[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection with the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, is associated with a strong inflammatory response and parasite cytoadhesion (sequestration) in several organs. Here, we have carried out a systematic study of sequestration and histopathology during infection of C57Bl/6 mice with Plasmodium chabaudi AS and determined the influence of the immune response. This parasite sequesters predominantly in liver and lung, but not in the brain, kidney or gut. Histopathological changes occur in multiple organs during the acute infection, but are not restricted to the organs where sequestration takes place. Adaptive immunity, and signaling through the IFNγ receptor increased sequestration and histopathology in the liver, but not in the lung, suggesting that there are differences in the adhesion molecules and/or parasite ligands utilized and mechanisms of pathogenesis in these two organs. Exacerbation of pro-inflammatory responses during infection by deletion of the il10 gene results in the aggravation of damage to lung and kidney irrespective of the degree of sequestration. The immune response therefore affected both sequestration and histopathology in an organ-specific manner. P. chabaudi AS provides a good model to investigate the influence of the host response on the sequestration and specific organ pathology, which is applicable to human malaria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi shares many features with human malaria species, including P. falciparum, and is the in vivo model of choice for many aspects of malaria research in the mammalian host, from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes, to antigenic variation and host immunity and immunopathology. This protocol describes an optimized method for the transformation of mature blood-stage P.c. chabaudi and a description of a vector that targets efficient, single crossover integration into the P.c. chabaudi genome. Transformed lines are reproducibly generated and selected within 14-20 d, and show stable long-term protein expression even in the absence of drug selection. This protocol, therefore, provides the scientific community with a robust and reproducible method to generate transformed P.c. chabaudi parasites expressing fluorescent, bioluminescent and model antigens that can be used in vivo to dissect many of the fundamental principles of malaria infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Plasmodium Cysteine Repeat Modular Proteins (PCRMP) are a family of four conserved proteins of malaria parasites, that contain a number of motifs implicated in host-parasite interactions. Analysis of mutants of the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei lacking expression of PCRMP1 or 2 showed that these proteins are essential for targeting of P. berghei sporozoites to the mosquito salivary gland and, hence, for transmission from the mosquito to the mouse.
In this work, the role of the remaining PCRMP family members, PCRMP3 and 4, has been investigated throughout the Plasmodium life cycle by generation and analysis of P. berghei gene deletion mutants, Δpcrmp3 and Δpcrmp4. The role of PCRMP members during the transmission and hepatic stages of the Plasmodium lifecycle has been evaluated by light- and electron microscopy and by analysis of liver stage development in HEPG2 cells in vitro and by infecting mice with mutant sporozoites. In addition, mice were immunized with live Δpcrmp3 and Δpcrmp4 sporozoites to evaluate their immunization potential as a genetically-attenuated parasite-based vaccine.
Disruption of pcrmp3 and pcrmp4 in P. berghei revealed that they are also essential for transmission of the parasite through the mosquito vector, although acting in a distinct way to pbcrmp1 and 2. Mutants lacking expression of PCRMP3 or PCRMP4 show normal blood stage development and oocyst formation in the mosquito and develop into morphologically normal sporozoites, but these have a defect in egress from oocysts and do not enter the salivary glands. Sporozoites extracted from oocysts perform gliding motility and invade and infect hepatocytes but do not undergo further development and proliferation. Furthermore, the study shows that immunization with Δcrmp3 and Δcrmp4 sporozoites does not confer protective immunity upon subsequent challenge.
