Malaria Vaccine Target Antigen P48/45 in Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum and Cross–Boosting of Immune Responses

    PubMed Central

    Cao, Yi; Bansal, Geetha P.; Merino, Kristen; Kumar, Nirbhay

    2016-01-01

    In general, malaria immunity has been suggested to be species specific with very little, if any, known cross-reactivity between Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum, both of which are responsible for >90% of human malaria, and co-endemic in many countries. It is therefore believed that species-specific immunity may be needed to target different species of Plasmodium. Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 are well established targets in the sexual stages of the malaria parasites, and are being pursued for the development of transmission blocking vaccines. Comparison of their sequences reveals 61% and 55% identity at the DNA and protein level, respectively raising the possibility that these two target antigens might share cross-reacting epitopes. Having succeeded in expressing recombinant Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 proteins, we hypothesized that these proteins will not only exhibit immunological cross–reactivity but also cross-boost immune responses. Mice were immunized with purified recombinant proteins using CFA, Montanide ISA-51 and alum as adjuvants, and the sera were analyzed by ELISA, Western blotting and indirect fixed and live IFA to address the hypothesis. Our studies revealed that Pvs48/45-immune sera showed strong cross-reactivity to full length Pfs48/45 protein, and the majority of this cross reactivity was in the amino-terminal and carboxyl-terminal sub-fragments of Pfs48/45. In cross-boosting experiments Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 antigens were able to cross-boost each other in mouse immunization studies. Additionally we also noticed an effect of adjuvants in the overall magnitude of observed cross-reactivity. These studies may have significant implications for immunity targeting transmission of both the species of malaria parasites. PMID:27438603

  17. [Is Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for tropical malaria, resistant to fansidar?].

    PubMed

    Holzer, B; Keller, H; Frossard, E; Stürchler, D

    1980-03-01

    A world-wide increase of malaria infections is observed. Malaria is imported into Switzerland mainly by tourists and recently by refugees from South East Asia. The strains of P. falciparum resistant to treatment are of increasing importance. A patient with P. falciparum infection from Cambodia is reported, who suffered from three episodes of malaria recrudescence within ten weeks, in spite of adequate therapy with quinine and Fansidar. The definition, the significance and the geographical distribution of resistances and the possible cause for a P. falciparum recrudescence are discussed. For the treatment of repeating recrudescence quinine and Fansidar are recommended, followed by a suppressive Fansidar prophylaxy for 4--8 weeks.

  18. 3D nuclear architecture reveals coupled cell cycle dynamics of chromatin and nuclear pores in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Weiner, Allon; Dahan-Pasternak, Noa; Shimoni, Eyal; Shinder, Vera; von Huth, Palle; Elbaum, Michael; Dzikowski, Ron

    2011-07-01

    The deadliest form of human malaria is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The complex life cycle of this parasite is associated with tight transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Nuclear positioning and chromatin dynamics may play an important role in regulating P. falciparum virulence genes. We have applied an emerging technique of electron microscopy to construct a 3D model of the parasite nucleus at distinct stages of development within the infected red blood cell. We have followed the distribution of nuclear pores and chromatin throughout the intra-erythrocytic cycle, and have found a striking coupling between the distributions of nuclear pores and chromatin organization. Pore dynamics involve clustering, biogenesis, and division among daughter cells, while chromatin undergoes stage-dependent changes in packaging. Dramatic changes in heterochromatin distribution coincide with a previously identified transition in gene expression and nucleosome positioning during the mid-to-late schizont phase. We also found a correlation between euchromatin positioning at the nuclear envelope and the local distribution of nuclear pores, as well as a dynamic nuclear polarity during schizogony. These results suggest that cyclic patterns in gene expression during parasite development correlate with gross changes in cellular and nuclear architecture.

  19. Proteolytic Activation of the Essential Parasitophorous Vacuole Cysteine Protease SERA6 Accompanies Malaria Parasite Egress from Its Host Erythrocyte*

    PubMed Central

    Ruecker, Andrea; Shea, Michael; Hackett, Fiona; Suarez, Catherine; Hirst, Elizabeth M. A.; Milutinovic, Katarina; Withers-Martinez, Chrislaine; Blackman, Michael J.

    2012-01-01

    The malaria parasite replicates within an intraerythrocytic parasitophorous vacuole (PV). The PV and host cell membranes eventually rupture, releasing merozoites in a process called egress. Certain inhibitors of serine and cysteine proteases block egress, indicating a crucial role for proteases. The Plasmodium falciparum genome encodes nine serine-repeat antigens (SERAs), each of which contains a central domain homologous to the papain-like (clan CA, family C1) protease family. SERA5 and SERA6 are indispensable in blood-stage parasites, but the function of neither is known. Here we show that SERA6 localizes to the PV where it is precisely cleaved just prior to egress by an essential serine protease called PfSUB1. Mutations that replace the predicted catalytic Cys of SERA6, or that block SERA6 processing by PfSUB1, could not be stably introduced into the parasite genomic sera6 locus, indicating that SERA6 is an essential enzyme and that processing is important for its function. We demonstrate that cleavage of SERA6 by PfSUB1 converts it to an active cysteine protease. Our observations reveal a proteolytic activation step in the malarial PV that may be required for release of the parasite from its host erythrocyte. PMID:22984267

  20. Inhibition of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum development by crotamine, a cell penetrating peptide from the snake venom.

