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Sample records for malaria-parasite invaded red

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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-ray energy within the water-window to a dehydrated cellular sample composed of red blood cells infected with the trophozoite stage of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Comparison of the results to both optical and electron microscopy shows that the correlative imaging methods that include water-window FCDI will find utility in studying cellular architecture. PMID:24514809

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. [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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  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. 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. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  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. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  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. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  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. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. A new morphologically distinct avian malaria parasite that fails detection by established polymerase chain reaction-based protocols for amplification of the cytochrome B gene.

    PubMed

    Zehtindjiev, Pavel; Križanauskienė, Asta; Bensch, Staffan; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Asghar, Muhammad; Dimitrov, Dimitar; Scebba, Sergio; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    2012-06-01

    Plasmodium polymorphum n. sp. (Haemosporida, Plasmodiidae) was found in the skylark, Alauda arvensis (Passeriformes: Alaudidae), during autumnal migration in southern Italy. This organism is illustrated and described based on the morphology of its blood stages. The most distinctive feature of this malaria parasite is the clear preference of its blood stages (trophozoites, meronts, and gametocytes) for immature red blood cells, including erythroblasts. Based on preference of erythrocytic meronts for immature red blood cells, P. polymorphum is most similar to species of the subgenus Huffia . This parasite can be readily distinguished from all other bird malaria parasites, including Plasmodium ( Huffia ) spp., due to preferential development and maturation of its gametocytes in immature red blood cells, a unique character for avian Plasmodium spp. In addition, the margins of nuclei in blood stages of P. polymorphum are markedly smooth and distinct; this is also a distinct diagnostic feature of this parasite. Plasmodium polymorphum has been recorded only in the skylark; it is probably a rare parasite, whose host range and geographical distribution remain unclear. Microscopic examination detected a light infection of Plasmodium relictum (lineage GRW11, parasitemia of <0.01%) in the same sample with P. polymorphum ; the latter parasite clearly predominated (3.5% parasitemia). However, experienced researchers were unable to detect sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (cyt b ) of P. polymorphum from the microscopically positive sample by using published and newly designed primers for DNA amplification of avian Plasmodium spp. The light parasitemia of P. relictum was easily detectable using several polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays, but P. polymorphum was undetectable in all applied assays. Quantitative PCR also showed the presence of light parasitemia (0.06%) of the lineage GRW11 in this sample. This supports the conclusion that the morphologically

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Malaria parasite-inhibitory antibody epitopes on Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1(19) mapped by TROSY NMR.

    PubMed

    Morgan, William D; Lock, Matthew J; Frenkiel, Thomas A; Grainger, Munira; Holder, Anthony A

    2004-11-01

    Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1)(19), the C-terminal fragment of merozoite surface protein 1, is a leading candidate antigen for development of a vaccine against the blood stages of the malaria parasite. Many human and animal studies have indicated the importance of MSP1(19)-specific immune responses. Anti-MSP1(19) antibodies can prevent invasion of red blood cells by P. falciparum parasites in vitro. However, the fine specificity of anti-MSP1(19) antibodies is also important, as only a fraction of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have parasite-inhibitory activity in vitro. Human sera from malaria-endemic locations show strong MSP1(19) reactivity, but individual serum samples vary greatly in inhibitory activity. NMR is an excellent method for studying protein-protein interactions, and has been used widely to study binding of peptides representing known epitopes (as well as non-protein antigens) to antibodies and antibody fragments. The recent development of transverse relaxation optimized spectroscopy (TROSY) and related methods has significantly extended the maximum size limit of molecules that can be studied by NMR. TROSY NMR experiments produce high quality spectra of Fab complexes that allow the mapping of epitopes by the chemical shift perturbation technique on a complete, folded protein antigen such as MSP1(19). We studied the complexes of P. falciparum MSP1(19) with Fab fragments from three monoclonal antibodies. Two of these antibodies have parasite-inhibitory activity in vitro, while the third is non-inhibitory. NMR epitope mapping showed a close relationship between binding sites for the two inhibitory antibodies, distinct from the location of the non-inhibitory antibody. Together with a previously published crystal structure of the P. falciparum MSP1(19) complex with the Fab fragment of another non-inhibitory antibody, these results revealed a surface on MSP1(19) where inhibitory antibodies bind. This information will be useful in

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  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. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Within-host competition and drug resistance in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Bushman, Mary; Morton, Lindsay; Duah, Nancy; Quashie, Neils; Abuaku, Benjamin; Koram, Kwadwo A; Dimbu, Pedro Rafael; Plucinski, Mateusz; Gutman, Julie; Lyaruu, Peter; Kachur, S Patrick; de Roode, Jacobus C; Udhayakumar, Venkatachalam

    2016-03-16

    Infections with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum typically comprise multiple strains, especially in high-transmission areas where infectious mosquito bites occur frequently. However, little is known about the dynamics of mixed-strain infections, particularly whether strains sharing a host compete or grow independently. Competition between drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, if it occurs, could be a crucial determinant of the spread of resistance. We analysed 1341 P. falciparum infections in children from Angola, Ghana and Tanzania and found compelling evidence for competition in mixed-strain infections: overall parasite density did not increase with additional strains, and densities of individual chloroquine-sensitive (CQS) and chloroquine-resistant (CQR) strains were reduced in the presence of competitors. We also found that CQR strains exhibited low densities compared with CQS strains (in the absence of chloroquine), which may underlie observed declines of chloroquine resistance in many countries following retirement of chloroquine as a first-line therapy. Our observations support a key role for within-host competition in the evolution of drug-resistant malaria. Malaria control and resistance-management efforts in high-transmission regions may be significantly aided or hindered by the effects of competition in mixed-strain infections. Consideration of within-host dynamics may spur development of novel strategies to minimize resistance while maximizing the benefits of control measures. PMID:26984625

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. [Molecular and morphological comparison of hookworms from genus Uncinaria invading red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and dog (Canis familiaris)].

    PubMed

    Górski, Paweł; Radowańska, Agnieszka; Jaros, Dorota; Wiśniewski, Marcin

    2006-01-01

    Two species of hookworms from genus Uncinaria have been found so far in Poland. Uncinaria stenocephala infects mainly dog, wolf and red fox, whereas Uncinaria criniformis is a parasite of mustelids (but it was also reported from red fox). 19 male and 29 female hookworms from red foxes have been compared with 10 male and 12 female worms from dogs. Hookworms from dogs were generally smaller than these from foxes, but no other morphological differences could be found. These hookworms were qualified to species Uncinaria stenocephala on the ground of morphology of male. Genomic DNA samples have been isolated from these hookworms and segments of rDNA including part of small subunit of ribosomal RNA gene; internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1); 5.8 S ribosomal RNA; internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) and part of large subunit of ribosomal RNA have been amplified and sequenced. Sequences from Uncinaria obtained both from foxes and dogs have shown very high similarity to the sequence of Uncinaria stenocephala, so all examined hookworms have been classified as belonging to this species.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Red-Rimmed Melania (Melanoides tuberculatus) - A Snail in Biscayne National Park, Florida - Harmful Invader or Just a Nuisance?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wingard, G. Lynn; Murray, James B.; Schill, W. Bane; Phillips, Emily C.

    2008-01-01

    Potentially harmful to humans and other animals, the red-rimmed melania snail (Melanoides tuberculatus; family Thiaridae) was discovered in Biscayne National Park, Florida, in 2003 by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers. The discovery raised concerns for park managers because this aquatic non-native snail is present in significant numbers in areas frequently used by park visitors and poses a risk of exposure. Researchers are addressing questions such as: Is this species a danger to human health? How widespread is it within the park? What factors control the distribution of the species? Is its presence a threat to native animals?

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  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. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. [Foraging intensity of ants in Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formiciddae) invaded and un-invaded habitats].

    PubMed

    Wu, Bi-Qiu; Lu, Yong-Yue; Zeng, Ling; Song, Zhen-Dong; Liang, Guang-Wen

    2009-10-01

    By the methods of bait (honey, peanut oil, sausage, and mealworm larvae) trap, this paper studied the searching time, recruitment time, and recruitment number of ants in 3 typical habitats invaded and un-invaded by red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in South China, and analyzed the effects of S. invicta invasion on the foraging intensity of native ants. In S. invicta invaded lawn, the searching time of ants for mealworm larvae and peanut oil was significantly shorter, compared with that in S. invicta un-invaded area. Less difference was observed in the searching time for the 4 baits between S. invicta invaded and un-invaded wasteland, but the recruitment time for peanut oil was significantly longer in invaded than in un-invaded area. The searching time and recruitment time of the ants for the 4 baits had less difference between the invaded and un-invaded litchi orchard. 30 min after setting bait traps, the recruitment number of S. invicta workers on peanut oil, mealworm larvae, and sausage in invaded lawn, and on peanut oil in invaded wasteland was larger than that of native ants, but no significant difference was found in the recruitment number of S. invicta workers and native ants on the baits in invaded litchi orchard.

  12. 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/.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Recombinant plasmepsin 1 from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum: Enzymatic characterization, active site inhibitor design, and structural analysis

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Peng; Marzahn, Melissa R.; Robbins, Arthur H.; Gutiérrez-de-Terán, Hugo; Rodríguez, David; McClung, Scott; Stevens, Stanley M.; Yowell, Charles A.; Dame, John B.; McKenna, Robert; Dunn, Ben M.

    2009-01-01

    A mutated form of truncated proplasmepsin 1 (proPfPM1) from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, proPfPM1 K110pN, was generated and overexpressed in E. coli. The auto-maturation process was carried out at pH 4.0 and 4.5, and the optimal catalytic pH of the resulting mature PfPM1 was determined to be pH 5.5. This mature PfPM1 showed comparable binding affinity to peptide substrates and inhibitors with the naturally-occurring form isolated from parasites. The S3-S3’ subsite preferences of the recombinant mature PfPM1 were explored using combinatorial chemistry based peptide libraries. Based on the results, a peptidomimetic inhibitor (compound 1) was designed and yielded 5-fold selectivity for binding to PfPM1 versus the homologous human cathepsin D (hcatD). The 2.8 Å structure of the PfPMP2-compound 1 complex is reported. Modeling studies were conducted using a series of peptidomimetic inhibitors (compounds 1–6, Table 3) and three plasmepsins: the crystal structure of PfPM2, and homology derived models of PfPM1 and PfPM4. PMID:19271776

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Acidification of the malaria parasite's digestive vacuole by a H+-ATPase and a H+-pyrophosphatase.

    PubMed

    Saliba, Kevin J; Allen, Richard J W; Zissis, Stephanie; Bray, Patrick G; Ward, Stephen A; Kirk, Kiaran

    2003-02-21

    As it grows within the human erythrocyte, the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, ingests the erythrocyte cytosol, depositing it via an endocytotic feeding mechanism in the "digestive vacuole," a specialized acidic organelle. The digestive vacuole is the site of hemoglobin degradation, the storage site for hemozoin (an inert biocrystal of toxic heme), the site of action of many antimalarial drugs, and the site of proteins known to be involved in antimalarial drug resistance. The acidic pH of this organelle is thought to play a critical role in its various functions; however, the mechanisms by which the pH within the vacuole is maintained are not well understood. In this study, we have used a combination of techniques to demonstrate the presence on the P. falciparum digestive vacuole membrane of two discrete H(+) pumping mechanisms, both capable of acidifying the vacuole interior. One is a V-type H(+)-ATPase, sensitive to concanamycin A and bafilomycin A(1). The other is a H(+)-pyrophosphatase, which was inhibited by NaF and showed a partial dependence on K(+). The operation of the H(+)-pyrophosphatase was dependent on the presence of a Mg(2+)-pyrophosphate complex, and kinetic experiments gave results consistent with free pyrophosphate acting as an inhibitor of the protein. The presence of the combination of a H(+)-ATPase and a H(+)-pyrophosphatase on the P. falciparum digestive vacuole is similar to the situation in the acidic tonoplasts (vacuoles) of plant cells. PMID:12427765

  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. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. PlasmoGEM, a database supporting a community resource for large-scale experimental genetics in malaria parasites

    PubMed Central

    Schwach, Frank; Bushell, Ellen; Gomes, Ana Rita; Anar, Burcu; Girling, Gareth; Herd, Colin; Rayner, Julian C.; Billker, Oliver

    2015-01-01

    The Plasmodium Genetic Modification (PlasmoGEM) database (http://plasmogem.sanger.ac.uk) provides access to a resource of modular, versatile and adaptable vectors for genome modification of Plasmodium spp. parasites. PlasmoGEM currently consists of >2000 plasmids designed to modify the genome of Plasmodium berghei, a malaria parasite of rodents, which can be requested by non-profit research organisations free of charge. PlasmoGEM vectors are designed with long homology arms for efficient genome integration and carry gene specific barcodes to identify individual mutants. They can be used for a wide array of applications, including protein localisation, gene interaction studies and high-throughput genetic screens. The vector production pipeline is supported by a custom software suite that automates both the vector design process and quality control by full-length sequencing of the finished vectors. The PlasmoGEM web interface allows users to search a database of finished knock-out and gene tagging vectors, view details of their designs, download vector sequence in different formats and view available quality control data as well as suggested genotyping strategies. We also make gDNA library clones and intermediate vectors available for researchers to produce vectors for themselves. PMID:25593348

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. A Unique Virulence Gene Occupies a Principal Position in Immune Evasion by the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Ukaegbu, Uchechi E; Zhang, Xu; Heinberg, Adina R; Wele, Mamadou; Chen, Qijun; Deitsch, Kirk W

    2015-05-01

    Mutually exclusive gene expression, whereby only one member of a multi-gene family is selected for activation, is used by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to escape the human immune system and perpetuate long-term, chronic infections. A family of genes called var encodes the chief antigenic and virulence determinant of P. falciparum malaria. var genes are transcribed in a mutually exclusive manner, with switching between active genes resulting in antigenic variation. While recent work has shed considerable light on the epigenetic basis for var gene activation and silencing, how switching is controlled remains a mystery. In particular, switching seems not to be random, but instead appears to be coordinated to result in timely activation of individual genes leading to sequential waves of antigenically distinct parasite populations. The molecular basis for this apparent coordination is unknown. Here we show that var2csa, an unusual and highly conserved var gene, occupies a unique position within the var gene switching hierarchy. Induction of switching through the destabilization of var specific chromatin using both genetic and chemical methods repeatedly led to the rapid and exclusive activation of var2csa. Additional experiments demonstrated that these represent "true" switching events and not simply de-silencing of the var2csa promoter, and that activation is limited to the unique locus on chromosome 12. Combined with translational repression of var2csa transcripts, frequent "default" switching to this locus and detection of var2csa untranslated transcripts in non-pregnant individuals, these data suggest that var2csa could play a central role in coordinating switching, fulfilling a prediction made by mathematical models derived from population switching patterns. These studies provide the first insights into the mechanisms by which var gene switching is coordinated as well as an example of how a pharmacological agent can disrupt antigenic variation in

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. A Unique Virulence Gene Occupies a Principal Position in Immune Evasion by the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    PubMed Central

    Heinberg, Adina R.; Wele, Mamadou; Chen, Qijun; Deitsch, Kirk W.

    2015-01-01

    Mutually exclusive gene expression, whereby only one member of a multi-gene family is selected for activation, is used by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to escape the human immune system and perpetuate long-term, chronic infections. A family of genes called var encodes the chief antigenic and virulence determinant of P. falciparum malaria. var genes are transcribed in a mutually exclusive manner, with switching between active genes resulting in antigenic variation. While recent work has shed considerable light on the epigenetic basis for var gene activation and silencing, how switching is controlled remains a mystery. In particular, switching seems not to be random, but instead appears to be coordinated to result in timely activation of individual genes leading to sequential waves of antigenically distinct parasite populations. The molecular basis for this apparent coordination is unknown. Here we show that var2csa, an unusual and highly conserved var gene, occupies a unique position within the var gene switching hierarchy. Induction of switching through the destabilization of var specific chromatin using both genetic and chemical methods repeatedly led to the rapid and exclusive activation of var2csa. Additional experiments demonstrated that these represent “true” switching events and not simply de-silencing of the var2csa promoter, and that activation is limited to the unique locus on chromosome 12. Combined with translational repression of var2csa transcripts, frequent “default” switching to this locus and detection of var2csa untranslated transcripts in non-pregnant individuals, these data suggest that var2csa could play a central role in coordinating switching, fulfilling a prediction made by mathematical models derived from population switching patterns. These studies provide the first insights into the mechanisms by which var gene switching is coordinated as well as an example of how a pharmacological agent can disrupt antigenic variation

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Patterns of benthic assemblages invaded and non-invaded by Grateloupia turuturu across rocky intertidal habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freitas, Cristiano; Araújo, Rita; Bertocci, Iacopo

    2016-09-01

    Intertidal benthic assemblages invaded and non-invaded by the introduced Asian red alga Grateloupia turuturu were compared at a rocky shore along the NW coast of Portugal. The structure of whole assemblages, the total richness of taxa and the abundance of individual taxa were examined as response variables in two different habitats (rock pools and emergent rock), two shore levels (low and mid intertidal) and two dates of sampling (June 2013 and June 2014). Invaded and non-invaded assemblages differed consistently across habitats and shore levels. Such differences were driven by 13 (with the green alga genus Ulva, the red alga Chondrus crispus and the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis driving the total dissimilarity) out of the total 37 taxa identified. Individual taxa revealed idiosyncratic patterns, in several cases (C. crispus, M. galloprovincialis, articulated coralline algae of the genus Corallina and the crustose sporophyte of the red alga Mastocarpus stellatus) there were differences in the abundance of a taxon between invaded and non-invaded assemblages varying with levels of some other experimental factors. The total number of taxa was higher in invaded compared to non-invaded assemblages for each combination of habitat and shore level. Patterns of invasion by G. turuturu along the Portuguese continental coast were recently described in terms of its temporal and spatial distribution, but never examined in terms of differences between invaded and non-invaded assemblages. Such information is very limited for other geographic areas where this species is recorded out of its native range of distribution. Therefore, the present study provides a new contribution to the understanding of modifications of native assemblages associated with the invasion of G. turuturu, opening avenues of research aimed at specifically examining the factors and processes likely responsible for the invasion dynamics and success of this species.

  2. 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

    were detected. While in Al Nazla A. sergeni and A. multicolor larvae were detected where there was no any imported case or even traveler to Sudan. If the situation is reversed, i.e., an imported case inhabit Al Nazla, reemergence of local malaria may start. The situation of Kafr Fazara is greatly changed by using fine sand instead of clay in manufacturing red brick after prevention excavation of land. No imported cases or Anopheline spp larvae were recorded.

  3. 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

    were detected. While in Al Nazla A. sergeni and A. multicolor larvae were detected where there was no any imported case or even traveler to Sudan. If the situation is reversed, i.e., an imported case inhabit Al Nazla, reemergence of local malaria may start. The situation of Kafr Fazara is greatly changed by using fine sand instead of clay in manufacturing red brick after prevention excavation of land. No imported cases or Anopheline spp larvae were recorded. PMID:26939240

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Bayesian analysis of new and old malaria parasite DNA sequence data demonstrates the need for more phylogenetic signal to clarify the descent of Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Hagner, S C; Misof, B; Maier, W A; Kampen, H

    2007-08-01

    Molecular systematic studies published during the last 15 years to clarify the phylogenetic relationships among the malaria parasites have led to two major hypotheses on the descent of Plasmodium falciparum: One supports an avian origin as a result of a relatively recent host switch, and another one favours the evolutionary development of P. falciparum together with its human host from primate ancestors. In this paper, we present phylogenetic analyses of three different Plasmodium genes, the nuclear 18 small sub-unit (SSU) ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA), the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) and the plastid caseinolytic protease C (ClpC) gene, using numerous haemosporidian parasite DNA sequences obtained from the GenBank as well as several new sequences for major malaria parasites including the avian one Plasmodium cathemerium, which has never been considered in molecular phylogenetic analyses before. Most modern and sophisticated DNA substitution models based on Bayesian inference analysis were applied to estimate the cyt b and ClpC phylogenetic trees, whereas the 18 SSU rRNA gene was examined with regards to its secondary structure using PHASE software. Our results indicate that the data presently available are generally neither sufficient in number nor in information to solve the problem of the phylogenetic origin of P. falciparum.

  8. 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.

  9. Melatonin-induced temporal up-regulation of gene expression related to ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS) in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Koyama, Fernanda C; Azevedo, Mauro F; Budu, Alexandre; Chakrabarti, Debopam; Garcia, Célia R S

    2014-01-01

    There is an increasing understanding that melatonin and the ubiquitin/ proteasome system (UPS) interact to regulate multiple cellular functions. Post-translational modifications such as ubiquitination are important modulators of signaling processes, cell cycle and many other cellular functions. Previously, we reported a melatonin-induced upregulation of gene expression related to ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS) in Plasmodium falciparum, the human malaria parasite, and that P. falciparum protein kinase 7 influences this process. This implies a role of melatonin, an indolamine, in modulating intraerythrocytic development of the parasite. In this report we demonstrate by qPCR analysis, that melatonin induces gene upregulation in nine out of fourteen genes of the UPS, consisting of the same set of genes previously reported, between 4 to 5 h after melatonin treatment. We demonstrate that melatonin causes a temporally controlled gene expression of UPS members.

  10. Focused Screening and Treatment (FSAT): A PCR-Based Strategy to Detect Malaria Parasite Carriers and Contain Drug Resistant P. falciparum, Pailin, Cambodia

    PubMed Central

    Hoyer, Stefan; Nguon, Sokomar; Kim, Saorin; Habib, Najibullah; Khim, Nimol; Sum, Sarorn; Christophel, Eva-Maria; Bjorge, Steven; Thomson, Andrew; Kheng, Sim; Chea, Nguon; Yok, Sovann; Top, Samphornarann; Ros, Seyha; Sophal, Uth; Thompson, Michelle M.; Mellor, Steve; Ariey, Frédéric; Witkowski, Benoit; Yeang, Chhiang; Yeung, Shunmay; Duong, Socheat; Newman, Robert D.; Menard, Didier

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites in Pailin province, along the border between Thailand and Cambodia, have become resistant to artemisinin derivatives. To better define the epidemiology of P. falciparum populations and to assess the risk of the possible spread of these parasites outside Pailin, a new epidemiological tool named “Focused Screening and Treatment” (FSAT), based on active molecular detection of asymptomatic parasite carriers was introduced in 2010. Cross-sectional malariometric surveys using PCR were carried out in 20 out of 109 villages in Pailin province. Individuals detected as P. falciparum carriers were treated with atovaquone-proguanil combination plus a single dose of primaquine if the patient was non-G6PD deficient. Interviews were conducted to elicit history of cross-border travel that might contribute to the spread of artemisinin-resistant parasites. After directly observed treatment, patients were followed up and re-examined on day 7 and day 28. Among 6931 individuals screened, prevalence of P. falciparum carriers was less than 1%, of whom 96% were asymptomatic. Only 1.6% of the individuals had a travel history or plans to go outside Cambodia, with none of those tested being positive for P. falciparum. Retrospective analysis, using 2010 routine surveillance data, showed significant differences in the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers discovered by FSAT between villages classified as “high risk” and “low risk” based on malaria incidence data. All positive individuals treated and followed-up until day 28 were cured. No mutant-type allele related to atovaquone resistance was found. FSAT is a potentially useful tool to detect, treat and track clusters of asymptomatic carriers of P. falciparum along with providing valuable epidemiological information regarding cross-border movements of potential malaria parasite carriers and parasite gene flow. PMID:23049687

  11. Tree-based delimitation of morphologically ambiguous taxa: a study of the lizard malaria parasites on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

    PubMed

    Falk, Bryan G; Mahler, D Luke; Perkins, Susan L

    2011-08-01

    Malaria parasites in the genus Plasmodium have been classified primarily on the basis of differences in morphology. These single-celled organisms often lack distinguishing morphological features, and this can encumber both species delimitation and identification. Six saurian malaria parasites have been described from the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. All six infect lizards in the genus Anolis, but only two of these parasites can be distinguished using morphology. The remaining four species overlap in morphology and geography, and cannot be consistently identified using traditional methods. We compared a morphological approach with a molecular phylogenetic approach for assessing the taxonomy of these parasites. We surveyed for blood parasites from 677 Anolis lizards, representing 26 Anolis spp. from a total of 52 sites across Hispaniola. Fifty-five of these lizards were infected with Plasmodium spp., representing several new host records, but only 24 of these infections could be matched to previously described species using traditional morphological criteria. We then estimated the phylogeny of these parasites using both mitochondrial (cytb and coxI) and nuclear (EF2) genes, and included carefully selected GenBank sequences to confirm identities for certain species. Our molecular results unambiguously corroborated our morphology-based species identifications for only the two species previously judged to be morphologically distinctive. The remaining infections fell into two well-supported and reciprocally monophyletic clades, which contained the morphological variation previously reported for all four of the morphologically ambiguous species. One of these clades was identified as Plasmodium floridense and the other as Plasmodium fairchildi hispaniolae. We elevate the latter to Plasmodium hispaniolae comb. nov. because it is polyphyletic with the mainland species Plasmodium fairchildifairchildi and we contribute additional morphological and molecular characters for

  12. Specialist enemies, generalist weapons and the potential spread of exotic pathogens: malaria parasites in a highly invasive bird.

    PubMed

    Clark, Nicholas J; Olsson-Pons, Sophie; Ishtiaq, Farah; Clegg, Sonya M

    2015-12-01

    Pathogens can influence the success of invaders. The Enemy Release Hypothesis predicts invaders encounter reduced pathogen abundance and diversity, while the Novel Weapons Hypothesis predicts invaders carry novel pathogens that spill over to competitors. We tested these hypotheses using avian malaria (haemosporidian) infections in the invasive myna (Acridotheres tristis), which was introduced to southeastern Australia from India and was secondarily expanded to the eastern Australian coast. Mynas and native Australian birds were screened in the secondary introduction range for haemosporidians (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus spp.) and results were combined with published data from the myna's primary introduction and native ranges. We compared malaria prevalence and diversity across myna populations to test for Enemy Release and used phylogeographic analyses to test for exotic strains acting as Novel Weapons. Introduced mynas carried significantly lower parasite diversity than native mynas and significantly lower Haemoproteus prevalence than native Australian birds. Despite commonly infecting native species that directly co-occur with mynas, Haemoproteus spp. were only recorded in introduced mynas in the primary introduction range and were apparently lost during secondary expansion. In contrast, Plasmodium infections were common in all ranges and prevalence was significantly higher in both introduced and native mynas than in native Australian birds. Introduced mynas carried several exotic Plasmodium lineages that were shared with native mynas, some of which also infected native Australian birds and two of which are highly invasive in other bioregions. Our results suggest that introduced mynas may benefit through escape from Haemoproteus spp. while acting as important reservoirs for Plasmodium spp., some of which are known exotic lineages. PMID:26433143

  13. Invasional meltdown: invader-invader mutualism facilitates a secondary invasion.

    PubMed

    Green, Peter T; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Abbott, Kirsti L; Jeffery, Mick; Retallick, Kent; Mac Nally, Ralph

    2011-09-01

    In multiply invaded ecosystems, introduced species should interact with each other as well as with native species. Invader-invader interactions may affect the success of further invaders by altering attributes of recipient communities and propagule pressure. The invasional meltdown hypothesis (IMH) posits that positive interactions among invaders initiate positive population-level feedback that intensifies impacts and promotes secondary invasions. IMH remains controversial: few studies show feedback between invaders that amplifies their effects, and none yet demonstrate facilitation of entry and spread of secondary invaders. Our results show that supercolonies of an alien ant, promoted by mutualism with introduced honeydew-secreting scale insects, permitted invasion by an exotic land snail on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Modeling of land snail spread over 750 sites across 135 km2 over seven years showed that the probability of land snail invasion was facilitated 253-fold in ant supercolonies but impeded in intact forest where predaceous native land crabs remained abundant. Land snail occurrence at neighboring sites, a measure of propagule pressure, also promoted land snail spread. Site comparisons and experiments revealed that ant supercolonies, by killing land crabs but not land snails, disrupted biotic resistance and provided enemy-free space. Predation pressure on land snails was lower (28.6%), survival 115 times longer, and abundance 20-fold greater in supercolonies than in intact forest. Whole-ecosystem suppression of supercolonies reversed the probability of land snail invasion by allowing recolonization of land crabs; land snails were much less likely (0.79%) to invade sites where supercolonies were suppressed than where they remained intact. Our results provide strong empirical evidence for IMH by demonstrating that mutualism between invaders reconfigures key interactions in the recipient community. This facilitates entry of secondary invaders and

  14. Plasmodium falciparum evades mosquito immunity by disrupting JNK-mediated apoptosis of invaded midgut cells

    PubMed Central

    Ramphul, Urvashi N.; Garver, Lindsey S.; Molina-Cruz, Alvaro; Canepa, Gaspar E.; Barillas-Mury, Carolina

    2015-01-01

    The malaria parasite, Plasmodium, must survive and develop in the mosquito vector to be successfully transmitted to a new host. The Plasmodium falciparum Pfs47 gene is critical for malaria transmission. Parasites that express Pfs47 (NF54 WT) evade mosquito immunity and survive, whereas Pfs47 knockouts (KO) are efficiently eliminated by the complement-like system. Two alternative approaches were used to investigate the mechanism of action of Pfs47 on immune evasion. First, we examined whether Pfs47 affected signal transduction pathways mediating mosquito immune responses, and show that the Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway is a key mediator of Anopheles gambiae antiplasmodial responses to P. falciparum infection and that Pfs47 disrupts JNK signaling. Second, we used microarrays to compare the global transcriptional responses of A. gambiae midguts to infection with WT and KO parasites. The presence of Pfs47 results in broad and profound changes in gene expression in response to infection that are already evident 12 h postfeeding, but become most prominent at 26 h postfeeding, the time when ookinetes invade the mosquito midgut. Silencing of 15 differentially expressed candidate genes identified caspase-S2 as a key effector of Plasmodium elimination in parasites lacking Pfs47. We provide experimental evidence that JNK pathway regulates activation of caspases in Plasmodium-invaded midgut cells, and that caspase activation is required to trigger midgut epithelial nitration. Pfs47 alters the cell death pathway of invaded midgut cells by disrupting JNK signaling and prevents the activation of several caspases, resulting in an ineffective nitration response that makes the parasite undetectable by the mosquito complement-like system. PMID:25552553

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Functional dissection of the catalytic carboxyl-terminal domain of origin recognition complex subunit 1 (PfORC1) of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Ashish; Mehra, Parul; Deshmukh, Abhijeet; Dar, Ashraf; Mitra, Pallabi; Roy, Nilanjan; Dhar, Suman Kumar

    2009-09-01

    Origin recognition complex subunit 1 (ORC1) is essential for DNA replication in eukaryotes. The deadly human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains an ORC1/CDC6 homolog with several interesting domains at the catalytic carboxyl-terminal region that include a putative nucleoside triphosphate-binding and hydrolysis domain, a putative PCNA-interacting-protein (PIP) motif, and an extreme C-terminal region that shows poor homology with other ORC1 homologs. Due to the unavailability of a dependable inducible gene expression system, it is difficult to study the structure and function of essential genes in Plasmodium. Using a genetic yeast complementation system and biochemical experiments, here we show that the putative PIP domain in ORC1 that facilitates in vitro physical interaction with PCNA is functional in both yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and Plasmodium in vivo, confirming its essential biological role in eukaryotes. Furthermore, despite having less sequence homology, the extreme C-terminal region can be swapped between S. cerevisiae and P. falciparum and it binds to DNA directly, suggesting a conserved role of this region in DNA replication. These results not only provide us a useful system to study the function of the essential genes in Plasmodium, they help us to identify the previously undiscovered unique features of replication proteins in general.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Sporogonic Cycles Calculated Using Degree-Days, as a Basis for Comparison of Malaria Parasite Development in Different Eco-Epidemiological Settings in India.

