Clinical immunity against malaria is slow to develop, poorly understood and strongly strain-specific. Understanding how strain-specific immunity develops and identifying the parasite antigens involved is crucial to developing effective vaccines against the disease. In previous experiments we have shown that strain-specific protective immunity (SSPI) exists between genetically distinct strains (cloned lines) of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi in mice [Cheesman, S., Raza, A., Carter, R., 2006. Mixed strain infections and strain-specific protective immunity in the rodent malaria parasite P. chabaudi chabaudi in mice. Infect. Immun. 74, 2996-3001]. In two subsequent studies, we identified the highly polymorphic Merozoite Surface Protein 1 (MSP-1) as being the principal candidate molecule for the control of SSPI against P. c. chabaudi malaria [Martinelli et al., 2005; Pattaradilokrat, S., Cheesman, S.J., Carter R., 2007. Linkage group selection: towards identifying genes controlling strain-specific protective immunity in malaria. PLoS ONE 2(9):e857]. In the present study, we sequenced the whole msp1 gene of several genetically distinct strains of P. chabaudi and found high levels of genetic diversity. Protein sequence alignments reveal extensive allelic polymorphism between the P. chabaudi strains, concentrated primarily within five regions of the protein. The 3'-end sequence region, encoding the C-terminal 21 kDa region (MSP-1(21)), which is analogous and homologous to MSP-1(19) of Plasmodium falciparum, appears to have been subject to balancing selection. We have found that the strains with the lowest sequence identity at MSP-1(21) (i.e. AS/CB and AJ/CB) induce robust and reciprocal SSPI in experimental mice. In contrast, two strains that do not induce reciprocal SSPI are identical at the 21 kDa region. Final identification of the region(s) controlling SSPI will provide important information to help guide decisions about MSP-1 based vaccines.
") than ama-1 (Pattaradilokrat et al., 2007). Our results suggest that MSP-1 19 amino acid sequence homology (Cheesman et al., 2009) and overall immune potency of competing clones might be used to predict the role of antibodies in competition during mixed-clone infections. For example, we would expect a slow-growing clone to 'lose' when in competition with a fast replicating clone with which it shares antigens. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Within-host competition among parasite genotypes affects epidemiology as well as the evolution of virulence. In the rodent malaria Plasmodium chabaudi, competition among genotypes, as well as clone-specific and clone-transcending immunity are well documented. However, variation among genotypes in the induction of antibodies is not well understood, despite the important role of antibodies in the clearance of malaria infection. Here, we quantify the potential for antibodies induced by one clone to bind another (i.e., to cause antibody-mediated apparent competition) for nine genetically distinct P. chabaudi clones. We hypothesised that clones would vary in the strength of antibody induction, and that the propensity for clone-transcending immunity between a pair of clones would increase with increasing genetic relatedness at key antigenic loci. Using serum collected from mice 35 days post-infection, we measured titres of antibody to an unrelated antigen, Keyhole Limpet Haemocyanin (KLH), and two malaria antigens: recombinant Apical-Membrane-Antigen-1 (AMA-1) and Merozoite-Surface-Protein-119 (MSP-119). Amino acid sequence homology within each antigenic locus was used as a measure of relatedness. We found significant parasite genetic variation for the strength of antibody induction. We also found that relatedness at MSP-119 but not AMA-1 predicted clone-transcending binding. Our results help explain the outcome of chronic-phase mixed infections and generate testable predictions about the pairwise competitive ability of P. chabaudi clones.
Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 09/2013; 20(100). DOI:10.1016/j.meegid.2013.09.013 · 3.02 Impact Factor
"Identifying the most important targets of immunity expressed by large and complex eukaryotic pathogens is difficult but can benefit from studies of pathogen genetics and evolution. Experimental blood-stage infection and challenge studies on genetically crossed rodent malaria parasites in mice have mapped important targets of parasite strain-specific immunity to the loci encoding merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) (Martinelli et al. 2005; Cheesman et al. 2009) and apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) (Pattaradilokrat et al. 2007), with results indicating there may be few other such important polymorphic targets in that experimental system. However, human malaria parasites such as Plasmodium falciparum encode many proteins that are not present in rodent malaria parasites, the importance of which must be largely investigated without genetic crossing and infection experiments, as a relatively inaccessible experimental primate model makes such approaches difficult (Hayton et al. 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Signatures of balancing selection operating on specific gene loci in endemic pathogens can identify candidate targets of naturally acquired immunity. In malaria parasites, several leading vaccine candidates convincingly show such signatures when subjected to several tests of neutrality, but the discovery of new targets affected by selection to a similar extent has been slow. A small minority of all genes are under such selection, as indicated by a recent study of 26 Plasmodium falciparum merozoite-stage genes that were not previously prioritized as vaccine candidates, of which only one (locus PF10_0348) showed a strong signature. Therefore, to focus discovery efforts on genes that are polymorphic, we scanned all available shotgun genome sequence data from laboratory lines of P. falciparum and chose six loci with more than five single nucleotide polymorphisms per kilobase (including PF10_0348) for in-depth frequency-based analyses in a Kenyan population (allele sample sizes >50 for each locus) and comparison of Hudson-Kreitman-Aguade (HKA) ratios of population diversity (π) to interspecific divergence (K) from the chimpanzee parasite Plasmodium reichenowi. Three of these (the msp3/6-like genes PF10_0348 and PF10_0355 and the surf(4.1) gene PFD1160w) showed exceptionally high positive values of Tajima's D and Fu and Li's F indices and have the highest HKA ratios, indicating that they are under balancing selection and should be prioritized for studies of their protein products as candidate targets of immunity. Combined with earlier results, there is now strong evidence that high HKA ratio (as well as the frequency-independent ratio of Watterson's /K) is predictive of high values of Tajima's D. Thus, the former offers value for use in genome-wide screening when numbers of genome sequences within a species are low or in combination with Tajima's D as a 2D test on large population genomic samples.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite many decades of research, no registered vaccine against the pathogenic blood stages of the malaria parasite exists, translating into the loss of many hundreds of thousands of young lives each year in tropical Africa. Although many parasite proteins have been shown to induce immune responses in the host, proof for their induction of protective immunity is still lacking. We previously reported a novel genetic approach called linkage group selection (LGS) for rapid identification of target antigens of strain-specific protective immunity (SSPI) against malaria. In preliminary LGS experiments, we crossed two genetically distinct strains of Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi and subjected their progeny to selection in strain-specifically immunised mice, measuring the effects of SSPI selection with low coverage/resolution genetic markers. In the present study, through application of high coverage/resolution, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers spanning all 14 parasite chromosomes, we analysed 35 SSPI selection events on different populations of progeny parasites. Here we report a comprehensive high resolution genome-wide analysis of the effects of strain-specific immune selection on blood stage parasites. Our analyses consistently identify a single genomic region spanning approximately 79kb on chromosome 8 as the region controlling SSPI. Within this region, one gene (that of merozoite surface protein 1, MSP-1) accounted for >60% of genetic polymorphism and was most frequently under greatest reduction under SSPI. These results, combined with those of an independent LGS analysis of a different genetic cross with different parental strains, demonstrate that more than any other locus, the gene for MSP-1 determines the effect of strain-specific protective immunity against malaria in these host-parasite combinations. Our results provide unique insight into the precise timing of the parasite killing immune response against progeny parasites carrying specific alleles of MSP-1; these findings pave the way for investigating which part(s) of this highly polymorphic molecule mediate the protective immune response.
International journal for parasitology 02/2010; 40(8):951-61. DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.02.003 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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