    PubMed

    El Chamy Maluf, S; Dal Mas, C; Oliveira, E B; Melo, P M; Carmona, A K; Gazarini, M L; Hayashi, M A F

    2016-04-01

    We show here that crotamine, a polypeptide from the South American rattlesnake venom with cell penetrating and selective anti-fungal and anti-tumoral properties, presents a potent anti-plasmodial activity in culture. Crotamine inhibits the development of the Plasmodium falciparum parasites in a dose-dependent manner [IC50 value of 1.87 μM], and confocal microscopy analysis showed a selective internalization of fluorescent-labeled crotamine into P. falciparum infected erythrocytes, with no detectable fluorescence in uninfected healthy erythrocytes. In addition, similarly to the crotamine cytotoxic effects, the mechanism underlying the anti-plasmodial activity may involve the disruption of parasite acidic compartments H(+) homeostasis. In fact, crotamine promoted a reduction of parasites organelle fluorescence loaded with the lysosomotropic fluorochrome acridine orange, in the same way as previously observed mammalian tumoral cells. Taken together, we show for the first time crotamine not only compromised the metabolism of the P. falciparum, but this toxin also inhibited the parasite growth. Therefore, we suggest this snake polypeptide as a promising lead molecule for the development of potential new molecules, namely peptidomimetics, with selectivity for infected erythrocytes and ability to inhibit the malaria infection by its natural affinity for acid vesicles. PMID:26806200

  1. Subcompartmentalisation of proteins in the rhoptries correlates with ordered events of erythrocyte invasion by the blood stage malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Zuccala, Elizabeth S; Gout, Alexander M; Dekiwadia, Chaitali; Marapana, Danushka S; Angrisano, Fiona; Turnbull, Lynne; Riglar, David T; Rogers, Kelly L; Whitchurch, Cynthia B; Ralph, Stuart A; Speed, Terence P; Baum, Jake

    2012-01-01

    Host cell infection by apicomplexan parasites plays an essential role in lifecycle progression for these obligate intracellular pathogens. For most species, including the etiological agents of malaria and toxoplasmosis, infection requires active host-cell invasion dependent on formation of a tight junction - the organising interface between parasite and host cell during entry. Formation of this structure is not, however, shared across all Apicomplexa or indeed all parasite lifecycle stages. Here, using an in silico integrative genomic search and endogenous gene-tagging strategy, we sought to characterise proteins that function specifically during junction-dependent invasion, a class of proteins we term invasins to distinguish them from adhesins that function in species specific host-cell recognition. High-definition imaging of tagged Plasmodium falciparum invasins localised proteins to multiple cellular compartments of the blood stage merozoite. This includes several that localise to distinct subcompartments within the rhoptries. While originating from the same organelle, however, each has very different dynamics during invasion. Apical Sushi Protein and Rhoptry Neck protein 2 release early, following the junction, whilst a novel rhoptry protein PFF0645c releases only after invasion is complete. This supports the idea that organisation of proteins within a secretory organelle determines the order and destination of protein secretion and provides a localisation-based classification strategy for predicting invasin function during apicomplexan parasite invasion. PMID:23049965

  2. Subcompartmentalisation of Proteins in the Rhoptries Correlates with Ordered Events of Erythrocyte Invasion by the Blood Stage Malaria Parasite

    PubMed Central

    Zuccala, Elizabeth S.; Gout, Alexander M.; Dekiwadia, Chaitali; Marapana, Danushka S.; Angrisano, Fiona; Turnbull, Lynne; Riglar, David T.; Rogers, Kelly L.; Whitchurch, Cynthia B.; Ralph, Stuart A.; Speed, Terence P.; Baum, Jake

    2012-01-01

    Host cell infection by apicomplexan parasites plays an essential role in lifecycle progression for these obligate intracellular pathogens. For most species, including the etiological agents of malaria and toxoplasmosis, infection requires active host-cell invasion dependent on formation of a tight junction – the organising interface between parasite and host cell during entry. Formation of this structure is not, however, shared across all Apicomplexa or indeed all parasite lifecycle stages. Here, using an in silico integrative genomic search and endogenous gene-tagging strategy, we sought to characterise proteins that function specifically during junction-dependent invasion, a class of proteins we term invasins to distinguish them from adhesins that function in species specific host-cell recognition. High-definition imaging of tagged Plasmodium falciparum invasins localised proteins to multiple cellular compartments of the blood stage merozoite. This includes several that localise to distinct subcompartments within the rhoptries. While originating from the same organelle, however, each has very different dynamics during invasion. Apical Sushi Protein and Rhoptry Neck protein 2 release early, following the junction, whilst a novel rhoptry protein PFF0645c releases only after invasion is complete. This supports the idea that organisation of proteins within a secretory organelle determines the order and destination of protein secretion and provides a localisation-based classification strategy for predicting invasin function during apicomplexan parasite invasion. PMID:23049965

  3. Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of orotidine 5′-monophosphate decarboxylase from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    SciTech Connect

    Krungkrai, Sudaratana R.; Tokuoka, Keiji; Kusakari, Yukiko; Inoue, Tsuyoshi; Adachi, Hiroaki; Matsumura, Hiroyoshi; Takano, Kazufumi; Murakami, Satoshi; Mori, Yusuke; Kai, Yasushi; Krungkrai, Jerapan; Horii, Toshihiro

    2006-06-01

    Orotidine 5′-monophosphate decarboxylase of human malaria parasite P. falciparum was crystallized by the seeding method in a hanging drop using PEG 3000 as a precipitant. A complete set of diffraction data from a native crystal was collected to 2.7 Å resolution at 100 K using synchrotron radiation. Orotidine 5′-monophosphate (OMP) decarboxylase (OMPDC; EC 4.1.1.23) catalyzes the final step in the de novo synthesis of uridine 5′-monophosphate (UMP) and defects in the enzyme are lethal in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Active recombinant P. falciparum OMPDC (PfOMPDC) was crystallized by the seeding method in a hanging drop using PEG 3000 as a precipitant. A complete set of diffraction data from a native crystal was collected to 2.7 Å resolution at 100 K using synchrotron radiation at the Swiss Light Source. The crystal exhibits trigonal symmetry (space group R3), with hexagonal unit-cell parameters a = b = 201.81, c = 44.03 Å. With a dimer in the asymmetric unit, the solvent content is 46% (V{sub M} = 2.3 Å{sup 3} Da{sup −1})

