The Plasmodium sexual gametocyte stages are the only transmissible form of the malaria parasite and are thus responsible for the continued transmission of the disease. Gametocytes undergo extensive functional and morphological changes from commitment to maturity, directed by an equally extensive control program. However, the processes that drive the differentiation and development of the gametocyte post-commitment, remain largely unexplored. A previous study reported enrichment of H3K36 di- and tri-methylated (H3K36me2&3) histones in early-stage gametocytes. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing, we identify a stage-specific association between these repressive histone modifications and transcriptional reprogramming that define a stage II gametocyte transition point.
Male and female gametocytes are sexual precursor cells essential for mosquito transmission of malaria parasite. Differentiation of gametocytes into fertile gametes (known as gametogenesis) relies on the gender-specific transcription program. How the parasites establish distinct repertoires of transcription in the male and female gametocytes remains largely unknown.
The innate immune response against various life cycle stages of the malaria parasite plays an important role in protection against the disease and regulation of its severity. Phagocytosis of asexual erythrocytic stages is well documented, but little and contrasting results are available about phagocytic clearance of sexual stages, the gametocytes, which are responsible for the transmission of the parasites from humans to mosquitoes. Similarly, activation of host macrophages by gametocytes has not yet been carefully addressed.
Experimental studies for understanding the relationship between Plasmodium vivax and its vector hosts are difficult, because of to the lack of a long-term, in vitro continuous culture system unavailability of infected blood samples, seasonality of the disease, and the concentration of most cases in remote areas. This study evaluates the duration of the infectivity of P. vivax to Anopheles aquasalis after collecting blood from malaria-infected patients. Blood was collected from patients and stored at 4 ºC and 37 ºC. Every day, for 4 days, the blood was fed to An. aquasalis adult females, and a Giemsa-stained thick blood smear was mounted to account for sexual (gametocytes) and asexual (trophozoites and schizonts) stages and calculate parasitemia.
Transmission stemming from asymptomatic infections is increasingly being recognized as a threat to malaria elimination. In many regions, malaria transmission is seasonal. It is not well understood whether Plasmodium falciparum modulates its investment in transmission to coincide with seasonal vector abundance.
Multi-genotype malaria infections are frequent in endemic area, and people commonly harbour several genetically distinct Plasmodium falciparum variants. The influence of genetic multiplicity and whether some specific genetic variants are more or less likely to invest into gametocyte production is not clearly understood. This study explored host and parasite-related risk factors for gametocyte carriage, and the extent to which some specific P. falciparum genetic variants are associated with gametocyte carriage.
Plasmodium falciparum relies on gametocytogenesis to transmit from humans to mosquitoes. Gametocyte development 1 (Pfgdv1) is an upstream activator and epigenetic controller of gametocytogenesis. The emergence of drug resistance is a major public health concern and this requires the development of new strategies that target the transmission of malaria. As a putative drug target, Pfgdv1 has not been characterized to identify its polymorphisms and alleles under selection and how such polymorphisms influence protein structure.
Primaquine is an important gametocytocidal drug that is combined with conventional malaria treatment for prevention of Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission. Primaquine has been administered together on the first or the last day of conventional treatment but the impact of primaquine timing has never been examined. This study aimed to assess safety, efficacy and optimal timing of single full-dose (0.75 mg/kg) primaquine when added to a standard 6-dose regimen of artemether–lumefantrine (AL).
The efficacy and safety of artemether–lumefantrine (AL) and dihydroartemisinin–piperaquine (DP) against asexual parasites population has been documented. However, the effect of these anti-malarials on sexual parasites is still less clear. Gametocyte clearance following treatment is essential for malaria control and elimination efforts; therefore, the study sought to determine trends in gametocyte clearance after AL or DP treatment in children from a malaria-endemic site in Kenya.
The scientific community worldwide has realized that malaria elimination will not be possible without development of safe and effective transmission-blocking interventions. Primaquine, the only WHO recommended transmission-blocking drug, is not extensively utilized because of the toxicity issues in G6PD deficient individuals.