(1/1057) Subtle mutagenesis by ends-in recombination in malaria parasites.

The recent advent of gene-targeting techniques in malaria (Plasmodium) parasites provides the means for introducing subtle mutations into their genome. Here, we used the TRAP gene of Plasmodium berghei as a target to test whether an ends-in strategy, i.e., targeting plasmids of the insertion type, may be suitable for subtle mutagenesis. We analyzed the recombinant loci generated by insertion of linear plasmids containing either base-pair substitutions, insertions, or deletions in their targeting sequence. We show that plasmid integration occurs via a double-strand gap repair mechanism. Although sequence heterologies located close (less than 450 bp) to the initial double-strand break (DSB) were often lost during plasmid integration, mutations located 600 bp and farther from the DSB were frequently maintained in the recombinant loci. The short lengths of gene conversion tracts associated with plasmid integration into TRAP suggests that an ends-in strategy may be widely applicable to modify plasmodial genes and perform structure-function analyses of their important products.  (+info)

(2/1057) Antimalarial activities of various 4-pyridinemethanols with special attention to WR-172,435 and WR-180,409.

Pilot appraisals of the activities of 10 specially selected 2,6-substituted-4-pyridinemethanols against acute Plasmodium falciparum infections in owl monkeys identified three derivatives that were two to three times as active as chloroquine against infections with a 4-aminoquinoline-susceptible strain and, at the same doses, were equally effective against infections with a strain fully resistant to treatment with maximally tolerated doses of chloroquine, quinine, and pyrimethamine. Two of these derivatives, WR-172,435 and WR-180,409, deemed worthy of evaluation in human volunteers, were studied in greater depth in owl monkeys infected with either the multidrug-resistant Smith strain of P. falciparum or the pyrimethamine-resistant Palo Alto strain of P. vivax. These studies showed (i) that at the same total oral dose, 3-day and 7-day treatment schedules were equally effective and slightly superior to a single-dose schedule; (ii) that WR-172,435 was slightly more active than WR-180,409 in each treatment regimen; (iii) that intravenous delivery of WR-180,409 phosphate was feasible and effective; (iv) that both compounds effected control of parasitemia more rapidly than any standard or newly discovered antimalarial drug; and (v) that WR-172,435 and WR-180,409 had therapeutic indexes at least four to eight times those exhibited by chloroquine in infections with 4-aminoquinoline-susceptible strains, indexes retained by these pyridinemethanols against infections with various drug-resistant strains.  (+info)

(3/1057) Thiolated recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-alpha protects against Plasmodium berghei K173-induced experimental cerebral malaria in mice.

The introduction of reactive thiol groups in recombinant human tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha (rhTNF-alpha) by the reagent succinimidyl-S-acetylthioacetate resulted in the formation of a chemically stabilized rhTNF-alpha trimer (rhTNFalpha-AT; as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis). rhTNFalpha-AT showed a substantially enhanced protective efficacy against the development of experimental murine cerebral malaria (ECM) after intravenous injection compared to the protective efficacy of nonmodified rhTNF-alpha. Administration of thiolated rhTNF-alpha with protected thiol groups (rhTNFalpha-ATA; no stabilized trimers in vitro) exhibited the same protective efficacy against ECM, while in vitro bioactivity was reduced. Parasitemia was significantly suppressed in rhTNF-treated mice that were protected against ECM but not in treated mice that developed ECM. Protection against ECM was not related to increased concentrations in plasma of soluble TNF receptor 1 and 2 directly after injection or at the moment of development of ECM in nontreated mice. The results indicate that thiolation of rhTNF-alpha leads to the formation of stable trimers with increased potential in vivo.  (+info)

(4/1057) Altered immune response of interferon regulatory factor 1-deficient mice against Plasmodium berghei blood-stage malaria infection.

Nitric oxide (NO) is a short-lived biological mediator which can be induced in various cell types and is able to cause many metabolic changes in target cells. Inhibition of tumor cell growth and antimicrobial activity has been attributed to the stimulation of NO production by transcriptional upregulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase. In the present study, we used mice devoid of functional interferon regulatory factor 1 by targeted gene disruption (IRF-1(-/-)) to investigate the role of NO in the host immune response against blood-stage Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection. IRF-1(-/-) mice survived longer with a later onset of and a lower peak parasitemia despite the inability to produce appreciable levels of NO. The administration of exogenous interleukin-12 (IL-12) was able to prolong survival in the wild-type mice with an upregulation in the expression of both gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and NO. However, the administration of IL-12 did not improve the survival of IRF-1(-/-) mice. These studies indicate that while IL-12 is able to mediate protection via an IFN-gamma- and NO-dependent pathway in the wild-type mice, such a protective mechanism may not be functional in the IRF-1(-/-) mice. Our results suggest that NO may not be essential for host immunity to the parasite and that IRF-1(-/-) mice are able to induce an IFN-gamma- and NO-independent mechanism against P. berghei infection.  (+info)

(5/1057) Gamma interferon production is critical for protective immunity to infection with blood-stage Plasmodium berghei XAT but neither NO production nor NK cell activation is critical.