  4. Arabidopsis small RNAs and their targets during cyst nematode parasitism.

    PubMed

    Hewezi, Tarek; Howe, Peter; Maier, Tom R; Baum, Thomas J

    2008-12-01

    Plant-parasitic cyst nematodes induce the formation of specialized feeding cells in infected roots, which involves plant developmental processes that have been shown to be influenced by microRNAs (miRNAs) and other small RNAs. This observation provided the foundation to investigate the potential involvement of small RNAs in plant-cyst nematode interactions. First, we examined the susceptibilities of Arabidopsis DICER-like (dcl) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (rdr) mutants to the sugar beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii. The examined mutants exhibited a trend of decreased susceptibility, suggesting a role of small RNAs mediating gene regulation processes during the plant-nematode interaction. Second, we generated two small RNA libraries from aseptic Arabidopsis roots harvested at 4 and 7 days after infection with surface-sterilized H. schachtii. Sequences of known miRNAs as well as novel small interfering (si)RNAs were identified. Following this discovery, we used real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to quantify a total of 15 Arabidopsis transcripts that are known targets of six of the different miRNA families found in our study (miR160, miR164, miR167, miR171, miR396, and miR398) in inoculated and noninoculated Arabidopsis roots. Our analyses showed mostly negative correlations between miRNA accumulation and target gene mRNA abundance, suggesting regulatory roles of these miRNAs during parasitism. Also, we identified a total of 125 non-miRNA siRNAs. Some of these siRNAs perfectly complement protein-coding mRNAs or match transposon or retrotransposon sequences in sense or antisense orientations. We further quantified a group of siRNAs in H. schachtii-inoculated roots. The examined siRNAs exhibited distinct expression patterns in infected and noninfected roots, providing additional evidence for the implication of small RNAs in cyst nematode parasitism. These data lay the foundation for detailed analyses of the functions of small RNAs

  5. Molecular Epidemiology of Malaria

    PubMed Central

    Conway, David J.

    2007-01-01

    Malaria persists as an undiminished global problem, but the resources available to address it have increased. Many tools for understanding its biology and epidemiology are well developed, with a particular richness of comparative genome sequences. Targeted genetic manipulation is now effectively combined with in vitro culture assays on the most important human parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and with in vivo analysis of rodent and monkey malaria parasites in their laboratory hosts. Studies of the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of human malaria have already been influenced by the availability of molecular methods, and analyses of parasite polymorphisms have long had useful and highly informative applications. However, the molecular epidemiology of malaria is currently undergoing its most substantial revolution as a result of the genomic information and technologies that are available in well-resourced centers. It is a challenge for research agendas to face the real needs presented by a disease that largely exists in extremely resource-poor settings, but it is one that there appears to be an increased willingness to undertake. To this end, developments in the molecular epidemiology of malaria are reviewed here, emphasizing aspects that may be current and future priorities. PMID:17223628

  6. Targets and Mechanisms Associated with Protection from Severe Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Kenyan Children.

    PubMed

    Murungi, Linda M; Sondén, Klara; Llewellyn, David; Rono, Josea; Guleid, Fatuma; Williams, Andrew R; Ogada, Edna; Thairu, Amos; Färnert, Anna; Marsh, Kevin; Draper, Simon J; Osier, Faith H A

    2016-04-01

    Severe malaria (SM) is a life-threatening complication of infection with Plasmodium falciparum Epidemiological observations have long indicated that immunity against SM is acquired relatively rapidly, but prospective studies to investigate its immunological basis are logistically challenging and have rarely been undertaken. We investigated the merozoite targets and antibody-mediated mechanisms associated with protection against SM in Kenyan children aged 0 to 2 years. We designed a unique prospective matched case-control study of well-characterized SM clinical phenotypes nested within a longitudinal birth cohort of children (n= 5,949) monitored over the first 2 years of life. We quantified immunological parameters in sera collected before the SM event in cases and their individually matched controls to evaluate the prospective odds of developing SM in the first 2 years of life. Anti-AMA1 antibodies were associated with a significant reduction in the odds of developing SM (odds ratio [OR] = 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.15 to 0.90; P= 0.029) after adjustment for responses to all other merozoite antigens tested, while those against MSP-2, MSP-3, Plasmodium falciparum Rh2 [PfRh2], MSP-119, and the infected red blood cell surface antigens were not. The combined ability of total IgG to inhibit parasite growth and mediate the release of reactive oxygen species from neutrophils was associated with a marked reduction in the odds of developing SM (OR = 0.07; 95% CI = 0.006 to 0.82;P= 0.03). Assays of these two functional mechanisms were poorly correlated (Spearman rank correlation coefficient [rs] = 0.12;P= 0.07). Our data provide epidemiological evidence that multiple antibody-dependent mechanisms contribute to protective immunity via distinct targets whose identification could accelerate the development of vaccines to protect against SM. PMID:26787721

  7. Targets and Mechanisms Associated with Protection from Severe Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Kenyan Children

    PubMed Central

    Sondén, Klara; Llewellyn, David; Rono, Josea; Guleid, Fatuma; Williams, Andrew R.; Ogada, Edna; Thairu, Amos; Färnert, Anna; Marsh, Kevin; Draper, Simon J.; Osier, Faith H. A.

