Malaria elimination is still pending on the development of novel tools that rely on a deep understanding of parasite biology. Proteins of all living cells undergo a myriad number of posttranslational modifications (PTMs) that are critical to multifarious life processes. An extensive proteome-wide dissection revealed a fine PTM map of most proteins in both Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of severe malaria, and the infected red blood cells.
The pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria is related to the ability of parasite‑infected erythrocytes (IEs) to adhere to the vascular endothelium (cytoadhesion/sequestration) or to surrounding uninfected erythrocytes (rosetting). Both processes are mediated by the expression of members of the clonally variant PfEMP1 parasite protein family on the surface of the IEs. Recent evidence obtained with laboratory-adapted clones indicates that P. falciparum can exploit human serum factors, such as IgM and α2-macroglobulin (α2M), to increase the avidity of PfEMP1-mediated binding to erythrocyte receptors, as well as to evade host PfEMP1-specific immune responses. It has remained unclear whether PfEMP1 variants present in field isolates share these characteristics, and whether they are associated with clinical malaria severity. These issues were investigated here.
The microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained thin and/or thick blood films (Giemsa microscopy) is the standard method of malaria diagnosis. However, the results of the diagnosis significantly depend on the skills of clinical technicians. Furthermore, sample preparation and analysis are laborious and time-consuming. Therefore, in this study, we investigated if a commercially available fluorescent cell counter, LUNA-FL, was useful for the detection of Plasmodium parasite and the estimation of parasitemia.
The intra-erythrocytic development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum depends on the uptake of a number of essential nutrients from the host cell and blood plasma. It is widely recognized that the parasite imports low molecular weight solutes from the plasma and the consumption of these nutrients by P. falciparum has been extensively analysed. However, although it was already shown that the parasite also imports functional proteins from the vertebrate host, the internalization route through the different infected erythrocyte membranes has not yet been elucidated. In order to further understand the uptake mechanism, the study examined the trafficking of human plasminogen from the extracellular medium into P. falciparum-infected red blood cells.
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) evolved as a unique effector mechanism contributing to resistance against infection that can also promote tissue damage in inflammatory conditions. Malaria infection can trigger NET release, but the mechanisms and consequences of NET formation in this context remain poorly characterized.
Malaria in pregnancy causes maternal, fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, and maternal innate immune responses are implicated in pathogenesis of these complications. The effects of malaria exposure and obstetric and demographic factors on the early maternal immune response are poorly understood.
The ribosomal protein P2 of Plasmodium falciparum, (PfP2), performs certain unique extra-ribosomal functions. During the few hours of cell-division, PfP2 protein moves to the external surface of the infected erythrocytes (IE) as an SDS-resistant oligomer, and at that stage treatment with specific anti- PfP2 antibodies results in an arrest of the parasite cell-division.
Plasmodium falciparum is the causative agent of the deadliest human malaria. New molecules are needed that can specifically bind to erythrocytes that are infected with P. falciparum for diagnostic purposes, to disrupt host-parasite interactions, or to deliver chemotherapeutics. Aptamer technology has the potential to revolutionize biological diagnostics and therapeutics; however, broad adoption is hindered by the high failure rate of the systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). Here we performed parallel SELEX experiments to compare the impact of two different methods for single-strand recovery on the efficiency of aptamer enrichment.
Characterizing the adhesive dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes (IEs) to different endothelial cell receptors (ECRs) in flow is a big challenge considering available methods. This study investigated the adhesive dynamics of IEs to five ECRs (CD36, ICAM-1, P-selectin, CD9, CSA) using simulations of in vivo-like flow and febrile conditions.
In malaria, rosetting is described as a phenomenon where an infected erythrocyte (IRBC) is attached to uninfected erythrocytes (URBC). In some studies, rosetting has been associated with malaria pathogenesis. Here, we have identified a new type of rosetting. Using a step-by-step approach, we identified IGFBP7, a protein secreted by monocytes in response to parasite stimulation, as a rosette-stimulator for Plasmodium falciparum- and P. vivax-IRBC. IGFBP7-mediated rosette-stimulation was rapid yet reversible.