    PubMed

    Singh, Poonam; Dhiman, Ramesh C

    2016-01-01

    In India, malaria transmission is prevalent across diverse geologies and ecologies. Temperature is one of the key determinants of malarial transmission, causing low endemicity in some areas than in others. Using a degree-day model, we estimated the maximum and minimum possible number of days needed to complete a malarial sporogonic cycle (SC), in addition to the possible number of SCs for Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum under two different ecological settings with either low or high endemicity for malaria at different elevations. In Raikhalkhatta (in the Himalayan foothills) SCs were modeled as not occurring from November to February, whereas in Gandhonia village (forested hills), all but only one month were suitable for malarial SCs. A minimum of 6 days and maximum of 46 days were required for completion of one SC. Forested hilly areas were more suitable for malaria parasite development in terms of SCs (25 versus 21 for P. falciparum and 32 versus 27 for P. vivax). Degree-days also provided a climatic explanation for the current transmission of malaria at different elevations. The calculation of degree-days and possible SC has applications in the regional analysis of transmission dynamics and management of malaria in view of climate change.

  4. Phosphoinositide Metabolism Links cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase G to Essential Ca2+ Signals at Key Decision Points in the Life Cycle of Malaria Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Brochet, Mathieu; Collins, Mark O.; Smith, Terry K.; Thompson, Eloise; Sebastian, Sarah; Volkmann, Katrin; Schwach, Frank; Chappell, Lia; Gomes, Ana Rita; Berriman, Matthew; Rayner, Julian C.; Baker, David A.; Choudhary, Jyoti; Billker, Oliver

    2014-01-01

    Many critical events in the Plasmodium life cycle rely on the controlled release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores to activate stage-specific Ca2+-dependent protein kinases. Using the motility of Plasmodium berghei ookinetes as a signalling paradigm, we show that the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase, PKG, maintains the elevated level of cytosolic Ca2+ required for gliding motility. We find that the same PKG-dependent pathway operates upstream of the Ca2+ signals that mediate activation of P. berghei gametocytes in the mosquito and egress of Plasmodium falciparum merozoites from infected human erythrocytes. Perturbations of PKG signalling in gliding ookinetes have a marked impact on the phosphoproteome, with a significant enrichment of in vivo regulated sites in multiple pathways including vesicular trafficking and phosphoinositide metabolism. A global analysis of cellular phospholipids demonstrates that in gliding ookinetes PKG controls phosphoinositide biosynthesis, possibly through the subcellular localisation or activity of lipid kinases. Similarly, phosphoinositide metabolism links PKG to egress of P. falciparum merozoites, where inhibition of PKG blocks hydrolysis of phosphatidylinostitol (4,5)-bisphosphate. In the face of an increasing complexity of signalling through multiple Ca2+ effectors, PKG emerges as a unifying factor to control multiple cellular Ca2+ signals essential for malaria parasite development and transmission. PMID:24594931

  5. Vitamin B1 de novo synthesis in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum depends on external provision of 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine.

    PubMed

    Wrenger, Carsten; Eschbach, Marie-Luise; Müller, Ingrid B; Laun, Nathan P; Begley, Tadhg P; Walter, Rolf D

    2006-01-01

    Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is an essential cofactor for several key enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism. Mammals have to salvage this crucial nutrient from their diet to complement their deficiency of de novo synthesis. In contrast, bacteria, fungi, plants and, as reported here, Plasmodium falciparum, possess a vitamin B1 biosynthesis pathway. The plasmodial pathway identified consists of the three vitamin B1 biosynthetic enzymes 5-(2-hydroxy-ethyl)-4-methylthiazole (THZ) kinase (ThiM), 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (HMP)/HMP-P kinase (ThiD) and thiamine phosphate synthase (ThiE). Recombinant PfThiM and PfThiD proteins were biochemically characterised, revealing K(m)app values of 68 microM for THZ and 12 microM for HMP. Furthermore, the ability of PfThiE for generating vitamin B1 was analysed by a complementation assay with thiE-negative E. coli mutants. All three enzymes are expressed throughout the developmental blood stages, as shown by Northern blotting, which indicates the presence of the vitamin B1 biosynthesis enzymes. However, cultivation of the parasite in minimal medium showed a dependency on the provision of HMP or thiamine. These results demonstrate that the human malaria parasite P. falciparum possesses active vitamin B1 biosynthesis, which depends on external provision of thiamine precursors. PMID:16497163

  6. Prevalence of malaria parasites (Plasmodium floridense and Plasmodium azurophilum) infecting a Puerto Rican lizard (Anolis gundlachi): a nine-year study.

    PubMed

    Schall, J J; Pearson, A R; Perkins, S L

    2000-06-01

    The prevalence of malaria parasites was studied in the lizard Anolis gundlachi over a 9-yr period at a site in the wet evergreen forest of eastern Puerto Rico. Three forms of the parasite infected the lizards; these were Plasmodium floridense, Plasmodium azurophilum in erythrocytes, and P. azurophilum in white blood cells. Overall prevalence of infection for 8 samples during the study period was significantly higher for males than females (32% of 3,296 males and 22% of 1,439 females). During the study, the site experienced substantial climatic and physical disturbance including rising temperature, droughts, and hurricanes that severely damaged the forest. Parasite prevalence in the first sample, 8 mo after the massive hurricane Hugo, was slightly, though significantly, lower than for subsequent samples. However, overall prevalence was stable during the 9-yr period. The results show malaria prevalence is more constant at the site than found for 2 studies in temperate forests, and that the Puerto Rico system may be an example of the stable, endemic malaria described by standard models for human malaria epidemiology.

  7. 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

  8. Interpopulation variation in allelopathic traits informs restoration of invaded landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Lankau, Richard A

    2012-01-01

    Invasive species can show substantial genetic variation in ecologically important traits, across ranges as well within the introduced range. If these traits affect competition with native species, then management may benefit from considering the genetic landscape of the invader. Across their introduced range, Alliaria petiolata populations vary in their investment in allelopathic traits according to invasion history, which could lead to gradients of impact on native species. Red oak (Quercus rubra) seedlings were transplanted into eight A. petiolata-invaded sites that varied in their invasion history and allelochemical concentrations. At each site, an invader removal treatment was crossed with experimental inoculations of native soil biota, to test whether the benefits of these restoration actions differed across invader populations. Q. rubra seedlings grew faster in invader populations with a longer invasion history and lower allelochemical concentrations. Invader removal and soil inoculation interacted to determine seedling growth, with the benefits of soil inoculation increasing in younger and more highly allelopathic invader populations. A greenhouse experiment using soils collected from experimentally inoculated field plots found similar patterns. These results suggest that the impact of this invader varies across landscapes and that knowledge of this variation could improve the efficacy and efficiency of restoration activities. PMID:25568047

  9. Rodent Plasmodium-infected red blood cells: imaging their fates and interactions within their hosts.

    PubMed

    Claser, Carla; Malleret, Benoit; Peng, Kaitian; Bakocevic, Nadja; Gun, Sin Yee; Russell, Bruce; Ng, Lai Guan; Rénia, Laurent

    2014-02-01

    Malaria, a disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite, remains one of the most deadly infectious diseases known to mankind. The parasite has a complex life cycle, of which only the erythrocytic stage is responsible for the diverse pathologies induced during infection. To date, the disease mechanisms that underlie these pathologies are still poorly understood. In the case of infections caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the species responsible for most malaria related deaths, pathogenesis is thought to be due to the sequestration of infected red blood cells (IRBCs) in deep tissues. Other human and rodent malaria parasite species are also known to exhibit sequestration. Here, we review the different techniques that allow researchers to study how rodent malaria parasites modify their host cells, the distribution of IRBCs in vivo as well as the interactions between IRBCs and host tissues. PMID:23892178

  10. Two nucleus-localized CDK-like kinases with crucial roles for malaria parasite erythrocytic replication are involved in phosphorylation of splicing factor.

    PubMed

    Agarwal, Shruti; Kern, Selina; Halbert, Jean; Przyborski, Jude M; Baumeister, Stefan; Dandekar, Thomas; Doerig, Christian; Pradel, Gabriele

    2011-05-01

    The kinome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum comprises representatives of most eukaryotic protein kinase groups, including kinases which regulate proliferation and differentiation processes. Despite extensive research on most plasmodial enzymes, little information is available regarding the four identified members of the cyclin-dependent kinase-like kinase (CLK) family. In other eukaryotes, CLKs regulate mRNA splicing through phosphorylation of Serine/Arginine-rich proteins. Here, we investigate two of the PfCLKs, the Lammer kinase homolog PfCLK-1, and PfCLK-2. Both PfCLKs show homology with the yeast Serine/Arginine protein kinase Sky1p and are transcribed throughout the asexual blood stages and in gametocytes. PfCLK-1/Lammer possesses two nuclear localization signal sites and PfCLK-2 possesses one of these signal sites upstream of the C-terminal catalytic domains. Indirect immunofluorescence, Western blot, and electron microscopy data confirm that the kinases are primarily localized in the parasite nucleus, and PfCLK-2 is further present in the cytoplasm. The two kinases are important for completion of the asexual replication cycle of P. falciparum, as demonstrated by reverse genetics approaches. In vitro kinase assays show substrate phosphorylation by the PfCLKs, including the Sky1p substrate, splicing factor Npl3p, and the plasmodial alternative splicing factor PfASF-1. Mass spectrometric analysis of co-immunoprecipitated proteins indicates assembly of the two PfCLKs with proteins with predicted nuclease, phosphatase, or helicase functions. Our data indicate a crucial role of PfCLKs for malaria blood stage parasites, presumably by participating in gene regulation through the post-transcriptional modification of mRNA.

  11. Infection of Female BWF1 Lupus Mice with Malaria Parasite Attenuates B Cell Autoreactivity by Modulating the CXCL12/CXCR4 Axis and Its Downstream Signals PI3K/AKT, NFκB and ERK.

    PubMed

    Badr, Gamal; Sayed, Ayat; Abdel-Maksoud, Mostafa A; Mohamed, Amany O; El-Amir, Azza; Abdel-Ghaffar, Fathy A; Al-Quraishy, Saleh; Mahmoud, Mohamed H

    2015-01-01

    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic autoimmune disease characterized by abnormal autoreactivity in B cells. Lymphocytes and their soluble mediators contribute to the disease pathogenesis. We recently demonstrated that infecting lupus mice with malaria confers protection against lupus nephritis by attenuating oxidative stress in both liver and kidney tissues. In the current study, we further investigated B cell autoreactivity in female BWF1 lupus mice after infection with either live or gamma-irradiated malaria, using ELISA, flow cytometry and Western blot analysis. The lupus mice exhibited a significant elevation in plasma levels of IL-4, IL-6, IL-7, IL-12, IL-17, IFN-α, IFN-γ, TGF-β, BAFF and APRIL and a marked elevation of IgG2a, IgG3 and ant-dsDNA autoantibodies compared with normal healthy mice. Infecting lupus mice with live but not gamma-irradiated malaria parasite partially and significantly restored the levels of the soluble mediators that contribute to the progression of lupus. Furthermore, the B cells of lupus mice exhibited an increased proliferative capacity; aberrant overexpression of the chemokine receptor CXCR4; and a marked elevation in responsiveness to their cognate ligand (CXCL12) via aberrant activation of the PI3K/AKT, NFκB and ERK signaling pathways. Interestingly, infecting lupus mice with live but not gamma-irradiated malaria parasite restored a normal proliferative capacity, surface expression of CXCR4 and B cell response to CXCL-12. Taken together, our data present interesting findings that clarify, for the first time, the molecular mechanisms of how infection of lupus mice with malaria parasite controls B cell autoreactivity and thus confers protection against lupus severity.

  12. The mechanics of malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte – towards a reassessment of the host cell contribution

    PubMed Central

    Koch, Marion

    2016-01-01

    Summary Despite decades of research, we still know little about the mechanics of Plasmodium host cell invasion. Fundamentally, while the essential or non‐essential nature of different parasite proteins is becoming clearer, their actual function and how each comes together to govern invasion are poorly understood. Furthermore, in recent years an emerging world view is shifting focus away from the parasite actin–myosin motor being the sole force responsible for entry to an appreciation of host cell dynamics and forces and their contribution to the process. In this review, we discuss merozoite invasion of the erythrocyte, focusing on the complex set of pre‐invasion events and how these might prime the red cell to facilitate invasion. While traditionally parasite interactions at this stage have been viewed simplistically as mediating adhesion only, recent work makes it apparent that by interacting with a number of host receptors and signalling pathways, combined with secretion of parasite‐derived lipid material, that the merozoite may initiate cytoskeletal re‐arrangements and biophysical changes in the erythrocyte that greatly reduce energy barriers for entry. Seen in this light Plasmodium invasion may well turn out to be a balance between host and parasite forces, much like that of other pathogen infection mechanisms. PMID:26663815

  13. 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.

  14. The mechanics of malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte - towards a reassessment of the host cell contribution.

    PubMed

    Koch, Marion; Baum, Jake

    2016-03-01

    Despite decades of research, we still know little about the mechanics of Plasmodium host cell invasion. Fundamentally, while the essential or non-essential nature of different parasite proteins is becoming clearer, their actual function and how each comes together to govern invasion are poorly understood. Furthermore, in recent years an emerging world view is shifting focus away from the parasite actin-myosin motor being the sole force responsible for entry to an appreciation of host cell dynamics and forces and their contribution to the process. In this review, we discuss merozoite invasion of the erythrocyte, focusing on the complex set of pre-invasion events and how these might prime the red cell to facilitate invasion. While traditionally parasite interactions at this stage have been viewed simplistically as mediating adhesion only, recent work makes it apparent that by interacting with a number of host receptors and signalling pathways, combined with secretion of parasite-derived lipid material, that the merozoite may initiate cytoskeletal re-arrangements and biophysical changes in the erythrocyte that greatly reduce energy barriers for entry. Seen in this light Plasmodium invasion may well turn out to be a balance between host and parasite forces, much like that of other pathogen infection mechanisms.

  15. The mechanics of malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte - towards a reassessment of the host cell contribution.

    PubMed

    Koch, Marion; Baum, Jake

    2016-03-01

    Despite decades of research, we still know little about the mechanics of Plasmodium host cell invasion. Fundamentally, while the essential or non-essential nature of different parasite proteins is becoming clearer, their actual function and how each comes together to govern invasion are poorly understood. Furthermore, in recent years an emerging world view is shifting focus away from the parasite actin-myosin motor being the sole force responsible for entry to an appreciation of host cell dynamics and forces and their contribution to the process. In this review, we discuss merozoite invasion of the erythrocyte, focusing on the complex set of pre-invasion events and how these might prime the red cell to facilitate invasion. While traditionally parasite interactions at this stage have been viewed simplistically as mediating adhesion only, recent work makes it apparent that by interacting with a number of host receptors and signalling pathways, combined with secretion of parasite-derived lipid material, that the merozoite may initiate cytoskeletal re-arrangements and biophysical changes in the erythrocyte that greatly reduce energy barriers for entry. Seen in this light Plasmodium invasion may well turn out to be a balance between host and parasite forces, much like that of other pathogen infection mechanisms. PMID:26663815

  16. 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

  17. A spatial individual-based model predicting a great impact of copious sugar sources and resting sites on survival of Anopheles gambiae and malaria parasite transmission

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zhu, Lin; Qualls, Whitney A.; Marshall, John M; Arheart, Kris L.; DeAngelis, Don; McManus, John W.; Traore, Sekou F.; Doumbia, Seydou; Schlein, Yosef; Muller, Gunter C.; Beier, John C.

    2015-01-01

    distributed in the whole village compared to clustering around outdoor resting sites or houses.ConclusionsIncreases in densities of sugar sources or outdoor resting sites significantly increase the survival and human biting rates of An. gambiae mosquitoes. Survival of An. gambiae is more supported by random distribution of sugar sources than clustering of sugar sources around resting sites or houses. Density and spatial distribution of natural sugar sources and outdoor resting sites modulate vector populations and human biting rates, and thus malaria parasite transmission.

  18. Particle Method Computation of the Red Blood Cell Motion in Malaria Infection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamaguchi, Takami; Imai, Yosuke; Ishikawa, Takuji

    2010-09-01

    We developed a numerical model of blood flow in malaria infection. Our model was based on a particle method. All the components of blood were represented by finite number of particles. The membrane of red blood cells was modeled by triangular network of membrane particles. Stretch resistance and bending resistance were considered. The force generated by the deformation of membrane was substituted into the force term of Navier-Stokes equations only for membrane particles. The malaria parasite was assumed as a rigid object. Some interesting behavior of the infected and healthy red blood cells were simulated.

  19. 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

  20. Preferential binding of 4-hydroxynonenal to lysine residues in specific parasite proteins in plakortin-treated Plasmodium falciparum-parasitized red blood cells

    PubMed Central

    Schwarzer, Evelin; Gallo, Valentina; Valente, Elena; Ulliers, Daniela; Taglialatela-Scafati, Orazio; Arese, Paolo; Skorokhod, Oleksii A.

    2015-01-01

    The data show the frequencies by which the amino acid residues lysine, histidine and cysteine of six proteins of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are post-translationally modified by the lipoperoxydation endproduct 4-hydroxynonenal after challenging the parasitized red blood cell with plakortin. Plakortin is an antimalarial endoperoxide whose molecular anti-parasitic effect is described in Skorokhod et al. (2015) [1]. Plakortin did not elicit hemoglobin leakage from host red blood cells and did not oxidize reduced glutathione. PMID:26702418

  1. Life history of a malaria parasite (Plasmodium mexicanum) in its host, the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis): host testosterone as a source of seasonal and among-host variation?

    PubMed

    Eisen, R J; DeNardo, D F

    2000-10-01

    The course of infection of a malaria parasite (Plasmodium mexicanum) is highly variable in its host, the fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis). However, a seasonal trend is superimposed on this variation such that gametocyte production is intensified during mid- to late summer. Host testosterone levels follow a similar seasonal fluctuation and are variable among individual lizards. We sought to determine if testosterone levels affect seasonal and among-host variation in 11 P. mexicanum life history traits: rate of increase in level of infection (3 measures), peak parasitemia (3 measures), duration of increase (3 measures), time to detectable infection, and timing of production of gametocytes. We followed the course of infection in 125 male S. occidentalis, each randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: castrated, castrated and implanted with exogenous testosterone, sham implanted, and unmanipulated controls. Median values for the 11 life history traits did not differ among treatment groups, and variances were homogeneous among the treatment groups for 10/11 traits. However, elevated testosterone significantly reduced the variation in timing of the onset of gametocyte production. Therefore, testosterone does not appear to be a primary regulator of P. mexicanum life history, yet testosterone may have some effect on when gametocytes first become detectable. PMID:11128477

  2. 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

  3. Belowground competition among invading detritivores.

    PubMed

    Chang, Chih-Han; Szlavecz, Katalin; Filley, Timothy; Buyer, Jeffrey S; Bernard, Michael J; Pitz, Scott L

    2016-01-01

    The factors regulating soil animal communities are poorly understood. Current theory favors niche complementarity and facilitation over competition as the primary forms of non-trophic interspecific interaction in soil fauna; however, competition has frequently been suggested as an important community-structuring factor in earthworms, ecosystem engineers that influence belowground processes. To date, direct evidence of competition in earthworms is lacking due to the difficulty inherent in identifying a limiting resource for saprophagous animals. In the present study, we offer the first direct evidence of interspecific competition for food in this dominant soil detritivore group by combining field observations with laboratory mesocosm experiments using 13C and 15N double-enriched leaf litter to track consumption patterns. In our experiments, the Asian invasive species Amynthas hilgendorfi was a dominant competitor for leaf litter against two European species currently invading the temperate deciduous forests in North America. This competitive advantage may account for recent invasion success of A. hilgendorfi in forests with established populations of European species, and we hypothesize that specific phenological differences play an important role in determining the outcome of the belowground competition. In contrast, Eisenoides lonnbergi, a common native species in the Eastern United States, occupied a unique trophic position with limited interactions with other species, which may contribute to its persistence in habitats dominated by invasive species. Furthermore, our results supported neither the hypothesis that facilitation occurs between species of different functional groups nor the hypothesis that species in the same group exhibit functional equivalency in C and N translocation in the soil. We propose that species identity is a more powerful approach to understand earthworm invasion and its impacts on belowground processes.

  4. Belowground competition among invading detritivores.

    PubMed

    Chang, Chih-Han; Szlavecz, Katalin; Filley, Timothy; Buyer, Jeffrey S; Bernard, Michael J; Pitz, Scott L

    2016-01-01

    The factors regulating soil animal communities are poorly understood. Current theory favors niche complementarity and facilitation over competition as the primary forms of non-trophic interspecific interaction in soil fauna; however, competition has frequently been suggested as an important community-structuring factor in earthworms, ecosystem engineers that influence belowground processes. To date, direct evidence of competition in earthworms is lacking due to the difficulty inherent in identifying a limiting resource for saprophagous animals. In the present study, we offer the first direct evidence of interspecific competition for food in this dominant soil detritivore group by combining field observations with laboratory mesocosm experiments using 13C and 15N double-enriched leaf litter to track consumption patterns. In our experiments, the Asian invasive species Amynthas hilgendorfi was a dominant competitor for leaf litter against two European species currently invading the temperate deciduous forests in North America. This competitive advantage may account for recent invasion success of A. hilgendorfi in forests with established populations of European species, and we hypothesize that specific phenological differences play an important role in determining the outcome of the belowground competition. In contrast, Eisenoides lonnbergi, a common native species in the Eastern United States, occupied a unique trophic position with limited interactions with other species, which may contribute to its persistence in habitats dominated by invasive species. Furthermore, our results supported neither the hypothesis that facilitation occurs between species of different functional groups nor the hypothesis that species in the same group exhibit functional equivalency in C and N translocation in the soil. We propose that species identity is a more powerful approach to understand earthworm invasion and its impacts on belowground processes. PMID:27008785

  5. Revegetating sagebrush rangelands invaded by medusahead

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The objectives of this study were to determine: 1) effective treatments for controlling medusahead and 2) the appropriate plant materials for revegetating medusahead-invaded rangelands. Initial treatments of prescribed burning immediately followed with applications of the preemergent herbicide imaza...

  6. Multiple dimensions of epigenetic gene regulation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum: gene regulation via histone modifications, nucleosome positioning and nuclear architecture in P. falciparum.

    PubMed

    Ay, Ferhat; Bunnik, Evelien M; Varoquaux, Nelle; Vert, Jean-Philippe; Noble, William Stafford; Le Roch, Karine G

    2015-02-01

    Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly human malarial parasite, responsible for an estimated 207 million cases of disease and 627,000 deaths in 2012. Recent studies reveal that the parasite actively regulates a large fraction of its genes throughout its replicative cycle inside human red blood cells and that epigenetics plays an important role in this precise gene regulation. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of three aspects of epigenetic regulation in P. falciparum: changes in histone modifications, nucleosome occupancy and the three-dimensional genome structure. We compare these three aspects of the P. falciparum epigenome to those of other eukaryotes, and show that large-scale compartmentalization is particularly important in determining histone decomposition and gene regulation in P. falciparum. We conclude by presenting a gene regulation model for P. falciparum that combines the described epigenetic factors, and by discussing the implications of this model for the future of malaria research.

  7. 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

  8. Malaria Parasite-Infected Erythrocytes Secrete PfCK1, the Plasmodium Homologue of the Pleiotropic Protein Kinase Casein Kinase 1.

    PubMed

    Dorin-Semblat, Dominique; Demarta-Gatsi, Claudia; Hamelin, Romain; Armand, Florence; Carvalho, Teresa Gil; Moniatte, Marc; Doerig, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Casein kinase 1 (CK1) is a pleiotropic protein kinase implicated in several fundamental processes of eukaryotic cell biology. Plasmodium falciparum encodes a single CK1 isoform, PfCK1, that is expressed at all stages of the parasite's life cycle. We have previously shown that the pfck1 gene cannot be disrupted, but that the locus can be modified if no loss-of-function is incurred, suggesting an important role for this kinase in intra-erythrocytic asexual proliferation. Here, we report on the use of parasite lines expressing GFP- or His-tagged PfCK1 from the endogenous locus to investigate (i) the dynamics of PfCK1 localisation during the asexual cycle in red blood cells, and (ii) potential interactors of PfCK1, so as to gain insight into the involvement of the enzyme in specific cellular processes. Immunofluorescence analysis reveals a dynamic localisation of PfCK1, with evidence for a pool of the enzyme being directed to the membrane of the host erythrocyte in the early stages of infection, followed by a predominantly intra-parasite localisation in trophozoites and schizonts and association with micronemes in merozoites. Furthermore, we present strong evidence that a pool of enzymatically active PfCK1 is secreted into the culture supernatant, demonstrating that PfCK1 is an ectokinase. Our interactome experiments and ensuing kinase assays using recombinant PfCK1 to phosphorylate putative interactors in vitro suggest an involvement of PfCK1 in many cellular processes such as mRNA splicing, protein trafficking, ribosomal, and host cell invasion. PMID:26629826

  9. Malaria Parasite-Infected Erythrocytes Secrete PfCK1, the Plasmodium Homologue of the Pleiotropic Protein Kinase Casein Kinase 1

    PubMed Central

    Dorin-Semblat, Dominique; Demarta-Gatsi, Claudia; Hamelin, Romain; Armand, Florence; Carvalho, Teresa Gil; Moniatte, Marc; Doerig, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Casein kinase 1 (CK1) is a pleiotropic protein kinase implicated in several fundamental processes of eukaryotic cell biology. Plasmodium falciparum encodes a single CK1 isoform, PfCK1, that is expressed at all stages of the parasite’s life cycle. We have previously shown that the pfck1 gene cannot be disrupted, but that the locus can be modified if no loss-of-function is incurred, suggesting an important role for this kinase in intra-erythrocytic asexual proliferation. Here, we report on the use of parasite lines expressing GFP- or His-tagged PfCK1 from the endogenous locus to investigate (i) the dynamics of PfCK1 localisation during the asexual cycle in red blood cells, and (ii) potential interactors of PfCK1, so as to gain insight into the involvement of the enzyme in specific cellular processes. Immunofluorescence analysis reveals a dynamic localisation of PfCK1, with evidence for a pool of the enzyme being directed to the membrane of the host erythrocyte in the early stages of infection, followed by a predominantly intra-parasite localisation in trophozoites and schizonts and association with micronemes in merozoites. Furthermore, we present strong evidence that a pool of enzymatically active PfCK1 is secreted into the culture supernatant, demonstrating that PfCK1 is an ectokinase. Our interactome experiments and ensuing kinase assays using recombinant PfCK1 to phosphorylate putative interactors in vitro suggest an involvement of PfCK1 in many cellular processes such as mRNA splicing, protein trafficking, ribosomal, and host cell invasion. PMID:26629826

  10. 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.

  11. Holographic analysis on deformation and restoration of malaria-infected red blood cells by antimalarial drug

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Byeon, Hyeokjun; Ha, Young-Ran; Lee, Sang Joon

    2015-11-01

    Malaria parasites induce morphological, biochemical, and mechanical changes in red blood cells (RBCs). Mechanical variations are closely related to the deformability of individual RBCs. The deformation of various RBCs, including healthy and malaria-infected RBCs (iRBCs), can be directly observed through quantitative phase imaging (QPI). The effects of chloroquine treatment on the mechanical property variation of iRBCs were investigated using time-resolved holographic QPI of single live cells on a millisecond time scale. The deformabilities of healthy RBCs, iRBCs, and drug-treated iRBCs were compared, and the effect of chloroquine on iRBC restoration was experimentally examined. The present results are beneficial to elucidate the dynamic characteristics of iRBCs and the effect of the antimalarial drug on iRBCs.

  12. Chinese Tallow: Invading the Southeastern Coastal Plain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    U.S. Geological Survey

    2000-01-01

    Chinese tallow is an ornamental tree with colorful autumn foliage that can survive full sunlight and shade, flooding, drought, and in some cases fire. To horticulturists this kind of tree sounds like a dream, but to ecologists, land managers, and land owners this kind of tree can be a nightmare, especially when it invades an area and takes over native vegetation. Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera), a nonnative tree from China, is currently transforming the southeastern Coastal Plain. Over the last 30 years, Chinese tallow has become a common tree in old fields and bottomland swamps of coastal Louisiana. Several studies at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC), Lafayette, Louisiana, are aimed at understanding the factors that contribute to Chinese tallow growth, spread, and management. When tallow invades, it eventually monopolizes an area, creating a forest without native animal or plant species. This tree exhibits classic traits of most nonnative invaders: it is attractive so people want to distribute it, it has incredible resiliency, it grows quickly and in a variety of soils, and it is resistant to pests. In the coastal prairie of Louisiana and Texas, Chinese tallow can grow up to 30 feet and shade out native sun-loving prairie species. The disappearing of prairie species is troublesome because less than 1% of original coastal prairie remains, and in Louisiana, less than 500 of the original 2.2 million acres still exist. Tallow reproduces and grows quickly and can cause large-scale ecosystem modification (fig. 1). For example, when it completely replaces native vegetation, it has a negative effect on birds by degrading the habitat. Besides shading out grasses that cattle like to eat, it can also be potentially harmful to humans and animals because of its berries (fig. 2) and plant sap that contain toxins. There is some concern its leaves may shed toxins that change the soil chemistry and make it difficult for other plants to grow.

  13. Age Invaders: Entertainment for Elderly and Young

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheok, Adrian David

    This chapter presents the design process of Age Invaders, an intergenerational family entertainment system which focuses on physical and social interactions using a mixed reality floor system. The main design goals include facilitating interactions between users with varied levels of skill in utilizing technology, utilizing the familiar physical motions from other activities to make an intuitive physical interface, and encouraging social interactions among families and friends. Four main prototype iterations for the system are presented. Our design process is based on User Centered Design and relies on constant involvement of users to understand the key issues and to help make effective design decisions. The results of the study help to focus the refinements of the existing platform from a usability standpoint and also aid in the development of new physical entertainment and interactive applications. This study provides insights into user issues including how users interact in a complex mixed reality experience. At the end of this chapter, we presented the design of a toolkit that enables easy access and programming of the Age Invaders system. This toolkit could be used as a general platform for designing and reprogramming new type of artwork, entertainment, games, and applications.

  14. Chinese tallow: Invading the southeastern Coastal Plain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

    Chinese tallow is an ornamental tree with colorful autumn foliage that can survive full sunlight and shade, flooding, drought, and in some cases fire. To horticulturists this kind of tree sounds like a dream, but to ecologists, land managers, and land owners this kind of tree can be a nightmare, especially when it invades an area and takes over native vegetation. Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera), a nonnative tree from China, is currently transforming the southeastern Coastal Plain.Over the last 30 years, Chinese tallow has become a common tree in old fields and bottomland swamps of coastal Louisiana. Several studies at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC), Lafayette, Louisiana, are aimed at understanding the factors that contribute to Chinese tallow growth, spread, and management.When tallow invades, it eventually monopolizes an area, creating a forest without native animal or plant species. This tree exhibits classic traits of most nonnative invaders: it is attractive so people want to distribute it, it has incredible resiliency, it grows quickly and in a variety of soils, and it is resistant to pests.In the coastal prairie of Louisiana and Texas, Chinese tallow can grow up to 30 feet and shade out native sun-loving prairie species. The disappearing of prairie species is troublesome because less than 1% of original coastal prairie remains, and in Louisiana, less than 500 of the original 2.2 million acres still exist.Tallow reproduces and grows quickly and can cause large-scale ecosystem modification (fig. 1). For example, when it completely replaces native vegetation, it has a negative effect on birds by degrading the habitat. Besides shading out grasses that cattle like to eat, it can also be potentially harmful to humans and animals because of its berries (fig. 2) and plant sap that contain toxins. There is some concern its leaves may shed toxins that change the soil chemistry and make it difficult for other plants to grow.