    2016-01-01

    Severe malaria (SM) is a life-threatening complication of infection with Plasmodium falciparum. Epidemiological observations have long indicated that immunity against SM is acquired relatively rapidly, but prospective studies to investigate its immunological basis are logistically challenging and have rarely been undertaken. We investigated the merozoite targets and antibody-mediated mechanisms associated with protection against SM in Kenyan children aged 0 to 2 years. We designed a unique prospective matched case-control study of well-characterized SM clinical phenotypes nested within a longitudinal birth cohort of children (n = 5,949) monitored over the first 2 years of life. We quantified immunological parameters in sera collected before the SM event in cases and their individually matched controls to evaluate the prospective odds of developing SM in the first 2 years of life. Anti-AMA1 antibodies were associated with a significant reduction in the odds of developing SM (odds ratio [OR] = 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.15 to 0.90; P = 0.029) after adjustment for responses to all other merozoite antigens tested, while those against MSP-2, MSP-3, Plasmodium falciparum Rh2 [PfRh2], MSP-119, and the infected red blood cell surface antigens were not. The combined ability of total IgG to inhibit parasite growth and mediate the release of reactive oxygen species from neutrophils was associated with a marked reduction in the odds of developing SM (OR = 0.07; 95% CI = 0.006 to 0.82; P = 0.03). Assays of these two functional mechanisms were poorly correlated (Spearman rank correlation coefficient [rs] = 0.12; P = 0.07). Our data provide epidemiological evidence that multiple antibody-dependent mechanisms contribute to protective immunity via distinct targets whose identification could accelerate the development of vaccines to protect against SM. PMID:26787721

  8. Spleen-Dependent Regulation of Antigenic Variation in Malaria Parasites: Plasmodium knowlesi SICAvar Expression Profiles in Splenic and Asplenic Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Lapp, Stacey A.; Korir-Morrison, Cindy; Jiang, Jianlin; Bai, Yaohui; Corredor, Vladimir; Galinski, Mary R.

    2013-01-01

    Background Antigenic variation by malaria parasites was first described in Plasmodium knowlesi, which infects humans and macaque monkeys, and subsequently in P. falciparum, the most virulent human parasite. The schizont-infected cell agglutination (SICA) variant proteins encoded by the SICAvar multigene family in P. knowlesi, and Erythrocyte Membrane Protein-1 (EMP-1) antigens encoded by the var multigene family in P. falciparum, are expressed at the surface of infected erythrocytes, are associated with virulence, and serve as determinants of naturally acquired immunity. A parental P. knowlesi clone, Pk1(A+), and a related progeny clone, Pk1(B+)1+, derived by an in vivo induced variant antigen switch, were defined by the expression of distinct SICA variant protein doublets of 210/190 and 205/200 kDa, respectively. Passage of SICA[+] infected erythrocytes through splenectomized rhesus monkeys results in the SICA[-] phenotype, defined by the lack of surface expression and agglutination with variant specific antisera. Principal Findings We have investigated SICAvar RNA and protein expression in Pk1(A+), Pk1(B+)1+, and SICA[-] parasites. The Pk1(A+) and Pk1(B+)1+ parasites express different distinct SICAvar transcript and protein repertoires. By comparison, SICA[-] parasites are characterized by a vast reduction in SICAvar RNA expression, the lack of full-length SICAvar transcript signals on northern blots, and correspondingly, the absence of any SICA protein detected by mass spectrometry. Significance SICA protein expression may be under transcriptional as well as post-transcriptional control, and we show for the first time that the spleen, an organ central to blood-stage immunity in malaria, exerts an influence on these processes. Furthermore, proteomics has enabled the first in-depth characterization of SICA[+] protein phenotypes and we show that the in vivo switch from Pk1(A+) to Pk1(B+)1+ parasites resulted in a complete change in SICA profiles. These results

  9. Characterizing Types of Human Mobility to Inform Differential and Targeted Malaria Elimination Strategies in Northeast Cambodia.

    PubMed

    Peeters Grietens, Koen; Gryseels, Charlotte; Dierickx, Susan; Bannister-Tyrrell, Melanie; Trienekens, Suzan; Uk, Sambunny; Phoeuk, Pisen; Suon, Sokha; Set, Srun; Gerrets, René; Hoibak, Sarah; Muela Ribera, Joan; Hausmann-Muela, Susanna; Tho, Sochantha; Durnez, Lies; Sluydts, Vincent; d'Alessandro, Umberto; Coosemans, Marc; Erhart, Annette

    2015-11-23

    Human population movements currently challenge malaria elimination in low transmission foci in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Using a mixed-methods design, combining ethnography (n = 410 interviews), malariometric data (n = 4996) and population surveys (n = 824 indigenous populations; n = 704 Khmer migrants) malaria vulnerability among different types of mobile populations was researched in the remote province of Ratanakiri, Cambodia. Different structural types of human mobility were identified, showing differential risk and vulnerability. Among local indigenous populations, access to malaria testing and treatment through the VMW-system and LLIN coverage was high but control strategies failed to account for forest farmers' prolonged stays at forest farms/fields (61% during rainy season), increasing their exposure (p = 0.002). The Khmer migrants, with low acquired immunity, active on plantations and mines, represented a fundamentally different group not reached by LLIN-distribution campaigns since they were largely unregistered (79%) and unaware of the local VMW-system (95%) due to poor social integration. Khmer migrants therefore require control strategies including active detection, registration and immediate access to malaria prevention and control tools from which they are currently excluded. In conclusion, different types of mobility require different malaria elimination strategies. Targeting mobility without an in-depth understanding of malaria risk in each group challenges further progress towards elimination.

  10. Characterizing Types of Human Mobility to Inform Differential and Targeted Malaria Elimination Strategies in Northeast Cambodia

    PubMed Central

    Peeters Grietens, Koen; Gryseels, Charlotte; Dierickx, Susan; Bannister-Tyrrell, Melanie; Trienekens, Suzan; Uk, Sambunny; Phoeuk, Pisen; Suon, Sokha; Set, Srun; Gerrets, René; Hoibak, Sarah; Muela Ribera, Joan; Hausmann-Muela, Susanna; Tho, Sochantha; Durnez, Lies; Sluydts, Vincent; d’Alessandro, Umberto; Coosemans, Marc; Erhart, Annette

