Malaria is a serious infectious disease caused by unicellular eukaryotic parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Today more than 200 species exist , and whole-genome sequence data is available for around 22 species
CRISPR/Cas9 approaches are revolutionizing our ability to perform functional genomics across a wide range of organisms, including the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria. The ability to deliver single point mutations, epitope tags and gene deletions at increased speed and scale is enabling our understanding of the biology of these complex parasites, and pointing to potential new therapeutic targets. In this review, we describe some of the biological and technical considerations for designing CRISPR-based experiments, and discuss potential future developments that broaden the applications for CRISPR/Cas9 interrogation of the malaria parasite genome.
Malaria parasites face dynamically changing environments and strong selective constraints within human and mosquito hosts. To survive such hostile and shifting conditions, Plasmodium switches transcriptional programs during development and has evolved mechanisms to adjust its phenotype through heterogeneous patterns of gene expression. In vitro studies on culture-adapted isolates have served to set the link between chromatin structure and functional gene expression.
We describe this previously unreported association, hypothesize on the potential mechanism and review the literature on singultus and unusual presentations of Plasmodium infections.
Exploratory spatial analysis identified a number of potential malaria hotspots at all three sites. There is a considerable burden of submicroscopic and asymptomatic malaria in malarious regions in India, which may act as a reservoir with implications for malaria elimination strategies.
Patatin-like phospholipases (PNPLAs) are highly conserved enzymes of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms with major roles in lipid homeostasis. The genome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum encodes four putative PNPLAs with predicted functions during phospholipid degradation.
Plasmodium species feature only four to eight nuclear ribosomal units on different chromosomes, which are assumed to evolve independently according to a birth-and-death model, in which new variants originate by duplication and others are deleted throughout time. Moreover, distinct ribosomal units were shown to be expressed during different developmental stages in the vertebrate and mosquito hosts. Here, the 18S rDNA sequences of 32 species of avian haemosporidian parasites are reported and compared to those of simian and rodent Plasmodium species.
Studies of the association between malaria in pregnancy (MiP) and malaria during infancy have provided mixed results. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate available evidence on the impact of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection during pregnancy, and intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp), on the risk of clinical malaria or parasitaemia during infancy.
Parasite resistance against anti-malarial drugs is a major threat to the ongoing malaria control and elimination strategies.
HIV infection is associated with more frequent and severe episodes of malaria and may be the result of altered malaria-specific B cell responses. However, it is poorly understood how HIV and the associated lymphopenia and immune activation affect malaria-specific antibody responses.