  15. Transport of diseased red blood cells in the spleen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Zhangli; Pivkin, Igor; Dao, Ming

    2012-11-01

    A major function of the spleen is to remove old and diseased red blood cells (RBCs) with abnormal mechanical properties. We investigated this mechanical filtering mechanism by combining experiments and computational modeling, especially for red blood cells in malaria and sickle cell disease (SCD). First, utilizing a transgenic line for 3D confocal live imaging, in vitro capillary assays and 3D finite element modeling, we extracted the mechanical properties of both the RBC membrane and malaria parasites for different asexual malaria stages. Secondly, using a non-invasive laser interferometric technique, we optically measured the dynamic membrane fluctuations of SCD RBCs. By simulating the membrane fluctuation experiment using the dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) model, we retrieved mechanical properties of SCD RBCs with different shapes. Finally, based on the mechanical properties obtained from these experiments, we simulated the full fluid-structure interaction problem of diseased RBCs passing through endothelial slits in the spleen under different fluid pressure gradients using the DPD model. The effects of the mechanical properties of the lipid bilayer, the cytoskeleton and the parasite on the critical pressure of splenic passage of RBCs were investigated separately. This work is supported by NIH and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Science and Technology (SMART).

  16. Brucella melitensis invades murine erythrocytes during infection.

    PubMed

    Vitry, Marie-Alice; Hanot Mambres, Delphine; Deghelt, Michaël; Hack, Katrin; Machelart, Arnaud; Lhomme, Frédéric; Vanderwinden, Jean-Marie; Vermeersch, Marjorie; De Trez, Carl; Pérez-Morga, David; Letesson, Jean-Jacques; Muraille, Eric

    2014-09-01

    Brucella spp. are facultative intracellular Gram-negative coccobacilli responsible for brucellosis, a worldwide zoonosis. We observed that Brucella melitensis is able to persist for several weeks in the blood of intraperitoneally infected mice and that transferred blood at any time point tested is able to induce infection in naive recipient mice. Bacterial persistence in the blood is dramatically impaired by specific antibodies induced following Brucella vaccination. In contrast to Bartonella, the type IV secretion system and flagellar expression are not critically required for the persistence of Brucella in blood. ImageStream analysis of blood cells showed that following a brief extracellular phase, Brucella is associated mainly with the erythrocytes. Examination by confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy formally demonstrated that B. melitensis is able to invade erythrocytes in vivo. The bacteria do not seem to multiply in erythrocytes and are found free in the cytoplasm. Our results open up new areas for investigation and should serve in the development of novel strategies for the treatment or prophylaxis of brucellosis. Invasion of erythrocytes could potentially protect the bacterial cells from the host's immune response and hamper antibiotic treatment and suggests possible Brucella transmission by bloodsucking insects in nature.

  17. Brucella melitensis Invades Murine Erythrocytes during Infection

    PubMed Central

    Vitry, Marie-Alice; Hanot Mambres, Delphine; Deghelt, Michaël; Hack, Katrin; Machelart, Arnaud; Lhomme, Frédéric; Vanderwinden, Jean-Marie; Vermeersch, Marjorie; De Trez, Carl; Pérez-Morga, David; Letesson, Jean-Jacques

    2014-01-01

    Brucella spp. are facultative intracellular Gram-negative coccobacilli responsible for brucellosis, a worldwide zoonosis. We observed that Brucella melitensis is able to persist for several weeks in the blood of intraperitoneally infected mice and that transferred blood at any time point tested is able to induce infection in naive recipient mice. Bacterial persistence in the blood is dramatically impaired by specific antibodies induced following Brucella vaccination. In contrast to Bartonella, the type IV secretion system and flagellar expression are not critically required for the persistence of Brucella in blood. ImageStream analysis of blood cells showed that following a brief extracellular phase, Brucella is associated mainly with the erythrocytes. Examination by confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy formally demonstrated that B. melitensis is able to invade erythrocytes in vivo. The bacteria do not seem to multiply in erythrocytes and are found free in the cytoplasm. Our results open up new areas for investigation and should serve in the development of novel strategies for the treatment or prophylaxis of brucellosis. Invasion of erythrocytes could potentially protect the bacterial cells from the host's immune response and hamper antibiotic treatment and suggests possible Brucella transmission by bloodsucking insects in nature. PMID:25001604

  18. Isolated retroperitoneal hydatid cyst invading splenic hilum.

    PubMed

    Ozturk, Safak; Unver, Mutlu; Kibar Ozturk, Burcin; Kebapci, Eyup; Bozbiyik, Osman; Erol, Varlık; Zalluhoglu, Nihat; Olmez, Mustafa

    2014-01-01

    Introduction. Hydatid disease (HD) is an infestation that is caused by the larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus. The liver is affected in approximately two-thirds of patients, the lungs in 25%, and other organs in a small proportion. Primary retroperitoneal hydatid cyst is extremely rare. The most common complaint is abdominal pain; however, the clinical features of HD may be generally dependent on the location of the cyst. Case Presentation. A 43-year-old female was admitted with the complaint of abdominal pain. Her physical examination was normal. Computed tomography (CT) revealed a 17 × 11 cm cystic lesion, with a thick and smooth wall that is located among the left liver lobe, diaphragm, spleen, tail of the pancreas, and transverse colon and invading the splenic hilum. Total cystectomy and splenectomy were performed. Pathological examination was reported as cyst hydatid. Discussion. Cysts in the peritoneal cavity are mainly the result of the spontaneous or traumatic rupture of concomitant hepatic cysts or surgical inoculation of a hepatic cyst. Serological tests contribute to diagnosis. In symptomatic and large hydatid peritoneal cysts, surgical resection is the only curative treatment. Total cystectomy is the gold standard. Albendazole or praziquantel is indicated for inoperable and disseminated cases. Percutaneous aspiration, injection, and reaspiration (PAIR) technique is another nonsurgical option.

  19. Quantification of periodontopathic bacteria in saliva using the invader assay.

    PubMed

    Tada, Akio; Takeuchi, Hiroaki; Shimizu, Hajime; Tadokoro, Kenichi; Tanaka, Kazuya; Kawamura, Katsumi; Yamaguchi, Toshikazu; Egashira, Toru; Nomura, Yoshiaki; Hanada, Nobuhiro

    2012-01-01

    When quantifying periodontopathic bacteria, it is important to use a convenient method that does not produce false negative results. The Invader assay is a convenient method because it does not involve gene amplification. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity of the Invader assay to quantify periodontopathic bacteria. The Invader technology was applied in quantifying five periodontopathic bacteria (Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, Prevotella intermedia, and Treponema denticola). The Invader assay produced a linear quantitative detection range over concentrations spanning seven exponential values, with a detection limit of 10(3.7) copies/tube and intra-day and inter-day variance of 0.1% to 4.7% and 0.1% to 3.4%, respectively, in quantifying five periodontopathic bacteria. We compared the results of the Invader assay with those of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) performed for quantifying five periodontopathic bacteria in 22 patients with periodontitis. Among the Invader-detectable bacterial strains of each species, significant correlations were observed in the counts of concerned bacterial species between these two methods, with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.757 to 0.996. This study validated repeatability and reproducibility of the Invader assay in quantifying periodontopathic bacteria and demonstrated consistent agreement between the Invader assay and real-time PCR in quantifying periodontopathic bacteria.

  20. Donor and recipient regions: The biogeography of macrobenthic invaders

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic invaders are a major threat to ecological integrity and biodiversity of marine, estuarine, and freshwater ecosystems around the world. These invaders have been successful in passing through four discrete phases in their invasion of a new environment: (1) transport, (2) ...

  1. Two Different Rickettsial Bacteria Invading Volvox carteri

    PubMed Central

    Kawafune, Kaoru; Hongoh, Yuichi; Hamaji, Takashi; Sakamoto, Tomoaki; Kurata, Tetsuya; Hirooka, Shunsuke; Miyagishima, Shin-ya; Nozaki, Hisayoshi

    2015-01-01

    Background Bacteria of the family Rickettsiaceae are principally associated with arthropods. Recently, endosymbionts of the Rickettsiaceae have been found in non-phagotrophic cells of the volvocalean green algae Carteria cerasiformis, Pleodorina japonica, and Volvox carteri. Such endosymbionts were present in only C. cerasiformis strain NIES-425 and V. carteri strain UTEX 2180, of various strains of Carteria and V. carteri examined, suggesting that rickettsial endosymbionts may have been transmitted to only a few algal strains very recently. However, in preliminary work, we detected a sequence similar to that of a rickettsial gene in the nuclear genome of V. carteri strain EVE. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we explored the origin of the rickettsial gene-like sequences in the endosymbiont-lacking V. carteri strain EVE, by performing comparative analyses on 13 strains of V. carteri. By reference to our ongoing genomic sequence of rickettsial endosymbionts in C. cerasiformis strain NIES-425 cells, we confirmed that an approximately 9-kbp DNA sequence encompassing a region similar to that of four rickettsial genes was present in the nuclear genome of V. carteri strain EVE. Phylogenetic analyses, and comparisons of the synteny of rickettsial gene-like sequences from various strains of V. carteri, indicated that the rickettsial gene-like sequences in the nuclear genome of V. carteri strain EVE were closely related to rickettsial gene sequences of P. japonica, rather than those of V. carteri strain UTEX 2180. Conclusion/Significance At least two different rickettsial organisms may have invaded the V. carteri lineage, one of which may be the direct ancestor of the endosymbiont of V. carteri strain UTEX 2180, whereas the other may be closely related to the endosymbiont of P. japonica. Endosymbiotic gene transfer from the latter rickettsial organism may have occurred in an ancestor of V. carteri. Thus, the rickettsiae may be widely associated with V. carteri, and

  2. Genomic signatures of rapid adaptive evolution in the bluespotted cornetfish, a Mediterranean Lessepsian invader.

    PubMed

    Bernardi, Giacomo; Azzurro, Ernesto; Golani, Daniel; Miller, Michael Ryan

    2016-07-01

    Biological invasions are increasingly creating ecological and economical problems both on land and in aquatic environments. For over a century, the Mediterranean Sea has steadily been invaded by Indian Ocean/Red Sea species (called Lessepsian invaders) via the Suez Canal, with a current estimate of ~450 species. The bluespotted cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii, considered a 'Lessepsian sprinter', entered the Mediterranean in 2000 and by 2007 had spread through the entire basin from Israel to Spain. The situation is unique and interesting both because of its unprecedented rapidity and by the fact that it took this species c. 130 years to immigrate into the Mediterranean. Using genome scans, with restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing, we evaluated neutral and selected genomic regions for Mediterranean vs. Red Sea cornetfish individuals. We found that few fixed neutral changes were detectable among populations. However, almost half of the genes associated with the 47 outlier loci (potentially under selection) were related to disease resistance and osmoregulation. Due to the short time elapsed from the beginning of the invasion to our sampling, we interpret these changes as signatures of rapid adaptation that may be explained by several mechanisms including preadaptation and strong local selection. Such genomic regions are therefore good candidates to further study their role in invasion success. PMID:27162055

  3. Characterization of red blood cells with multiwavelength transmission spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Serebrennikova, Yulia M; Huffman, Debra E; Garcia-Rubio, Luis H

    2015-01-01

    Multiwavelength transmission (MWT) spectroscopy was applied to the investigation of the morphological parameters and composition of red blood cells (RBCs). The MWT spectra were quantitatively analyzed with a Mie theory based interpretation model modified to incorporate the effects of the nonsphericity and orientation of RBCs. The MWT spectra of the healthy and anemic samples were investigated for the RBC indices in open and blinded studies. When MWT performance was evaluated against a standard reference system, very good agreement between two methods, with R (2) > 0.85 for all indices studied, was demonstrated. The RBC morphological parameters were used to characterize three types of anemia and to draw an association between RBC morphology and anemia severity. The MWT spectra of RBCs infected with malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum at different life cycle stages were analyzed for RBC morphological parameters. The changes in the RBC volume, surface area, aspect ratio, and hemoglobin composition were used to trace the morphological and compositional alterations in the infected RBCs occurring with parasites' development and to provide insights into parasite-host interactions. The MWT method was shown to be reliable for determination of the RBC morphological parameters and to be valuable for identification of the RBC pathologic changes and disease states.

  4. Characterization of Red Blood Cells with Multiwavelength Transmission Spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Serebrennikova, Yulia M.; Huffman, Debra E.; Garcia-Rubio, Luis H.

    2015-01-01

    Multiwavelength transmission (MWT) spectroscopy was applied to the investigation of the morphological parameters and composition of red blood cells (RBCs). The MWT spectra were quantitatively analyzed with a Mie theory based interpretation model modified to incorporate the effects of the nonsphericity and orientation of RBCs. The MWT spectra of the healthy and anemic samples were investigated for the RBC indices in open and blinded studies. When MWT performance was evaluated against a standard reference system, very good agreement between two methods, with R2 > 0.85 for all indices studied, was demonstrated. The RBC morphological parameters were used to characterize three types of anemia and to draw an association between RBC morphology and anemia severity. The MWT spectra of RBCs infected with malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum at different life cycle stages were analyzed for RBC morphological parameters. The changes in the RBC volume, surface area, aspect ratio, and hemoglobin composition were used to trace the morphological and compositional alterations in the infected RBCs occurring with parasites' development and to provide insights into parasite-host interactions. The MWT method was shown to be reliable for determination of the RBC morphological parameters and to be valuable for identification of the RBC pathologic changes and disease states. PMID:25654099

  5. A Bacterial Phosphatase-Like Enzyme of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum Possesses Tyrosine Phosphatase Activity and Is Implicated in the Regulation of Band 3 Dynamics during Parasite Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez-Pol, Sebastian; Slouka, Zdenek; Bhattacharjee, Souvik; Fedotova, Yana; Freed, Stefan; An, Xiuli; Holder, Anthony A.; Campanella, Estela; Low, Philip S.

    2013-01-01

    Eukaryotic parasites of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria by invading and developing within host erythrocytes. Here, we demonstrate that PfShelph2, a gene product of Plasmodium falciparum that belongs to the Shewanella-like phosphatase (Shelph) subfamily, selectively hydrolyzes phosphotyrosine, as shown for other previously studied Shelph family members. In the extracellular merozoite stage, PfShelph2 localizes to vesicles that appear to be distinct from those of rhoptry, dense granule, or microneme organelles. During invasion, PfShelph2 is released from these vesicles and exported to the host erythrocyte. In vitro, PfShelph2 shows tyrosine phosphatase activity against the host erythrocyte protein Band 3, which is the most abundant tyrosine-phosphorylated species of the erythrocyte. During P. falciparum invasion, Band 3 undergoes dynamic and rapid clearance from the invasion junction within 1 to 2 s of parasite attachment to the erythrocyte. Release of Pfshelph2 occurs after clearance of Band 3 from the parasite-host cell interface and when the parasite is nearly or completely enclosed in the nascent vacuole. We propose a model in which the phosphatase modifies Band 3 in time to restore its interaction with the cytoskeleton and thus reestablishes the erythrocyte cytoskeletal network at the end of the invasion process. PMID:23825180

  6. Invader Assisted Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Colorimetric Detection of Disease Biomarkers Using Oligonucleotide Probe-Modified Gold Nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Song, Qinxin; Qi, Xiemin; Jia, Huning; He, Liang; Kumar, Shalen; Pitman, Janet L; Zou, Bingjie; Zhou, Guohua

    2016-04-01

    We successfully developed an invader assisted ELISA assay (iaELISA) for sensitive detection of disease biomarkers. The method includes three key steps as follows; biotinylated detection antibody was at first used to capture targeted antigen by sandwich ELISA. The biotinylated oligonucleotide was then attached to detection antibody via streptavidin. Finally, the cascade invader reactions were employed to amplify the biotinylated oligonucleotide specific to the antigen so that detection of the antigen was transformed into signal amplification of the antigen-specific DNA. To achieve colorimetric detection, oligonucleotide probe and modified gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were coupled with the invader assay. Utilization of the hairpin probes in the invader reaction brought about free AuNPs, resulting in the positive read-out (red color). On the other hand, aggregation of the AuNPs occurred when the hairpin probes were not utilized in the reaction. This method was successfully used to detect as low as 2.4 x 10(-11) g/mL of HBsAg by both naked eye and spectrophotometer. This sensitivity was about 100 times higher than that of conventional ELISA method. The method was also used to assay 16 serum specimens from HBV-infected patients and 8 serum specimens from HBV-negative donors and results were in good agreement with those obtained from the conventional ELISA. As the invader assay is sensitive to one base sequence, a good specificity was also obtained by detecting other antigens like hepatitis A virus (HAV) and BSA. The method has therefore much potential for ultrasensitive and cost-effective detection of targeted proteins that have clinical importance.

  7. Invader Assisted Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Colorimetric Detection of Disease Biomarkers Using Oligonucleotide Probe-Modified Gold Nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Song, Qinxin; Qi, Xiemin; Jia, Huning; He, Liang; Kumar, Shalen; Pitman, Janet L; Zou, Bingjie; Zhou, Guohua

    2016-04-01

    We successfully developed an invader assisted ELISA assay (iaELISA) for sensitive detection of disease biomarkers. The method includes three key steps as follows; biotinylated detection antibody was at first used to capture targeted antigen by sandwich ELISA. The biotinylated oligonucleotide was then attached to detection antibody via streptavidin. Finally, the cascade invader reactions were employed to amplify the biotinylated oligonucleotide specific to the antigen so that detection of the antigen was transformed into signal amplification of the antigen-specific DNA. To achieve colorimetric detection, oligonucleotide probe and modified gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were coupled with the invader assay. Utilization of the hairpin probes in the invader reaction brought about free AuNPs, resulting in the positive read-out (red color). On the other hand, aggregation of the AuNPs occurred when the hairpin probes were not utilized in the reaction. This method was successfully used to detect as low as 2.4 x 10(-11) g/mL of HBsAg by both naked eye and spectrophotometer. This sensitivity was about 100 times higher than that of conventional ELISA method. The method was also used to assay 16 serum specimens from HBV-infected patients and 8 serum specimens from HBV-negative donors and results were in good agreement with those obtained from the conventional ELISA. As the invader assay is sensitive to one base sequence, a good specificity was also obtained by detecting other antigens like hepatitis A virus (HAV) and BSA. The method has therefore much potential for ultrasensitive and cost-effective detection of targeted proteins that have clinical importance. PMID:27301208

  8. Revegetating medusahead-invaded sagebrush rangelands in the intermountain west

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Revegetation of medusahead-invaded rangeland is needed to increase forage production, decrease the risk of wildfires, and improve wildlife habitat. Successful revegetation starts with effective control of medusahead. Prescribed burning followed by a fall application of a pre-emergent herbicide has...

  9. Revegetating medusahead-invaded sagebrush rangelands in the Intermountain West

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Revegetation of medusahead-invaded rangeland is needed to increase forage production, decrease the risk of wildfires, and improve wildlife habitat. Successful revegetation starts with effective control of medusahead. Prescribed burning followed by a fall application of a pre-emergent herbicide has...

  10. Culture Clash Invades Miami: Oral Histories and Ethnography Center Stage

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garcia, David G.

    2008-01-01

    Using a critical race theory (CRT) framework, this article compares the playwriting methods of the Chicano--Latino theater trio, Culture Clash, to a counterstorytelling methodology. The author uncovers the tenets of a critical race theater in the trio's site-specific ethnographic play, "Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami". He argues that…

  11. Patterns of litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest invaded by exotic earthworms.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Esteban R; Fahey, Timothy J; Yavitt, Joseph B; Groffman, Peter M; Bohlen, Patrick J

    2006-02-01

    A field study was conducted to evaluate the effects of exotic earthworm invasions on the rates of leaf litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest in southcentral New York, USA. Specifically, we assessed whether differences in litter quality and the species composition of exotic earthworm communities affected leaf litter disappearance rates. Two forest sites with contrasting communities of exotic earthworms were selected, and disappearance rates of sugar maple and red oak litter were estimated in litter boxes in adjacent earthworm-free, transition, and earthworm-invaded plots within each site. After 540 days in the field, 1.7-3 times more litter remained in the reference plots than in the earthworm-invaded plots. In the earthworm-invaded plots, rates of disappearance of sugar maple litter were higher than for oak litter during the first year, but by the end of the experiment, the amount of sugar maple and oak litter remaining in the earthworm-invaded plots was identical within each site. The composition of the earthworm communities significantly affected the patterns of litter disappearance. In the site dominated by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris and the endogeic Aporrectodea tuberculata, the percentage of litter remaining after 540 days (approximately 17%) was significantly less than at the site dominated by L. rubellus and Octolasion tyrtaeum (approximately 27%). This difference may be attributed to the differences in feeding behavior of the two litter-feeding species: L. terrestris buries entire leaves in vertical burrows, whereas L. rubellus usually feeds on litter at the soil surface, leaving behind leaf petioles and veins. Our results showed that earthworms not only accelerate litter disappearance rates, but also may reduce the differences in decomposition rates that result from different litter qualities at later stages of decay. Similarly, our results indicate that earthworm effects on decomposition vary with earthworm community

  12. Patterns of litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest invaded by exotic earthworms.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Esteban R; Fahey, Timothy J; Yavitt, Joseph B; Groffman, Peter M; Bohlen, Patrick J

    2006-02-01

    A field study was conducted to evaluate the effects of exotic earthworm invasions on the rates of leaf litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest in southcentral New York, USA. Specifically, we assessed whether differences in litter quality and the species composition of exotic earthworm communities affected leaf litter disappearance rates. Two forest sites with contrasting communities of exotic earthworms were selected, and disappearance rates of sugar maple and red oak litter were estimated in litter boxes in adjacent earthworm-free, transition, and earthworm-invaded plots within each site. After 540 days in the field, 1.7-3 times more litter remained in the reference plots than in the earthworm-invaded plots. In the earthworm-invaded plots, rates of disappearance of sugar maple litter were higher than for oak litter during the first year, but by the end of the experiment, the amount of sugar maple and oak litter remaining in the earthworm-invaded plots was identical within each site. The composition of the earthworm communities significantly affected the patterns of litter disappearance. In the site dominated by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris and the endogeic Aporrectodea tuberculata, the percentage of litter remaining after 540 days (approximately 17%) was significantly less than at the site dominated by L. rubellus and Octolasion tyrtaeum (approximately 27%). This difference may be attributed to the differences in feeding behavior of the two litter-feeding species: L. terrestris buries entire leaves in vertical burrows, whereas L. rubellus usually feeds on litter at the soil surface, leaving behind leaf petioles and veins. Our results showed that earthworms not only accelerate litter disappearance rates, but also may reduce the differences in decomposition rates that result from different litter qualities at later stages of decay. Similarly, our results indicate that earthworm effects on decomposition vary with earthworm community

  13. Is the flavin-deficient red blood cell common in Maremma, Italy, an important defense against malaria in this area?

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, B. B.; Scattoni, M.; Perry, G. M.; Galvan, P.; Giuberti, M.; Buonocore, G.; Vullo, C.

    1994-01-01

    There is a high prevalence of a familial flavin-deficient red blood cell in Ferrara province in the Po delta in northern Italy, believed to have been selected for by malaria which was endemic from the 12th century. In the present study, activities of FAD-dependent red-cell glutathione reductase (EGR) in the Grosseto area of Maremma on the west coast of Italy where malaria was endemic from 300 B.C. are compared both with activities in the Ferrara area and with activities where there was no history of endemic malaria--in the Florence area and in London in people of Anglo-Saxon origin. EGR activities were similar in Grosseto and Ferrara and were significantly lower than in Florence and London. As previously found in Ferrara, low EGR activity in Grosseto was shown to be unrelated to low dietary riboflavin intake. These findings in Grosseto, suggesting selection by malaria, are particularly interesting because, unlike the situation in Ferrara and most other malarial areas, the prevalence of thalassemia and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is very low, and they do not appear to have been selected for in Maremma. It is possible that a flavin-deficient red cell, known to inhibit growth of the malaria parasite, was an important protecting factor in the population of this area over the centuries. PMID:7977361

  14. Dietary niche constriction when invaders meet natives: evidence from freshwater decapods.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Michelle C; Grey, Jonathan; Miller, Katie; Britton, J Robert; Donohue, Ian

    2016-07-01

    Invasive species are a key driver of global environmental change, with frequently strong negative consequences for native biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Understanding competitive interactions between invaders and functionally similar native species provides an important benchmark for predicting the consequences of invasion. However, even though having a broad dietary niche is widely considered a key factor determining invasion success, little is known about the effects of competition with functionally similar native competitors on the dietary niche breadths of invasive species. We used a combination of field experiments and field surveys to examine the impacts of competition with a functionally similar native crab species on the population densities, growth rates and diet of the globally widespread invasive red swamp crayfish in an African river ecosystem. The presence of native crabs triggered significant dietary niche constriction within the invasive crayfish population. Further, growth rates of both species were reduced significantly, and by a similar extent, in the presence of one another. In spite of this, crayfish maintained positive growth rates in the presence of crabs, whereas crabs lost mass in the presence of crayfish. Consequently, over the 3-year duration of the study, crab abundance declined at those sites invaded by the crayfish, becoming locally extinct at one. The invasive crayfish had a dramatic effect on ecosystem structure and functioning, halving benthic invertebrate densities and increasing decomposition rates fourfold compared to the crabs. This indicates that replacement of native crabs by invasive crayfish likely alters the structure and functioning of African river ecosystems significantly. This study provides a novel example of the constriction of the dietary niche of a successful invasive population in the presence of competition from a functionally similar native species. This finding highlights the importance of considering both

  15. Unfolding the resident-invader dynamics of similar strategies.

    PubMed

    Dercole, Fabio; Geritz, Stefan A H

    2016-04-01

    We investigate the competition between two groups of similar agents in the restricted, but classical context of unstructured populations varying in continuous time in an isolated, homogeneous, and constant abiotic environment. Individual behavioral and phenotypic traits are quantified by one-dimensional strategies and intra- as well as inter-specific interactions are described in the vicinity of a stationary regime. Some known results are revisited: invasion by a new strategy generically implies the substitution of the former resident; and resident-invader coexistence is possible close to singular strategies-the stationary points of the invasion fitness-and is generically protected-each of the two competing groups can invade the other. An (almost known) old conjecture is shown true: competition close to a singular strategy is "essentially Lotka-Volterra"-dominance of one strategy, protected coexistence at an intermediate equilibrium, and mutual exclusion are the generic outcomes. And the unfolding of the competition scenarios is completed with the analysis of three degenerate singular strategies-characterized by vanishing second-order fitness derivatives-near which resident-invader coexistence can be unprotected. Our approach is based on the series expansion of a generic demographic model, w.r.t. the small strategy difference between the two competing groups, and on known results on time-scale separation and bifurcation theories. The analysis is carried out up to third order and is extendable to any order. For each order, explicit genericity conditions under which higher orders can be neglected are derived and, interestingly, they are known prior to invasion. An important result is that degeneracies up to third-order are required to have more than one stable way of coexistence. Such degeneracies can be due to particular symmetries in the model formulation, and breaking the genericity conditions provides a direct way to draw biological interpretations. The developed

  16. Traits of Heracleum sosnowskyi Plants in Monostand on Invaded Area.

    PubMed

    Dalke, Igor V; Chadin, Ivan F; Zakhozhiy, Ilya G; Malyshev, Ruslan V; Maslova, Svetlana P; Tabalenkova, Galina N; Golovko, Tamara K

    2015-01-01

    The ability of giant hogweeds to form monodominant communities and even pure monostands in invaded areas has been well documented. Understanding of the mechanisms leading to monostand formation can aid in determining the limitations of existing community ecology models and establishing an effective management plan for invasive species elimination. The aim of this observational study was to investigate traits of Heracleum sosnowskyi plants (demography, canopy structure, morphology and physiology) of the plants in a pure stand in an invaded area useful for understanding potential monostand formation mechanisms. All measurements were performed in one typical Heracleum sosnowskyi monostand located in an abandoned agriculture field located in Syktyvkar city suburb (North-east Russia). This monostand consisted of five main plant growth stages: seed, seedling, juvenile, vegetative adult, and generative adult. Plants of all stages began to grow simultaneously shortly after the snowmelt, at the same time as spring ephemeral plant species grew. The density of generative plants did not change during the vegetation period, but the density of the other plant stages rapidly decreased after the formation of a tall (up to 2-2.5 m) and dense (Leaf area index up to 6.5) canopy. The canopy captured approximately 97% of the light. H. sosnowskyi showed high (several orders of magnitude higher than average taiga zone grasses) photosynthetic water use efficiency (6-7 μM CO2/μM H2O). Formation of H. sosnowskyi monostands occurs primarily in disturbed areas with relatively rich and well-moistened soils. Early commencement of growth, rapid formation of a dense canopy, high efficiency of light and water use during photosynthesis, ability of young plants to survive in low light conditions, rapid recovery of above-ground plant parts after damage, and the high density of the soil seed bank are the most important traits of H. sosnowskyi plants for monostand formation in invaded areas.

