The cold shock domain (CSD) forms the hallmark of the cold shock protein family that provides the characteristic feature of binding with nucleic acids. While much of the information is available on bacterial, plants and human cold shock proteins, their existence and functions in the malaria parasite remains undefined. In the present review, the available information on functions of well-characterized cold shock protein members in different organisms has been collected and an attempt was made to identify the presence and role of cold shock proteins in malaria parasite.
Malaria infection by Plasmodium falciparum continues to afflict millions of people worldwide, with transmission dependent upon mosquito ingestion of the parasite gametocyte stage. These sexually committed stages develop from the asexual stages, yet the factors behind this transition are not completely understood. Here we find that lactic acid increases gametocyte quantity and quality in P. falciparum culture.
PCR can be positive weeks after effective malaria treatment, potentially leading to over diagnose of recrudescence and re-infections. The DNA detected by PCR post-treatment might stem from residuals of destroyed asexual parasites, or from live gametocytes. The objective of this clinical observational study was to describe the presence of positive PCR for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax in follow-up samples post-treatment from returned travellers, and the proportion of positive PCR due to gametocytes.
Malaria transmission from humans to Anopheles mosquitoes requires the presence of gametocytes in human peripheral circulation, and the dynamics of transmission are determined largely by the density and sex ratio of the gametocytes. Molecular methods are thus employed to measure gametocyte densities, particularly when assessing transmission epidemiology and the efficacy of transmission-blocking interventions. However, accurate quantification of male and female gametocytes with molecular methods requires pure male and female gametocytes as reference standards, which are not widely available.
Plasmodium relapses are attributed to the activation of dormant liver-stage parasites and are responsible for a significant number of recurring malaria blood-stage infections.
A paper from Mali published last week is alarming (AA Djimbe et al., Parasite, 2016. 23, 3). Artesunate does not clear mature gametocytes during oral artesunate treatment and does not prevent the appearance of new gametocytes. This confirms to a large extent the randomized, double blind, large scale clinical trials of Munyanga and Idumbo in Maniema-Congo end of last year (see www.malariaworld.org).