[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eukaryotes High Mobility Group Box (HMGB) proteins are nuclear factors involved in chromatin remodelling and transcription regulation. When released into the extracellular milieu, HMGB1 acts as a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a central role in the pathogenesis of several immune mediated inflammatory diseases. We found that the Plasmodium genome encodes two genuine HMGB factors, Plasmodium HMGB1 and HMGB2 that encompass, as their human counterparts, a pro-inflammatory domain. Given that these proteins are released from parasitized red blood cells, we then hypothesized that Plasmodium HMGB might contribute to the pathogenesis of experimental cerebral malaria, a lethal neuroinflammatory syndrome that develops in C57BL/6-susceptible-mice infected with P. berghei ANKA and that resembles in many aspects human cerebral malaria elicited by P. falciparum infection. The pathogenesis of experimental cerebral malaria was suppressed in C57BL/6 mice infected with PbANKA lacking the hmgb2 gene (Δhmgb2 PbANKA), an effect associated with reduction of histological brain lesions and with lower expression of several pro-inflammatory genes. Incidence of ECM in pbhmgb2 deficient mice was restored by the administration of recombinant PbHMGB2. Protection from experimental cerebral malaria in Δhmgb2 PbANKA-infected mice was associated with reduced sequestration in the brain of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells including CD8+ Granzyme B and CD8+ IFNγ+ cells, and to some extent neutrophils. This was consistent with a reduced parasite sequestration in the brain, lungs and spleen even though to a lesser extent when compared to wild-type PbANKA-infected mice. In summary, Plasmodium HMGB2 acts as an alarmin that contributes to the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria.
Infection and Immunity 07/2015; 83(7):IAI.03129-14. DOI:10.1128/IAI.03129-14 · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, initially multiplies inside liver cells and then in successive cycles inside erythrocytes, causing the symptoms of the disease. In this review, we discuss interactions between the extracellular and intracellular forms of the Plasmodium parasite and innate immune cells in the mammalian host, with a special emphasis on mononuclear phagocytes. We overview here what is known about the innate immune cells that interact with parasites, mechanisms used by the parasite to evade them, and the protective or detrimental contribution of these interactions on parasite progression through its life cycle and pathology in the host.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium spp., which cause malaria, produce a histamine releasing factor (HRF), an orthologue of mammalian HRF. HRF produced by erythrocytic stages of the parasite is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Here, we show in a rodent model that HRF is not important during the erythrocytic but pre-erythrocytic phase of infection, which mainly consists in the transformation in the liver of the mosquito-injected parasite form into the erythrocyte-infecting form. Development of P. berghei ANKA cl15cy1 liver stages lacking HRF is impaired and associated with an early rise in systemic IL-6, a cytokine that strongly suppresses development of Plasmodium liver stages. The defect is rescued by injection of anti-IL-6 antibodies or infection in IL-6-deficient mice and parasite HRF is sufficient to decrease IL-6 synthesis, indicating a direct role of parasite HRF in reducing host IL-6. The target cells modulated by HRF for IL-6 production at early time points during liver infection are neutrophils. Parasite HRF is thus used to down-regulate a cytokine with anti-parasite activity. Our data also highlight the link between a prolonged transition from liver to blood-stage infection and reduced incidence of experimental cerebral malaria (ECM).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The malaria parasite, Plasmodium, requires iron for growth, but how it imports iron remains unknown. We characterize here a protein that belongs to the ZIP (Zrt-, Irt-like Protein) family of metal ion transport proteins and have named ZIP domain-containing protein (ZIPCO). Inactivation of the ZIPCO-encoding gene in Plasmodium berghei, while not affecting the parasite's ability to multiply in mouse blood and to infect mosquitoes, greatly impairs its capacity to develop inside hepatocytes. Iron/zinc supplementation and depletion experiments suggest that ZIPCO is required for parasite utilization of iron and possibly zinc, consistent with its predicted function as a metal transporter. This is the first report of a ZIP protein having a crucial role in Plasmodium liver-stage development, as well as the first metal ion transporter identified in Plasmodium pre-erythrocytic stages. Because of the drastic dependence on iron of Plasmodium growth, ZIPCO and related proteins might constitute attractive drug targets to fight against malaria.