  17. Unfolding the resident-invader dynamics of similar strategies.

    PubMed

    Dercole, Fabio; Geritz, Stefan A H

    2016-04-01

    We investigate the competition between two groups of similar agents in the restricted, but classical context of unstructured populations varying in continuous time in an isolated, homogeneous, and constant abiotic environment. Individual behavioral and phenotypic traits are quantified by one-dimensional strategies and intra- as well as inter-specific interactions are described in the vicinity of a stationary regime. Some known results are revisited: invasion by a new strategy generically implies the substitution of the former resident; and resident-invader coexistence is possible close to singular strategies-the stationary points of the invasion fitness-and is generically protected-each of the two competing groups can invade the other. An (almost known) old conjecture is shown true: competition close to a singular strategy is "essentially Lotka-Volterra"-dominance of one strategy, protected coexistence at an intermediate equilibrium, and mutual exclusion are the generic outcomes. And the unfolding of the competition scenarios is completed with the analysis of three degenerate singular strategies-characterized by vanishing second-order fitness derivatives-near which resident-invader coexistence can be unprotected. Our approach is based on the series expansion of a generic demographic model, w.r.t. the small strategy difference between the two competing groups, and on known results on time-scale separation and bifurcation theories. The analysis is carried out up to third order and is extendable to any order. For each order, explicit genericity conditions under which higher orders can be neglected are derived and, interestingly, they are known prior to invasion. An important result is that degeneracies up to third-order are required to have more than one stable way of coexistence. Such degeneracies can be due to particular symmetries in the model formulation, and breaking the genericity conditions provides a direct way to draw biological interpretations. The developed

  18. Traits of Heracleum sosnowskyi Plants in Monostand on Invaded Area

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The ability of giant hogweeds to form monodominant communities and even pure monostands in invaded areas has been well documented. Understanding of the mechanisms leading to monostand formation can aid in determining the limitations of existing community ecology models and establishing an effective management plan for invasive species elimination. The aim of this observational study was to investigate traits of Heracleum sosnowskyi plants (demography, canopy structure, morphology and physiology) of the plants in a pure stand in an invaded area useful for understanding potential monostand formation mechanisms. All measurements were performed in one typical Heracleum sosnowskyi monostand located in an abandoned agriculture field located in Syktyvkar city suburb (North-east Russia). This monostand consisted of five main plant growth stages: seed, seedling, juvenile, vegetative adult, and generative adult. Plants of all stages began to grow simultaneously shortly after the snowmelt, at the same time as spring ephemeral plant species grew. The density of generative plants did not change during the vegetation period, but the density of the other plant stages rapidly decreased after the formation of a tall (up to 2–2.5 m) and dense (Leaf area index up to 6.5) canopy. The canopy captured approximately 97% of the light. H. sosnowskyi showed high (several orders of magnitude higher than average taiga zone grasses) photosynthetic water use efficiency (6–7 μM CO2/μM H2O). Formation of H. sosnowskyi monostands occurs primarily in disturbed areas with relatively rich and well-moistened soils. Early commencement of growth, rapid formation of a dense canopy, high efficiency of light and water use during photosynthesis, ability of young plants to survive in low light conditions, rapid recovery of above-ground plant parts after damage, and the high density of the soil seed bank are the most important traits of H. sosnowskyi plants for monostand formation in invaded areas. PMID

  19. Traits of Heracleum sosnowskyi Plants in Monostand on Invaded Area.

    PubMed

    Dalke, Igor V; Chadin, Ivan F; Zakhozhiy, Ilya G; Malyshev, Ruslan V; Maslova, Svetlana P; Tabalenkova, Galina N; Golovko, Tamara K

    2015-01-01

    The ability of giant hogweeds to form monodominant communities and even pure monostands in invaded areas has been well documented. Understanding of the mechanisms leading to monostand formation can aid in determining the limitations of existing community ecology models and establishing an effective management plan for invasive species elimination. The aim of this observational study was to investigate traits of Heracleum sosnowskyi plants (demography, canopy structure, morphology and physiology) of the plants in a pure stand in an invaded area useful for understanding potential monostand formation mechanisms. All measurements were performed in one typical Heracleum sosnowskyi monostand located in an abandoned agriculture field located in Syktyvkar city suburb (North-east Russia). This monostand consisted of five main plant growth stages: seed, seedling, juvenile, vegetative adult, and generative adult. Plants of all stages began to grow simultaneously shortly after the snowmelt, at the same time as spring ephemeral plant species grew. The density of generative plants did not change during the vegetation period, but the density of the other plant stages rapidly decreased after the formation of a tall (up to 2-2.5 m) and dense (Leaf area index up to 6.5) canopy. The canopy captured approximately 97% of the light. H. sosnowskyi showed high (several orders of magnitude higher than average taiga zone grasses) photosynthetic water use efficiency (6-7 μM CO2/μM H2O). Formation of H. sosnowskyi monostands occurs primarily in disturbed areas with relatively rich and well-moistened soils. Early commencement of growth, rapid formation of a dense canopy, high efficiency of light and water use during photosynthesis, ability of young plants to survive in low light conditions, rapid recovery of above-ground plant parts after damage, and the high density of the soil seed bank are the most important traits of H. sosnowskyi plants for monostand formation in invaded areas. PMID

  20. Area 51: How do Acanthamoeba invade the central nervous system?

    PubMed

    Siddiqui, Ruqaiyyah; Emes, Richard; Elsheikha, Hany; Khan, Naveed Ahmed

    2011-05-01

    Acanthamoeba granulomatous encephalitis generally develops as a result of haematogenous spread, but it is unclear how circulating amoebae enter the central nervous system (CNS) and cause inflammation. At present, the mechanisms which Acanthamoeba use to invade this incredibly well-protected area of the CNS and produce infection are not well understood. In this paper, we propose two key virulence factors: mannose-binding protein and extracellular serine proteases as key players in Acanthamoeba traversal of the blood-brain barrier leading to neuronal injury. Both molecules should provide excellent opportunities as potential targets in the rational development of therapeutic interventions against Acanthamoeba encephalitis.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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 selection pressures, no population had become completely refractory and only one became more resistant. Variations in fitness relative to control lines in different groups were attributed to founder effects. Our conclusion from these findings is that refractoriness to malaria is as costly as tolerance of infection. PMID:16526504

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Skull invaders: when surgical pathology and neuropathology worlds collide.

    PubMed

    Serracino, Hilary S; Kleinschmidt-Demasters, B K

    2013-07-01

    Skull and dura serve as effective barriers to penetration by most tumors, often preventing masses originating intracranially from extending into the contiguous bone and soft tissues, or those arising in head and neck regions from extending into the dura and brain tissue. We review our 15-year experience with extracranial tumors that had sufficiently invaded adjacent skull, dura, or brain from the "outside-in" to require a neurosurgeon to participate in the surgical resection and discuss our 40 cases in context with the literature. Sinonasal-origin tumors (n = 17) and cutaneous tumors (n = 10) were the most frequent skull-invaders. Most of the cutaneous tumor types were squamous cellcarcinomas (n = 9); diverse sinonasal-origin types included 4 squamous cell carcinomas, 4 adenoid cystic carcinomas, 2 sinonasal undifferentiated carcinomas, 2 sinonasal adenocarcinomas, and single examples each of sinonasal-origin hemangiopericytoma, solitary fibrous tumor, melanoma, mucocele, and teratocarcinoma. There were 9olfactory neuroblastomas, and middle ear-origin basal cell carcinoma,recurrent glomus jugulare, and orbital malignant hidradenoma were also seen. Unique tumors included a cutaneous cylindroma invasive of skull convexity occurring in familial cylindromatosis and a ganglioneuroma of the middle ear with massive bilateral skull base extension. Convexity dural spread, a seldom-reported pattern of dissemination, was seen in 1 olfactory neuroblastoma and 1 adenoid cystic carcinoma. The ability to show skull/dural invasion did not correlate with specific histopathologic features; even benign tumor types can show skull/dural penetration.

  18. Exotic invaders gain foraging benefits by shoaling with native fish

    PubMed Central

    Camacho-Cervantes, Morelia; Garcia, Constantino Macías; Ojanguren, Alfredo F.; Magurran, Anne E.

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater habitats are under increasing threat due to invasions of exotic fish. These invasions typically begin with the introduction of small numbers of individuals unfamiliar with the new habitat. One way in which the invaders might overcome this disadvantage is by associating with native taxa occupying a similar ecological niche. Here we used guppies (Poecilia reticulata) from a feral population in Mexico to test the prediction that exotic shoaling fish can associate with heterospecifics, and that they improve their foraging efficiency by doing so. Guppies have invaded the Mexican High Plateau and are implicated in the declines of many native topminnow (Goodeinae) species. We show that heterospecific associations between guppies and topminnows can deliver the same foraging benefits as conspecific shoals, and that variation in foraging gains is linked to differences in association tendency. These results uncover a mechanism enabling founding individuals to survive during the most vulnerable phase of an invasion and help explain why guppies have established viable populations in many parts of Mexico as well in every continent except Antarctica. PMID:26064552

  19. Effects of a Major Tree Invader on Urban Woodland Arthropods.

    PubMed

    Buchholz, Sascha; Tietze, Hedwig; Kowarik, Ingo; Schirmel, Jens

    2015-01-01

    Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity; however, the degree of impact can vary depending on the ecosystem and taxa. Here, we test whether a top invader at a global scale, the tree Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust or false acacia), which is known to profoundly change site conditions, significantly affects urban animal diversity. As a first multi-taxon study of this kind, we analyzed the effects of Robinia dominance on 18 arthropod taxa by pairwise comparisons of woodlands in Berlin, Germany, that were dominated by R. pseudoacacia or the native pioneer tree Betula pendula. As a negative effect, abundances of five arthropod taxa decreased (Chilopoda, Formicidae, Diptera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera); 13 others were not affected. Woodland type affected species composition of carabids and functional groups in spiders, but surprisingly did not decrease alpha and beta diversity of carabid and spider assemblages or the number of endangered species. Tree invasion thus did not induce biotic homogenization at the habitat scale. We detected no positive effects of alien dominance. Our results illustrate that invasions by a major tree invader can induce species turnover in ground-dwelling arthropods, but do not necessarily reduce arthropod species abundances or diversity and might thus contribute to the conservation of epigeal invertebrates in urban settings. Considering the context of invasion impacts thus helps to set priorities in managing biological invasions and can illustrate the potential of novel ecosystems to maintain urban biodiversity.

  20. Treponema pallidum Invades Intercellular Junctions of Endothelial Cell Monolayers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, D. Denee; Navab, Mahamad; Haake, David A.; Fogelman, Alan M.; Miller, James N.; Lovett, Michael A.

    1988-05-01

    The pathogenesis of syphilis reflects invasive properties of Treponema pallidum, but the actual mode of tissue invasion is unknown. We have found two in vitro parallels of treponemal invasiveness. We tested whether motile T. pallidum could invade host cells by determining the fate of radiolabeled motile organisms added to a HeLa cell monolayer; 26% of treponemes associated with the monolayer in a trypsin-resistant niche, presumably between the monolayer and the surface to which it adhered, but did not attain intracellularity. Attachment of T. pallidum to cultured human and rabbit aortic and human umbilical vein endothelial cells was 2-fold greater than to HeLa cells. We added T. pallidum to aortic endothelial cells grown on membrane filters under conditions in which tight intercellular junctions had formed. T. pallidum was able to pass through the endothelial cell monolayers without altering tight junctions, as measured by electrical resistance. In contrast, heat-killed T. pallidum and the nonpathogen Treponema phagedenis biotype Reiter failed to penetrate the monolayer. Transmission electron micrographs of sections of the monolayer showed T. pallidum in intercellular junctions. Our in vitro observations suggest that these highly motile spirochetes may leave the circulation by invading the junctions between endothelial cells.

  1. Pyoverdin cheats fail to invade bacterial populations in stationary phase.

    PubMed

    Ghoul, M; West, S A; McCorkell, F A; Lee, Z-B; Bruce, J B; Griffin, A S

    2016-09-01

    Microbes engage in cooperative behaviours by producing and secreting public goods, the benefits of which are shared among cells, and are therefore susceptible to exploitation by nonproducing cheats. In nature, bacteria are not typically colonizing sterile, rich environments in contrast to laboratory experiments, which involve inoculating sterile culture with few bacterial cells that then race to fill the available niche. Here, we study the potential implications of this difference, using the production of pyoverdin, an iron-scavenging siderophore that acts as a public good in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We show that (1) nonproducers are able to invade cultures of producers when added at the start of growth or during early exponential growth phase, but not during late exponential or stationary phase; (2) the producer strain does not produce pyoverdin in the late exponential and stationary phases and so is not paying the cost of cooperating during those phases. These results suggest that whether a nonproducing mutant can invade will depend upon when the mutation arises, as well as the population structure, and raise a potential difficulty with the use of antimicrobial treatment strategies that propose to exploit the invasive abilities of cheats. PMID:27223690

  2. Effects of a Major Tree Invader on Urban Woodland Arthropods

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity; however, the degree of impact can vary depending on the ecosystem and taxa. Here, we test whether a top invader at a global scale, the tree Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust or false acacia), which is known to profoundly change site conditions, significantly affects urban animal diversity. As a first multi-taxon study of this kind, we analyzed the effects of Robinia dominance on 18 arthropod taxa by pairwise comparisons of woodlands in Berlin, Germany, that were dominated by R. pseudoacacia or the native pioneer tree Betula pendula. As a negative effect, abundances of five arthropod taxa decreased (Chilopoda, Formicidae, Diptera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera); 13 others were not affected. Woodland type affected species composition of carabids and functional groups in spiders, but surprisingly did not decrease alpha and beta diversity of carabid and spider assemblages or the number of endangered species. Tree invasion thus did not induce biotic homogenization at the habitat scale. We detected no positive effects of alien dominance. Our results illustrate that invasions by a major tree invader can induce species turnover in ground-dwelling arthropods, but do not necessarily reduce arthropod species abundances or diversity and might thus contribute to the conservation of epigeal invertebrates in urban settings. Considering the context of invasion impacts thus helps to set priorities in managing biological invasions and can illustrate the potential of novel ecosystems to maintain urban biodiversity. PMID:26359665

  3. Effects of a Major Tree Invader on Urban Woodland Arthropods.

    PubMed

    Buchholz, Sascha; Tietze, Hedwig; Kowarik, Ingo; Schirmel, Jens

    2015-01-01

    Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity; however, the degree of impact can vary depending on the ecosystem and taxa. Here, we test whether a top invader at a global scale, the tree Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust or false acacia), which is known to profoundly change site conditions, significantly affects urban animal diversity. As a first multi-taxon study of this kind, we analyzed the effects of Robinia dominance on 18 arthropod taxa by pairwise comparisons of woodlands in Berlin, Germany, that were dominated by R. pseudoacacia or the native pioneer tree Betula pendula. As a negative effect, abundances of five arthropod taxa decreased (Chilopoda, Formicidae, Diptera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera); 13 others were not affected. Woodland type affected species composition of carabids and functional groups in spiders, but surprisingly did not decrease alpha and beta diversity of carabid and spider assemblages or the number of endangered species. Tree invasion thus did not induce biotic homogenization at the habitat scale. We detected no positive effects of alien dominance. Our results illustrate that invasions by a major tree invader can induce species turnover in ground-dwelling arthropods, but do not necessarily reduce arthropod species abundances or diversity and might thus contribute to the conservation of epigeal invertebrates in urban settings. Considering the context of invasion impacts thus helps to set priorities in managing biological invasions and can illustrate the potential of novel ecosystems to maintain urban biodiversity. PMID:26359665

  4. Constraints on coastal dune invasion for a notorious plant invader.

    PubMed

    Griffith, Alden B; Ahmed, Tania; Hildner, Abigail L G; Kuckreja, Shivani; Long, Shuangxou

    2015-11-10

    Although most biological invasions are not successful, relatively few studies have examined otherwise notorious invaders in systems where they are not highly problematic. The annual grass Bromus tectorum is a dominant invader in western North America, but is usually confined to human-dominated and disturbed systems (e.g. roadsides and parking lots) in the East where it remains virtually unstudied. This study aims to address fundamental ecological questions regarding B. tectorum in a Cape Cod dune ecosystem. (i) What is the range of variation in population dynamics and the potential for population growth? (ii) Which factors influence its local abundance and distribution? We observed substantial variation in population dynamics over 3 years, with the number of adult B. tectorum individuals increasing substantially between the first 2 years (λ = 9.24) and then decreasing (λ = 0.43). Population growth in terms of total seeds was similarly variable, but to a lesser extent (λ = 2.32 followed by λ = 0.32). Experimental soil disturbance led to a more than 10-fold increase in mean seedling emergence, and high sensitivity to differences in emergence carried this effect through the life cycle. In contrast, barriers to seed dispersal had no effect on population dynamics, suggesting limited dispersal in this system. Across the landscape, the presence of B. tectorum was associated with areas of higher plant diversity as opposed to those with a strong dominant (e.g. the foredune, dominated by Ammophila breviligulata, or low heathlands, characterized by Hudsonia tomentosa and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Overall, we find that B. tectorum is capable of both substantial population growth and decline in a dune ecosystem, but is likely limited without disturbance and dispersal agents. Thus, management actions that restrict dune access (e.g. for nesting habitat) likely have the co-benefit of limiting the invasive potential of B. tectorum.

  5. Two invasive acacia species secure generalist pollinators in invaded communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montesinos, Daniel; Castro, Sílvia; Rodríguez-Echeverría, Susana

    2016-07-01

    Exotic entomophilous plants need to establish effective pollinator interactions in order to succeed after being introduced into a new community, particularly if they are obligatory outbreeders. By establishing these novel interactions in the new non-native range, invasive plants are hypothesised to drive changes in the composition and functioning of the native pollinator community, with potential impacts on the pollination biology of native co-flowering plants. We used two different sites in Portugal, each invaded by a different acacia species, to assess whether two native Australian trees, Acacia dealbata and Acacia longifolia, were able to recruit pollinators in Portugal, and whether the pollinator community visiting acacia trees differed from the pollinator communities interacting with native co-flowering plants. Our results indicate that in the invaded range of Portugal both acacia species were able to establish novel mutualistic interactions, predominantly with generalist pollinators. For each of the two studied sites, only two other co-occurring native plant species presented partially overlapping phenologies. We observed significant differences in pollinator richness and visitation rates among native and non-native plant species, although the study of β diversity indicated that only the native plant Lithodora fruticosa presented a differentiated set of pollinator species. Acacias experienced a large number of visits by numerous pollinator species, but massive acacia flowering resulted in flower visitation rates frequently lower than those of the native co-flowering species. We conclude that the establishment of mutualisms in Portugal likely contributes to the effective and profuse production of acacia seeds in Portugal. Despite the massive flowering of A. dealbata and A. longifolia, native plant species attained similar or higher visitation rates than acacias.

  6. Constraints on coastal dune invasion for a notorious plant invader

    PubMed Central

    Griffith, Alden B.; Ahmed, Tania; Hildner, Abigail L. G.; Kuckreja, Shivani; Long, Shuangxou

    2015-01-01

    Although most biological invasions are not successful, relatively few studies have examined otherwise notorious invaders in systems where they are not highly problematic. The annual grass Bromus tectorum is a dominant invader in western North America, but is usually confined to human-dominated and disturbed systems (e.g. roadsides and parking lots) in the East where it remains virtually unstudied. This study aims to address fundamental ecological questions regarding B. tectorum in a Cape Cod dune ecosystem. (i) What is the range of variation in population dynamics and the potential for population growth? (ii) Which factors influence its local abundance and distribution? We observed substantial variation in population dynamics over 3 years, with the number of adult B. tectorum individuals increasing substantially between the first 2 years (λ = 9.24) and then decreasing (λ = 0.43). Population growth in terms of total seeds was similarly variable, but to a lesser extent (λ = 2.32 followed by λ = 0.32). Experimental soil disturbance led to a more than 10-fold increase in mean seedling emergence, and high sensitivity to differences in emergence carried this effect through the life cycle. In contrast, barriers to seed dispersal had no effect on population dynamics, suggesting limited dispersal in this system. Across the landscape, the presence of B. tectorum was associated with areas of higher plant diversity as opposed to those with a strong dominant (e.g. the foredune, dominated by Ammophila breviligulata, or low heathlands, characterized by Hudsonia tomentosa and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Overall, we find that B. tectorum is capable of both substantial population growth and decline in a dune ecosystem, but is likely limited without disturbance and dispersal agents. Thus, management actions that restrict dune access (e.g. for nesting habitat) likely have the co-benefit of limiting the invasive potential of B. tectorum. PMID:26558705

  7. Persistence of invading gypsy moth populations in the United States.

    PubMed

    Whitmire, Stefanie L; Tobin, Patrick C

    2006-03-01

    Exotic invasive species are a mounting threat to native biodiversity, and their effects are gaining more public attention as each new species is detected. Equally important are the dynamics of exotic invasives that are previously well established. While the literature reports many examples of the ability of a newly arrived exotic invader to persist prior to detection and population growth, we focused on the persistence dynamics of an established invader, the European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) in the United States. The spread of gypsy moth is largely thought to be the result of the growth and coalescence of isolated colonies in a transition zone ahead of the generally infested area. One important question is thus the ability of these isolated colonies to persist when subject to Allee effects and inimical stochastic events. We analyzed the US gypsy moth survey data and identified isolated colonies of gypsy moth using the local indicator of spatial autocorrelation. We then determined region-specific probabilities of colony persistence given the population abundance in the previous year and its relationship to a suite of ecological factors. We observed that colonies in Wisconsin, US, were significantly more likely to persist in the following year than in other geographic regions of the transition zone, and in all regions, the abundance of preferred host tree species and land use category did not appear to influence persistence. We propose that differences in region-specific rates of persistence may be attributed to Allee effects that are differentially expressed in space, and that the inclusion of geographically varying Allee effects into colony-invasion models may provide an improved paradigm for addressing the establishment and spread of gypsy moth and other invasive exotic species.

  8. Two invasive acacia species secure generalist pollinators in invaded communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montesinos, Daniel; Castro, Sílvia; Rodríguez-Echeverría, Susana

    2016-07-01

    Exotic entomophilous plants need to establish effective pollinator interactions in order to succeed after being introduced into a new community, particularly if they are obligatory outbreeders. By establishing these novel interactions in the new non-native range, invasive plants are hypothesised to drive changes in the composition and functioning of the native pollinator community, with potential impacts on the pollination biology of native co-flowering plants. We used two different sites in Portugal, each invaded by a different acacia species, to assess whether two native Australian trees, Acacia dealbata and Acacia longifolia, were able to recruit pollinators in Portugal, and whether the pollinator community visiting acacia trees differed from the pollinator communities interacting with native co-flowering plants. Our results indicate that in the invaded range of Portugal both acacia species were able to establish novel mutualistic interactions, predominantly with generalist pollinators. For each of the two studied sites, only two other co-occurring native plant species presented partially overlapping phenologies. We observed significant differences in pollinator richness and visitation rates among native and non-native plant species, although the study of β diversity indicated that only the native plant Lithodora fruticosa presented a differentiated set of pollinator species. Acacias experienced a large number of visits by numerous pollinator species, but massive acacia flowering resulted in flower visitation rates frequently lower than those of the native co-flowering species. We conclude that the establishment of mutualisms in Portugal likely contributes to the effective and profuse production of acacia seeds in Portugal. Despite the massive flowering of A. dealbata and A. longifolia, native plant species attained similar or higher visitation rates than acacias.

  9. Red Sea

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    article title:  The Red Sea     View Larger Image ... Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) image of the Red Sea was acquired on August 13, 2000. Located between the East African coast and the Saudi Arabian peninsula, the Red Sea got its name because the blooms of a type of algae,  Trichodesmium ...

  10. Quantitative phospho-proteomics reveals the Plasmodium merozoite triggers pre-invasion host kinase modification of the red cell cytoskeleton.

    PubMed

    Zuccala, Elizabeth S; Satchwell, Timothy J; Angrisano, Fiona; Tan, Yan Hong; Wilson, Marieangela C; Heesom, Kate J; Baum, Jake

    2016-01-01

    The invasive blood-stage malaria parasite - the merozoite - induces rapid morphological changes to the target erythrocyte during entry. However, evidence for active molecular changes in the host cell that accompany merozoite invasion is lacking. Here, we use invasion inhibition assays, erythrocyte resealing and high-definition imaging to explore red cell responses during invasion. We show that although merozoite entry does not involve erythrocyte actin reorganisation, it does require ATP to complete the process. Towards dissecting the ATP requirement, we present an in depth quantitative phospho-proteomic analysis of the erythrocyte during each stage of invasion. Specifically, we demonstrate extensive increased phosphorylation of erythrocyte proteins on merozoite attachment, including modification of the cytoskeletal proteins beta-spectrin and PIEZO1. The association with merozoite contact but not active entry demonstrates that parasite-dependent phosphorylation is mediated by host-cell kinase activity. This provides the first evidence that the erythrocyte is stimulated to respond to early invasion events through molecular changes in its membrane architecture. PMID:26830761

  11. Quantitative phospho-proteomics reveals the Plasmodium merozoite triggers pre-invasion host kinase modification of the red cell cytoskeleton

    PubMed Central

    Zuccala, Elizabeth S.; Satchwell, Timothy J.; Angrisano, Fiona; Tan, Yan Hong; Wilson, Marieangela C.; Heesom, Kate J.; Baum, Jake

    2016-01-01

    The invasive blood-stage malaria parasite – the merozoite – induces rapid morphological changes to the target erythrocyte during entry. However, evidence for active molecular changes in the host cell that accompany merozoite invasion is lacking. Here, we use invasion inhibition assays, erythrocyte resealing and high-definition imaging to explore red cell responses during invasion. We show that although merozoite entry does not involve erythrocyte actin reorganisation, it does require ATP to complete the process. Towards dissecting the ATP requirement, we present an in depth quantitative phospho-proteomic analysis of the erythrocyte during each stage of invasion. Specifically, we demonstrate extensive increased phosphorylation of erythrocyte proteins on merozoite attachment, including modification of the cytoskeletal proteins beta-spectrin and PIEZO1. The association with merozoite contact but not active entry demonstrates that parasite-dependent phosphorylation is mediated by host-cell kinase activity. This provides the first evidence that the erythrocyte is stimulated to respond to early invasion events through molecular changes in its membrane architecture. PMID:26830761

  12. Quantitative phospho-proteomics reveals the Plasmodium merozoite triggers pre-invasion host kinase modification of the red cell cytoskeleton.

    PubMed

    Zuccala, Elizabeth S; Satchwell, Timothy J; Angrisano, Fiona; Tan, Yan Hong; Wilson, Marieangela C; Heesom, Kate J; Baum, Jake

    2016-02-02

    The invasive blood-stage malaria parasite - the merozoite - induces rapid morphological changes to the target erythrocyte during entry. However, evidence for active molecular changes in the host cell that accompany merozoite invasion is lacking. Here, we use invasion inhibition assays, erythrocyte resealing and high-definition imaging to explore red cell responses during invasion. We show that although merozoite entry does not involve erythrocyte actin reorganisation, it does require ATP to complete the process. Towards dissecting the ATP requirement, we present an in depth quantitative phospho-proteomic analysis of the erythrocyte during each stage of invasion. Specifically, we demonstrate extensive increased phosphorylation of erythrocyte proteins on merozoite attachment, including modification of the cytoskeletal proteins beta-spectrin and PIEZO1. The association with merozoite contact but not active entry demonstrates that parasite-dependent phosphorylation is mediated by host-cell kinase activity. This provides the first evidence that the erythrocyte is stimulated to respond to early invasion events through molecular changes in its membrane architecture.

  13. Invaders eating invaders: Exploitation of novel alien prey by the alien shimofuri goby in the San Francisco Estuary, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Matern, S.A.; Brown, L.R.

    2005-01-01

    The shimofuri goby (Tridentiger bifasciatus), which is native to Asian estuaries, was recently introduced to the San Francisco Estuary, California, USA. We conducted gut content analyses to examine the goby's feeding ecology in this highly invaded estuary. Shimofuri gobies were generalist predators on benthic invertebrates, consuming seasonally abundant prey, especially amphipods (Corophium spp.). In addition, shimofuri goby utilized two novel prey items not exploited by other resident fishes - hydroids (Cordylophora caspia) and barnacle (Balanus improvisus) cirri, both of which are alien. The shimofuri goby's feeding ecology appears well-suited to the fluctuating environment of the San Francisco Estuary and may partially explain observed increases in shimofuri goby abundance compared with declines in populations of some native species. ?? Springer 2005.

  14. Exotic plant species invade hot spots of native plant diversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stohlgren, T.J.; Binkley, D.; Chong, G.W.; Kalkhan, M.A.; Schell, L.D.; Bull, K.A.; Otsuki, Y.; Newman, G.; Bashkin, M.; Yowhan, S.

    1999-01-01

    Some theories and experimental studies suggest that areas of low plant species richness may be invaded more easily than areas of high plant species richness. We gathered nested-scale vegetation data on plant species richness, foliar cover, and frequency from 200 1-m2 subplots (20 1000-m2 modified-Whittaker plots) in the Colorado Rockies (USA), and 160 1-m2 subplots (16 1000-m2 plots) in the Central Grasslands in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota (USA) to test the generality of this paradigm. At the 1-m2 scale, the paradigm was supported in four prairie types in the Central Grasslands, where exotic species richness declined with increasing plant species richness and cover. At the 1-m2 scale, five forest and meadow vegetation types in the Colorado Rockies contradicted the paradigm; exotic species richness increased with native-plant species richness and foliar cover. At the 1000-m2 plot scale (among vegetation types), 83% of the variance in exotic species richness in the Central Grasslands was explained by the total percentage of nitrogen in the soil and the cover of native plant species. In the Colorado Rockies, 69% of the variance in exotic species richness in 1000-m2 plots was explained by the number of native plant species and the total percentage of soil carbon. At landscape and biome scales, exotic species primarily invaded areas of high species richness in the four Central Grasslands sites and in the five Colorado Rockies vegetation types. For the nine vegetation types in both biomes, exotic species cover was positively correlated with mean foliar cover, mean soil percentage N, and the total number of exotic species. These patterns of invasibility depend on spatial scale, biome and vegetation type, spatial autocorrelation effects, availability of resources, and species-specific responses to grazing and other disturbances. We conclude that: (1) sites high in herbaceous foliar cover and soil fertility, and hot spots of plant diversity (and

  15. Comparative quantitative analysis of 14 types of human papillomavirus by real-time polymerase chain reaction monitoring Invader reaction (Q-Invader assay).

    PubMed

    Tadokoro, Kenichi; Akutsu, Yuki; Tanaka, Kazuya; Saito, Tsuyoshi; Yamaguchi, Toshikazu; Egashira, Toru; Ishiwata, Isamu; Hara, Takashi

    2010-01-01

    Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with several cervical diseases. A simple, rapid, cost-effective assay for identifying viral genotypes would greatly aid efforts for early detection and disease prevention. A real-time polymerase chain reaction monitoring Invader reaction assay (Q-Invader assay) was developed for genotyping and comparative quantitative analysis of 14 high-risk HPV genotypes (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 67, and 68). A total of 131 cervical samples containing HPV in Japan were examined by Q-Invader assay, and the results were compared with those from sequencing with consensus and genotype-specific primers. Genotypes determined by Q-Invader agreed with those of sequencing in all samples. Coinfections with multiple high-risk genotypes were correctly identified by Q-Invader assay in 27 samples. In addition, the relative ratios of the genotypes were determined. Thus, Q-Invader assay is a useful tool for genotyping and comparative quantitative analysis of high-risk HPV types. PMID:19733028

  16. Vegetative Regeneration Capacities of Five Ornamental Plant Invaders After Shredding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monty, Arnaud; Eugène, Marie; Mahy, Grégory

    2015-02-01

    Vegetation management often involves shredding to dispose of cut plant material or to destroy the vegetation itself. In the case of invasive plants, this can represent an environmental risk if the shredded material exhibits vegetative regeneration capacities. We tested the effect of shredding on aboveground and below-ground vegetative material of five ornamental widespread invaders in Western Europe that are likely to be managed by cutting and shredding techniques: Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush, Scrophulariaceae), Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed, Polygonaceae), Spiraea × billardii Hérincq (Billard's bridewort, Rosaceae), Solidago gigantea (giant goldenrod, Asteraceae), and Rhus typhina L. (staghorn sumac, Anacardiaceae). We looked at signs of vegetative regeneration and biomass production, and analyzed the data with respect to the season of plant cutting (spring vs summer), the type of plant material (aboveground vs below-ground), and the shredding treatment (shredded vs control). All species were capable of vegetative regeneration, especially the below-ground material. We found differences among species, but the regeneration potential was generally still present after shredding despite a reduction of growth rates. Although it should not be excluded in all cases (e.g., destruction of giant goldenrod and staghorn sumac aboveground material), the use of a shredder to destroy woody alien plant material cannot be considered as a general management option without significant environmental risk.

