Detection and species determination of malaria parasites by PCR: comparison with microscopy and with ParaSight-F and ICT malaria Pf tests in a clinical environment.
A rapid procedure for the diagnosis of malaria infections directly from dried blood spots by PCR amplification was evaluated with samples from 52 patients. Plasmodium infections were identified with a genus-specific primer set, and species differentiation between Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax was analyzed by multiplex PCR. The PCR test with any of the three primer sets was able to detect as few as four parasites per microliter by gel electrophoresis or by nonisotopic paper hybridization chromatography. The diagnoses obtained by PCR correlated closely with those obtained by Giemsa staining except for two samples observed to have mixed P. falciparum-P. vivax infections. These were initially missed by microscopic analysis. In comparison with antigen-capture assays for P. falciparum, the PCR assays were able to detect three infections that were missed by the ParaSight-F test. The PCR test was negative for nine ParaSight-F-positive samples and one ICT Malaria Pf-positive sample, and these were confirmed to be false-positive results. The PCR thus gave no false-negative or false-positive results. Patients undergoing antimalarial therapy were also monitored by the PCR assay. Four of seven patients who were PCR positive for P. vivax at the time of discharge were later readmitted to the hospital with a recurrence of P. vivax infection. We would like to propose that PCR is a sensitive and easy method that can serve as a useful addition to microscopy for the diagnosis and the clinical monitoring of treatment of malaria. (+info)
Multispecies Plasmodium infections of humans.
We analyzed point-prevalence data from 19 recent studies of human populations in which either Plasmodium ovale or Plasmodium vivax co-occur with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium malariae. Although the only statistical interactions among, sympatric congeners are pairwise, the frequencies of mixed-species infections relative to standard hypotheses of species sampling independence show no strong relation to overall malaria prevalence. The striking difference between the P. falciparum-P. malariae-P. ovale and the P. falciparum-P. malariae-P. vivax data is that the first typically shows a statistical surplus of mixed-species infections and the second a deficit. This suggests that the number of Plasmodium species present in a human population may be less important in determining the frequencies of mixed-species infections than is the identity of those species. (+info)
Malaria immunization in Rhesus monkeys. A vaccine effective against both the sexual and asexual stages of Plasmodium knowlesi.
Rhesus monkeys were immunized with a preparation of Plasmodium knowlesi parasites containing principally microgametes with lesser numbers of macrogametes and asexual trophozoites. The antigen mixture was emulsified in Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA) and administered intramuscularly. After one or two inoculations of from 10(5) to 10(7) microgametes in FCA, monkeys showed high levels of circulating anti-gamete antibodies as demonstrated by various in vitro microgamete immobilization or transmission blocking tests. After challenge with P. knowlesi, immunized monkeys developed low level asexual parasitemias and were not infectious to feeding mosquitoes as measured by growth of the parasite on the mosquito gut. Control monkeys developed rapidly rising, usually fatal infections and were highly infectious to mosquitoes. Anti-gamete antibodies appear to neutralize the sexual parasites and prevent mosquito infection within the gut of the recently fed mosquito vector. Suppression of asexual parasitemia in immunized monkeys may be due to the presence of asexual trophozoites in the antigen mixture or to antigens common to both sexual and asexual stages of the parasite. A vaccine effective as a single injection capable of interrupting malaria transmission from man to man whereas reducing the severity of the disease in infected individuals offers a new approach to the control of one of the major diseases affecting man. (+info)
Biased amino acid composition in repeat regions of Plasmodium antigens.
Many malarial antigens contain extensive arrays of tandemly repeated short amino acid sequences, and much of the antibody response induced by malaria infections is directed against these repeats. Indeed, it has been hypothesized that these repeats function to elicit a relatively ineffective T-cell-independent antibody response by the host. In order to test this hypothesis, tandem repeats of Plasmodium species were examined for a bias in composition favoring amino acids likely to form epitopes for the antibody. The genome of Plasmodium is very A+T-rich, and nucleotide compositional bias will, in itself, lead to a high proportion of hydrophilic amino acids. When this bias was controlled for, Plasmodium antigens did not show a higher proportion of hydrophilic amino acids than expected, but there was a significant reduction in the proportion of hydrophobic amino acids in the repeats of the antigens. The amino acid composition of the repeats was thus strikingly different from those seen both in the remainder of the antigens and in a sample of Plasmodium falciparum housekeeping genes. (+info)
Guanylyl cyclases with the topology of mammalian adenylyl cyclases and an N-terminal P-type ATPase-like domain in Paramecium, Tetrahymena and Plasmodium.
