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Scientific Articles

Higher gametocyte production and mosquito infectivity in chronic compared to incident Plasmodium falciparum infections

April 29, 2021 - 07:46 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Barry A, Bradley J, Bousema T, et al.
Reference: 
Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 26;12(1):2443

Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte kinetics and infectivity may differ between chronic and incident infections. In the current study, we assess parasite kinetics and infectivity to mosquitoes among children (aged 5-10 years) from Burkina Faso with (a) incident infections following parasite clearance (n = 48) and (b) chronic asymptomatic infections (n = 60). In the incident infection cohort, 92% (44/48) of children develop symptoms within 35 days, compared to 23% (14/60) in the chronic cohort. All individuals with chronic infection carried gametocytes or developed them during follow-up, whereas only 35% (17/48) in the incident cohort produce gametocytes before becoming symptomatic and receiving treatment.

The Architectural Factor HMGB1 Is Involved in Genome Organization in the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

April 29, 2021 - 07:41 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Lu B, Liu M, Zhang Q, et al.
Reference: 
mBio. 2021 Apr 27;12(2):e00148-21

The three-dimensional (3D) genome organization plays a critical role in the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic organisms. In the unicellular malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the high-order chromosome organization has emerged as an important epigenetic pathway mediating gene expression, particularly for virulence genes, but the related architectural factors and underlying mechanism remain elusive. Herein, we have identified the high-mobility-group protein HMGB1 as a critical architectural factor for maintenance of genome organization in P. falciparum Genome-wide occupancy analysis (chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing [ChIP-seq]) shows that the HMGB1 protein is recruited mainly to centromeric regions likely via a DNA-binding-independent pathway.

NOT Open Access | Creative interior design by Plasmodium falciparum: Lipid metabolism and the parasite's secret chamber

April 29, 2021 - 07:39 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Tokumasu F, Hayakawa EH, Fukumoto J, Tokuoka SM, Miyazaki S
Reference: 
Parasitol Int. 2021 Apr 24:102369

Malaria parasites conceal themselves within host erythrocytes and establish a necessary logistics system through the three-membrane layered structures of these cells. To establish this system, lipid metabolism is needed for the de novo synthesis of lipids and the recycling of extracellular lipids and erythrocyte lipid components. Cholesterol supply depends on its uptake from the extracellular environment and erythrocyte cytoplasm, but phospholipids can be synthesized on their own.

Plasmodium falciparum SURFIN(4.1) forms an intermediate complex with PTEX components and Pf113 during export to the red blood cell

April 29, 2021 - 07:36 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Miyazaki S, Chitama BA, Kagaya W, Lucky AB, Zhu X, Yahata K, Morita M, Takashima E, Tsuboi T, Kaneko O
Reference: 
Parasitol Int. 2021 Apr 23:102358

Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites export several hundred proteins to the cytoplasm of infected red blood cells (RBCs) to modify the cell environment suitable for their growth. A Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins (PTEX) is necessary for both soluble and integral membrane proteins to cross the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) membrane surrounding the parasite inside the RBC. However, the molecular composition of the translocation complex for integral membrane proteins is not fully characterized, especially at the parasite plasma membrane.

Functional Characterization of the m(6)A-Dependent Translational Modulator PfYTH.2 in the Human Malaria Parasite

April 29, 2021 - 07:34 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Sinha A, Baumgarten S, Scherf A, et al.
Reference: 
mBio. 2021 Apr 27;12(2):e00661-21

Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression is central to the development and replication of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, within its human host. The timely coordination of RNA maturation, homeostasis, and protein synthesis relies on the recruitment of specific RNA-binding proteins to their cognate target mRNAs. One possible mediator of such mRNA-protein interactions is the N6-methylation of adenosines (m6A), a prevalent mRNA modification of parasite mRNA transcripts.