  17. Vegetative regeneration capacities of five ornamental plant invaders after shredding.

    PubMed

    Monty, Arnaud; Eugène, Marie; Mahy, Grégory

    2015-02-01

    Vegetation management often involves shredding to dispose of cut plant material or to destroy the vegetation itself. In the case of invasive plants, this can represent an environmental risk if the shredded material exhibits vegetative regeneration capacities. We tested the effect of shredding on aboveground and below-ground vegetative material of five ornamental widespread invaders in Western Europe that are likely to be managed by cutting and shredding techniques: Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush, Scrophulariaceae), Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed, Polygonaceae), Spiraea × billardii Hérincq (Billard's bridewort, Rosaceae), Solidago gigantea (giant goldenrod, Asteraceae), and Rhus typhina L. (staghorn sumac, Anacardiaceae). We looked at signs of vegetative regeneration and biomass production, and analyzed the data with respect to the season of plant cutting (spring vs summer), the type of plant material (aboveground vs below-ground), and the shredding treatment (shredded vs control). All species were capable of vegetative regeneration, especially the below-ground material. We found differences among species, but the regeneration potential was generally still present after shredding despite a reduction of growth rates. Although it should not be excluded in all cases (e.g., destruction of giant goldenrod and staghorn sumac aboveground material), the use of a shredder to destroy woody alien plant material cannot be considered as a general management option without significant environmental risk. PMID:25387455

  18. Rapidly spreading seagrass invades the Caribbean with unknown ecological consequences

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Willette, Demian A; Miller, Jeff

    2014-01-01

    The non-native seagrass Halophila stipulacea has spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean Sea (Willette et al. 2014); without additional research, the ecological ramifications of this invasion are difficult to predict. Biodiversity, connectivity of marine ecosystems, and recovery of degraded coral reefs could all be affected. The invasive seagrass, native to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, has taken over sand bottoms and intermixed with or replaced native seagrasses, including Thalassia testudinum, Syringodium filiforme, and Halodule wrightii.

  19. Grassland invader responses to realistic changes in native species richness.

    PubMed

    Rinella, Matthew J; Pokorny, Monica L; Rekaya, Romdhane

    2007-09-01

    The importance of species richness for repelling exotic plant invasions varies from ecosystem to ecosystem. Thus, in order to prioritize conservation objectives, it is critical to identify those ecosystems where decreasing richness will most greatly magnify invasion risks. Our goal was to determine if invasion risks greatly increase in response to common reductions in grassland species richness. We imposed treatments that mimic management-induced reductions in grassland species richness (i.e., removal of shallow- and/or deep-rooted forbs and/or grasses and/or cryptogam layers). Then we introduced and monitored the performance of a notorious invasive species (i.e., Centaurea maculosa). We found that, on a per-gram-of-biomass basis, each resident plant group similarly suppressed invader growth. Hence, with respect to preventing C. maculosa invasions, maintaining overall productivity is probably more important than maintaining the productivity of particular plant groups or species. But at the sites we studied, all plant groups may be needed to maintain overall productivity because removing forbs decreased overall productivity in two of three years. Alternatively, removing forbs increased productivity in another year, and this led us to posit that removing forbs may inflate the temporal productivity variance as opposed to greatly affecting time-averaged productivity. In either case, overall productivity responses to single plant group removals were inconsistent and fairly modest, and only when all plant groups were removed did C. maculosa growth increase substantially over a no-removal treatment. As such, it seems that intense disturbances (e.g., prolonged drought, overgrazing) that deplete multiple plant groups may often be a prerequisite for C. maculosa invasion. PMID:17913143

  20. Ecosystem impacts of exotic annual invaders in the Genus Bromus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Germino, Matthew J.; Belnap, Jayne; Stark, John M.; Allen, Edith B.; Rau, Benjamin M.

    2016-01-01

    An understanding of the impacts of exotic plant species on ecosystems is necessary to justify and guide efforts to limit their spread, restore natives, and plan for conservation. Invasive annual grasses such as Bromus tectorum, B. rubens, B. hordeaceus, and B. diandrus (hereafter collectively referred to as Bromus) transform the structure and function of ecosystems they dominate. Experiments that prove cause-and-effect impacts of Bromus are rare, yet inferences can be gleaned from the combination of Bromus-ecosystem associations, ecosystem condition before/after invasion, and an understanding of underlying mechanisms. Bromus typically establishes in bare soil patches and can eventually replace perennials such as woody species or bunchgrasses, creating a homogeneous annual cover. Plant productivity and cover are less stable across seasons and years when Bromus dominates, due to a greater response to annual climate variability. Bromus’ “flash” of growth followed by senescence early in the growing season, combined with shallow rooting and annual habit, may lead to incomplete use of deep soil water, reduced C sequestration, and accelerated nutrient cycling. Litter produced by Bromus alters nearly all aspects of ecosystems and notably increases wildfire occurrence. Where Bromus has become dominant, it can decrease soil stability by rendering soils bare for months following fire or episodic, pathogen-induced stand failure. Bromus-invaded communities have lower species diversity, and associated species tend to be generalists adapted to unstable and variable habitats. Changes in litter, fire, and soil properties appear to feedback to reinforce Bromus’ dominance in a pattern that portends desertification.

  1. Red Sky with Red Mesa

    ScienceCinema

    None

    2016-07-12

    The Red Sky/Red Mesa supercomputing platform dramatically reduces the time required to simulate complex fuel models, from 4-6 months to just 4 weeks, allowing researchers to accelerate the pace at which they can address these complex problems. Its speed also reduces the need for laboratory and field testing, allowing for energy reduction far beyond data center walls.

  2. Red Sky with Red Mesa

    SciTech Connect

    2011-04-14

    The Red Sky/Red Mesa supercomputing platform dramatically reduces the time required to simulate complex fuel models, from 4-6 months to just 4 weeks, allowing researchers to accelerate the pace at which they can address these complex problems. Its speed also reduces the need for laboratory and field testing, allowing for energy reduction far beyond data center walls.

  3. Red Capes, Red Herrings, and Red Flags.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fiske, Donald W.

    The argument that the personality structures obtained from retrospective ratings reflect semantic similarity structures has been as provocative as a red cape in the bull ring. High congruence between those two kinds of structures seems well established. What is less clear is how and why those structures differ from that for immediate judgments of…

  4. Birthmarks - red

    MedlinePlus

    Strawberry mark; Vascular skin changes; Angioma cavernosum; Capillary hemangioma; Hemangioma simplex ... There are two main categories of birthmarks: Red birthmarks are ... are called vascular birthmarks. Pigmented birthmarks are areas ...

  5. Are early summer wildfires an opportunity to revegetate medusahead-invaded rangelands?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Successful revegetation of medusdahead-invaded plant communities can be prohibitively expensive, because it often requires iterative applications of integrated control and revegetation treatments. Prescribed burning has been used to control medusahead and prepare seedbeds for revegetation, but burni...

  6. Success of seeding native compared with introduced perennial vegetation for revegetating medusahead-invaded sagebrush rangeland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Millions of hectares of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle &Young) rangeland have been invaded by medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae [L.] Nevski), an exotic annual grass that degrades wildlife habitat, reduces forage production, and decreases biodiversity....

  7. Investigation of Darwin’s naturalization hypothesis in invaded macrophyte communities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Although native macrophytes are beneficial in aquatic ecosystems, invasive macrophytes can cause significant ecological and economic harm. Numerous studies have attributed invasiveness to species’ characteristics, whereas others attribute invasion to biotic and abiotic characteristics of the invaded...

  8. More than one way to invade: lessons from genetic studies of Carcinus shore crabs

    EPA Science Inventory

    The European green crab Carcinus maenas is one of the world's most widely recognized marine invaders. The success of this species has provided opportunities to explore genetic patterns associated with establishment and population expansion following independent introduction event...

  9. Predicting the spread of aquatic invaders: insight from 200 years of invasion by zebra mussels.

    PubMed

    Karatayev, Alexander Y; Burlakova, Lyubov E; Mastitsky, Sergey E; Padilla, Dianna K

    2015-03-01

    Understanding factors controlling the introduction and spread of species is crucial to improving the management of both natural populations and introduced species. The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is considered the most aggressive freshwater invader in the Northern Hemisphere, and is a convenient model system for invasion biology, offering one of the best aquatic examples for examining the invasion process. We used data on 553 of the 1040 glacial lakes in the Republic of Belarus that were examined for the presence of zebra mussels. We used these data to build, test, and construct modified models to predict the spread of this invader, including selection of important parameters that could limit the spread of this invader. In spite of 200 years of continuous invasion, by 1996, zebra mussels were found in only 16.8% of all lakes studied. Of those lakes without zebra mussels in 1996, 66% were predicted to be susceptible to invasion by zebra mussels in the future, and 33% were predicted to be immune to successful invasion due to their water chemistry. Eighty lakes free of zebra mussels in 1996 were reexamined from 1997 to 2008. Of these, zebra mussels successfully invaded an additional 31 lakes, all of which were classified initially as suitable for zebra mussels; none of the lakes previously classified as unsuitable were invaded. We used the Random Forests classification algorithm with 16 environmental variables to determine the most important factors that differed between invaded lakes and those lakes suitable for invasion that have not yet been invaded. Distance to the nearest infested lakes was found to be the most important variable, followed by the lake area, color, average depth, and concentration of chloride, magnesium, and bicarbonate. This study provides a useful approach for predicting the spread of an invader across a landscape with variable habitat suitability that can be applied to a variety of species and systems. PMID:26263665

  10. Predicting the spread of aquatic invaders: insight from 200 years of invasion by zebra mussels.

    PubMed

    Karatayev, Alexander Y; Burlakova, Lyubov E; Mastitsky, Sergey E; Padilla, Dianna K

    2015-03-01

    Understanding factors controlling the introduction and spread of species is crucial to improving the management of both natural populations and introduced species. The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is considered the most aggressive freshwater invader in the Northern Hemisphere, and is a convenient model system for invasion biology, offering one of the best aquatic examples for examining the invasion process. We used data on 553 of the 1040 glacial lakes in the Republic of Belarus that were examined for the presence of zebra mussels. We used these data to build, test, and construct modified models to predict the spread of this invader, including selection of important parameters that could limit the spread of this invader. In spite of 200 years of continuous invasion, by 1996, zebra mussels were found in only 16.8% of all lakes studied. Of those lakes without zebra mussels in 1996, 66% were predicted to be susceptible to invasion by zebra mussels in the future, and 33% were predicted to be immune to successful invasion due to their water chemistry. Eighty lakes free of zebra mussels in 1996 were reexamined from 1997 to 2008. Of these, zebra mussels successfully invaded an additional 31 lakes, all of which were classified initially as suitable for zebra mussels; none of the lakes previously classified as unsuitable were invaded. We used the Random Forests classification algorithm with 16 environmental variables to determine the most important factors that differed between invaded lakes and those lakes suitable for invasion that have not yet been invaded. Distance to the nearest infested lakes was found to be the most important variable, followed by the lake area, color, average depth, and concentration of chloride, magnesium, and bicarbonate. This study provides a useful approach for predicting the spread of an invader across a landscape with variable habitat suitability that can be applied to a variety of species and systems.

  11. Downregulation of major histocompatibility complex antigens in invading glioma cells: stealth invasion of the brain.

    PubMed

    Zagzag, David; Salnikow, Konstantin; Chiriboga, Luis; Yee, Herman; Lan, Li; Ali, M Aktar; Garcia, Roberto; Demaria, Sandra; Newcomb, Elizabeth W

    2005-03-01

    Invasion into surrounding brain tissue is a fundamental feature of gliomas and the major reason for treatment failure. The process of brain invasion in gliomas is not well understood. Differences in gene expression and/or gene products between invading and noninvading glioma cells may identify potential targets for new therapies. To look for genes associated with glioma invasion, we first employed Affymetrix microarray Genechip technology to identify genes differentially expressed in migrating glioma cells in vitro and in invading glioma cells in vivo using laser capture microdissection. We observed upregulation of a variety of genes, previously reported to be linked to glioma cell migration and invasion. Remarkably, major histocompatiblity complex (MHC) class I and II genes were significantly downregulated in migrating cells in vitro and in invading cells in vivo. Decreased MHC expression was confirmed in migrating glioma cells in vitro using RT-PCR and in invading glioma cells in vivo by immunohistochemical staining of human and murine glioblastomas for beta2 microglobulin, a marker of MHC class I protein expression. To the best of our knowledge, this report is the first to describe the downregulation of MHC class I and II antigens in migrating and invading glioma cells, in vitro and in vivo, respectively. These results suggest that the very process of tumor invasion is associated with decreased expression of MHC antigens allowing glioma cells to invade the surrounding brain in a 'stealth'-like manner.

  12. Rapid quantification of periodontitis-related bacteria using a novel modification of Invader PLUS technologies.

    PubMed

    Tadokoro, Kenichi; Yamaguchi, Toshikazu; Kawamura, Katsumi; Shimizu, Hajime; Egashira, Toru; Minabe, Masato; Yoshino, Toshiaki; Oguchi, Hirokazu

    2010-01-01

    The Invader PLUS technology is a sensitive, rapid method for the detection and quantification of nucleic acid. While the original technology is based on the amplification by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the target sequence followed by its detection using the Invader technology, the current modification allows simultaneous PCR amplification and Invader reaction. The PCR primers and the Invader probes are designed to operate at the same temperature. This allows simpler design and faster results. This technology has been applied for the quantification of six periodontitis-related bacteria (Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, Toreponema denticola, Tannerella forsythensis and Fusobacterium nucleatum). Direct comparison of this modified Invader PLUS with real-time PCR demonstrated similar linear range. Furthermore, testing of 64 volunteers showed a good correlation between both technologies with correlation factors r2 spanning between 0.827 and 0.987. We demonstrated here that the proposed improvement of the Invader PLUS allows the detection and quantification of DNA sequences using a simple design and protocol that can be implemented in clinical testing. PMID:18718748

  13. Community impacts of anthropogenic disturbance: natural enemies exploit multiple routes in pursuit of invading herbivore hosts

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Biological invasions provide a window on the process of community assembly. In particular, tracking natural enemy recruitment to invading hosts can reveal the relative roles of co-evolution (including local adaptation) and ecological sorting. We use molecular data to examine colonisation of northern Europe by the parasitoid Megastigmus stigmatizans following invasions of its herbivorous oak gallwasp hosts from the Balkans. Local host adaptation predicts that invading gallwasp populations will have been tracked primarily by sympatric Balkan populations of M. stigmatizans (Host Pursuit Hypothesis). Alternatively, ecological sorting allows parasitoid recruitment from geographically distinct populations with no recent experience of the invading hosts (Host Shift Hypothesis). Finally, we test for long-term persistence of parasitoids introduced via human trade of their hosts' galls (Introduction Hypothesis). Results Polymorphism diagnostic of different southern refugial regions was present in both mitochondrial and nuclear microsatellite markers, allowing us to identify the origins of northern European invaded range M. stigmatizans populations. As with their hosts, some invaded range populations showed genetic variation diagnostic of Balkan sources, supporting the Host Pursuit Hypothesis. In contrast, other invading populations had an Iberian origin, unlike their hosts in northern Europe, supporting the Host Shift Hypothesis. Finally, both British and Italian M. stigmatizans populations show signatures compatible with the Introduction Hypothesis from eastern Mediterranean sources. Conclusions These data reveal the continental scale of multi-trophic impacts of anthropogenic disturbance and highlight the fact that herbivores and their natural enemies may face very different constraints on range expansion. The ability of natural enemies to exploit ecologically-similar hosts with which they have had no historical association supports a major role for ecological

  14. Invasion Expansion: Time since introduction best predicts global ranges of marine invaders.

    PubMed

    Byers, James E; Smith, Rachel S; Pringle, James M; Clark, Graeme F; Gribben, Paul E; Hewitt, Chad L; Inglis, Graeme J; Johnston, Emma L; Ruiz, Gregory M; Stachowicz, John J; Bishop, Melanie J

    2015-07-31

    Strategies for managing biological invasions are often based on the premise that characteristics of invading species and the invaded environment are key predictors of the invader's distribution. Yet, for either biological traits or environmental characteristics to explain distribution, adequate time must have elapsed for species to spread to all potential habitats. We compiled and analyzed a database of natural history and ecological traits of 138 coastal marine invertebrate species, the environmental conditions at sites to which they have been introduced, and their date of first introduction. We found that time since introduction explained the largest fraction (20%) of the variability in non-native range size, while traits of the species and environmental variables had significant, but minimal, influence on non-native range size. The positive relationship between time since introduction and range size indicates that non-native marine invertebrate species are not at equilibrium and are still spreading, posing a major challenge for management of coastal ecosystems.

  15. Metastatic Breast Cancer Cells Collectively Invade Collagen by Following a Glucose Gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Bo; Austin, Robert; Liu, Liyu; Duclos, Guillaume; Lee, Jeongseog; Wu, Amy; Kam, Yooseok; Sontag, Eduardo; Stone, Howard; Sturm, James; Gatenby, Robert

    2013-03-01

    We show that MDA-MB-231 metastatic breast cancer cells collectively invade a three dimensional collagen matrix by following a glucose gradient. We observe that due to the 3D physical deformation of the matrix, as measured by the displacement of reporter beads within the matrix, there exists a long range deformation mechanical field inside the matrix which serves to couple the motions of the invading metastatic cell. The invasion front of the cells is a dynamic one, with different cells assuming the lead on a time scale of 24 hours due to certain cells having higher speeds of penetration, which are not sustained. The front cell leadership is dynamic presumably due to metabolic costs associated with the long range strain field which proceeds the invading cell front, which we have imaged using confocal imaging and marker beads imbedded in the collagen matrix. Sponsored by the NCI/NIH Physical Sciences Oncology Centers

  16. An invader differentially affects leaf physiology of two natives across a gradient in diversity.

    PubMed

    Kittelson, Pamela; Maron, John; Marler, Marilyn

    2008-05-01

    Little is known about how exotics influence the ecophysiology of co-occurring native plants or how invader impact on plant physiology may be mediated by community diversity or resource levels. We measured the effect of the widespread invasive forb spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) on leaf traits (leaf dry matter content, specific leaf area, leaf nitrogen percentage, leaf C:N ratios, and delta13C as a proxy for water use efficiency) of two co-occurring native perennial grassland species, Monarda fistulosa (bee balm) and Koeleria macrantha (Junegrass). The impact of spotted knapweed was assessed across plots that varied in functional diversity and that either experienced ambient rainfall or received supplemental water. Impact was determined by comparing leaf traits between identical knapweed-invaded and noninvaded assemblages. Virtually all M. fistulosa leaf traits were affected by spotted knapweed. Knapweed impact, however, did not scale with its abundance; the impact of knapweed on M. fistulosa was similar across heavily invaded low-diversity assemblages and lightly invaded high-diversity assemblages. In uninvaded assemblages, M. fistulosa delta13C, leaf nitrogen, and C:N ratios were unaffected by native functional group richness, whereas leaf dry matter content significantly increased and specific leaf area significantly decreased across the diversity gradient. The effects of spotted knapweed on K. macrantha were weak; instead native functional group richness strongly affected K. macrantha leaf C:N ratio, delta13C, and specific leaf area, but not leaf dry matter content. Leaf traits for both species changed in response to spotted knapweed or functional richness, and in a manner that may promote slower biomass accumulation and efficient conservation of resources. Taken together, our results show that an invader can alter native plant physiology, but that these effects are not a simple function of how many invaders exist in the community.

  17. Interactions between Plasmodium falciparum skeleton-binding protein 1 and the membrane skeleton of malaria-infected red blood cells

    PubMed Central

    Buckingham, Donna W.; Blanc, Lionel; Hale, John; Guo, Xinhua; Pei, Xinhong; Herrmann, Susann; Hanssen, Eric G.; Coppel, Ross L.; Mohandas, Narla; An, Xiuli; Cooke, Brian M.

    2015-01-01

    During development inside red blood cells (RBCs), Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites export proteins that associate with the RBC membrane skeleton. These interactions cause profound changes to the biophysical properties of RBCs that underpin the often severe and fatal clinical manifestations of falciparum malaria. P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) is one such exported parasite protein that plays a major role in malaria pathogenesis since its exposure on the parasitised RBC surface mediates their adhesion to vascular endothelium and placental syncytioblasts. En route to the RBC membrane skeleton, PfEMP1 transiently associates with Maurer's clefts (MCs), parasite-derived membranous structures in the RBC cytoplasm. We have previously shown that a resident MC protein, skeleton-binding protein 1 (SBP1), is essential for the placement of PfEMP1 onto the RBC surface and hypothesised that the function of SBP1 may be to target MCs to the RBC membrane. Since this would require additional protein interactions, we set out to identify binding partners for SBP1. Using a combination of approaches, we have defined the region of SBP1 that binds specifically to defined subdomains of two major components of the RBC membrane skeleton, protein 4.1R and spectrin. We show that these interactions serve as one mechanism to anchor MCs to the RBC membrane skeleton, however, while they appear to be necessary, they are not sufficient for the translocation of PfEMP1 onto the RBC surface. The N-terminal domain of SBP1 that resides within the lumen of MCs clearly plays an essential, but presently unknown role in this process. PMID:25883090

  18. Interactions between Plasmodium falciparum skeleton-binding protein 1 and the membrane skeleton of malaria-infected red blood cells.

    PubMed

    Kats, Lev M; Proellocks, Nicholas I; Buckingham, Donna W; Blanc, Lionel; Hale, John; Guo, Xinhua; Pei, Xinhong; Herrmann, Susann; Hanssen, Eric G; Coppel, Ross L; Mohandas, Narla; An, Xiuli; Cooke, Brian M

    2015-07-01

    During development inside red blood cells (RBCs), Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites export proteins that associate with the RBC membrane skeleton. These interactions cause profound changes to the biophysical properties of RBCs that underpin the often severe and fatal clinical manifestations of falciparum malaria. P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) is one such exported parasite protein that plays a major role in malaria pathogenesis since its exposure on the parasitised RBC surface mediates their adhesion to vascular endothelium and placental syncytioblasts. En route to the RBC membrane skeleton, PfEMP1 transiently associates with Maurer's clefts (MCs), parasite-derived membranous structures in the RBC cytoplasm. We have previously shown that a resident MC protein, skeleton-binding protein 1 (SBP1), is essential for the placement of PfEMP1 onto the RBC surface and hypothesised that the function of SBP1 may be to target MCs to the RBC membrane. Since this would require additional protein interactions, we set out to identify binding partners for SBP1. Using a combination of approaches, we have defined the region of SBP1 that binds specifically to defined sub-domains of two major components of the RBC membrane skeleton, protein 4.1R and spectrin. We show that these interactions serve as one mechanism to anchor MCs to the RBC membrane skeleton, however, while they appear to be necessary, they are not sufficient for the translocation of PfEMP1 onto the RBC surface. The N-terminal domain of SBP1 that resides within the lumen of MCs clearly plays an essential, but presently unknown role in this process.

  19. Breeding biology and nest-site selection of red-tailed hawks in an altered desert grassland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hobbs, R.J.; DeStefano, S.; Halvorson, W.L.

    2006-01-01

    Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) have expanded their range as trees have invaded formerly-open grasslands. Desert grasslands of southern Arizona have been invaded by mesquite trees (Prosopis velutina) since Anglo-American settlement and now support a large population of Red-tailed Hawks. We studied a population of Red-tailed Hawks in an altered desert grassland in southern Arizona. Our objectives were to determine what environmental characteristics influence Red-tailed Hawk habitat selection in mesquite-invaded desert grasslands and to evaluate the habitat quality of these grasslands for Red-tailed Hawks based on nesting density, nest success, and productivity. Red-tailed Hawks had 86% (95% C.I. = 73-99) nest success and 1.82 young per breeding pair (95% C.I. = 1.41-2.23). Nesting density was 0.15 (95% CI = 0.08-0.21) breeding pairs/km2 and the mean nearest-neighbor distance was 1.95 km (95% C.I. = 1.74-2.16). Red-tailed Hawks selected nest-sites with taller nest-trees and greater tree height and cover than were available at random. Mesquite trees in desert grasslands provide abundant potential nesting structures for Red-tailed Hawks. ?? 2006 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.

  20. "Invented Invaders": An Engaging Activity to Teach Characteristics Control of Invasive Species

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lampert, Evan

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species, defined as exotic species that reach pest status, are major threats to global biodiversity. Although invasive species can belong to any taxonomic group, general characteristics such as rapid growth and reproduction are shared by many invasive species. "Invented Invaders" is a collaborative activity in which students…

  1. Comparison of entomofauna between native and medusahead-invaded habitats in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) is a weedy grass species that has invaded large tracts of open rangeland in the western USA. Medusahead is unpalatable to livestock, reducing forage value of land, and duff from dead, matted medusahead plants increases the frequency and intensity of wildfire,...

  2. Habitat shift in invading species: Zebra and quagga mussel population characteristics on shallow soft substrates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berkman, P.A.; Garton, D.W.; Haltuch, M.A.; Kennedy, G.W.; Febo, L.R.

    2000-01-01

    Unexpected habitat innovations among invading species are illustrated by the expansion of dreissenid mussels across sedimentary environments in shallow water unlike the hard substrates where they are conventionally known. In this note, records of population characteristics of invading zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (Dreissena bugensis) mussels from 1994 through 1998 are reported from shallow (less than 20 m) sedimentary habitats in western Lake Erie. Haphazard SCUBA collections of these invading species indicated that combined densities of zebra and quagga mussels ranged from 0 to 32,500 individuals per square meter between 1994 and 1998, with D. polymorpha comprising 75-100% of the assemblages. These mixed mussel populations, which were attached by byssal threads to each other and underlying sand-grain sediments, had size-frequency distributions that were typical of colonizing populations on hard substrates. Moreover, the presence of two mussel cohorts within the 1994 samples indicated that these species began expanding onto soft substrates not later than 1992, within 4 years of their initial invasion in western Lake Erie. Such historical data provide baselines for interpreting adaptive innovations, ecological interactions and habitat shifts among the two invading dreissenid mussel species in North America.

  3. Management process invaded Ames as the Center shifted from NACA to NASA oversight. Ames constructed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1968-01-01

    Management process invaded Ames as the Center shifted from NACA to NASA oversight. Ames constructed a review room in its headquarters building where, in the graphical style that prevailed in the 1960's, Ames leadership could review progress against schedule, budget and performance measures. Shown, in October 1965 is Merrill Mead chief of Ames' program and resources office. (for H Julian Allen Retirement album)

  4. Genome Sequence of Paenibacillus alvei DSM 29, a Secondary Invader during European Foulbrood Outbreaks

    PubMed Central

    Djukic, Marvin; Becker, Dominik; Poehlein, Anja; Voget, Sonja

    2012-01-01

    Paenibacillus alvei is known as a secondary invader during European foulbrood of honeybees. Here, we announce the 6.83-Mb draft genome sequence of P. alvei type strain DSM 29. Putative genes encoding an antimicrobial peptide, a binary toxin, a mosquitocidal toxin, alveolysin, and different polyketides and nonribosomal peptides were identified. PMID:23105091

  5. Genome sequence of Paenibacillus alvei DSM 29, a secondary invader during European foulbrood outbreaks.

    PubMed

    Djukic, Marvin; Becker, Dominik; Poehlein, Anja; Voget, Sonja; Daniel, Rolf

    2012-11-01

    Paenibacillus alvei is known as a secondary invader during European foulbrood of honeybees. Here, we announce the 6.83-Mb draft genome sequence of P. alvei type strain DSM 29. Putative genes encoding an antimicrobial peptide, a binary toxin, a mosquitocidal toxin, alveolysin, and different polyketides and nonribosomal peptides were identified. PMID:23105091

  6. Host stage preference, efficacy and fecundity of parasitoids attacking Drosophila suzukii in newly invaded areas

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is an invasive species, native to Eastern and Southeastern Asia, that has recently colonized parts of North America and Europe. The severe damage caused by D. suzukii in the newly invaded areas is largely due to the absence of specialized natur...

  7. Using the Science Fiction Film "Invaders from Mars" in a Child Psychiatry Seminar

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zerby, Stephen A.

    2005-01-01

    Objective: The science fiction film "Invaders From Mars" is used to teach principles of child development; clinical features of separation anxiety and nightmares; and clinical interventions, including child psychotherapy, child protective issues, and crisis management. Methods: Commercial films have been used as teaching aids in child psychiatry…

  8. A generic risk-based surveying method for invading plant pathogens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive plant pathogens are increasing with international trade and travel with damaging environmental and economic consequences. Recent examples include tree diseases such as Sudden Oak Death in the Western US and Ash Dieback in Europe. To control an invading pathogen it is crucial that newly in...

  9. Impact of Alien Plant Invaders on Pollination Networks in Two Archipelagos

    PubMed Central

    Padrón, Benigno; Traveset, Anna; Biedenweg, Tine; Díaz, Diana; Nogales, Manuel; Olesen, Jens M.

    2009-01-01

    Mutualistic interactions between plants and animals promote integration of invasive species into native communities. In turn, the integrated invaders may alter existing patterns of mutualistic interactions. Here we simultaneously map in detail effects of invaders on parameters describing the topology of both plant-pollinator (bi-modal) and plant-plant (uni-modal) networks. We focus on the invader Opuntia spp., a cosmopolitan alien cactus. We compare two island systems: Tenerife (Canary Islands) and Menorca (Balearic Islands). Opuntia was found to modify the number of links between plants and pollinators, and was integrated into the new communities via the most generalist pollinators, but did not affect the general network pattern. The plant uni-modal networks showed disassortative linkage, i.e. species with many links tended to connect to species with few links. Thus, by linking to generalist natives, Opuntia remained peripheral to network topology, and this is probably why native network properties were not affected at least in one of the islands. We conclude that the network analytical approach is indeed a valuable tool to evaluate the effect of invaders on native communities. PMID:19609437

  10. Invading a mutualistic network: to be or not to be similar.

    PubMed

    Minoarivelo, Henintsoa Onivola; Hui, Cang

    2016-07-01

    Biological invasion remains a major threat to biodiversity in general and a disruptor to mutualistic interactions in particular. While a number of empirical studies have directly explored the role of invasion in mutualistic pollination networks, a clear picture is yet to emerge and a theoretical model for comprehension still lacking. Here, using an eco-evolutionary model of bipartite mutualistic networks with trait-mediated interactions, we explore invader trait, propagule pressure, and network features of recipient community that contribute importantly to the success and impact of an invasion. High level of invasiveness is observed when invader trait differs from those of the community average, and level of interaction generalization equals to that of the community average. Moreover, multiple introductions of invaders with declining propagules enhance invasiveness. Surprisingly, the most successful invader is not always the one having the biggest impact on the recipient community. The network structure of recipient community, such as nestedness and modularity, is not a primary indicator of its invasibility; rather, the invasibility is best correlated with measurements of network stability such as robustness, resilience, and disruptiveness (a measure of evolutionary instability). Our model encompasses more general scenarios than previously studied in predicting invasion success and impact in mutualistic networks, and our results highlight the need for coupling eco-evolutionary processes to resolve the invasion dilemma. PMID:27547328

  11. I smell an invasive invader: Using portable gas spectrometry at ports of entry

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Inspectors at ports of entry are faced with the daunting task of finding a visual sign of a pest or disease. Small insects, pests concealed inside plant material and plant diseases could escape detection and invade the country. In a collaborative effort, portable gas chromatography technology was te...