PCRMP3 and 4 play multiple roles during the Plasmodium life cycle; they are essential for the establishment of sporozoite infection in the mosquito salivary gland, and subsequently for development in hepatocytes. However, although Δpcrmp3 and Δpcrmp4 parasites are completely growth-impaired in the liver, immunization with live sporozoites does not induce the protective immune responses that have been shown for other genetically-attenuated parasites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the relationship between hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor populations has been investigated extensively under steady-state conditions, the dynamic response of the hematopoietic compartment during acute infection is largely unknown. Here we show that after infection of mice with Plasmodium chabaudi, a c-Kit(hi) progenitor subset positive for interleukin 7 receptor-alpha (IL-7Ralpha) emerged that had both lymphoid and myeloid potential in vitro. After being transferred into uninfected alymphoid or malaria-infected hosts, IL-7Ralpha(+)c-Kit(hi) progenitors generated mainly myeloid cells that contributed to the clearance of infected erythrocytes in infected hosts. The generation of these infection-induced progenitors was critically dependent on interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) signaling in hematopoietic progenitors. Thus, IFN-gamma is a key modulator of hematopoiesis and innate and adaptive immunity during acute malaria infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Host responses controlling blood-stage malaria include both innate and acquired immune effector mechanisms. During Plasmodium chabaudi infection in mice, a population of CD11b(high)Ly6C(+) monocytes are generated in bone marrow, most of which depend on the chemokine receptor CCR2 for migration from bone marrow to the spleen. In the absence of this receptor mice harbor higher parasitemias. Most importantly, splenic CD11b(high)Ly6C(+) cells from P chabaudi-infected wild-type mice significantly reduce acute-stage parasitemia in CCR2(-/-) mice. The CD11b(high)Ly6C(+) cells in this malaria infection display effector functions such as production of inducible nitric oxide synthase and reactive oxygen intermediates, and phagocytose P chabaudi parasites in vitro, and in a proportion of the cells, in vivo in the spleen, suggesting possible mechanisms of parasite killing. In contrast to monocyte-derived dendritic cells, CD11b(high)Ly6C(+) cells isolated from malaria-infected mice express low levels of major histocompatibility complex II and have limited ability to present the P chabaudi antigen, merozoite surface protein-1, to specific T-cell receptor transgenic CD4 T cells and fail to activate these T cells. We propose that these monocytes, which are rapidly produced in the bone marrow as part of the early defense mechanism against invading pathogens, are important for controlling blood-stage malaria parasites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi has proven of great value in the analysis of fundamental aspects of host-parasite-vector interactions implicated in disease pathology and parasite evolutionary ecology. However, the lack of gene modification technologies for this model has precluded more direct functional studies.
The development of in vitro culture methods to yield P. chabaudi schizonts for transfection and conditions for genetic modification of this rodent malaria model are reported.
Independent P. chabaudi gene-integrant lines that constitutively express high levels of green fluorescent protein throughout their life cycle have been generated.
Genetic modification of P. chabaudi is now possible. The production of genetically distinct reference lines offers substantial advances to our understanding of malaria parasite biology, especially interactions with the immune system during chronic infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunisation with live, radiation-attenuated sporozoites (RAS) or genetically attenuated sporozoites (GAS) of rodent plasmodial parasites protects against subsequent challenge infections. We recently showed that immunisation with Plasmodium berghei GAS that lack the microneme protein P36p protects mice for a period of up to 4 months. Here, we show that the period of full protection induced by p36p(-)-sporozoites lasts 12 and 18 months in C57Bl6 and BALB/c mice, respectively. Full protection is also achieved with three doses of only 1000 p36p(-) (but not RAS) sporozoites. Subcutaneous, intradermal or intramuscular routes of administration also lead to partial protection. In addition, immunisation with either P. berghei RAS- or, to a lesser extent, p36p(-)-sporozoites inhibits parasite intrahepatic development in mice challenged with Plasmodium yoelii sporozoites. Since naturally acquired malaria infections or subunit-based vaccines only induce short-term immune responses, the protection conferred by immunisation with p36p(-)-sporozoites described here further emphasises the potential of GAS as a vaccination strategy for malaria.