EMBO Molecular Medicine 09/2014; 6(11). DOI:10.15252/emmm.201403868 · 8.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium parasites express a potent inhibitor of cysteine proteases (ICP) throughout their life cycle. To analyze the role of ICP in different life cycle stages, we generated a stage-specific knockout of the Plasmodium berghei ICP (PbICP). Excision of the pbicb gene occurred in infective sporozoites and resulted in impaired sporozoite invasion of hepatocytes, despite residual PbICP protein being detectable in sporozoites. The vast majority of these parasites invading a cultured hepatocyte cell line did not develop to mature liver stages, but the few that successfully developed hepatic merozoites were able to initiate a blood stage infection in mice. These blood stage parasites, now completely lacking PbICP, exhibited an attenuated phenotype but were able to infect mosquitoes and develop to the oocyst stage. However, PbICP-negative sporozoites liberated from oocysts exhibited defective motility and invaded mosquito salivary glands in low numbers. They were also unable to invade hepatocytes, confirming that control of cysteine protease activity is of critical importance for sporozoites. Importantly, transfection of PbICP-knockout parasites with a pbicp-gfp construct fully reversed these defects. Taken together, in P. berghei this inhibitor of the ICP family is essential for sporozoite motility but also appears to play a role during parasite development in hepatocytes and erythrocytes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malarial infection is initiated when the sporozoite form of the Plasmodium parasite is inoculated into the skin by a mosquito. Sporozoites invade hepatocytes in the liver and develop into the erythrocyte-infecting form of the parasite, the cause of clinical blood infection. Protection against parasite development in the liver can be induced by injection of live attenuated parasites that do not develop in the liver and thus do not cause blood infection. Radiation-attenuated sporozoites (RAS) and genetically attenuated parasites are now considered as lead candidates for vaccination of humans against malaria. Although the skin appears as the preferable administration route, most studies in rodents, which have served as model systems, have been performed after i.v. injection of attenuated sporozoites. In this study, we analyzed the early response to Plasmodium berghei RAS or wild-type sporozoites (WTS) injected intradermally into C57BL/6 mice. We show that RAS have a similar in vivo distribution to WTS and that both induce a similar inflammatory response consisting of a biphasic recruitment of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes in the skin injection site and proximal draining lymph node (dLN). Both WTS and RAS associate with neutrophils and resident myeloid cells in the skin and the dLN, transform inside CD11b(+) cells, and induce a Th1 cytokine profile in the dLN. WTS and RAS are also similarly capable of priming parasite-specific CD8(+) T cells. These studies delineate the early and local response to sporozoite injection into the skin, and suggest that WTS and RAS prime the host immune system in a similar fashion.
The Journal of Immunology 06/2014; 193(4). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1302669 · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcium is a key signalling molecule in apicomplexan parasites and plays an important role in diverse processes including gliding motility. Gliding is essential for the malaria parasite to migrate from the skin to the liver as well as to invade host tissues and cells. Here we investigated the dynamics of intracellular Ca2+ in the motility of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites by live imaging and flow cytometry. We found that cytosolic levels of Ca2+ increase when sporozoites are activated in suspension, which is sufficient to induce the secretion of integrin-like adhesins that are essential for gliding motility. By increasing intracellular Ca2+ levels artificially with an ionophore, these adhesins are secreted onto the sporozoite surface, however, the parasite is not capable of gliding. A second level of Ca2+ modulation was observed during attachment to and detachment from a solid substrate, leading to a further increase or a decrease in the cytoplasmic levels of Ca2+ respectively. We also observed oscillations in the intracellular Ca2+ level during gliding. Finally, an intracellular Ca2+ chelator, an inhibitor of phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC), and an inhibitor of the inositol triphosphate (IP3) receptor blocked the rise in intracellular Ca2+, adhesin secretion, and motility of activated sporozoites, indicating that intracellular stores supply Ca2+ during sporozoite gliding. Our study indicates that a rise in intracellular Ca2+ is necessary but not sufficient to activate gliding, that Ca2+ levels are modulated in several ways during motility, and that a PI-PLC/IP3 pathway regulates Ca2+ release during the process of sporozoite locomotion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Yeasts are largely used as bioreactors for vaccine production. Usually, antigens are produced in yeast then purified and mixed with adjuvants before immunization. However, the purification costs and the safety concerns recently raised by the use of new adjuvants argue for alternative strategies. To this end, the use of whole yeast as both production and delivery system appears attractive. Here, we evaluated Pichia pastoris yeast as an alternative vaccine production and delivery system for the circumsporozoite protein (CS) of Plasmodium, the etiologic agent of malaria. The CS protein from Plasmodium berghei (Pb) was selected given the availability of the stringent C57Bl/6 mouse model of infection by Pb sporozoites, allowing the evaluation of vaccine efficacy in vivo. PbCS was multimerized by fusion to the measles virus (MV) nucleoprotein (N) known to auto-assemble in yeast in large-size ribonucleoprotein rods (RNPs). Expressed in P. pastoris, the N-PbCS protein generated highly multimeric and heterogenic RNPs bearing PbCS on their surface. Electron microscopy and immunofluorescence analyses revealed the shape of these RNPs and their localization in peripheral cytoplasmic inclusions. Subcutaneous immunization of C57Bl/6 mice with heat-inactivated whole P. pastoris expressing N-PbCS RNPs provided significant reduction of parasitemia after intradermal challenge with a high dose of parasites. Thus, in the absence of accessory adjuvants, a very low amount of PbCS expressed in whole yeast significantly decreased clinical damages associated with Pb infection in a highly stringent challenge model, providing a proof of concept of the intrinsic adjuvancy of this vaccine strategy. In addition to PbCS multimerization, the N protein contributed by itself to parasitemia delay and long-term mice survival. In the future, mixtures of whole recombinant yeasts expressing relevant Plasmodium antigens would provide a multivalent formulation applicable for antigen combination screening and possibly for large-scale production, distribution and delivery of a malaria vaccine in developing countries.