  12. Squamous cell carcinoma invading the right temporomandibular joint in a Belgian mare

    PubMed Central

    Perrier, Melanie; Schwarz, Tobias; Gonzalez, Olga; Brounts, Sabrina

    2010-01-01

    This report describes a rare case of squamous cell carcinoma invading the right temporomandibular joint, right guttural pouch, and calvarium. Radiography, computed tomography, and histopathology were performed in the diagnostic workup. Computed tomography depicted more accurately than radiography the invasive nature, exact location, and extent of the lesion. PMID:21037891

  13. Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN): toward standardized evaluation of the ecological impacts of invasive plants

    PubMed Central

    Barney, Jacob N; Tekiela, Daniel R; Barrios-Garcia, Maria Noelia; Dimarco, Romina D; Hufbauer, Ruth A; Leipzig-Scott, Peter; Nuñez, Martin A; Pauchard, Aníbal; Pyšek, Petr; Vítková, Michaela; Maxwell, Bruce D

    2015-01-01

    Terrestrial invasive plants are a global problem and are becoming ubiquitous components of most ecosystems. They are implicated in altering disturbance regimes, reducing biodiversity, and changing ecosystem function, sometimes in profound and irreversible ways. However, the ecological impacts of most invasive plants have not been studied experimentally, and most research to date focuses on few types of impacts, which can vary greatly among studies. Thus, our knowledge of existing ecological impacts ascribed to invasive plants is surprisingly limited in both breadth and depth. Our aim was to propose a standard methodology for quantifying baseline ecological impact that, in theory, is scalable to any terrestrial plant invader (e.g., annual grasses to trees) and any invaded system (e.g., grassland to forest). The Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN) is a coordinated distributed experiment composed of an observational and manipulative methodology. The protocol consists of a series of plots located in (1) an invaded area; (2) an adjacent removal treatment within the invaded area; and (3) a spatially separate uninvaded area thought to be similar to pre-invasion conditions of the invaded area. A standardized and inexpensive suite of community, soil, and ecosystem metrics are collected allowing broad comparisons among measurements, populations, and species. The method allows for one-time comparisons and for long-term monitoring enabling one to derive information about change due to invasion over time. Invader removal plots will also allow for quantification of legacy effects and their return rates, which will be monitored for several years. GIIN uses a nested hierarchical scale approach encompassing multiple sites, regions, and continents. Currently, GIIN has network members in six countries, with new members encouraged. To date, study species include representatives of annual and perennial grasses; annual and perennial forbs; shrubs; and trees. The goal of the GIIN

  14. Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN): toward standardized evaluation of the ecological impacts of invasive plants.

    PubMed

    Barney, Jacob N; Tekiela, Daniel R; Barrios-Garcia, Maria Noelia; Dimarco, Romina D; Hufbauer, Ruth A; Leipzig-Scott, Peter; Nuñez, Martin A; Pauchard, Aníbal; Pyšek, Petr; Vítková, Michaela; Maxwell, Bruce D

    2015-07-01

    Terrestrial invasive plants are a global problem and are becoming ubiquitous components of most ecosystems. They are implicated in altering disturbance regimes, reducing biodiversity, and changing ecosystem function, sometimes in profound and irreversible ways. However, the ecological impacts of most invasive plants have not been studied experimentally, and most research to date focuses on few types of impacts, which can vary greatly among studies. Thus, our knowledge of existing ecological impacts ascribed to invasive plants is surprisingly limited in both breadth and depth. Our aim was to propose a standard methodology for quantifying baseline ecological impact that, in theory, is scalable to any terrestrial plant invader (e.g., annual grasses to trees) and any invaded system (e.g., grassland to forest). The Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN) is a coordinated distributed experiment composed of an observational and manipulative methodology. The protocol consists of a series of plots located in (1) an invaded area; (2) an adjacent removal treatment within the invaded area; and (3) a spatially separate uninvaded area thought to be similar to pre-invasion conditions of the invaded area. A standardized and inexpensive suite of community, soil, and ecosystem metrics are collected allowing broad comparisons among measurements, populations, and species. The method allows for one-time comparisons and for long-term monitoring enabling one to derive information about change due to invasion over time. Invader removal plots will also allow for quantification of legacy effects and their return rates, which will be monitored for several years. GIIN uses a nested hierarchical scale approach encompassing multiple sites, regions, and continents. Currently, GIIN has network members in six countries, with new members encouraged. To date, study species include representatives of annual and perennial grasses; annual and perennial forbs; shrubs; and trees. The goal of the GIIN

  15. Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN): toward standardized evaluation of the ecological impacts of invasive plants.

    PubMed

    Barney, Jacob N; Tekiela, Daniel R; Barrios-Garcia, Maria Noelia; Dimarco, Romina D; Hufbauer, Ruth A; Leipzig-Scott, Peter; Nuñez, Martin A; Pauchard, Aníbal; Pyšek, Petr; Vítková, Michaela; Maxwell, Bruce D

    2015-07-01

    Terrestrial invasive plants are a global problem and are becoming ubiquitous components of most ecosystems. They are implicated in altering disturbance regimes, reducing biodiversity, and changing ecosystem function, sometimes in profound and irreversible ways. However, the ecological impacts of most invasive plants have not been studied experimentally, and most research to date focuses on few types of impacts, which can vary greatly among studies. Thus, our knowledge of existing ecological impacts ascribed to invasive plants is surprisingly limited in both breadth and depth. Our aim was to propose a standard methodology for quantifying baseline ecological impact that, in theory, is scalable to any terrestrial plant invader (e.g., annual grasses to trees) and any invaded system (e.g., grassland to forest). The Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN) is a coordinated distributed experiment composed of an observational and manipulative methodology. The protocol consists of a series of plots located in (1) an invaded area; (2) an adjacent removal treatment within the invaded area; and (3) a spatially separate uninvaded area thought to be similar to pre-invasion conditions of the invaded area. A standardized and inexpensive suite of community, soil, and ecosystem metrics are collected allowing broad comparisons among measurements, populations, and species. The method allows for one-time comparisons and for long-term monitoring enabling one to derive information about change due to invasion over time. Invader removal plots will also allow for quantification of legacy effects and their return rates, which will be monitored for several years. GIIN uses a nested hierarchical scale approach encompassing multiple sites, regions, and continents. Currently, GIIN has network members in six countries, with new members encouraged. To date, study species include representatives of annual and perennial grasses; annual and perennial forbs; shrubs; and trees. The goal of the GIIN

  16. Scaling the consequences of interactions between invaders from the individual to the population level.

    PubMed

    Griffen, Blaine D

    2016-03-01

    The impact of human-induced stressors, such as invasive species, is often measured at the organismal level, but is much less commonly scaled up to the population level. Interactions with invasive species represent an increasingly common source of stressor in many habitats. However, due to the increasing abundance of invasive species around the globe, invasive species now commonly cause stresses not only for native species in invaded areas, but also for other invasive species. I examine the European green crab Carcinus maenas, an invasive species along the northeast coast of North America, which is known to be negatively impacted in this invaded region by interactions with the invasive Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus. Asian shore crabs are known to negatively impact green crabs via two mechanisms: by directly preying on green crab juveniles and by indirectly reducing green crab fecundity via interference (and potentially exploitative) competition that alters green crab diets. I used life-table analyses to scale these two mechanistic stressors up to the population level in order to examine their relative impacts on green crab populations. I demonstrate that lost fecundity has larger impacts on per capita population growth rates, but that both predation and lost fecundity are capable of reducing population growth sufficiently to produce the declines in green crab populations that have been observed in areas where these two species overlap. By scaling up the impacts of one invader on a second invader, I have demonstrated that multiple documented interactions between these species are capable of having population-level impacts and that both may be contributing to the decline of European green crabs in their invaded range on the east coast of North America.

  17. Scaling the consequences of interactions between invaders from the individual to the population level.

    PubMed

    Griffen, Blaine D

    2016-03-01

    The impact of human-induced stressors, such as invasive species, is often measured at the organismal level, but is much less commonly scaled up to the population level. Interactions with invasive species represent an increasingly common source of stressor in many habitats. However, due to the increasing abundance of invasive species around the globe, invasive species now commonly cause stresses not only for native species in invaded areas, but also for other invasive species. I examine the European green crab Carcinus maenas, an invasive species along the northeast coast of North America, which is known to be negatively impacted in this invaded region by interactions with the invasive Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus. Asian shore crabs are known to negatively impact green crabs via two mechanisms: by directly preying on green crab juveniles and by indirectly reducing green crab fecundity via interference (and potentially exploitative) competition that alters green crab diets. I used life-table analyses to scale these two mechanistic stressors up to the population level in order to examine their relative impacts on green crab populations. I demonstrate that lost fecundity has larger impacts on per capita population growth rates, but that both predation and lost fecundity are capable of reducing population growth sufficiently to produce the declines in green crab populations that have been observed in areas where these two species overlap. By scaling up the impacts of one invader on a second invader, I have demonstrated that multiple documented interactions between these species are capable of having population-level impacts and that both may be contributing to the decline of European green crabs in their invaded range on the east coast of North America. PMID:26929814

  18. Impacts of invading alien plant species on water flows at stand and catchment scales

    PubMed Central

    Le Maitre, D. C.; Gush, M. B.; Dzikiti, S.

    2015-01-01

    There have been many studies of the diverse impacts of invasions by alien plants but few have assessed impacts on water resources. We reviewed the information on the impacts of invasions on surface runoff and groundwater resources at stand to catchment scales and covering a full annual cycle. Most of the research is South African so the emphasis is on South Africa's major invaders with data from commercial forest plantations where relevant. Catchment studies worldwide have shown that changes in vegetation structure and the physiology of the dominant plant species result in changes in surface runoff and groundwater discharge, whether they involve native or alien plant species. Where there is little change in vegetation structure [e.g. leaf area (index), height, rooting depth and seasonality] the effects of invasions generally are small or undetectable. In South Africa, the most important woody invaders typically are taller and deeper rooted than the native species. The impacts of changes in evaporation (and thus runoff) in dryland settings are constrained by water availability to the plants and, thus, by rainfall. Where the dryland invaders are evergreen and the native vegetation (grass) is seasonal, the increases can reach 300–400 mm/year. Where the native vegetation is evergreen (shrublands) the increases are ∼200–300 mm/year. Where water availability is greater (riparian settings or shallow water tables), invading tree water-use can reach 1.5–2.0 times that of the same species in a dryland setting. So, riparian invasions have a much greater impact per unit area invaded than dryland invasions. The available data are scattered and incomplete, and there are many gaps and issues that must be addressed before a thorough understanding of the impacts at the site scale can be gained and used in extrapolating to watershed scales, and in converting changes in flows to water supply system yields. PMID:25935861

  19. Seeing Red

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This New Horizons image of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io was taken at 13:05 Universal Time during the spacecraft's Jupiter flyby on February 28, 2007. It shows the reddish color of the deposits from the giant volcanic eruption at the volcano Tvashtar, near the top of the sunlit crescent, as well as the bluish plume itself and the orange glow of the hot lava at its source. The relatively unprocessed image on the left provides the best view of the volcanic glow and the plume deposits, while the version on the right has been brightened to show the much fainter plume, and the Jupiter-lit night side of Io.

    New Horizons' color imaging of Io's sunlit side was generally overexposed because the spacecraft's color camera, the super-sensitive Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), was designed for the much dimmer illumination at Pluto. However, two of MVIC's four color filters, the blue and 'methane' filter (a special filter designed to map methane frost on the surface of Pluto at an infrared wavelength of 0.89 microns), are less sensitive than the others, and thus obtained some well-exposed views of the surface when illumination conditions were favorable. Because only two color filters are used, rather than the usual three, and because one filter uses infrared light, the color is only a rough approximation to what the human eye would see.

    The red color of the Tvashtar plume fallout is typical of Io's largest volcanic plumes, including the previous eruption of Tvashtar seen by the Galileo and Cassini spacecraft in 2000, and the long-lived Pele plume on the opposite side of Io. The color likely results from the creation of reddish three-atom and four-atom sulfur molecules (S3 and S4) from plume gases rich in two-atom sulfur molecules (S2 After a few months or years, the S3 and S4 molecules recombine into the more stable and familiar yellowish form of sulfur consisting of eight-atom molecules (S8), so these red deposits are only seen around recently-active Io

  20. Populations dynamics of red brome (Bromus madritensis subsp. Rubens): Times for concern, opportunities for management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Salo, L.F.

    2004-01-01

    Red brome is a Mediterranean winter annual grass that has invaded south-western USA deserts. Unlike native annuals, it does not maintain a soil seed bank, but exhibits early and uniform germination. Above-average winter precipitation in these regions allows red brome to reach high density and biomass. These are time for concern, as large numbers of easily dispersed seeds increase the likelihood that it may spread into new areas. However, early and uniform germination can also lead to population crashes when drought precludes seed production. Winter droughts dramatically reduce densities of red brome, but provide opportunities for management of this exotic grass.

  1. Structural changes in soil communities after triclopyr application in soils invaded by Acacia dealbata Link.

    PubMed

    Souza-Alonso, Pablo; Guisande, Alejandra; González, Luís

    2015-01-01

    Triclopyr is a commonly used herbicide in the control of woody plants and can exhibit toxic effects to soil microorganisms. However, the impact on soils invaded by plant exotics has not yet been addressed. Here, we present the results of an 18-month field study conducted to evaluate the impact of triclopyr on the structure of fungal and bacterial communities in soils invaded by Acacia dealbata Link, through the use of denature gradient gel electrophoresis. After triclopyr application, analyses of bacterial fingerprints suggested a change in the structure of the soil bacterial community, whereas the structure of the soil fungal community remained unaltered. Bacterial density and F:B ratio values changed across the year but were not altered due to herbicide spraying. On the contrary, fungal diversity was increased in plots sprayed with triclopyr 5 months after the first application. Richness and diversity (H') of both bacteria and fungi were not modified after triclopyr application. PMID:25602151

  2. Perforation of the colon by invading recurrent gastrointestinal stromal tumors during sunitinib treatment

    PubMed Central

    Hur, Hoon; Park, Ae Ryoung; Jee, Sung Bae; Jung, Seung Eun; Kim, Wook; Jeon, Hae Myung

    2008-01-01

    The molecular targets of sunitinib are receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), and this drug has also been known to exert blocking effects on the activation of KIT, which is similar to the mechanism of action of imatinib. Moreover, sunitinib has an additional anti-angiogenic effect through its inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor activation. We report here a 70-year-old patient diagnosed with a recurrent gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), which invaded the transverse colon and led to a perforation during sunitinib treatment. A computed tomography scan and 3-dimensional reconstruction showed necrosis of the recurrent hepatic mass and perforation of the invaded transverse colon. After percutaneous drainage of the intraperitoneal abscess, antibiotic treatment and restricted diet, the condition of the patient improved. The present case is the first to report that sunitinib, which is administered to treat GIST resistant to imatinib, can cause unexpected colon perforation and subsequent peritonitis. PMID:18932293

  3. Quantitation of viral load by real-time PCR-monitoring Invader reaction.

    PubMed

    Tadokoro, Kenichi; Yamaguchi, Toshikazu; Egashira, Toru; Hara, Takashi

    2009-02-01

    With its broad effective range for fluorescence detection, real-time PCR is one of the most valuable techniques for quantitation in molecular biology. A modified real-time PCR assay is described for determining viral load. The assay uses fluorescence to measure the number of PCR amplicons by monitoring the Invader reaction in four steps in the thermal cycle. The Invader reaction with its cleavase was performed at moderate temperature after the amplicon was denatured at a high temperature. The method was as effective as real-time PCR with a TaqMan probe in determining the quantity of virus in samples of human papillomavirus type 16. Importantly, the assay allows the use of a common probe for multiple reactions. Thus, this method is a rapid inexpensive assay with a common fluorescence probe that does not depend on the conformation of the target DNAs. PMID:19014973

  4. Structural changes in soil communities after triclopyr application in soils invaded by Acacia dealbata Link.

    PubMed

    Souza-Alonso, Pablo; Guisande, Alejandra; González, Luís

    2015-01-01

    Triclopyr is a commonly used herbicide in the control of woody plants and can exhibit toxic effects to soil microorganisms. However, the impact on soils invaded by plant exotics has not yet been addressed. Here, we present the results of an 18-month field study conducted to evaluate the impact of triclopyr on the structure of fungal and bacterial communities in soils invaded by Acacia dealbata Link, through the use of denature gradient gel electrophoresis. After triclopyr application, analyses of bacterial fingerprints suggested a change in the structure of the soil bacterial community, whereas the structure of the soil fungal community remained unaltered. Bacterial density and F:B ratio values changed across the year but were not altered due to herbicide spraying. On the contrary, fungal diversity was increased in plots sprayed with triclopyr 5 months after the first application. Richness and diversity (H') of both bacteria and fungi were not modified after triclopyr application.

  5. Co-invaders: The effects of alien parasites on native hosts

    PubMed Central

    Lymbery, Alan J.; Morine, Mikayla; Kanani, Hosna Gholipour; Beatty, Stephen J.; Morgan, David L.

    2014-01-01

    We define co-introduced parasites as those which have been transported with an alien host to a new locality, outside of their natural range, and co-invading parasites as those which have been co-introduced and then spread to new, native hosts. Of 98 published studies of co-introductions, over 50% of hosts were freshwater fishes and 49% of parasites were helminths. Although we would expect parasites with simple, direct life cycles to be much more likely to be introduced and establish in a new locality, a substantial proportion (36%) of co-introductions were of parasites with an indirect life cycle. Seventy-eight per cent of co-introduced parasites were found in native host species and can therefore be classed as co-invaders. Host switching was equally common among parasites with direct and indirect life cycles. The magnitude of the threat posed to native species by co-invaders will depend, among other things, on parasite virulence. In 16 cases where co-introduced parasites have switched to native hosts and information was available on relative virulence, 14 (85%) were more virulent in native hosts than in the co-introduced alien host. We argue that this does not necessarily support the naïve host theory that co-invading parasites will have greater pathogenic effects in native hosts with which they have no coevolutionary history, but may instead be a consequence of the greater likelihood for parasites with lower virulence in their natural host to be co-introduced. PMID:25180161

  6. Increasing Potential Risk of a Global Aquatic Invader in Europe in Contrast to Other Continents under Future Climate Change

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xuan; Guo, Zhongwei; Ke, Zunwei; Wang, Supen; Li, Yiming

    2011-01-01

    Background Anthropogenically-induced climate change can alter the current climatic habitat of non-native species and can have complex effects on potentially invasive species. Predictions of the potential distributions of invasive species under climate change will provide critical information for future conservation and management strategies. Aquatic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to invasive species and climate change, but the effect of climate change on invasive species distributions has been rather neglected, especially for notorious global invaders. Methodology/Principal Findings We used ecological niche models (ENMs) to assess the risks and opportunities that climate change presents for the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), which is a worldwide aquatic invasive species. Linking the factors of climate, topography, habitat and human influence, we developed predictive models incorporating both native and non-native distribution data of the crayfish to identify present areas of potential distribution and project the effects of future climate change based on a consensus-forecast approach combining the CCCMA and HADCM3 climate models under two emission scenarios (A2a and B2a) by 2050. The minimum temperature from the coldest month, the human footprint and precipitation of the driest quarter contributed most to the species distribution models. Under both the A2a and B2a scenarios, P. clarkii shifted to higher latitudes in continents of both the northern and southern hemispheres. However, the effect of climate change varied considerately among continents with an expanding potential in Europe and contracting changes in others. Conclusions/Significance Our findings are the first to predict the impact of climate change on the future distribution of a globally invasive aquatic species. We confirmed the complexities of the likely effects of climate change on the potential distribution of globally invasive species, and it is extremely important to develop

  7. Solenopsis invicta virus (sinv-1) infection and insecticide interactions in the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Controlling invasive species is a growing concern; however, pesticides can be detrimental for non-target organisms. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren; Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has aggressively invaded approximately 138 million ha in the USA and causes over $6 billion in damage and ...

  8. Cas6 is an endoribonuclease that generates guide RNAs for invader defense in prokaryotes

    SciTech Connect

    Carte, Jason; Wang, Ruiying; Li, Hong; Terns, Rebecca M.; Terns, Michael P.

    2010-11-09

    An RNA-based gene silencing pathway that protects bacteria and archaea from viruses and other genome invaders is hypothesized to arise from guide RNAs encoded by CRISPR loci and proteins encoded by the cas genes. CRISPR loci contain multiple short invader-derived sequences separated by short repeats. The presence of virus-specific sequences within CRISPR loci of prokaryotic genomes confers resistance against corresponding viruses. The CRISPR loci are transcribed as long RNAs that must be processed to smaller guide RNAs. Here we identified Pyrococcus furiosus Cas6 as a novel endoribonuclease that cleaves CRISPR RNAs within the repeat sequences to release individual invader targeting RNAs. Cas6 interacts with a specific sequence motif in the 5{prime} region of the CRISPR repeat element and cleaves at a defined site within the 3{prime} region of the repeat. The 1.8 angstrom crystal structure of the enzyme reveals two ferredoxin-like folds that are also found in other RNA-binding proteins. The predicted active site of the enzyme is similar to that of tRNA splicing endonucleases, and concordantly, Cas6 activity is metal-independent. cas6 is one of the most widely distributed CRISPR-associated genes. Our findings indicate that Cas6 functions in the generation of CRISPR-derived guide RNAs in numerous bacteria and archaea.

  9. Invader partitions ecological and evolutionary responses to above- and belowground herbivory.

    PubMed

    Huang, Wei; Carrillo, Juli; Ding, Jianqing; Siemann, Evan

    2012-11-01

    Interactions between above- and belowground herbivory may, affect plant performance and structure communities. Though many studies have documented interactions of invasive plants and.herbivores, none shows how above- and belowground herbivores interact to affect invasive plant performance. Here, in a common garden in China, we subjected genetically differentiated tallow trees (Triadica sebifera) from native (China) and invaded (United States) ranges to herbivory by aboveground adults and belowground larvae of a specialist beetle, Bikasha collaris. Overall, relative to plants from China, U.S. plants had greater total and aboveground mass, comparable belowground mass, lower resistance to both above- and belowground herbivory, and higher tolerance to aboveground herbivory only. Accordingly, aboveground adults had greater impacts on Chinese plants, but belowground larvae more strongly impacted U.S. plants. These results indicate that the invader may adopt an "aboveground first" strategy, allocating more resources aboveground in response to selection for increased competitive ability, which increases aboveground tolerance to herbivory. Furthermore, we found that adults facilitated larval success, and these feedbacks were stronger for U.S. plants, suggesting that aboveground feeding of adults may be associated with lower defenses and/or higher resources belowground in the invader. Therefore, plants may have evolved different responses to above- and belowground herbivory, which can affect invasion success and herbivore population dynamics. These findings may provide new insights for an effective biological control program against invasive plants.

  10. Merging Two Strategies for Mixed-Sequence Recognition of Double-Stranded DNA: Pseudocomplementary Invader Probes.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Brooke A; Hrdlicka, Patrick J

    2016-04-15

    The development of molecular strategies that enable recognition of specific double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) regions has been a longstanding goal as evidenced by the emergence of triplex-forming oligonucleotides, peptide nucleic acids (PNAs), minor groove binding polyamides, and--more recently--engineered proteins such as CRISPR/Cas9. Despite this progress, an unmet need remains for simple hybridization-based probes that recognize specific mixed-sequence dsDNA regions under physiological conditions. Herein, we introduce pseudocomplementary Invader probes as a step in this direction. These double-stranded probes are chimeras between pseudocomplementary DNA (pcDNA) and Invader probes, which are activated for mixed-sequence dsDNA-recognition through the introduction of pseudocomplementary base pairs comprised of 2-thiothymine and 2,6-diaminopurine, and +1 interstrand zipper arrangements of intercalator-functionalized nucleotides, respectively. We demonstrate that certain pseudocomplementary Invader probe designs result in very efficient and specific recognition of model dsDNA targets in buffers of high ionic strength. These chimeric probes, therefore, present themselves as a promising strategy for mixed-sequence recognition of dsDNA targets for applications in molecular biology and nucleic acid diagnostics.

  11. Population regulation by enemies of the grass Brachypodium sylvaticum: demography in native and invaded ranges.

    PubMed

    Roy, Bitty A; Coulson, Tim; Blaser, Wilma; Policha, Tobias; Stewart, Julie L; Blaisdell, G Kai; Güsewell, Sabine

    2011-03-01

    The enemy-release hypothesis (ERH) states that species become more successful in their introduced range than in their native range because they leave behind natural enemies in their native range and are thus "released" from enemy pressures in their introduced range. The ERH is popularly cited to explain the invasive properties of many species and is the underpinning of biological control. We tested the prediction that plant populations are more strongly regulated by natural enemies (herbivores and pathogens) in their native range than in their introduced range with enemy-removal experiments using pesticides. These experiments were replicated at multiple sites in both the native and invaded ranges of the grass Brachypodium sylvaticum. In support of the ERH, enemies consistently regulated populations in the native range. There were more tillers and more seeds produced in treated vs. untreated plots in the native range, and few seedlings survived in the native range. Contrary to the ERH, total measured leaf damage was similar in both ranges, though the enemies that caused it differed. There was more damage by generalist mollusks and pathogens in the native range, and more damage by generalist insect herbivores in the invaded range. Demographic analysis showed that population growth rates were lower in the native range than in the invaded range, and that sexually produced seedlings constituted a smaller fraction of the total in the native range. Our removal experiment showed that enemies regulate plant populations in their native range and suggest that generalist enemies, not just specialists, are important for population regulation.

  12. Helpful invaders: Can cane toads reduce the parasite burdens of native frogs?

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Felicity B.L.; Brown, Gregory P.; Shilton, Catherine; Shine, Richard

    2015-01-01

    Many invading species have brought devastating parasites and diseases to their new homes, thereby imperiling native taxa. Potentially, though, invaders might have the opposite effect. If they take up parasites that otherwise would infect native taxa, but those parasites fail to develop in the invader, the introduced species might reduce parasite burdens of the native fauna. Similarly, earlier exposure to the other taxon's parasites might ‘prime’ an anuran's immune system such that it is then able to reject subsequent infection by its own parasite species. Field surveys suggest that lungworm counts in native Australian frogs decrease after the arrival of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina), and laboratory studies confirm that native lungworm larvae enter, but do not survive in, the toads. In laboratory trials, we confirmed that the presence of anurans (either frogs or toads) in an experimental arena reduced uptake rates of lungworm larvae by anurans that were later added to the same arena. However, experimental exposure to lungworms from native frogs did not enhance a toad's ability to reject subsequent infection by its own lungworm species. PMID:26236630

  13. Dispersion in time and space affect mating success and Allee effects in invading gypsy moth populations.

    PubMed

    Robinet, C; Lance, D R; Thorpe, K W; Onufrieva, K S; Tobin, P C; Liebhold, A M

    2008-09-01

    1. Understanding why invading populations sometimes fail to establish is of considerable relevance to the development of strategies for managing biological invasions. 2. Newly arriving populations tend to be sparse and are often influenced by Allee effects. Mating failure is a typical cause of Allee effects in low-density insect populations, and dispersion of individuals in space and time can exacerbate mate-location failure in invading populations. 3. Here we evaluate the relative importance of dispersal and sexual asynchrony as contributors to Allee effects in invading populations by adopting as a case study the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L.), an important insect defoliator for which considerable demographic information is available. 4. We used release-recapture experiments to parameterize a model that describes probabilities that males locate females along various spatial and temporal offsets between male and female adult emergence. 5. Based on these experimental results, we developed a generalized model of mating success that demonstrates the existence of an Allee threshold, below which introduced gypsy moth populations are likely to go extinct without any management intervention.

  14. Deformability measurement of red blood cells using a microfluidic channel array and an air cavity in a driving syringe with high throughput and precise detection of subpopulations.

    PubMed

    Kang, Yang Jun; Ha, Young-Ran; Lee, Sang-Joon

    2016-01-01

    Red blood cell (RBC) deformability has been considered a potential biomarker for monitoring pathological disorders. High throughput and detection of subpopulations in RBCs are essential in the measurement of RBC deformability. In this paper, we propose a new method to measure RBC deformability by evaluating temporal variations in the average velocity of blood flow and image intensity of successively clogged RBCs in the microfluidic channel array for specific time durations. In addition, to effectively detect differences in subpopulations of RBCs, an air compliance effect is employed by adding an air cavity into a disposable syringe. The syringe was equally filled with a blood sample (V(blood) = 0.3 mL, hematocrit = 50%) and air (V(air) = 0.3 mL). Owing to the air compliance effect, blood flow in the microfluidic device behaved transiently depending on the fluidic resistance in the microfluidic device. Based on the transient behaviors of blood flows, the deformability of RBCs is quantified by evaluating three representative parameters, namely, minimum value of the average velocity of blood flow, clogging index, and delivered blood volume. The proposed method was applied to measure the deformability of blood samples consisting of homogeneous RBCs fixed with four different concentrations of glutaraldehyde solution (0%-0.23%). The proposed method was also employed to evaluate the deformability of blood samples partially mixed with normal RBCs and hardened RBCs. Thereafter, the deformability of RBCs infected by human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum was measured. As a result, the three parameters significantly varied, depending on the degree of deformability. In addition, the deformability measurement of blood samples was successfully completed in a short time (∼10 min). Therefore, the proposed method has significant potential in deformability measurement of blood samples containing hematological diseases with high throughput and precise detection of

  15. Antimalarial quinolines and artemisinin inhibit endocytosis in Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Hoppe, Heinrich C; van Schalkwyk, Donelly A; Wiehart, Ursula I M; Meredith, Sandra A; Egan, Joanne; Weber, Brandon W

    2004-07-01

    Endocytosis is a fundamental process of eukaryotic cells and fulfills numerous functions, most notably, that of macromolecular nutrient uptake. Malaria parasites invade red blood cells and during their intracellular development endocytose large amounts of host cytoplasm for digestion in a specialized lysosomal compartment, the food vacuole. In the present study we have examined the effects of artemisinin and the quinoline drugs chloroquine and mefloquine on endocytosis in Plasmodium falciparum. By using novel assays we found that mefloquine and artemisinin inhibit endocytosis of macromolecular tracers by up to 85%, while the latter drug also leads to an accumulation of undigested hemoglobin in the parasite. During 5-h incubations, chloroquine inhibited hemoglobin digestion but had no other significant effect on the endocytic pathway of the parasite, as assessed by electron microscopy, the immunofluorescence localization of hemoglobin, and the distribution of fluorescent and biotinylated dextran tracers. By contrast, when chloroquine was added to late ring stage parasites, followed by a 12-h incubation, macromolecule endocytosis was inhibited by more than 40%. Moreover, there is an accumulation of transport vesicles in the parasite cytosol, possibly due to a disruption in vacuole-vesicle fusion. This fusion block is not observed with mefloquine, artemisinin, quinine, or primaquine but is mimicked by the vacuole alkalinizing agents ammonium chloride and monensin. These results are discussed in the light of present theories regarding the mechanisms of action of the antimalarials and highlight the potential use of drugs in manipulating and studying the endocytic pathway of malaria parasites.

  16. Linking the occurrence of cutaneous opportunistic fungal invaders with elemental concentrations in false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) skin.

    PubMed

    Mouton, Marnel; Przybylowicz, Wojciech; Mesjasz-Przybylowicz, Jolanta; Postma, Ferdinand; Thornton, Meredith; Archer, Edward; Botha, Alfred

    2015-10-01

    Cetaceans, occupying the top levels in marine food chains, are vulnerable to elevated levels of potentially toxic trace elements, such as aluminium (Al), mercury (Hg) and nickel (Ni). Negative effects associated with these toxic metals include infection by opportunistic microbial invaders. To corroborate the link between the presence of cutaneous fungal invaders and trace element levels, skin samples from 40 stranded false killer whales (FKWs) were analysed using culture techniques and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy. Twenty-two skin samples yielded 18 clinically relevant fungal species. While evidence for bioaccumulation of Hg in the skin of the FKWs was observed, a strong link was found to exist between the occurrence of opportunistic fungal invaders and higher Al : Se and Al : Zn ratios. This study provides indications that elevated levels of some toxic metals, such as Al, contribute to immunotoxicity rendering FKWs susceptible to colonization by cutaneous opportunistic fungal invaders. PMID:26034019

  17. Linking the occurrence of cutaneous opportunistic fungal invaders with elemental concentrations in false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) skin.