    2015-01-01

    Human population movements currently challenge malaria elimination in low transmission foci in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Using a mixed-methods design, combining ethnography (n = 410 interviews), malariometric data (n = 4996) and population surveys (n = 824 indigenous populations; n = 704 Khmer migrants) malaria vulnerability among different types of mobile populations was researched in the remote province of Ratanakiri, Cambodia. Different structural types of human mobility were identified, showing differential risk and vulnerability. Among local indigenous populations, access to malaria testing and treatment through the VMW-system and LLIN coverage was high but control strategies failed to account for forest farmers’ prolonged stays at forest farms/fields (61% during rainy season), increasing their exposure (p = 0.002). The Khmer migrants, with low acquired immunity, active on plantations and mines, represented a fundamentally different group not reached by LLIN-distribution campaigns since they were largely unregistered (79%) and unaware of the local VMW-system (95%) due to poor social integration. Khmer migrants therefore require control strategies including active detection, registration and immediate access to malaria prevention and control tools from which they are currently excluded. In conclusion, different types of mobility require different malaria elimination strategies. Targeting mobility without an in-depth understanding of malaria risk in each group challenges further progress towards elimination. PMID:26593245

  11. The mucosal inflammatory response to non-typhoidal Salmonella in the intestine is blunted by IL-10 during concurrent malaria parasite infection

    PubMed Central

    Mooney, Jason P.; Butler, Brian P.; Lokken, Kristen L.; Xavier, Mariana N.; Chau, Jennifer Y.; Schaltenberg, Nicola; Dandekar, Satya; George, Michael D.; Santos, Renato L.; Luckhart, Shirley; Tsolis, Renée M.

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Co-infection can markedly alter the response to a pathogen, thereby changing its clinical presentation. For example, non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) serotypes are associated with gastroenteritis in immunocompetent individuals. In contrast, individuals with severe pediatric malaria can develop bacteremic infections with NTS, during which symptoms of gastroenteritis are commonly absent. Here, we report that in both a ligated ileal loop model and a mouse colitis model, malaria parasites caused a global suppression of gut inflammatory responses and blunted the neutrophil influx that is characteristic of NTS infection. Further, malaria parasite infection led to increased recovery of S. Typhimurium from the draining mesenteric lymph node of mice. In the mouse colitis model, blunted intestinal inflammation during NTS infection was independent of anemia, but instead required parasite-induced synthesis of IL-10. Blocking of IL-10 in co-infected mice reduced dissemination of S. Typhimurium to the mesenteric lymph node, suggesting that induction of IL-10 contributes to development of disseminated infection. Thus, IL-10 produced during the immune response to malaria in this model contributes to suppression of mucosal inflammatory responses to invasive NTS, which may contribute to differences in the clinical presentation of NTS infection in the setting of malaria. PMID:24670425

  12. Population genetic study of Plasmodium falciparum parasites pertaining to dhps gene sequence in malaria endemic areas of Assam.

    PubMed

    Sharma, J; Dutta, P; Khan, S A

    2015-01-01

    Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite had developed resistance to almost all the currently used antimalarial drugs. The purpose of the study was to come across the genetic distances in P. falciparum dhps gene sequences circulating in Assam. A partial fragment of P. falciparum dhps gene containing major single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with sulphadoxine resistance were amplified and sequenced. Thereafter specific bioinformatics tools like BioEdit v7.0.9, ClustalW in Mega 5, DnaSP version v.5.10.01 etc were used for the analysis. A total of 100 P. falciparum positive cases in different malaria endemic areas of Assam were included for the study. Based upon the mutation analysis, a total of seven different P. falciparum dhps genotypes were observed with five variable sites. Maximum five haplotypes were found in the P. falciparum isolates from Jorhat district of Assam. Four polymorphic sites were observed in the P. falciparum dhps gene sequences in Karbi Anglong, NC Hills, Chirang and Jorhat whereas the isolates from other study areas had three polymorphic sites. A statistically significant positive value of Tajima's D were observed among the P. falciparum field isolates in Assam indicating that there is an excess of intermediate frequency alleles and can result from population bottlenecks, structure and/or balancing selection. Extensive gene flow took place among the P. falciparum population of Jorhat with Sivasagar, Chirang with Sivasagar and Chirang with Karbi Anglong. However, large genetic differentiation was observed among the P. falciparum isolates of NC Hills with Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Golaghat and also the parasite population of Karbi Anglong with Lakhimpur and Tinsukia signifying little gene flow among the population. This finding has shown that mutant Pfdhps gene associated with sulphadoxine resistance is circulating in Assam. It is believed that, the parasite population may have undergone high level of breeding.

  13. The Impact of Cooperative Social Organization on Reducing the Prevalence of Malaria and Intestinal Parasite Infections in Awramba, a Rural Community in South Gondar, Ethiopia

    PubMed Central

    Yihenew, Gebeyehu; Petros, Beyene

    2014-01-01

    Introduction. Parasitic diseases are the major causes of human health problem in Ethiopia. The high prevalence of parasitic infections is closely correlated with poverty, poor environmental hygiene, and impoverished health services. Objective. The study was conducted to assess the impact of health-conscious Awramba cooperative community and its neighboring communities on the prevalence of parasitic infections in South Gondar, Ethiopia. Methods. Single stool specimens were collected from 392 individuals from Awramba and the neighboring communities. Specimens were examined microscopically for the presence of parasites using microscopy. Questionnaire was administered to determine the knowledge attitude and practice (KAP) of study participants. Results. Of the total 392 study participants examined, 58(14.8%) were positive for malaria and 173 (44.1%) for intestinal parasites. The prevalence of malaria in Awramba community (5.1%) was less than that in neighboring communities (24.5%). The prevalence of parasitic infections in Awramba (18.8%) was less than that of the neighboring communities (69.4%). Conclusion. This study showed that good household and environmental hygiene, good toilet construction and usage, and proper utilization of ITN in Awramba cooperative community have significantly contributed to the reduction of the burden of parasitic infections. Thus, the positive achievement in reducing parasitic infections in Awramba cooperative community could be used as a model for affordable health intervention in the neighboring communities, in particular, and the whole country in general. PMID:25180032

  14. The impact of cooperative social organization on reducing the prevalence of malaria and intestinal parasite infections in awramba, a rural community in South gondar, ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Yihenew, Gebeyehu; Adamu, Haileeyesus; Petros, Beyene