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86658. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0086658 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apicomplexans are eukaryotic parasites of major medical and veterinary importance. They have complex life cycles through frequently more than one host, interact with many cell types in their hosts, and can breach host cell membranes during parasite traversal of, or egress from, host cells. Some of these parasites make a strikingly heavy use of the pore-forming MACPF domain, and encode up to 10 different MACPF domain-containing proteins. In this chapter, we focus on the two most studied and medically important apicomplexans, Plasmodium and Toxoplasma, and describe the known functions of their MACPF polypeptide arsenal. Apicomplexan MACPF proteins appear to be involved in a variety of membrane-damaging events, making them an attractive model to dissect the structure-function relationships of the MACPF domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apicomplexan parasites invade host cells by forming a ring-like junction with the cell surface and actively sliding through the junction inside an intracellular vacuole. Apical membrane antigen 1 is conserved in apicomplexans and a long-standing malaria vaccine candidate. It is considered to have multiple important roles during host cell penetration, primarily in structuring the junction by interacting with the rhoptry neck 2 protein and transducing the force generated by the parasite motor during internalization. Here, we generate Plasmodium sporozoites and merozoites and Toxoplasma tachyzoites lacking apical membrane antigen 1, and find that the latter two are impaired in host cell attachment but the three display normal host cell penetration through the junction. Therefore, apical membrane antigen 1, rather than an essential invasin, is a dispensable adhesin of apicomplexan zoites. These genetic data have implications on the use of apical membrane antigen 1 or the apical membrane antigen 1-rhoptry neck 2 interaction as targets of intervention strategies against malaria or other diseases caused by apicomplexans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In their mammalian host, Plasmodium parasites have two obligatory intracellular development phases, first in hepatocytes and subsequently in erythrocytes. Both involve an orchestrated process of invasion into and egress from host cells. The Plasmodium SUB1 protease plays a dual role at the blood-stage by enabling egress of the progeny merozoites from the infected erythrocyte and priming merozoites for subsequent erythrocyte invasion. Here, using conditional mutagenesis in P. berghei, we show that SUB1 plays an essential role at the hepatic stage. Stage-specific sub1 invalidation during pre-hepatocytic development showed that SUB1-deficient parasites failed to rupture the parasitophorous vacuole membrane and to egress hepatocytes. Furthermore, mechanically released parasites were not adequately primed and failed to establish a blood-stage infection in vivo. The critical involvement of SUB1 in both pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic developmental phases qualifies SUB1 as an attractive multi-stage target for prophylactic and therapeutic anti-Plasmodium intervention strategies.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2013; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M113.513234 · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria, which is caused by Plasmodium spp., starts with an asymptomatic phase, during which sporozoites, the parasite form that is injected into the skin by a mosquito, develop into merozoites, the form that infects erythrocytes. This pre-erythrocytic phase is still the most enigmatic in the parasite life cycle, but has long been recognized as an attractive vaccination target. In this Review, we present what has been learned in recent years about the natural history of the pre-erythrocytic stages, mainly using intravital imaging in rodents. We also consider how this new knowledge is in turn changing our understanding of the immune response mounted by the host against the pre-erythrocytic forms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium sporozoites are able to migrate through host cells by breaching their plasma membrane and gliding inside their cytoplasm. This migratory activity, called cell traversal (CT), was studied in vivo mainly using mutant sporozoites lacking the ability to wound host cells, and thus to perform CT. However, direct evidence of CT activity in host tissues by wild-type sporozoites remains scarce. Here, we describe a double-wounding assay to dynamically image CT activity in vivo and monitor cell membrane integrity over time. Based on the incorporation kinetics of a first live cell-impermeant dye, propidium iodide, we could determine whether traversed cells repair or not their wounded membranes. A second impermeant dye, SYTOX green, was used to confirm the transient or the permanent loss of membrane integrity of traversed cells. This assay allowed, for the first time, the direct observation of sporozoites wounding and traversing host skin cells and showed that, while some traversed cells resealed their membrane, most became irreversibly permeable to these live cell-impermeant dyes. In combination with the study of CT-deficient sporozoites and the use of specific host cell markers, this intravital assay will provide the means to identify the nature of the cells traversed by sporozoites and will thus contribute to elucidating the role of CT by apicomplexan parasites in the vertebrate host.