NOT Open Access | Characterization of pfmdr1, pfcrt, pfK13, pfubp1, and pfap2mu in travelers returning from Africa with Plasmodium falciparum infections reported in China from 2014-2018

April 29, 2021 - 07:24 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Feng J, Xu D, Kong X, Lin K, Yan H, Feng X, Tu H, Xia Z
Reference: 
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2021 Apr 26:AAC.02717-20

The artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) used to treat Plasmodium falciparum in Africa are threatened by the emergence of parasites in Asia carrying variants of the Kelch 13 (K13) locus with delayed clearance in response to ACTs. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in other molecular markers, such as ap2mu and ubp1, were associated with artemisinin resistance in rodent malaria and clinical failure in African malaria patients. Here, we characterized the polymorphisms in pfmdr1, pfcrt, pfK13, pfubp1 and pfap2mu among African isolates reported in Shandong and Guangxi provinces in China.

NOT Open Access | Immunoinformatics approach for multi-epitope vaccine design against P. falciparum malaria

April 29, 2021 - 07:23 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Maharaj L, Adeleke VT, Fatoba AJ, Adeniyi AA, Tshilwane SI, Adeleke MA, Maharaj R, Okpeku M
Reference: 
Infect Genet Evol. 2021 Apr 24:104875

Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) is a leading causative agent of malaria, an infectious disease that can be fatal. Unfortunately, control measures are becoming less effective over time. A vaccine is needed to effectively control malaria and lead towards the total elimination of the disease. There have been multiple attempts to develop a vaccine, but to date, none have been certified as appropriate for wide-scale use. In this study, an immunoinformatics method is presented to design a multi-epitope vaccine construct predicted to be effective against P. falciparum malaria.

Multiple Resistance Mechanisms to Pyrethroids Insecticides in Anopheles gambiae sensu lato Population From Mali, West Africa

April 29, 2021 - 07:16 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Keïta M, Sogoba N, Kané F, Traoré B, Zeukeng F, Coulibaly B, Sodio AB, Traoré SF, Djouaka R, Doumbia S
Reference: 
J Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 27;223(Supplement_2):S81-S90

Insecticide-based vector control is responsible for reducing malaria mortality and morbidity. Its success depends on a better knowledge of the vector, its distribution, and resistance status to the insecticides used. In this paper, we assessed Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (A gambiae s.l.) population resistance to pyrethroids in different ecological settings.

NOT Open Access | Review of the mechanism underlying mefloquine-induced neurotoxicity

April 29, 2021 - 07:14 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Martins AC, Paoliello MMB, Docea AO, Santamaria A, Tinkov AA, Skalny AV, Aschner M
Reference: 
Crit Rev Toxicol. 2021 Apr 27:1-8

Mefloquine, a potent blood schizontocide, is effective against drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. This property, along with its unique pharmacokinetic profile, makes mefloquine a widely prescribed antimalarial drug. However, several epidemiological studies have raised concerns on the safety of mefloquine as prophylaxis for malaria. Well-documented side-effects of mefloquine include abnormal dreams, insomnia, anxiety, and depressed mood, as well as nausea and dizziness (the last two most frequent effects).

Leveraging phone-based mobile technology to improve data quality at health facilities in rural Malawi: a best practice project

April 28, 2021 - 15:56 -- Open Access
Tags: 
Author(s): 
Tinashe A. Tizifa, William Nkhono, Spencer Mtengula, Michele van Vugt, Zachary Munn and Alinune N. Kabaghe
Reference: 
Malaria Journal 2021 20:203, 27 April 2021

To further reduce malaria burden, identification of areas with highest burden for targeted interventions needs to occur. Routine health information has the potential to indicate where and when clinical malaria occurs the most. Developing countries mostly use paper-based data systems however they are error-prone as they require manual aggregation, tallying and transferring of data. Piloting was done using electronic data capture (EDC) with a cheap and user friendly software in rural Malawian primary healthcare setting to improve the quality of health records.

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