    2014-01-01

    Introduction. Parasitic diseases are the major causes of human health problem in Ethiopia. The high prevalence of parasitic infections is closely correlated with poverty, poor environmental hygiene, and impoverished health services. Objective. The study was conducted to assess the impact of health-conscious Awramba cooperative community and its neighboring communities on the prevalence of parasitic infections in South Gondar, Ethiopia. Methods. Single stool specimens were collected from 392 individuals from Awramba and the neighboring communities. Specimens were examined microscopically for the presence of parasites using microscopy. Questionnaire was administered to determine the knowledge attitude and practice (KAP) of study participants. Results. Of the total 392 study participants examined, 58(14.8%) were positive for malaria and 173 (44.1%) for intestinal parasites. The prevalence of malaria in Awramba community (5.1%) was less than that in neighboring communities (24.5%). The prevalence of parasitic infections in Awramba (18.8%) was less than that of the neighboring communities (69.4%). Conclusion. This study showed that good household and environmental hygiene, good toilet construction and usage, and proper utilization of ITN in Awramba cooperative community have significantly contributed to the reduction of the burden of parasitic infections. Thus, the positive achievement in reducing parasitic infections in Awramba cooperative community could be used as a model for affordable health intervention in the neighboring communities, in particular, and the whole country in general. PMID:25180032

  15. Cross-stage immunity for malaria vaccine development.

    PubMed

    Nahrendorf, Wiebke; Scholzen, Anja; Sauerwein, Robert W; Langhorne, Jean

    2015-12-22

    A vaccine against malaria is urgently needed for control and eventual eradication. Different approaches are pursued to induce either sterile immunity directed against pre-erythrocytic parasites or to mimic naturally acquired immunity by controlling blood-stage parasite densities and disease severity. Pre-erythrocytic and blood-stage malaria vaccines are often seen as opposing tactics, but it is likely that they have to be combined into a multi-stage malaria vaccine to be optimally safe and effective. Since many antigenic targets are shared between liver- and blood-stage parasites, malaria vaccines have the potential to elicit cross-stage protection with immune mechanisms against both stages complementing and enhancing each other. Here we discuss evidence from pre-erythrocytic and blood-stage subunit and whole parasite vaccination approaches that show that protection against malaria is not necessarily stage-specific. Parasites arresting at late liver-stages especially, can induce powerful blood-stage immunity, and similarly exposure to blood-stage parasites can afford pre-erythrocytic immunity. The incorporation of a blood-stage component into a multi-stage malaria vaccine would hence not only combat breakthrough infections in the blood should the pre-erythrocytic component fail to induce sterile protection, but would also actively enhance the pre-erythrocytic potency of this vaccine. We therefore advocate that future studies should concentrate on the identification of cross-stage protective malaria antigens, which can empower multi-stage malaria vaccine development.

  16. A Research Agenda for Malaria Eradication: Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Vaccines could be a crucial component of efforts to eradicate malaria. Current attempts to develop malaria vaccines are primarily focused on Plasmodium falciparum and are directed towards reducing morbidity and mortality. Continued support for these efforts is essential, but if malaria vaccines are to be used as part of a repertoire of tools for elimination or eradication of malaria, they will need to have an impact on malaria transmission. We introduce the concept of “vaccines that interrupt malaria transmission” (VIMT), which includes not only “classical” transmission-blocking vaccines that target the sexual and mosquito stages but also pre-erythrocytic and asexual stage vaccines that have an effect on transmission. VIMT may also include vaccines that target the vector to disrupt parasite development in the mosquito. Importantly, if eradication is to be achieved, malaria vaccine development efforts will need to target other malaria parasite species, especially Plasmodium vivax, where novel therapeutic vaccines against hypnozoites or preventive vaccines with effect against multiple stages could have enormous impact. A target product profile (TPP) for VIMT is proposed and a research agenda to address current knowledge gaps and develop tools necessary for design and development of VIMT is presented. PMID:21311586

  17. Prevalence and diversity of avian malaria parasites in migratory Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger, Laridae, Charadriiformes) from the Brazilian Amazon Basin.

    PubMed

    Roos, F L; Belo, N O; Silveira, P; Braga, E M

    2015-10-01

    The Medium Solimões River region in the Brazilian Amazon Basin is an area utilized for reproduction and nesting by a variety of species of migratory aquatic birds such as Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger). These migratory birds form mixed-species reproductive colonies with high population densities and exhibit a large range of migration routes. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and diversity of the avian malaria parasites Plasmodium and Haemoproteus in Black Skimmers, on the basis of the association between microscopic observation of blood smears and amplification of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (mtDNA cyt-b). The overall prevalence rates of the parasites for juvenile and adult bird specimens were 16% (5/31) and 22% (15/68), respectively. Sequencing the mtDNA cyt-b marker revealed two Plasmodium lineages, which had been previously described in different regions of the American continent, including a Neotropical region in Southeast Brazil, and one Haemoproteus lineage. The fact that avian malarial parasites have been found infecting the Black Skimmers in the Brazilian Amazon ecosystem, which exhibits considerable diversity, highlights the importance of these migratory birds as a potential source of infection and dispersion of pathogens to other susceptible birds of the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. PMID:26193823

  18. Variation in susceptibility of African Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites to TEP1 mediated killing in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes

    PubMed Central

    Eldering, Maarten; Morlais, Isabelle; van Gemert, Geert-Jan; van de Vegte-Bolmer, Marga; Graumans, Wouter; Siebelink-Stoter, Rianne; Vos, Martijn; Abate, Luc; Roeffen, Will; Bousema, Teun; Levashina, Elena A.; Sauerwein, Robert W.