We have examined the roles of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), nitric oxide (NO), and natural killer (NK) cells in the host resistance to infection with the blood-stage malarial parasite Plasmodium berghei XAT, an irradiation-induced attenuated variant of the lethal strain P. berghei NK65. Although the infection with P. berghei XAT enhanced NK cell lytic activity of splenocytes, depletion of NK1.1(+) cells caused by the treatment of mice with anti-NK1.1 antibody affected neither parasitemia nor IFN-gamma production by their splenocytes. The P. berghei XAT infection induced a large amount of NO production by splenocytes during the first peak of parasitemia, while P. berghei NK65 infection induced a small amount. Unexpectedly, however, mice deficient in inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS-/-) cleared P. berghei XAT after two peaks of parasitemia were observed, as occurred for wild-type control mice. Although the infected iNOS-/- mouse splenocytes did not produce a detectable level of NO, they produced an amount of IFN-gamma comparable to that produced by wild-type control mouse splenocytes, and treatment of these mice with neutralizing anti-IFN-gamma antibody led to the progression of parasitemia and fatal outcome. CD4(-/-) mice infected with P. berghei XAT could not clear the parasite, and all these mice died with apparently reduced IFN-gamma production. Furthermore, treatment with carrageenan increased the susceptibility of mice to P. berghei XAT infection. These results suggest that neither NO production nor NK cell activation is critical for the resistance to P. berghei XAT infection and that IFN-gamma plays an important role in the elimination of malarial parasites, possibly by the enhancement of phagocytic activity of macrophages.  (+info)

(6/1057) Green fluorescent protein as a marker in Plasmodium berghei transformation.

We present a new marker that confers both resistance to pyrimethamine and green fluorescent protein-based fluorescence on the malarial parasite Plasmodium berghei. A single copy of the cassette integrated into the genome is sufficient to direct fluorescence in parasites throughout the life cycle, in both its mosquito and vertebrate hosts. Erythrocyte stages of the parasite that express the marker can be sorted from control parasites by flow cytometry. Pyrimethamine pressure is not necessary for maintaining the cassette in transformed parasites during their sporogonic cycle in mosquitoes, including when it is borne by a plasmid. This tool should thus prove useful in molecular studies of P. berghei, both for generating parasite variants and monitoring their behavior.  (+info)

(7/1057) Glutathione-S-transferase activity in malarial parasites.

Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity has been detected in rodent (Plasmodium berghei, P. yoelii), simian (P. knowlesi) and human (P. falciparum) malarial parasites, and in different intraerythrocytic stages of P. knowlesi (schizont > ring > trophozoite). In chloroquine-resistant strains of rodent and human malarial parasites GST activity significantly increases compared to sensitive strains. Further, the increase in enzyme activity is directly related to drug pressure of resistant P. berghei. Complete inhibition of chloroquine-sensitive and resistant P. berghei glutathione-S-transferase activities was observed at 2.5 and 5. micrometer concentration of hemin, respectively. An inverse relationship was found between the heme level and enzyme activity of chloroquine-resistant and sensitive P. berghei. Chloroquine, artemisinin, and primaquine noticeably inhibited GST activity in P. knowlesi.  (+info)

(8/1057) Role of eicosanoids in the pathogenesis of murine cerebral malaria.

Because microvascular damage is a common feature of cerebral malaria, we have examined the role eicosanoid metabolites (prostaglandins and leukotrienes) in experimental cerebral malaria. Eighty ICR mice were infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA, with 40 uninfected mice as controls. Half of the infected mice were treated on days 4 and 5 with aspirin, a prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor. Infected mice started to die of cerebral malaria on day 6, and by day 17, all infected mice died. In contrast, all infected mice treated with aspirin died by day 12. Infected mice had increased phospholipase A2 mRNA expression in the spleen and cyclooxygenase 1 (COX1) and COX2 expression in the brain. At the peak of cerebral malaria, infected mice had higher serum leukotriene B4 levels than control mice, and aspirin-treated infected mice had higher serum leukotriene B4 levels than untreated infected mice. These results suggest that prostaglandins are protective whereas leukotrienes are detrimental in cerebral malaria.  (+info)