International Journal for Parasitology 12/2007; 37(13):1511-9. DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2007.05.005 · 3.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cysteine Repeat Modular Proteins (PCRMP1-4) of Plasmodium, are encoded by a small gene family that is conserved in malaria and other Apicomplexan parasites. They are very large, predicted surface proteins with multipass transmembrane domains containing motifs that are conserved within families of cysteine-rich, predicted surface proteins in a range of unicellular eukaryotes, and a unique combination of protein-binding motifs, including a >100 kDa cysteine-rich modular region, an epidermal growth factor-like domain and a Kringle domain. PCRMP1 and 2 are expressed in life cycle stages in both the mosquito and vertebrate. They colocalize with PfEMP1 (P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Antigen-1) during its export from P. falciparum blood-stage parasites and are exposed on the surface of haemolymph- and salivary gland-sporozoites in the mosquito, consistent with a role in host tissue targeting and invasion. Gene disruption of pcrmp1 and 2 in the rodent malaria model, P. berghei, demonstrated that both are essential for transmission of the parasite from the mosquito to the mouse and has established their discrete and important roles in sporozoite targeting to the mosquito salivary gland. The unprecedented expression pattern and structural features of the PCRMPs thus suggest a variety of roles mediating host-parasite interactions throughout the parasite life cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a mammalian cytokine that participates in innate and adaptive immune responses. Homologues of mammalian MIF have been discovered in parasite species infecting mammalian hosts (nematodes and malaria parasites), which suggests that the parasites express MIF to modulate the host immune response upon infection. Here we report the first biochemical and genetic characterization of a Plasmodium MIF (PMIF). Like human MIF, histidine-tagged purified recombinant PMIF shows tautomerase and oxidoreductase activities (although the activities are reduced compared to those of histidine-tagged human MIF) and efficiently inhibits AP-1 activity in human embryonic kidney cells. Furthermore, we found that Plasmodium berghei MIF is expressed in both a mammalian host and a mosquito vector and that, in blood stages, it is secreted into the infected erythrocytes and released upon schizont rupture. Mutant P. berghei parasites lacking PMIF were able to complete the entire life cycle and exhibited no significant changes in growth characteristics or virulence features during blood stage infection. However, rodent hosts infected with knockout parasites had significantly higher numbers of circulating reticulocytes. Our results suggest that PMIF is produced by the parasite to influence host immune responses and the course of anemia upon infection.
Infection and Immunity 04/2007; 75(3):1116-28. DOI:10.1128/IAI.00902-06 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensitive detection of parasite surface antigens expressed on erythrocyte membranes is necessary to further analyse the molecular pathology of malaria. This study describes a modified biotin labelling/osmotic lysis method which rapidly produces membrane extracts enriched for labelled surface antigens and also improves the efficiency of antigen recovery compared with traditional detergent extraction and surface radio-iodination. The method can also be used with ex-vivo parasites.
After surface labelling with biotin in the presence of the inhibitor furosemide, detergent extraction and osmotic lysis methods of enriching for the membrane fractions were compared to determine the efficiency of purification and recovery. Biotin-labelled proteins were identified on silver-stained SDS-polyacrylamide gels.
Detergent extraction and osmotic lysis were compared for their capacity to purify biotin-labelled Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium chabaudi erythrocyte surface antigens. The pellet fraction formed after osmotic lysis of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes is notably enriched in surface antigens, including PfEMP1, when compared to detergent extraction. There is also reduced co-extraction of host proteins such as spectrin and Band 3.