    PubMed

    Mouton, Marnel; Przybylowicz, Wojciech; Mesjasz-Przybylowicz, Jolanta; Postma, Ferdinand; Thornton, Meredith; Archer, Edward; Botha, Alfred

    2015-10-01

    Cetaceans, occupying the top levels in marine food chains, are vulnerable to elevated levels of potentially toxic trace elements, such as aluminium (Al), mercury (Hg) and nickel (Ni). Negative effects associated with these toxic metals include infection by opportunistic microbial invaders. To corroborate the link between the presence of cutaneous fungal invaders and trace element levels, skin samples from 40 stranded false killer whales (FKWs) were analysed using culture techniques and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy. Twenty-two skin samples yielded 18 clinically relevant fungal species. While evidence for bioaccumulation of Hg in the skin of the FKWs was observed, a strong link was found to exist between the occurrence of opportunistic fungal invaders and higher Al : Se and Al : Zn ratios. This study provides indications that elevated levels of some toxic metals, such as Al, contribute to immunotoxicity rendering FKWs susceptible to colonization by cutaneous opportunistic fungal invaders.

  18. Classification of hepatitis B virus genotypes by the PCR-Invader method with genotype-specific probes.

    PubMed

    Tadokoro, Kenichi; Kobayashi, Mariko; Yamaguchi, Toshikazu; Suzuki, Fumitaka; Miyauchi, Saeko; Egashira, Toru; Kumada, Hiromitsu

    2006-12-01

    Hepatitis B virus is a worldwide public health problem. A simple and effective test to identify viral genotypes would greatly aid efforts to understand and control the spread of this disease. A serial invasive signal amplification reaction assay (PCR-Invader assay) was developed for distinguishing the known eight genotypes (A-H) and four subgenotypes (Aa, Ae, Ba, Bj) of hepatitis B virus (HBV). The preS/S and core regions were amplified by multiplex PCR and delivered to 12 wells containing genotype-specific Invader probes. By observing the fluorescence patterns in the wells, HBV sub/genotypes can be assigned. A total of 505 serum samples containing HBV/HBsAg in Japan was examined by PCR-Invader and compared the results with those from ELISA assays with monoclonal antibodies against epitopes on gene products of the preS2 region and with a genotype-specific probe assay (GSPA) based on the preS1 region. Genotypes determined by the PCR-Invader agreed with those of the ELISA method in 98.2% of cases and with the GSPA method in 97.1% of cases. Co-infection with two distinct genotypes was correctly identified by the PCR-Invader in four serum samples, as determined by GSPA. Thus, the PCR-Invader assay is a useful tool for detecting the 10 known HBV sub/genotypes. PMID:16934340

  19. Plant litter chemistry and microbial priming regulate the accrual, composition and stability of soil carbon in invaded ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Tamura, Mioko; Tharayil, Nishanth

    2014-07-01

    Soil carbon (C) sequestration, as an ecosystem property, may be strongly influenced by invasive plants capable of depositing disproportionately high quantities of chemically distinct litter that disrupt ecosystem processes. However, a mechanistic understanding of the processes that regulate soil C storage in invaded ecosystems remains surprisingly elusive. Here, we studied the impact of the invasion of two noxious nonnative species, Polygonum cuspidatum, which produces recalcitrant litter, and Pueraria lobata, which produces labile litter, on the quantity, molecular composition, and stability of C in the soils they invade. Compared with an adjacent noninvaded old-field, P. cuspidatum-invaded soils exhibited a 26% increase in C, partially through selective preservation of plant polymers. Despite receiving a 22% higher litter input, P. lobata-invaded Pinus stands exhibited a 28% decrease in soil C and a twofold decrease in plant biomarkers, indicating microbial priming of native soil C. The stability of C exhibited an opposite trend: the proportion of C that was resistant to oxidation was 21% lower in P. cuspidatum-invaded soils and 50% higher in P. lobata-invaded soils. Our results highlight the capacity of invasive plants to feed back to climate change by destabilizing native soil C stocks and indicate that environments that promote the biochemical decomposition of plant litter would enhance the long-term storage of soil C. Further, our study highlights the concurrent influence of dominant plant species on both selective preservation and humification of soil organic matter. PMID:24720813

  20. Plant litter chemistry and microbial priming regulate the accrual, composition and stability of soil carbon in invaded ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Tamura, Mioko; Tharayil, Nishanth

    2014-07-01

    Soil carbon (C) sequestration, as an ecosystem property, may be strongly influenced by invasive plants capable of depositing disproportionately high quantities of chemically distinct litter that disrupt ecosystem processes. However, a mechanistic understanding of the processes that regulate soil C storage in invaded ecosystems remains surprisingly elusive. Here, we studied the impact of the invasion of two noxious nonnative species, Polygonum cuspidatum, which produces recalcitrant litter, and Pueraria lobata, which produces labile litter, on the quantity, molecular composition, and stability of C in the soils they invade. Compared with an adjacent noninvaded old-field, P. cuspidatum-invaded soils exhibited a 26% increase in C, partially through selective preservation of plant polymers. Despite receiving a 22% higher litter input, P. lobata-invaded Pinus stands exhibited a 28% decrease in soil C and a twofold decrease in plant biomarkers, indicating microbial priming of native soil C. The stability of C exhibited an opposite trend: the proportion of C that was resistant to oxidation was 21% lower in P. cuspidatum-invaded soils and 50% higher in P. lobata-invaded soils. Our results highlight the capacity of invasive plants to feed back to climate change by destabilizing native soil C stocks and indicate that environments that promote the biochemical decomposition of plant litter would enhance the long-term storage of soil C. Further, our study highlights the concurrent influence of dominant plant species on both selective preservation and humification of soil organic matter.

  1. Transcriptome sequencing reveals both neutral and adaptive genome dynamics in a marine invader.

    PubMed

    Tepolt, C K; Palumbi, S R

    2015-08-01

    Species invasions cause significant ecological and economic damage, and genetic information is important to understanding and managing invasive species. In the ocean, many invasive species have high dispersal and gene flow, lowering the discriminatory power of traditional genetic approaches. High-throughput sequencing holds tremendous promise for increasing resolution and illuminating the relative contributions of selection and drift in marine invasion, but has not yet been used to compare the diversity and dynamics of a high-dispersal invader in its native and invaded ranges. We test a transcriptome-based approach in the European green crab (Carcinus maenas), a widespread invasive species with high gene flow and a well-known invasion history, in two native and five invasive populations. A panel of 10 809 transcriptome-derived nuclear SNPs identified significant population structure among highly bottlenecked invasive populations that were previously undifferentiated with traditional markers. Comparing the full data set and a subset of 9246 putatively neutral SNPs strongly suggested that non-neutral processes are the primary driver of population structure within the species' native range, while neutral processes appear to dominate in the invaded range. Non-neutral native range structure coincides with significant differences in intraspecific thermal tolerance, suggesting temperature as a potential selective agent. These results underline the importance of adaptation in shaping intraspecific differences even in high geneflow marine invasive species. They also demonstrate that high-throughput approaches have broad utility in determining neutral structure in recent invasions of such species. Together, neutral and non-neutral data derived from high-throughput approaches may increase the understanding of invasion dynamics in high-dispersal species. PMID:26118396

  2. Transcriptome sequencing reveals both neutral and adaptive genome dynamics in a marine invader.

    PubMed

    Tepolt, C K; Palumbi, S R

    2015-08-01

    Species invasions cause significant ecological and economic damage, and genetic information is important to understanding and managing invasive species. In the ocean, many invasive species have high dispersal and gene flow, lowering the discriminatory power of traditional genetic approaches. High-throughput sequencing holds tremendous promise for increasing resolution and illuminating the relative contributions of selection and drift in marine invasion, but has not yet been used to compare the diversity and dynamics of a high-dispersal invader in its native and invaded ranges. We test a transcriptome-based approach in the European green crab (Carcinus maenas), a widespread invasive species with high gene flow and a well-known invasion history, in two native and five invasive populations. A panel of 10 809 transcriptome-derived nuclear SNPs identified significant population structure among highly bottlenecked invasive populations that were previously undifferentiated with traditional markers. Comparing the full data set and a subset of 9246 putatively neutral SNPs strongly suggested that non-neutral processes are the primary driver of population structure within the species' native range, while neutral processes appear to dominate in the invaded range. Non-neutral native range structure coincides with significant differences in intraspecific thermal tolerance, suggesting temperature as a potential selective agent. These results underline the importance of adaptation in shaping intraspecific differences even in high geneflow marine invasive species. They also demonstrate that high-throughput approaches have broad utility in determining neutral structure in recent invasions of such species. Together, neutral and non-neutral data derived from high-throughput approaches may increase the understanding of invasion dynamics in high-dispersal species.

  3. [Effectiveness of fenbendazole (Panacur) in cattle invaded by gastrointestinal and pulmonary nematodes].

    PubMed

    Corba, J; Reisz, T; Krupicer, I; Pacenovský, J; Breza, M

    1977-04-01

    The effectiveness of the new anthelmintic fenbendazole (Panacur) produced by Hoechst, W. Germany, was tested in cattle naturally invaded by gastro-intestinal and pulmonary nematodes. The single dose of 5.7 mg per kg or 7.5 mg per kg body weight administered either in the form of a 10% suspension or in pellets containing 1.5% of the active substance gave 100% intenseffectiveness and 100% extenseffectiveness in the control of Dictyocaulus viviparus, Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongylus spp., Ostertagia spp., Oesophagostomum spp. and Cooperia spp. The animals tolerated the administration of both drug forms without showing any undesirable symptoms.

  4. Epiphyte Water Retention and Evaporation in Native and Invaded Tropical Montane Cloud Forests in Hawaii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudd, R. G.; Giambelluca, T. W.

    2006-12-01

    Epiphyte water retention was quantified at two montane cloud forest sites in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, one native and the other invaded by an alien tree species. Water storage elements measured included all epiphytic mosses, leafy liverworts, and filmy ferns. Tree surface area was estimated and a careful survey was taken to account for all epiphytes in the sample area of the forest. Samples were collected and analyzed in the lab for epiphyte water retention capacity (WRC). Based on the volume of the different kinds of epiphytes and their corresponding WRC, forest stand water retention capacity for each survey area was estimated. Evaporation from the epiphyte mass was quantified using artificial reference samples attached to trees that were weighed at intervals to determine changes in stored water on days without significant rain or fog. In addition, a soil moisture sensor was wrapped in an epiphyte sample and left in the forest for a 6-day period. Epiphyte biomass at the Native Site and Invaded Site were estimated to be 2.89 t ha-1 and 1.05 t ha-1, respectively. Average WRC at the Native Site and Invaded Site were estimated at 1.45 mm and 0.68 mm, respectively. The difference is likely due to the presence of the invasive Psidium cattleianum at the Invaded Site because its smooth stem surface is unable to support a significant epiphytic layer. The evaporation rate from the epiphyte mass near WSC for the forest stand at the Native Site was measured at 0.38 mm day-1, which represented 10.6 % of the total ET from the forest canopy at the Native Site during the period. The above research has been recently complemented by a thorough investigation of the WSC of all water storage elements (tree stems, tree leaves, shrubs, grasses, litter, fallen branches, and epiphytes) at six forested sites at different elevations within, above, and below the zone of frequent cloud-cover. The goal of this study was to create an inexpensive and efficient methodology for acquiring

  5. Aphid fecundity and grassland invasion: invader life history is the key.

    PubMed

    Borer, Elizabeth T; Adams, Vincent T; Engler, Gareth A; Adams, Autumn L; Schumann, Canan B; Seabloom, Eric W

    2009-07-01

    Loss or gain of pathogens can determine the trajectory of biological invasions, and invasion by novel hosts also can alter pathogen dynamics to facilitate invasion. Recent empirical and theoretical work has implicated infection by barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (B/CYDV), a group of generalist pathogens of the Poaceae family (grasses), as a necessary precursor to the invasion of over 9 million hectares of California's perennial grasslands by exotic annual grasses. The mechanism underlying this pathogen-mediated invasion hypothesis is elevated vector fecundity on exotic annual grasses. While empirical evidence supports this hypothesis, the links between aphid fecundity, host identity, and host resource supply have not been thoroughly assessed. We performed field and laboratory experiments to examine the fecundity and preference responses of three of the most common aphid vectors of B/CYDV, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.), R. maidis (Fitch), and Sitobion avenae (Fab.), to a combination of host life history (annual and perennial), host provenance (native and exotic), and nutrient supply (mineral N and P fertilization), controlling for host phylogenetic lineage. Aphids consistently had higher fecundity on annual grasses than perennials, regardless of host provenance, age, or nutrient fertilization. In addition, aphids preferentially colonized annual hosts when offered a choice among host species. Multi-generation studies have found that nutrient addition affects both host quality and composition in natural communities; our experimental results indicate that the indirect effects of nutrient fertilization in determining host community composition are of more importance than are the direct effects on host quality to aphid population dynamics. To summarize the applications of our results, we demonstrate that, in contrast to the current focus on the qualitative differences between invaders and natives, the impact of invasive exotic grasses is not due to host provenance, per

  6. Invaders do not require high resource levels to maintain physiological advantages in a temperate deciduous forest.

    PubMed

    Heberling, J Mason; Fridley, Jason D

    2016-04-01

    Non-native, invasive plants are commonly typified by trait strategies associated with high resource demands and plant invasions are often thought to be dependent upon site resource availability or disturbance. However, the invasion of shade-tolerant woody species into deciduous forests of the Eastern United States seems to contradict such generalization, as growth in this ecosystem is strongly constrained by light and, secondarily, nutrient stress. In a factorial manipulation of light and soil nitrogen availability, we established an experimental resource gradient in a secondary deciduous forest to test whether three common, woody, invasive species displayed increased metabolic performance and biomass production compared to six co-occurring woody native species, and whether these predicted differences depend upon resource supply. Using hierarchical Bayesian models of photosynthesis that included leaf trait effects, we found that invasive species exhibited functional strategies associated with higher rates of carbon gain. Further, invader metabolic and growth-related attributes were more responsive to increasing light availability than those of natives, but did not fall below average native responses even in low light. Surprisingly, neither group showed direct trait or growth responses to soil N additions. However, invasive species showed increased photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiencies with decreasing N availability, while that of natives remained constant. Although invader advantage over natives was amplified in higher resource conditions in this forest, our results indicate that some invasive species can maintain physiological advantages over co-occurring natives regardless of resource conditions. PMID:27220204

  7. Clonal integration facilitates the colonization of drought environments by plant invaders.

    PubMed

    Lechuga-Lago, Yaiza; Sixto-Ruiz, Marta; Roiloa, Sergio R; González, Luís

    2016-01-01

    Biological invasion represents one of the main threats for biodiversity conservation at the global scale. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the process of biological invasions is a crucial objective in the prediction of scenarios of future invasions and the mitigation of their impacts. In this sense, some plant attributes might better explain the success of invasive plant species than others. Recently, clonal growth has been identified as an attribute that could contribute to the invasiveness of plants. In this experiment, we aim to determine the effect of physiological integration (one of the most striking attributes associated with clonal growth) in the performance (at morphological and physiological levels) of the aggressive invader Carpobrotus edulis, when occupying stressful environments. To achieve this objective we performed a greenhouse experiment in which apical ramets of C. edulis were water-stressed and the connection with the basal ramets was either left intact (physiological integration is allowed) or severed (physiological integration is impeded). Our results show that clonal integration allowed apical ramets to buffer drought stress in terms of photochemical activity, and as a consequence, to increase their growth in comparison with severed apical ramets. Interestingly, this increase in biomass was mainly due to the production of aboveground structures, increasing the spread along the soil surface, and consequently having important implications for the colonization success of new environments by this aggressive invader. PMID:27154623

  8. Conciliation biology: the eco-evolutionary management of permanently invaded biotic systems

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Scott P

    2011-01-01

    Biotic invaders and similar anthropogenic novelties such as domesticates, transgenics, and cancers can alter ecology and evolution in environmental, agricultural, natural resource, public health, and medical systems. The resulting biological changes may either hinder or serve management objectives. For example, biological control and eradication programs are often defeated by unanticipated resistance evolution and by irreversibility of invader impacts. Moreover, eradication may be ill-advised when nonnatives introduce beneficial functions. Thus, contexts that appear to call for eradication may instead demand managed coexistence of natives with nonnatives, and yet applied biologists have not generally considered the need to manage the eco-evolutionary dynamics that commonly result from interactions of natives with nonnatives. Here, I advocate a conciliatory approach to managing systems where novel organisms cannot or should not be eradicated. Conciliatory strategies incorporate benefits of nonnatives to address many practical needs including slowing rates of resistance evolution, promoting evolution of indigenous biological control, cultivating replacement services and novel functions, and managing native–nonnative coevolution. Evolutionary links across disciplines foster cohesion essential for managing the broad impacts of novel biotic systems. Rather than signaling defeat, conciliation biology thus utilizes the predictive power of evolutionary theory to offer diverse and flexible pathways to more sustainable outcomes. PMID:25567967

  9. Integrating novel chemical weapons and evolutionarily increased competitive ability in success of a tropical invader.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Yu-Long; Feng, Yu-Long; Zhang, Li-Kun; Callaway, Ragan M; Valiente-Banuet, Alfonso; Luo, Du-Qiang; Liao, Zhi-Yong; Lei, Yan-Bao; Barclay, Gregor F; Silva-Pereyra, Carlos

    2015-02-01

    The evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis and the novel weapons hypothesis (NWH) are two non-mutually exclusive mechanisms for exotic plant invasions, but few studies have simultaneously tested these hypotheses. Here we aimed to integrate them in the context of Chromolaena odorata invasion. We conducted two common garden experiments in order to test the EICA hypothesis, and two laboratory experiments in order to test the NWH. In common conditions, C. odorata plants from the nonnative range were better competitors but not larger than plants from the native range, either with or without the experimental manipulation of consumers. Chromolaena odorata plants from the nonnative range were more poorly defended against aboveground herbivores but better defended against soil-borne enemies. Chromolaena odorata plants from the nonnative range produced more odoratin (Eupatorium) (a unique compound of C. odorata with both allelopathic and defensive activities) and elicited stronger allelopathic effects on species native to China, the nonnative range of the invader, than on natives of Mexico, the native range of the invader. Our results suggest that invasive plants may evolve increased competitive ability after being introduced by increasing the production of novel allelochemicals, potentially in response to naïve competitors and new enemy regimes.

  10. A Successful Crayfish Invader Is Capable of Facultative Parthenogenesis: A Novel Reproductive Mode in Decapod Crustaceans

    PubMed Central

    Buřič, Miloš; Hulák, Martin; Kouba, Antonín

    2011-01-01

    Biological invasions are impacting biota worldwide, and explaining why some taxa tend to become invasive is of major scientific interest. North American crayfish species, particularly of the family Cambaridae, are prominent invaders in freshwaters, defying the “tens rule” which states that only a minority of species introduced to new regions become established, and only a minority of those become invasive and pests. So far, success of cambarid invaders has largely been attributed to rapid maturation, high reproductive output, aggressiveness, and tolerance to pollution. We provide experimental evidence that females of one cambarid species particularly widespread in Europe, the spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus, are capable of facultative parthenogenesis. Such reproductive mode has never before been recognized in decapods, the most diverse crustacean order. As shown by analysis of seven microsatellite loci, crayfish females kept physically separated from males produced genetically homogeneous offspring identical with maternal individuals; this suggests they reproduced by apomixis, unlike those females which mated with males and had a diverse offspring. Further research is needed to clarify what environmental conditions are necessary for a switch to parthenogenesis in O. limosus, and what role it plays in natural crayfish populations. However, if such reproductive plasticity is present in other cambarid crayfish species, it may contribute to the overwhelming invasive success of this group. PMID:21655282

  11. Lifetime success and interactions of farm salmon invading a native population.

    PubMed Central

    Fleming, I A; Hindar, K; Mjølnerød, I B; Jonsson, B; Balstad, T; Lamberg, A

    2000-01-01

    Farm Atlantic salmon escape and invade rivers throughout the North Atlantic annually, which has generated growing concern about their impacts on native salmon populations. A large-scale experiment was therefore undertaken in order to quantify the lifetime success and interactions of farm salmon invading a Norwegian river. Sexually mature farm and native salmon were genetically screened, radio tagged and released into the River Imsa where no other salmon had been allowed to ascend. The farm fishes were competitively and reproductively inferior, achieving less than one-third the breeding success of the native fishes. Moreover, this inferiority was sex biased, being more pronounced in farm males than females, resulting in the principal route of gene flow involving native males mating with farm females. There were also indications of selection against farm genotypes during early survival but not thereafter. However, evidence of resource competition and competitive displacement existed as the productivity of the native population was depressed by more than 30%. Ultimately, the lifetime reproductive success (adult to adult) of the farm fishes was 16% that of the native salmon. Our results indicate that such annual invasions have the potential for impacting on population productivity, disrupting local adaptations and reducing the genetic diversity of wild salmon populations. PMID:11007327

  12. Knowledge-based discovery for designing CRISPR-CAS systems against invading mobilomes in thermophiles.

    PubMed

    Chellapandi, P; Ranjani, J

    2015-09-01

    Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) are direct features of the prokaryotic genomes involved in resistance to their bacterial viruses and phages. Herein, we have identified CRISPR loci together with CRISPR-associated sequences (CAS) genes to reveal their immunity against genome invaders in the thermophilic archaea and bacteria. Genomic survey of this study implied that genomic distribution of CRISPR-CAS systems was varied from strain to strain, which was determined by the degree of invading mobiloms. Direct repeats found to be equal in some extent in many thermopiles, but their spacers were differed in each strain. Phylogenetic analyses of CAS superfamily revealed that genes cmr, csh, csx11, HD domain, devR were belonged to the subtypes of cas gene family. The members in cas gene family of thermophiles were functionally diverged within closely related genomes and may contribute to develop several defense strategies. Nevertheless, genome dynamics, geological variation and host defense mechanism were contributed to share their molecular functions across the thermophiles. A thermophilic archaean, Thermococcus gammotolerans and thermophilic bacteria, Petrotoga mobilis and Thermotoga lettingae have shown superoperons-like appearance to cluster cas genes, which were typically evolved for their defense pathways. A cmr operon was identified with a specific promoter in a thermophilic archaean, Caldivirga maquilingensis. Overall, we concluded that knowledge-based genomic survey and phylogeny-based functional assignment have suggested for designing a reliable genetic regulatory circuit naturally from CRISPR-CAS systems, acquired defense pathways, to thermophiles in future synthetic biology.

  13. Life History Variation in Invading Applesnails (Pomacea canaliculata) May Pose Ecological Threats to Wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marfurt, R. K.; Boland, B. B.; Burks, R. L.

    2005-05-01

    In native habitats, channeled applesnails (Pomacea canaliculata) graze periphyton. However, casual observations from introduced populations suggest these invaders show variation in feeding ecology, predator response and life history strategies. Attempts to predict this consumer influence on ecosystem function suffer from a lack of basic data. We tested how salinity affected snail mortality. Both adults and hatchlings tolerated salinity levels up to 8 ppt. Adult feeding on lettuce increased significantly at 8 ppt compared to 0 ppt (p = 0.002), while hatchling consumption of algae did not vary (p = 0.284). To see how these consumers responded to predators from the invaded ecosystem, we tested behavioural responses to predatory cues from fish, turtles, crayfish and adult applesnails. Results indicated that fish and crayfish prompted similar predator-avoidance behaviors in hatchlings (p's < 0.05) and that hatchling response changed over time. Consumption rates of juvenile redear sunfish did not vary (x2, p > 0.05) between native (ramshorn) and exotic applesnails, whereas adult fish consumed more applesnails (x2, p < 0.001). Our current efforts focus on examining if predator presence or macrophyte choice alters applesnail feeding rates. Research providing insight into the basic ecology of applesnails can foster management efforts at the ecosystem scale.

  14. Curvilinear effects of invasive plants on plant diversity: plant community invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shan-Shan; Dai, Zhi-Cong; Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants.

  15. Clonal integration facilitates the colonization of drought environments by plant invaders

    PubMed Central

    Lechuga-Lago, Yaiza; Sixto-Ruiz, Marta; Roiloa, Sergio R.; González, Luís

    2016-01-01

    Biological invasion represents one of the main threats for biodiversity conservation at the global scale. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the process of biological invasions is a crucial objective in the prediction of scenarios of future invasions and the mitigation of their impacts. In this sense, some plant attributes might better explain the success of invasive plant species than others. Recently, clonal growth has been identified as an attribute that could contribute to the invasiveness of plants. In this experiment, we aim to determine the effect of physiological integration (one of the most striking attributes associated with clonal growth) in the performance (at morphological and physiological levels) of the aggressive invader Carpobrotus edulis, when occupying stressful environments. To achieve this objective we performed a greenhouse experiment in which apical ramets of C. edulis were water-stressed and the connection with the basal ramets was either left intact (physiological integration is allowed) or severed (physiological integration is impeded). Our results show that clonal integration allowed apical ramets to buffer drought stress in terms of photochemical activity, and as a consequence, to increase their growth in comparison with severed apical ramets. Interestingly, this increase in biomass was mainly due to the production of aboveground structures, increasing the spread along the soil surface, and consequently having important implications for the colonization success of new environments by this aggressive invader. PMID:27154623

  16. Pseudomonas aeruginosa Activates PKC-Alpha to Invade Middle Ear Epithelial Cells

    PubMed Central

    Mittal, Rahul; Grati, M’hamed; Yan, Denise; Liu, Xue Z.

    2016-01-01

    Otitis media (OM) is a group of complex inflammatory disorders affecting the middle ear which can be acute or chronic. Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) is a form of chronic OM characterized by tympanic membrane perforation and discharge. Despite the significant impact of CSOM on human population, it is still an understudied and unexplored research area. CSOM is a leading cause of hearing loss and life-threatening central nervous system complications. Bacterial exposure especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most common cause of CSOM. Our previous studies have demonstrated that P. aeruginosa invades human middle ear epithelial cells (HMEECs). However, molecular mechanisms leading to bacterial invasion of HMEECs are not known. The aim of this study is to characterize the role of PKC pathway in the ability of P. aeruginosa to colonize HMEECs. We observed that otopathogenic P. aeruginosa activates the PKC pathway, specifically phosphorylation of PKC-alpha (PKC-α) in HMEECs. The ability of otopathogenic P. aeruginosa to phosphorylate PKC-α depends on bacterial OprF expression. The activation of PKC-α was associated with actin condensation. Blocking the PKC pathway attenuated the ability of bacteria to invade HMEECs and subsequent actin condensation. This study, for the first time, demonstrates that the host PKC-α pathway is involved in invasion of HMEECs by P. aeruginosa and subsequently to cause OM. Characterizing the role of the host signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of CSOM will provide novel avenues to design effective treatment modalities against the disease. PMID:26973629

  17. Aerial arthropod communities of native and invaded forests, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile.

    PubMed

    Hagen, Erin N; Bakker, Jonathan D; Gara, Robert I

    2010-08-01

    Invasive species significantly contribute to biological change and threaten biodiversity, with a growing body of evidence that plant invasions affect higher trophic levels. We explored the relative importance of plant invasion and forest structure on aerial arthropod abundance, diversity, and composition on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile. We used flight intercept traps to sample aerial arthropods within distinct canopy strata of native and invaded forests over 3-mo periods in 2006 and 2007. Arthropod abundance and diversity were higher in native than invaded forest, and arthropod communities were distinct between forest types. In both forest types, arthropod abundance was highest in the lower canopy, and canopy strata exhibited some differences in arthropod community composition. Several morphospecies were distinctly associated with each forest type. The strong differences in aerial arthropod communities associated with the invasion of native forest by non-native plants may affect other trophic levels, such as insectivorous birds. Steps to stop invasive plant spread and to restore native forest composition and structure are needed to safeguard the integrity of native communities, from plants to higher-level consumers.

  18. Curvilinear Effects of Invasive Plants on Plant Diversity: Plant Community Invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata

    PubMed Central

    Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants. PMID:25426856

  19. Mya arenaria — an ancient invader of the North Sea coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strasser, Matthias

    1998-09-01

    Mya arenaria currently occupies a wide geographical range in the northern hemisphere, on both coasts of the Atlantic as well as on the Pacific east coast. Some authors claim it also occurs on the Pacific west coast. The species originated in the Pacific during the Miocene and was already present on both Atlantic coasts in the Pliocene. However, it died out on the east coasts of the Pacific and the Atlantic during glaciation of the Pleistocene. With the aid of man it was reintroduced to the North Sea some 400-700 years ago and to the East Pacific last century. In the 1960s it was also introduced to the Black Sea. M. arenaria invaded new habitats by different modes: (1) natural range expansion (2) intentional as plantings, (3) unintentional as a ballast species and (4) unintentional as a byproduct of oyster transplants. Properties that may favor its wide range of distribution and invading success are: high fecundity; planktonic dispersal stages and life stages that lend itself to unintentional transport by humans; a broad spectrum of habitat and food preference; tolerance of a wide range of environmental conditions such as salinity and temperature; longevity, and perhaps relatively large size.

  20. Curvilinear effects of invasive plants on plant diversity: plant community invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata.

    PubMed

    Qi, Shan-Shan; Dai, Zhi-Cong; Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants. PMID:25426856

  1. Invasion Expansion: Time since introduction best predicts global ranges of marine invaders

    PubMed Central

    Byers, James E.; Smith, Rachel S.; Pringle, James M.; Clark, Graeme F.; Gribben, Paul E.; Hewitt, Chad L.; Inglis, Graeme J.; Johnston, Emma L.; Ruiz, Gregory M.; Stachowicz, John J.; Bishop, Melanie J.