    2016-01-01

    Anopheles gambiae s.s. mosquitoes are efficient vectors for Plasmodium falciparum, although variation exists in their susceptibility to infection. This variation depends partly on the thioester-containing protein 1 (TEP1) and TEP depletion results in significantly elevated numbers of oocysts in susceptible and resistant mosquitoes. Polymorphism in the Plasmodium gene coding for the surface protein Pfs47 modulates resistance of some parasite laboratory strains to TEP1-mediated killing. Here, we examined resistance of P. falciparum isolates of African origin (NF54, NF165 and NF166) to TEP1-mediated killing in a susceptible Ngousso and a refractory L3–5 strain of A. gambiae. All parasite clones successfully developed in susceptible mosquitoes with limited evidence for an impact of TEP1 on transmission efficiency. In contrast, NF166 and NF165 oocyst densities were strongly reduced in refractory mosquitoes and TEP1 silencing significantly increased oocyst densities. Our results reveal differences between African P. falciparum strains in their capacity to evade TEP1-mediated killing in resistant mosquitoes. There was no significant correlation between Pfs47 genotype and resistance of a given P. falciparum isolate for TEP1 killing. These data suggest that polymorphisms in this locus are not the sole mediators of immune evasion of African malaria parasites. PMID:26861587

  19. Expression of senescent antigen on erythrocytes infected with a knobby variant of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    SciTech Connect

    Winograd, E.; Greenan, J.R.T.; Sherman, I.W.

    1987-04-01

    Erythrocytes infected with a knobby variant of Plasmodium falciparum selectively bind IgG autoantibodies in normal human serum. Quantification of membrane-bound IgG, by use of /sup 125/I-labeled protein A, revealed that erythrocytes infected with the knobby variant bound 30 times more protein A than did noninfected erythrocytes; infection with a knobless variant resulted in less than a 2-fold difference compared with noninfected erythrocytes. IgG binding to knobby erythrocytes appeared to be related to parasite development, since binding of /sup 125/I-labeled protein A to cells bearing young trophozoites (less than 20 hr after parasite invasion) was similar to binding to uninfected erythrocytes. By immunoelectron microscopy, the membrane-bound IgG on erythrocytes infected with the knobby variant was found to be preferentially associated with the protuberances (knobs) of the plasma membrane. The removal of aged or senescent erythrocytes from the peripheral circulation is reported to involve the binding of specific antibodies to an antigen (senescent antigen) related to the major erythrocyte membrane protein band 3. Since affinity-purified autoantibodies against band 3 specifically bound to the plasma membrane of erythrocytes infected with the knobby variant of P. falciparum, it is clear that the malaria parasite induces expression of senescent antigen.

  20. Prevalence and diversity of avian malaria parasites in migratory Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger, Laridae, Charadriiformes) from the Brazilian Amazon Basin.

    PubMed

    Roos, F L; Belo, N O; Silveira, P; Braga, E M

    2015-10-01

    The Medium Solimões River region in the Brazilian Amazon Basin is an area utilized for reproduction and nesting by a variety of species of migratory aquatic birds such as Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger). These migratory birds form mixed-species reproductive colonies with high population densities and exhibit a large range of migration routes. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and diversity of the avian malaria parasites Plasmodium and Haemoproteus in Black Skimmers, on the basis of the association between microscopic observation of blood smears and amplification of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (mtDNA cyt-b). The overall prevalence rates of the parasites for juvenile and adult bird specimens were 16% (5/31) and 22% (15/68), respectively. Sequencing the mtDNA cyt-b marker revealed two Plasmodium lineages, which had been previously described in different regions of the American continent, including a Neotropical region in Southeast Brazil, and one Haemoproteus lineage. The fact that avian malarial parasites have been found infecting the Black Skimmers in the Brazilian Amazon ecosystem, which exhibits considerable diversity, highlights the importance of these migratory birds as a potential source of infection and dispersion of pathogens to other susceptible birds of the Nearctic and Neotropical regions.

  1. Real-time in vivo imaging of transgenic bioluminescent blood stages of rodent malaria parasites in mice.

    PubMed

    Franke-Fayard, Blandine; Waters, Andrew P; Janse, Chris J

    2006-01-01

    This protocol describes a methodology for imaging the sequestration of infected erythrocytes of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei in the bodies of live mice or in dissected organs, using a transgenic parasite that expresses luciferase. Real-time imaging of infected erythrocytes is performed by measuring bioluminescence produced by the enzymatic reaction between luciferase and its substrate luciferin, which is injected into the mice several minutes prior to imaging. The bioluminescence signal is detected by an intensified charge-coupled device (I-CCD) photon-counting video camera. Sequestration of infected erythrocytes is imaged during short-term infections with synchronous parasite development or during ongoing infections. With this technology, sequestration patterns of the schizont stage can be quantitatively analyzed within 1-2 d after infection. Real-time in vivo imaging of infected erythrocytes will provide increased insights into the dynamics of sequestration and its role in pathology, and can be used to evaluate strategies that prevent sequestration. PMID:17406270

  2. Evolution and architecture of the inner membrane complex in asexual and sexual stages of the malaria parasite.

    PubMed

    Kono, Maya; Herrmann, Susann; Loughran, Noeleen B; Cabrera, Ana; Engelberg, Klemens; Lehmann, Christine; Sinha, Dipto; Prinz, Boris; Ruch, Ulrike; Heussler, Volker; Spielmann, Tobias; Parkinson, John; Gilberger, Tim W

    2012-09-01

    The inner membrane complex (IMC) is a unifying morphological feature of all alveolate organisms. It consists of flattened vesicles underlying the plasma membrane and is interconnected with the cytoskeleton. Depending on the ecological niche of the organisms, the function of the IMC ranges from a fundamental role as reinforcement system to more specialized roles in motility and cytokinesis. In this article, we present a comprehensive evolutionary analysis of IMC components, which exemplifies the adaptive nature of the IMCs' protein composition. Focusing on eight structurally distinct proteins in the most prominent "genus" of the Alveolata-the malaria parasite Plasmodium-we demonstrate that the level of conservation is reflected in phenotypic characteristics, accentuated in differential spatial-temporal patterns of these proteins in the motile stages of the parasite's life cycle. Colocalization studies with the centromere and the spindle apparatus reveal their discriminative biogenesis. We also reveal that the IMC is an essential structural compartment for the development of the sexual stages of Plasmodium, as it seems to drive the morphological changes of the parasite during the long and multistaged process of sexual differentiation. We further found a Plasmodium-specific IMC membrane matrix protein that highlights transversal structures in gametocytes, which could represent a genus-specific structural innovation required by Plasmodium. We conclude that the IMC has an additional role during sexual development supporting morphogenesis of the cell, which in addition to its functions in the asexual stages highlights the multifunctional nature of the IMC in the Plasmodium life cycle.