We cloned a guanylyl cyclase of 280 kDa from the ciliate Paramecium which has an N-terminus similar to that of a P-type ATPase and a C-terminus with a topology identical to mammalian adenylyl cyclases. Respective signature sequence motifs are conserved in both domains. The cytosolic catalytic C1a and C2a segments of the cyclase are inverted. Genes coding for topologically identical proteins with substantial sequence similarities have been cloned from Tetrahymena and were detected in sequences from Plasmodium deposited by the Malaria Genome Project. After 99 point mutations to convert the Paramecium TAA/TAG-Gln triplets to CAA/CAG, together with partial gene synthesis, the gene from Paramecium was heterologously expressed. In Sf9 cells, the holoenzyme is proteolytically processed into the two domains. Immunocytochemistry demonstrates expression of the protein in Paramecium and localizes it to cell surface membranes. The data provide a novel structural link between class III adenylyl and guanylyl cyclases and imply that the protozoan guanylyl cyclases evolved from an ancestral adenylyl cyclase independently of the mammalian guanylyl cyclase isoforms. Further, signal transmission in Ciliophora (Paramecium, Tetrahymena) and in the most important endoparasitic phylum Apicomplexa (Plasmodium) is, quite unexpectedly, closely related. (+info)
Cytokine production in rhesus monkeys infected with Plasmodium coatneyi.
Plasmodium coatneyi infection in rhesus monkeys has been used as a model for studying human malaria. Cytokine production in this model, however, has so far not been examined. In this study, four rhesus monkeys were infected with P. coatneyi, with another four animals serving as uninfected controls. Blood samples were taken for the determination of daily parasitemia, and cytokine and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels at days 0, 3, 5, 7, and 10. All inoculated animals became infected, with synchronized appearance of ring-stage parasites. Infected monkeys had increased plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1beta, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) during the late stage of the infection. They also had increased production of ciliary neurotrophic factor. In conjunction with the production of proinflammatory cytokines, infected monkeys also had gradual increases in the production of PGE2. A continued definition of the P. coatneyi/rhesus monkey animal model should be useful for the elucidation of the immunopathogenesis of human malaria. (+info)
High rate of mixed and subpatent malarial infections in southwest Nigeria.
The rate of malarial parasitemia in children and adults was assessed by microscopy and the polymerase chain reaction in a holoendemic area in Nigeria. A high rate of subpatent Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia (19.6%) was found. Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale infections were common in a rural area (26.1% and 14.8%) but were observed sporadically in individuals from an urban area. Simultaneous infections with P. falciparum, P. malariae, and P. ovale were frequent in the rural area (11.7% triple infections). The rate of triple infections was higher than expected from the prevalences of each species (P < 0.00001). Spleen enlargement was associated with mixed infections of P. falciparum and P. malariae (odds ratio [OR] = 5.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.0-11.7) and less frequently observed in individuals without detectable parasitemia (OR = 0.06, 95% CI = 0.01-0.3). Spleen enlargement and titers of antibodies to schizonts were positively correlated with parasite densities. The results also suggest that in some individuals a long-lasting subpatent parasitemia might occur. (+info)
Interaction between cytochalasin B-treated malarial parasites and erythrocytes. Attachment and junction formation.
We have previously demonstrated that invasion of erythrocytes (RBCs) by malaria merozoites follows a sequence: recognition and attachment in an apical orientation associated with widespread deformation of the RBC, junction formation, movement of the junction around the merozoite that brings the merozoite into the invaginated RBC membrane, and sealing of the membrane. In the present paper, we describe a method for blocking invasion at an early stage in the sequence. Cytochalasin-treated merozoites attach specifically to host RBCs, most frequently by the apical region that contains specialized organelles (rhoptries) associated with invasion. The parasite then forms a junction between the apical region and the RBC. Cytochalasin blocks movement of this junction, a later step in invasion. Cytochalasin-treated (Plasmodium knowlesi) merozoites attach to Duffy-negative human RBCs, although these RBCs are resistant to invasion by the parasite. The attachment with these RBCs, however, differs from susceptible RBCs in that there is no junction formation. Therefore the Duffy associated antigen appears to be involved in junction formation, not initial attachment. (+info)