Biotinylation and osmotic lysis provides an improved method to label and purify parasitised erythrocyte surface antigen extracts from both in vitro and ex vivo Plasmodium parasite preparations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A gene encoding a 352 amino acid protein with a putative signal sequence, transmembrane domain and thrombospondin structural homology repeat was identified in the genome of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum and the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei. The protein localises in the apical organelles of P. falciparum and P. berghei merozoites within intraerythrocytic schizonts and has, therefore, been termed the Plasmodium thrombospondin-related apical merozoite protein (PTRAMP). PTRAMP co-localises with the Apical Merozoite Antigen-1 (AMA-1) in developing micronemes and subsequently relocates onto the merozoite surface. Although the gene appears to be specific to the Plasmodium genus, orthologues are present in the genomes of all malaria parasite species examined suggesting a conserved function in host-cell invasion. PTRAMP, therefore, has all the features to merit further evaluation as a malaria vaccine candidate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fertilization and zygote development are obligate features of the malaria parasite life cycle and occur during parasite transmission to mosquitoes. The surface protein PFS48/45 is expressed by male and female gametes of Plasmodium falciparum and PFS48/45 antibodies prevent zygote development and transmission. Here, gene disruption was used to show that Pfs48/45 and the ortholog Pbs48/45 from a rodent malaria parasite P. berghei play a conserved and important role in fertilization. p48/45- parasites had a reduced capacity to produce oocysts in mosquitoes due to greatly reduced zygote formation. Unexpectedly, only male gamete fertility of p48/45- parasites was affected, failing to penetrate otherwise fertile female gametes. P48/45 is shown to be a surface protein of malaria parasites with a demonstrable role in fertilization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genome of the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei, contains two sets of variant ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes, termed the A and S types, that are expressed predominantly during the vertebrate and mosquito stages of the parasite's development respectively. Using in situ hybridization, we have examined the transcriptional activity of the A- and S-type rRNA genes, and the switch in expression of the ribosome populations that occurs after parasite transmission to the mosquito. By detection of precursor rRNA molecules, we show that A-type rRNA transcription is downregulated throughout development in the mosquito, whereas the initiation of S-type rRNA transcription is linked to the proliferative phase of the oocyst. Mature A-type rRNA persists during development of the zygote into the ookinete/young oocyst. In contrast, mature S-type rRNA is first detectable in young oocysts and is subsequently present at high levels during further development of oocysts and sporozoites. These results demonstrate that the switch in transcription between the A- and S-type rRNA genes is developmentally regulated, taking place only as the parasite begins to proliferate in the mosquito. A-type ribosomes are therefore not only translationally active in the early stages of development in the mosquito, but are also crucial at this phase.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sexual differentiation is essential for the transmission of Plasmodium to mosquitoes and therefore, for the spread of malaria. The molecular mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation are poorly understood but may be elucidated by a detailed study of the regulation of expression of sexual stage specific genes. In the present work we describe the differential expression of the gene encoding the sexual stage specific protein, Pfs16. We have conducted a comparative analysis of pfs16 promoter activity, RNA levels and the rate of de novo protein synthesis during development of Plasmodium falciparum. Furthermore, we have determined the pattern of expression of pfs16 transcripts at the single cell level by in situ hybridisation. We show that the expression of pfs16 is induced immediately following the invasion of a red blood cell in sexually committed ring stage parasites and continues throughout gametocytogenesis and in macrogametes. The expression of pfs16 is regulated at the level of transcription initiation and modulated by a post-transcriptional process. These results demonstrate that the expression of the pfs16 gene is the earliest event in the sexual differentiation process of P. falciparum described to date.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The patterns of expression of ribosomal RNA and mRNA encoding the parasite surface antigen Pbs21 have been investigated during the sexual stages of development of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei, using the technique of non-radioactive in situ RNA hybridisation. An RNA probe complementary to a region of the small subunit of P. berghei ribosomal RNA hybridised to parasites at all stages of development in a smear of blood taken from mice infected with P. berghei. Messenger RNA encoding Pbs21, in contrast, was detected only within parasites committed to sexual development within the vertebrate host and, furthermore, was shown to be expressed in a sex-specific manner, exclusively within female gametocytes. At later stages of sexual development, Pbs21 mRNA was detected at high levels in female gametes and ookinetes. We have previously shown that Pbs21 protein is first detectable only after the initiation of gametogenesis which occurs following transmission to the insect vector. These results suggest, therefore, that post-transcriptional mechanisms operate to regulate the translation of Pbs21 mRNA as it accumulates during female gametocytogenesis.