    2015-01-01

    Strategies for managing biological invasions are often based on the premise that characteristics of invading species and the invaded environment are key predictors of the invader’s distribution. Yet, for either biological traits or environmental characteristics to explain distribution, adequate time must have elapsed for species to spread to all potential habitats. We compiled and analyzed a database of natural history and ecological traits of 138 coastal marine invertebrate species, the environmental conditions at sites to which they have been introduced, and their date of first introduction. We found that time since introduction explained the largest fraction (20%) of the variability in non-native range size, while traits of the species and environmental variables had significant, but minimal, influence on non-native range size. The positive relationship between time since introduction and range size indicates that non-native marine invertebrate species are not at equilibrium and are still spreading, posing a major challenge for management of coastal ecosystems. PMID:26227803

  2. Integrating novel chemical weapons and evolutionarily increased competitive ability in success of a tropical invader.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Yu-Long; Feng, Yu-Long; Zhang, Li-Kun; Callaway, Ragan M; Valiente-Banuet, Alfonso; Luo, Du-Qiang; Liao, Zhi-Yong; Lei, Yan-Bao; Barclay, Gregor F; Silva-Pereyra, Carlos

    2015-02-01

    The evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis and the novel weapons hypothesis (NWH) are two non-mutually exclusive mechanisms for exotic plant invasions, but few studies have simultaneously tested these hypotheses. Here we aimed to integrate them in the context of Chromolaena odorata invasion. We conducted two common garden experiments in order to test the EICA hypothesis, and two laboratory experiments in order to test the NWH. In common conditions, C. odorata plants from the nonnative range were better competitors but not larger than plants from the native range, either with or without the experimental manipulation of consumers. Chromolaena odorata plants from the nonnative range were more poorly defended against aboveground herbivores but better defended against soil-borne enemies. Chromolaena odorata plants from the nonnative range produced more odoratin (Eupatorium) (a unique compound of C. odorata with both allelopathic and defensive activities) and elicited stronger allelopathic effects on species native to China, the nonnative range of the invader, than on natives of Mexico, the native range of the invader. Our results suggest that invasive plants may evolve increased competitive ability after being introduced by increasing the production of novel allelochemicals, potentially in response to naïve competitors and new enemy regimes. PMID:25367824

  3. Invaders do not require high resource levels to maintain physiological advantages in a temperate deciduous forest.

    PubMed

    Heberling, J Mason; Fridley, Jason D

    2016-04-01

    Non-native, invasive plants are commonly typified by trait strategies associated with high resource demands and plant invasions are often thought to be dependent upon site resource availability or disturbance. However, the invasion of shade-tolerant woody species into deciduous forests of the Eastern United States seems to contradict such generalization, as growth in this ecosystem is strongly constrained by light and, secondarily, nutrient stress. In a factorial manipulation of light and soil nitrogen availability, we established an experimental resource gradient in a secondary deciduous forest to test whether three common, woody, invasive species displayed increased metabolic performance and biomass production compared to six co-occurring woody native species, and whether these predicted differences depend upon resource supply. Using hierarchical Bayesian models of photosynthesis that included leaf trait effects, we found that invasive species exhibited functional strategies associated with higher rates of carbon gain. Further, invader metabolic and growth-related attributes were more responsive to increasing light availability than those of natives, but did not fall below average native responses even in low light. Surprisingly, neither group showed direct trait or growth responses to soil N additions. However, invasive species showed increased photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiencies with decreasing N availability, while that of natives remained constant. Although invader advantage over natives was amplified in higher resource conditions in this forest, our results indicate that some invasive species can maintain physiological advantages over co-occurring natives regardless of resource conditions.

  4. Rheopathologic Consequence of Plasmodium vivax Rosette Formation.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Rou; Lee, Wenn-Chyau; Lau, Yee-Ling; Albrecht, Letusa; Lopes, Stefanie C P; Costa, Fabio T M; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Nosten, Francois; Cooke, Brian M; Rénia, Laurent; Russell, Bruce

    2016-08-01

    Malaria parasites dramatically alter the rheological properties of infected red blood cells. In the case of Plasmodium vivax, the parasite rapidly decreases the shear elastic modulus of the invaded RBC, enabling it to avoid splenic clearance. This study highlights correlation between rosette formation and altered membrane deformability of P. vivax-infected erythrocytes, where the rosette-forming infected erythrocytes are significantly more rigid than their non-rosetting counterparts. The adhesion of normocytes to the PvIRBC is strong (mean binding force of 440pN) resulting in stable rosette formation even under high physiological shear flow stress. Rosetting may contribute to the sequestration of PvIRBC schizonts in the host microvasculature or spleen. PMID:27509168

  5. Rheopathologic Consequence of Plasmodium vivax Rosette Formation

    PubMed Central

    Lau, Yee-Ling; Albrecht, Letusa; Lopes, Stefanie C. P.; Costa, Fabio T. M.; Suwanarusk, Rossarin; Nosten, Francois; Cooke, Brian M.; Rénia, Laurent; Russell, Bruce

    2016-01-01

    Malaria parasites dramatically alter the rheological properties of infected red blood cells. In the case of Plasmodium vivax, the parasite rapidly decreases the shear elastic modulus of the invaded RBC, enabling it to avoid splenic clearance. This study highlights correlation between rosette formation and altered membrane deformability of P. vivax-infected erythrocytes, where the rosette-forming infected erythrocytes are significantly more rigid than their non-rosetting counterparts. The adhesion of normocytes to the PvIRBC is strong (mean binding force of 440pN) resulting in stable rosette formation even under high physiological shear flow stress. Rosetting may contribute to the sequestration of PvIRBC schizonts in the host microvasculature or spleen. PMID:27509168

  6. Novel image processing approach to detect malaria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mas, David; Ferrer, Belen; Cojoc, Dan; Finaurini, Sara; Mico, Vicente; Garcia, Javier; Zalevsky, Zeev

    2015-09-01

    In this paper we present a novel image processing algorithm providing good preliminary capabilities for in vitro detection of malaria. The proposed concept is based upon analysis of the temporal variation of each pixel. Changes in dark pixels mean that inter cellular activity happened, indicating the presence of the malaria parasite inside the cell. Preliminary experimental results involving analysis of red blood cells being either healthy or infected with malaria parasites, validated the potential benefit of the proposed numerical approach.

  7. RED-LETTER DAYS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The word "red-letter" is an adjective meaning "of special significance." It's origin is from the practice of marking Christian holy days in red letters on calendars. The "red-letter days" to which I refer occurred while I was a graduate student of ...

  8. Red blood cell production

    MedlinePlus

    ... cells are an important element of blood. Their job is to transport oxygen to the body’s tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide, which is carried to and eliminated by the lungs. Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow of bones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts ...

  9. The enemy of my enemy is my friend: intraguild predation between invaders and natives facilitates coexistence with shared invasive prey.

    PubMed

    MacNeil, Calum; Dick, Jaimie T A

    2014-08-01

    Understanding and predicting the outcomes of biological invasions is challenging where multiple invader and native species interact. We hypothesize that antagonistic interactions between invaders and natives could divert their impact on subsequent invasive species, thus facilitating coexistence. From field data, we found that, when existing together in freshwater sites, the native amphipod Gammarus duebeni celticus and a previous invader G. pulex appear to facilitate the establishment of a second invader, their shared prey Crangonyx pseudogracilis. Indeed, the latter species was rarely found at sites where each Gammarus species was present on its own. Experiments indicated that this may be the result of G. d. celticus and G. pulex engaging in more intraguild predation (IGP) than cannibalism; when the 'enemy' of either Gammarus species was present, that is, the other Gammarus species, C. pseudogracilis significantly more often escaped predation. Thus, the presence of mutual enemies and the stronger inter- than intraspecific interactions they engage in can facilitate other invaders. With some invasive species such as C. pseudogracilis having no known detrimental effects on native species, and indeed having some positive ecological effects, we also conclude that some invasions could promote biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

  10. Rapid detection of drug-resistant mutations in hepatitis B virus by the PCR-Invader assay.

    PubMed

    Tadokoro, Kenichi; Suzuki, Fumitaka; Kobayashi, Mariko; Yamaguchi, Toshikazu; Nagano, Makoto; Egashira, Toru; Kumada, Hiromitsu

    2011-01-01

    Early detection of resistant mutations of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is important for patients on nucleos(t)ide analog therapy. An assay based on the PCR-Invader technology was developed to detect resistant mutations with high sensitivity. The assay specifically detects mutations at codons 180, 181, 184, 202, 204, and 250 of the HBV polymerase reverse transcriptase domain. These mutations result in resistance to lamivudine and entecavir. In mixtures of plasmids containing wild-type and resistant mutants, fold-over-zero values for resistant mutations were detected in 2% of the total. Seventy-five serum samples from patients, whose treatment had been switched from lamivudine to entecavir, were examined by the PCR-Invader assay and direct sequencing. The PCR-Invader assay detected all resistant mutations that were detected by direct sequencing and even detected the presence of mutants that direct sequencing could not. Cloning sequencing confirmed those mutations found by the PCR-Invader assay and not by direct sequencing. The PCR-Invader assay is a useful tool for the early detection of drug-resistant mutations. PMID:20950650

  11. Invaded grassland communities have altered stability-maintenance mechanisms but equal stability compared to native communities.

    PubMed

    Wilsey, Brian J; Daneshgar, Pedram P; Hofmockel, Kirsten; Polley, H Wayne

    2014-01-01

    Theory predicts that stability should increase with diversity via several mechanisms. We tested predictions in a 5-year experiment that compared low-diversity exotic to high-diversity native plant mixtures under two irrigation treatments. The study included both wet and dry years. Variation in biomass across years (CV) was 50% lower in mixtures than monocultures of both native and exotic species. Growth among species was more asynchronous and overyielding values were greater during and after a drought in native than exotic mixtures. Mean-variance slopes indicated strong portfolio effects in both community types, but the intercept was higher for exotics than for natives, suggesting that exotics were inherently more variable than native species. However, this failed to result in higher CV's in exotic communities because species that heavily dominated plots tended to have lower than expected variance. Results indicate that diversity-stability mechanisms are altered in invaded systems compared to native ones they replaced. PMID:24325664

  12. Chemical warfare among invaders: a detoxification interaction facilitates an ant invasion.

    PubMed

    Lebrun, Edward G; Jones, Nathan T; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2014-02-28

    As tawny crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) invade the southern United States, they often displace imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). After exposure to S. invicta venom, N. fulva applies abdominal exocrine gland secretions to its cuticle. Bioassays reveal that these secretions detoxify S. invicta venom. Further, formic acid from N. fulva venom is the detoxifying agent. N. fulva exhibits this detoxification behavior after conflict with a variety of ant species; however, it expresses it most intensely after interactions with S. invicta. This behavior may have evolved in their shared South American native range. The capacity to detoxify a major competitor's venom probably contributes substantially to its ability to displace S. invicta populations, making this behavior a causative agent in the ecological transformation of regional arthropod assemblages. PMID:24526314

  13. Transferring automation for large-scale development and production of Invader SNP assays

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neri, Bruce P.; Ganske, R.; Isaczyszyn, W.; Beaty, Edward L.

    2000-03-01

    The Human Genome Project has led to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs can act as genetic markers to create high- density maps of the human genome for large-scale genetic analysis for evaluating links between genetic mutations and human diseases and for performing association studies. To create those maps, assays capable of detecting many different SNPs must be developed rapidly, as additional SNPs are discovered. When both the design of and the technology used in the assays can be partially or fully automated, the development process and the time to results can be accomplished quickly and efficiently. InvaderTM technology offers a highly sensitive signal amplification system that detects and quantifies mutations and SNPs from unamplified human genomic DNA in two sequential steps.

  14. [Effectiveness of cambendazole (Bonlam paste) in sheep invaded by tramatodes (Dicrocoelium dendriticum)].

    PubMed

    Corba, J; Andrasko, H; Stoffa, P; Legény, J; Krupicer, I; Hazlinský, M

    1978-08-01

    Tests were performed to examine the effectiveness of a new form of cambendazole (Bonlam paste, produced by MSD, USA) in sheep, naturally invaded by the trematodes Dicrocoelium dendriticum. Single administration of 25 mg per 1 kg live weight induced a rapid decrease in the number of the excreted eggs of D. dendriticum, as counted during ovoscopic examination seven, ten, and fifteen days after administration of the chemical. The intenseffectiveness of the preparation, determined post mortem, was 95.1%. Despite this, several dicrocoelia with normal motility and with no changes on the cuticle or internal organs were found in all the animals dissected. The animals tolerated the treatment with no signs of side-effects.

  15. [Effectiveness of oxyclozanide in cattle naturally invaded by Liorchis scotiae trematoda].

    PubMed

    Corba, J; Pacenovský, J; Krupicer, I; Breza, M; Popovic, S; Reisz, T

    1976-01-01

    The paper reports on the results of the clinical tests for the effectiveness of oxyclozanide pure substance (produced by ICI, U.K.) in cattle naturally invaded by the paramphistomata Liorchis scotiae. Helminthological dissection, performed 21 days after a single application of 15 mg oxyclozanide per 1 kg 1. w., revealed 87.5% intenseffectiveness on sexually mature paramphistomata on 85% intenseffectiveness on juvenile paramphistomata. The extenseffectiveness of the chemical was equal to zero. The coprological examinations performed for the three weeks in one-week intervals after therapy showed a decline in the number of produced eggs. The animals were given the medicated feed containing oxyclozanide only after preceding starvation. The chemical did not produce any unfavourable side effects or signs.

  16. Invaded grassland communities have altered stability-maintenance mechanisms but equal stability compared to native communities.

    PubMed

    Wilsey, Brian J; Daneshgar, Pedram P; Hofmockel, Kirsten; Polley, H Wayne

    2014-01-01

    Theory predicts that stability should increase with diversity via several mechanisms. We tested predictions in a 5-year experiment that compared low-diversity exotic to high-diversity native plant mixtures under two irrigation treatments. The study included both wet and dry years. Variation in biomass across years (CV) was 50% lower in mixtures than monocultures of both native and exotic species. Growth among species was more asynchronous and overyielding values were greater during and after a drought in native than exotic mixtures. Mean-variance slopes indicated strong portfolio effects in both community types, but the intercept was higher for exotics than for natives, suggesting that exotics were inherently more variable than native species. However, this failed to result in higher CV's in exotic communities because species that heavily dominated plots tended to have lower than expected variance. Results indicate that diversity-stability mechanisms are altered in invaded systems compared to native ones they replaced.

  17. The Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei) Invades Hawaii: Preliminary Investigations on Trap Response and Alternate Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Messing, Russell H.

    2012-01-01

    In August 2010 the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, was first reported to have invaded the Kona coffee growing region of Hawaii, posing a severe economic challenge to the fourth largest agricultural commodity in the State. Despite its long and widespread occurrence throughout the tropics as the most serious pest of coffee, there are still discrepancies in the literature regarding several basic aspects of berry borer biology relevant to its control. In Kona coffee plantations, we investigated the beetles’ response to several trap and lure formulations, and examined the occurrence of beetles in seeds of alternate host plants occurring adjacent to coffee farms. While traps were shown to capture significant numbers of beetles per day, and the occurrence of beetles in alternate hosts was quite rare, the unique situation of coffee culture in Hawaii will make this pest extremely challenging to manage in the Islands. PMID:26466620

  18. Linking Native and Invader Traits Explains Native Spider Population Responses to Plant Invasion.

    PubMed

    Smith, Jennifer N; Emlen, Douglas J; Pearson, Dean E

    2016-01-01

    Theoretically, the functional traits of native species should determine how natives respond to invader-driven changes. To explore this idea, we simulated a large-scale plant invasion using dead spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) stems to determine if native spiders' web-building behaviors could explain differences in spider population responses to structural changes arising from C. stoebe invasion. After two years, irregular web-spiders were >30 times more abundant and orb weavers were >23 times more abundant on simulated invasion plots compared to controls. Additionally, irregular web-spiders on simulated invasion plots built webs that were 4.4 times larger and 5.0 times more likely to capture prey, leading to >2-fold increases in recruitment. Orb-weavers showed no differences in web size or prey captures between treatments. Web-spider responses to simulated invasion mimicked patterns following natural invasions, confirming that C. stoebe's architecture is likely the primary attribute driving native spider responses to these invasions. Differences in spider responses were attributable to differences in web construction behaviors relative to historic web substrate constraints. Orb-weavers in this system constructed webs between multiple plants, so they were limited by the overall quantity of native substrates but not by the architecture of individual native plant species. Irregular web-spiders built their webs within individual plants and were greatly constrained by the diminutive architecture of native plant substrates, so they were limited both by quantity and quality of native substrates. Evaluating native species traits in the context of invader-driven change can explain invasion outcomes and help to identify factors limiting native populations. PMID:27082240

  19. A generic risk-based surveying method for invading plant pathogens.

    PubMed

    Parnell, S; Gottwald, T R; Riley, T; van den Bosch, F

    2014-06-01

    Invasive plant pathogens are increasing with international trade and travel, with damaging environmental and economic consequences. Recent examples include tree diseases such as sudden oak death in the Western United States and ash dieback in Europe. To control an invading pathogen it is crucial that newly infected sites are quickly detected so that measures can be implemented to control the epidemic. However, since sampling resources are often limited, not all locations can be inspected and locations must be prioritized for surveying. Existing approaches to achieve this are often species specific and rely on detailed data collection and parameterization, which is difficult, especially when new arrivals are unanticipated. Consequently regulatory sampling responses are often ad hoc and developed without due consideration of epidemiology, leading to the suboptimal deployment of expensive sampling resources. We introduce a flexible risk-based sampling method that is pathogen generic and enables available information to be utilized to develop epidemiologically informed sampling programs for virtually any biologically relevant plant pathogen. By targeting risk we aim to inform sampling schemes that identify high-impact locations that can be subsequently treated in order to reduce inoculum in the landscape. This "damage limitation" is often the initial management objective following the first discovery of a new invader. Risk at each location is determined by the product of the basic reproductive number (R0), as a measure of local epidemic size, and the probability of infection. We illustrate how the risk estimates can be used to prioritize a survey by weighting a random sample so that the highest-risk locations have the highest probability of selection. We demonstrate and test the method using a high-quality spatially and temporally resolved data set on Huanglongbing disease (HLB) in Florida, USA. We show that even when available epidemiological information is relatively

  20. Listeria monocytogenes Invades the Epithelial Junctions at Sites of Cell Extrusion

    PubMed Central

    Pentecost, Mickey; Otto, Glen

    2006-01-01

    Listeria monocytogenes causes invasive disease by crossing the intestinal epithelial barrier. This process depends on the interaction between the bacterial surface protein Internalin A and the host protein E-cadherin, located below the epithelial tight junctions at the lateral cell-to-cell contacts. We used polarized MDCK cells as a model epithelium to determine how L. monocytogenes breaches the tight junctions to gain access to this basolateral receptor protein. We determined that L. monocytogenes does not actively disrupt the tight junctions, but finds E-cadherin at a morphologically distinct subset of intercellular junctions. We identified these sites as naturally occurring regions where single senescent cells are expelled and detached from the epithelium by extrusion. The surrounding cells reorganize to form a multicellular junction that maintains epithelial continuity. We found that E-cadherin is transiently exposed to the lumenal surface at multicellular junctions during and after cell extrusion, and that L. monocytogenes takes advantage of junctional remodeling to adhere to and subsequently invade the epithelium. In intact epithelial monolayers, an anti-E-cadherin antibody specifically decorates multicellular junctions and blocks L. monocytogenes adhesion. Furthermore, an L. monocytogenes mutant in the Internalin A gene is completely deficient in attachment to the epithelial apical surface and is unable to invade. We hypothesized that L. monocytogenes utilizes analogous extrusion sites for epithelial invasion in vivo. By infecting rabbit ileal loops, we found that the junctions at the cell extrusion zone of villus tips are the specific target for L. monocytogenes adhesion and invasion. Thus, L. monocytogenes exploits the dynamic nature of epithelial renewal and junctional remodeling to breach the intestinal barrier. PMID:16446782

  1. The Anomalous Diffusion of a Tumor Invading with Different Surrounding Tissues

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Chongming; Cui, Chunyan; Li, Li; Shao, Yuanzhi

    2014-01-01

    We simulated the invasion of a proliferating, diffusing tumor within different surrounding tissue conditions using a hybrid mathematical model. The in silico invasion of a tumor was addressed systematically for the first time within the framework of a generalized diffusion theory. Our results reveal that a tumor not only migrates using typical Fickian diffusion, but also migrates more generally using subdiffusion, superdiffusion, and even ballistic diffusion, with increasing mobility of the tumor cell when haptotaxis and chemotaxis toward the host tissue surrounding the proliferative tumor are involved. Five functional terms were included in the hybrid model and their effects on a tumor's invasion were investigated quantitatively: haptotaxis toward the extracellular matrix tissue that is degraded by matrix metalloproteinases; chemotaxis toward nutrients; cell-cell adhesion; the proliferation of the tumor; and the immune response toward the tumor. Haptotaxis and chemotaxis, which are initiated by extracellular matrix and nutrient supply (i.e., glucose) respectively, as well as cell-cell adhesions all drastically affect a tumor's diffusion mode when a tumor invades its surrounding host tissue and proliferates. We verified the in silico invasive behavior of a tumor by analyzing experimental data gathered from the in vitro culturing of different tumor cells and clinical imaging observations that used the same approach as was used to process the simulation data. The different migration modes of a tumor suggested by the simulations generally conform to the results observed in cell cultures and in clinical imaging. Our study not only discloses some migration modes of a tumor that proliferates and invades under different host tissues conditions, but also provides a heuristic method to characterize the invasion of a tumor in clinical medical imaging analysis. PMID:25310134

  2. Linking Native and Invader Traits Explains Native Spider Population Responses to Plant Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Emlen, Douglas J.; Pearson, Dean E.

    2016-01-01

    Theoretically, the functional traits of native species should determine how natives respond to invader-driven changes. To explore this idea, we simulated a large-scale plant invasion using dead spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) stems to determine if native spiders’ web-building behaviors could explain differences in spider population responses to structural changes arising from C. stoebe invasion. After two years, irregular web-spiders were >30 times more abundant and orb weavers were >23 times more abundant on simulated invasion plots compared to controls. Additionally, irregular web-spiders on simulated invasion plots built webs that were 4.4 times larger and 5.0 times more likely to capture prey, leading to >2-fold increases in recruitment. Orb-weavers showed no differences in web size or prey captures between treatments. Web-spider responses to simulated invasion mimicked patterns following natural invasions, confirming that C. stoebe’s architecture is likely the primary attribute driving native spider responses to these invasions. Differences in spider responses were attributable to differences in web construction behaviors relative to historic web substrate constraints. Orb-weavers in this system constructed webs between multiple plants, so they were limited by the overall quantity of native substrates but not by the architecture of individual native plant species. Irregular web-spiders built their webs within individual plants and were greatly constrained by the diminutive architecture of native plant substrates, so they were limited both by quantity and quality of native substrates. Evaluating native species traits in the context of invader-driven change can explain invasion outcomes and help to identify factors limiting native populations. PMID:27082240

  3. Grassland invaders and their mycorrhizal symbionts: a study across climate and invasion gradients.

    PubMed

    Bunn, Rebecca A; Lekberg, Ylva; Gallagher, Christopher; Rosendahl, Søren; Ramsey, Philip W

    2014-03-01

    Controlled experiments show that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can increase competitiveness of exotic plants, potentially increasing invasion success. We surveyed AMF abundance and community composition in Centaurea stoebe and Potentilla recta invasions in the western USA to assess whether patterns were consistent with mycorrhizal-mediated invasions. We asked whether (1) AMF abundance and community composition differ between native and exotic forbs, (2) associations between native plants and AMF shift with invading exotic plants, and (3) AMF abundance and/or community composition differ in areas where exotic plants are highly invasive and in areas where they are not. We collected soil and roots from invaded and native forb communities along invasion gradients and in regions with different invasion densities. We used AMF root colonization as a measure of AMF abundance and characterized AMF communities in roots using 454-sequencing of the LSU-rDNA region. All plants were highly colonized (>60%), but exotic forbs tended to be more colonized than natives (P < 0.001). We identified 30 AMF operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across sites, and community composition was best predicted by abiotic factors (soil texture, pH). Two OTUs in the genera Glomus and Rhizophagus dominated in most communities, and their dominance increased with invasion density (r = 0.57, P = 0.010), while overall OTU richness decreased with invasion density (r = -0.61, P = 0.006). Samples along P. recta invasion gradients revealed small and reciprocal shifts in AMF communities with >45% fungal OTUs shared between neighboring native and P. recta plants. Overall, we observed significant, but modest, differences in AMF colonization and communities between co-occurring exotic and native forbs and among exotic forbs across regions that differ in invasion pressure. While experimental manipulations are required to assess functional consequences, the observed patterns are not consistent with those

  4. Linking Native and Invader Traits Explains Native Spider Population Responses to Plant Invasion.

    PubMed

    Smith, Jennifer N; Emlen, Douglas J; Pearson, Dean E

    2016-01-01

    Theoretically, the functional traits of native species should determine how natives respond to invader-driven changes. To explore this idea, we simulated a large-scale plant invasion using dead spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) stems to determine if native spiders' web-building behaviors could explain differences in spider population responses to structural changes arising from C. stoebe invasion. After two years, irregular web-spiders were >30 times more abundant and orb weavers were >23 times more abundant on simulated invasion plots compared to controls. Additionally, irregular web-spiders on simulated invasion plots built webs that were 4.4 times larger and 5.0 times more likely to capture prey, leading to >2-fold increases in recruitment. Orb-weavers showed no differences in web size or prey captures between treatments. Web-spider responses to simulated invasion mimicked patterns following natural invasions, confirming that C. stoebe's architecture is likely the primary attribute driving native spider responses to these invasions. Differences in spider responses were attributable to differences in web construction behaviors relative to historic web substrate constraints. Orb-weavers in this system constructed webs between multiple plants, so they were limited by the overall quantity of native substrates but not by the architecture of individual native plant species. Irregular web-spiders built their webs within individual plants and were greatly constrained by the diminutive architecture of native plant substrates, so they were limited both by quantity and quality of native substrates. Evaluating native species traits in the context of invader-driven change can explain invasion outcomes and help to identify factors limiting native populations.

  5. Oceanographic Conditions Limit the Spread of a Marine Invader along Southern African Shores.

    PubMed

    Assis, Jorge; Zupan, Mirta; Nicastro, Katy R; Zardi, Gerardo I; McQuaid, Christopher D; Serrão, Ester A

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species can affect the function and structure of natural ecological communities, hence understanding and predicting their potential for spreading is a major ecological challenge. Once established in a new region, the spread of invasive species is largely controlled by their dispersal capacity, local environmental conditions and species interactions. The mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis is native to the Mediterranean and is the most successful marine invader in southern Africa. Its distribution there has expanded rapidly and extensively since the 1970s, however, over the last decade its spread has ceased. In this study, we coupled broad scale field surveys, Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) and Lagrangian Particle Simulations (LPS) to assess the current invaded distribution of M. galloprovincialis in southern Africa and to evaluate what prevents further spread of this species. Results showed that all environmentally suitable habitats in southern Africa have been occupied by the species. This includes rocky shores between Rocky Point in Namibia and East London in South Africa (approx. 2800 km) and these limits coincide with the steep transitions between cool-temperate and subtropical-warmer climates, on both west and southeast African coasts. On the west coast, simulations of drifting larvae almost entirely followed the northward and offshore direction of the Benguela current, creating a clear dispersal barrier by advecting larvae away from the coast. On the southeast coast, nearshore currents give larvae the potential to move eastwards, against the prevalent Agulhas current and beyond the present distributional limit, however environmental conditions prevent the establishment of the species. The transition between the cooler and warmer water regimes is therefore the main factor limiting the northern spread on the southeast coast; however, biotic interactions with native fauna may also play an important role. PMID:26114766

  6. Grassland invaders and their mycorrhizal symbionts: a study across climate and invasion gradients

    PubMed Central

    Bunn, Rebecca A; Lekberg, Ylva; Gallagher, Christopher; Rosendahl, Søren; Ramsey, Philip W

    2014-01-01

    Controlled experiments show that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can increase competitiveness of exotic plants, potentially increasing invasion success. We surveyed AMF abundance and community composition in Centaurea stoebe and Potentilla recta invasions in the western USA to assess whether patterns were consistent with mycorrhizal-mediated invasions. We asked whether (1) AMF abundance and community composition differ between native and exotic forbs, (2) associations between native plants and AMF shift with invading exotic plants, and (3) AMF abundance and/or community composition differ in areas where exotic plants are highly invasive and in areas where they are not. We collected soil and roots from invaded and native forb communities along invasion gradients and in regions with different invasion densities. We used AMF root colonization as a measure of AMF abundance and characterized AMF communities in roots using 454-sequencing of the LSU-rDNA region. All plants were highly colonized (>60%), but exotic forbs tended to be more colonized than natives (P < 0.001). We identified 30 AMF operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across sites, and community composition was best predicted by abiotic factors (soil texture, pH). Two OTUs in the genera Glomus and Rhizophagus dominated in most communities, and their dominance increased with invasion density (r = 0.57, P = 0.010), while overall OTU richness decreased with invasion density (r = −0.61, P = 0.006). Samples along P. recta invasion gradients revealed small and reciprocal shifts in AMF communities with >45% fungal OTUs shared between neighboring native and P. recta plants. Overall, we observed significant, but modest, differences in AMF colonization and communities between co-occurring exotic and native forbs and among exotic forbs across regions that differ in invasion pressure. While experimental manipulations are required to assess functional consequences, the observed patterns are not consistent with those

  7. Oceanographic Conditions Limit the Spread of a Marine Invader along Southern African Shores

    PubMed Central

    Nicastro, Katy R.; Zardi, Gerardo I.; McQuaid, Christopher D.; Serrão, Ester A.

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species can affect the function and structure of natural ecological communities, hence understanding and predicting their potential for spreading is a major ecological challenge. Once established in a new region, the spread of invasive species is largely controlled by their dispersal capacity, local environmental conditions and species interactions. The mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis is native to the Mediterranean and is the most successful marine invader in southern Africa. Its distribution there has expanded rapidly and extensively since the 1970s, however, over the last decade its spread has ceased. In this study, we coupled broad scale field surveys, Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) and Lagrangian Particle Simulations (LPS) to assess the current invaded distribution of M. galloprovincialis in southern Africa and to evaluate what prevents further spread of this species. Results showed that all environmentally suitable habitats in southern Africa have been occupied by the species. This includes rocky shores between Rocky Point in Namibia and East London in South Africa (approx. 2800 km) and these limits coincide with the steep transitions between cool-temperate and subtropical-warmer climates, on both west and southeast African coasts. On the west coast, simulations of drifting larvae almost entirely followed the northward and offshore direction of the Benguela current, creating a clear dispersal barrier by advecting larvae away from the coast. On the southeast coast, nearshore currents give larvae the potential to move eastwards, against the prevalent Agulhas current and beyond the present distributional limit, however environmental conditions prevent the establishment of the species. The transition between the cooler and warmer water regimes is therefore the main factor limiting the northern spread on the southeast coast; however, biotic interactions with native fauna may also play an important role. PMID:26114766

  8. Differences in ecological structure, function, and native species abundance between native and invaded Hawaiian streams.

    PubMed

    Holitzki, Tara M; MacKenzie, Richard A; Wiegner, Tracy N; McDermid, Karla J

    2013-09-01

    Poeciliids, one of the most invasive species worldwide, are found on almost every continent and have been identified as an "invasive species of concern" in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Despite their global prevalence, few studies have quantified their impacts on tropical stream ecosystem structure, function, and biodiversity. Utilizing Hawaiian streams as model ecosystems, we documented how ecological structure, function, and native species abundance differed between poeciliid-free and poeciliid-invaded tropical streams. Stream nutrient yields, benthic biofilm biomass, densities of macroinvertebrates and fish, and community structures of benthic algae, macroinvertebrates, and fish were compared between streams with and without established poeciliid populations on the island of Hawai'i, Hawaii, USA. Sum nitrate (sigmaNO3(-) = NO3(-) + NO2(-)), total nitrogen, and total organic carbon yields were eight times, six times, and five times higher, respectively, in poeciliid streams than in poeciliid-free streams. Benthic biofilm ash-free dry mass was 1.5x higher in poeciliid streams than in poeciliid-free streams. Percentage contributions of chironomids and hydroptilid caddisflies to macroinvertebrate densities were lower in poeciliid streams compared to poeciliid-free streams, while percentage contributions of Cheumatopsyche analis caddisflies, Dugesia sp. flatworms, and oligochaetes were higher. Additionally, mean densities of native gobies were two times lower in poeciliid streams than in poeciliid-free ones, with poeciliid densities being approximately eight times higher than native fish densities. Our results, coupled with the wide distribution of invasive poeciliids across Hawaii and elsewhere in the tropics, suggest that poeciliids may negatively impact the ecosystem structure, function, and native species abundance of tropical streams they invade. This underscores the need for increased public awareness to prevent future introductions and for

  9. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

    M El Bakkouri; A Pow; A Mulichak; K Cheung; J Artz; M Amani; S Fell; T de Koning-Ward; C Goodman; et al.

    2011-12-31

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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 x