Parasitology International 07/2013; 63(1). DOI:10.1016/j.parint.2013.07.009 · 2.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD8(+) T cells are specialized cells of the adaptive immune system capable of finding and eliminating pathogen-infected cells. To date it has not been possible to observe the destruction of any pathogen by CD8(+) T cells in vivo. Here we demonstrate a technique for imaging the killing of liver-stage malaria parasites by CD8(+) T cells bearing a transgenic T cell receptor specific for a parasite epitope. We report several features that have not been described by in vitro analysis of the process, chiefly the formation of large clusters of effector CD8(+) T cells around infected hepatocytes. The formation of clusters requires antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells and signaling by G protein-coupled receptors, although CD8(+) T cells of unrelated specificity are also recruited to clusters. By combining mathematical modeling and data analysis, we suggest that formation of clusters is mainly driven by enhanced recruitment of T cells into larger clusters. We further show various death phenotypes of the parasite, which typically follow prolonged interactions between infected hepatocytes and CD8(+) T cells. These findings stress the need for intravital imaging for dissecting the fine mechanisms of pathogen recognition and killing by CD8(+) T cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2013; 110(22). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1303858110 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria infection starts when the sporozoite stage of the Plasmodium parasite is injected into the skin by a mosquito. Sporozoites are known to traverse host cells before finally invading a hepatocyte and multiplying into erythrocyte-infecting forms, but how sporozoites reach hepatocytes in the liver and the role of host cell traversal (CT) remain unclear. We report the first quantitative imaging study of sporozoite liver infection in rodents. We show that sporozoites can cross the liver sinusoidal barrier by multiple mechanisms, targeting Kupffer cells (KC) or endothelial cells and associated or not with the parasite CT activity. We also show that the primary role of CT is to inhibit sporozoite clearance by KC during locomotion inside the sinusoid lumen, before crossing the barrier. By being involved in multiple steps of the sporozoite journey from the skin to the final hepatocyte, the parasite proteins mediating host CT emerge as ideal antibody targets for vaccination against the parasite.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 04/2013; 210(5). DOI:10.1084/jem.20121130 · 13.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sporozoites, the stage of Plasmodium infectious to vertebrates when injected in the skin by a mosquito vector, are highly motile cells. Their unusual form of gliding motility is essential for infectivity, allowing the parasite to travel through both the mosquito and mammalian hosts, invading different cell types and escaping immune cell-mediated death. In this chapter, we describe techniques to study gliding motility of sporozoites in vitro and in vivo.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intravital fluorescence microscopy is an invaluable tool to study a dynamic phenomenon through its direct observation in living organisms. This technique can combine qualitative and quantitative analysis and has been capital to address long-standing questions about Plasmodium biology. Beyond a descriptive view of the parasite life cycle, the possibility to image infection in transgenic animals in which a specific cell type, molecule or process is labeled opens new possibilities to study host cell-parasite interactions in cellular and molecular details. An additional layer of refinement can be achieved with the use of fluorescent knockout mutants (parasite, mice, or both) to dissect the molecular basis of the process of interest. Here, we present a basic protocol for imaging the sporozoite behavior in the liver, emphasizing the detection of the sporozoite's ability to traverse host cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The liver stage is the first stage of the malaria parasite that replicates in the vertebrate host. However, little is known about the interplay between the parasite liver stage and its host cell, the hepatocyte. In this study, we identified an exported protein that has a critical role in parasite development in host hepatocytes. Expressed sequence tag analysis of Plasmodium berghei liver-stage parasites indicated that transcripts encoding a protein with an N-terminal signal peptide, designated liver-specific protein 2 (LISP2), are highly expressed in this stage. Expression of LISP2 was first observed 24 h after infection and rapidly increased during the liver-stage schizogony. Immunofluorescent staining with anti-LSP2 antibodies showed that LISP2 was carried to the parasitophorous vacuole and subsequently transported to the cytoplasm and nucleus of host hepatocytes. Gene targeting experiments demonstrated that majority of the LISP2-mutant liver-stage parasites arrested their development during formation of merozoites. These results indicate that exported LISP2 is involved in parasite-host interactions required for the development of liver-stage parasites inside hepatocytes. This study demonstrated that mid-to-late liver-stage malarial parasites have a system for exporting proteins to the host cell as intraerythrocytic stages do and presumably to use the proteins to modify the host cell and improve the environment.