  3. Parasites and cancers: parasite antigens as possible targets for cancer immunotherapy.

    PubMed

    Darani, Hossein Yousofi; Yousefi, Morteza

    2012-12-01

    An adverse relationship between some parasite infections and cancer in the human population has been reported by different research groups. Anticancer activity of some parasites such as Trypanosoma cruzi, Toxoplasma gondii, Toxocara canis, Acantamoeba castellani and Plasmodium yoelii has been shown in experimental animals. Moreover, it has been shown that cancer-associated mucin-type O-glycan compositions are made by parasites, therefore cancers and parasites have common antigens. In this report anticancer activities of some parasites have been reviewed and the possible mechanisms of these actions have also been discussed.

  4. The biological control of the malaria vector.

    PubMed

    Kamareddine, Layla

    2012-09-01

    The call for malaria control, over the last century, marked a new epoch in the history of this disease. Many control strategies targeting either the Plasmodium parasite or the Anopheles vector were shown to be effective. Yet, the emergence of drug resistant parasites and insecticide resistant mosquito strains, along with numerous health, environmental, and ecological side effects of many chemical agents, highlighted the need to develop alternative tools that either complement or substitute conventional malaria control approaches. The use of biological means is considered a fundamental part of the recently launched malaria eradication program and has so far shown promising results, although this approach is still in its infancy. This review presents an overview of the most promising biological control tools for malaria eradication, namely fungi, bacteria, larvivorous fish, parasites, viruses and nematodes. PMID:23105979

  5. Recombinant Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Secreting Merozoite Surface Protein 1 (MSP1) Induces Protection against Rodent Malaria Parasite Infection Depending on MSP1-stimulated Interferon γ and Parasite-specific Antibodies

    PubMed Central

    Matsumoto, Sohkichi; Yukitake, Hideharu; Kanbara, Hiroji; Yamada, Takeshi

    1998-01-01

    The merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) has emerged as a leading malaria vaccine candidate at the erythrocytic stage. Recombinant bacillus Calmette-Guérin (rBCG), which expressed a COOH-terminal 15-kD fragment of MSP1 of Plasmodium yoelii (MSP1-15) as a fusion protein with a secretory protein of Mycobacterium kansasii, was constructed. Immunization of mice with this rBCG induced a higher degree of protection against blood-stage parasite infection than with recombinant MSP1-15 in the RIBI adjuvant (RIBI ImmunoChem Research, Inc., Hamilton, MT) or incomplete Freund's adjuvant systems. We studied the mechanism of protection induced by MSP1-15, and found that interferon (IFN)-γ had a major role in protection in all adjuvant systems we examined. Mice that produced low amounts of MSP1-15 stimulated IFN-γ and could not control parasite infection. The antibody against MSP1-15 did not play a major role in protection in this system. After parasite infection, immunoglobulin G2a antibodies, which had been produced by IFN-γ stimulation, were induced and subsequently played an important role in eradicating parasites. Thus, both cellular and humoral immune responses were essential for protection from malaria disease. These data revealed that BCG is a powerful adjuvant to induce such a protective immune response against malaria parasites. PMID:9730886

  6. Histone H3K9 acetylation level modulates gene expression and may affect parasite growth in human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Sandeep; Bhowmick, Krishanu; Chatterjee, Snehajyoti; Basha, Jeelan; Kundu, Tapas K; Dhar, Suman K

    2014-12-01

    Three-dimensional positioning of the nuclear genome plays an important role in the epigenetic regulation of genes. Although nucleographic domain compartmentalization in the regulation of epigenetic state and gene expression is well established in higher organisms, it remains poorly understood in the pathogenic parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In the present study, we report that two histone tail modifications, H3K9Ac and H3K14Ac, are differentially distributed in the parasite nucleus. We find colocalization of active gene promoters such as Tu1 (tubulin-1 expressed in the asexual stages) with H3K9Ac marks at the nuclear periphery. By contrast, asexual stage inactive gene promoters such as Pfg27 (gametocyte marker) and Pfs28 (ookinete marker) occupy H3K9Ac devoid zones at the nuclear periphery. The histone H3K9 is predominantly acetylated by the PCAF/GCN5 class of lysine acetyltransferases, which is well characterized in the parasite. Interestingly, embelin, a specific inhibitor of PCAF/GCN5 family histone acetyltransferase, selectively decreases total H3K9Ac acetylation levels (but not H3K14Ac levels) around the var gene promoters, leading to the downregulation of var gene expression, suggesting interplay among histone acetylation status, as well as subnuclear compartmentalization of different genes and their activation in the parasites. Finally, we found that embelin inhibited parasitic growth at the low micromolar range, raising the possibility of using histone acetyltransferases as a target for antimalarial therapy.

  7. Phase-diverse Fresnel coherent diffractive imaging of malaria parasite-infected red blood cells in the water window.

    PubMed

    Jones, M W M; Abbey, B; Gianoncelli, A; Balaur, E; Millet, C; Luu, M B; Coughlan, H D; Carroll, A J; Peele, A G; Tilley, L; van Riessen, G A

    2013-12-30

    Phase-diverse Fresnel coherent diffractive imaging has been shown to reveal the structure and composition of biological specimens with high sensitivity at nanoscale resolution. However, the method has yet to be applied using X-ray illumination with energy in the so-called 'water-window' that lies between the carbon and oxygen K edges. In this range, differences in the strength of the X-ray interaction for protein based biological materials and water is increased. Here we demonstrate a proof-of-principle application of FCDI at an X-ra