(1/327) Design and activity of antimicrobial peptides against sporogonic-stage parasites causing murine malarias.

Insects produce several types of peptides to combat a broad spectrum of invasive pathogenic microbes, including protozoans. However, despite this defense response, infections are often established. Our aim was to design novel peptides that produce high rates of mortality among protozoa of the genus Plasmodium, the malaria parasites. Using existing antimicrobial peptide sequences as templates, we designed and synthesized three short novel hybrids, designated Vida1 to Vida3. Each has a slightly different predicted secondary structure. The peptides were tested against sporogonic stages of the rodent malaria parasites Plasmodium berghei (in vitro and in vivo) and P. yoelii nigeriensis (in vitro). The level of activity varied for each peptide and according to the parasite stage targeted. Vida3 (which is predicted to have large numbers of beta sheets and coils but no alpha helices) showed the highest level of activity, killing the early sporogonic stages in culture and causing highly significant reductions in the prevalence and intensity of infection of P. berghei after oral administration or injection in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. The secondary structures of these peptides may play a crucial role in their ability to interact with and kill sporogonic forms of the malaria parasite.  (+info)

(2/327) Infectivity-associated changes in the transcriptional repertoire of the malaria parasite sporozoite stage.

Injection of Plasmodium salivary gland sporozoites into the vertebrate host by Anopheles mosquitoes initiates malaria infection. Sporozoites develop within oocysts in the mosquito midgut and then enter and mature in the salivary glands. Although morphologically similar, oocyst sporozoites and salivary gland sporozoites differ strikingly in their infectivity to the mammalian host, ability to elicit protective immune responses, and cell motility. Here, we show that differential gene expression coincides with these dramatic phenotypic differences. Using suppression subtractive cDNA hybridization we identified highly up-regulated mRNAs transcribed from 30 distinct genes in salivary gland sporozoites. Of those genes, 29 are not significantly expressed in the parasite's blood stages. The most frequently recovered transcript encodes a protein kinase. Developmental up-regulation of specific mRNAs in the infectious transmission stage of Plasmodium indicates that their translation products may have unique roles in hepatocyte infection and/or development of liver stages.  (+info)

(3/327) Function of region I and II adhesive motifs of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein in sporozoite motility and infectivity.

The circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium falciparum contains two conserved motifs (regions I and II) that have been proposed to interact with mosquito and vertebrate host molecules in the process of sporozoite invasion of salivary glands and hepatocytes, respectively. To study the function of this protein we have replaced the endogenous circumsporozoite protein gene of Plasmodium berghei with that of P. falciparum and with versions lacking either region I or region II. We show here that P. falciparum circumsporozoite protein functions in rodent parasite and that P. berghei sporozoites carrying the P. falciparum CS gene develop normally, are motile, invade mosquito salivary glands, and infect the vertebrate host. Region I-deficient sporozoites showed no impairment of motility or infectivity in either vector or vertebrate host. Disruption of region II abolished sporozoite motility and dramatically impaired their ability to invade mosquito salivary glands and infect the vertebrate host. These data shed new light on the role of the CS protein in sporozoite motility and infectivity.  (+info)

(4/327) Babesia bovis merozoite surface antigen 2 proteins are expressed on the merozoite and sporozoite surface, and specific antibodies inhibit attachment and invasion of erythrocytes.

The Babesia bovis merozoite surface antigen 2 (MSA-2) locus encodes four proteins, MSA-2a(1), -2a(2), -2b, and -2c. With the use of specific antibodies, each MSA-2 protein was shown to be expressed on the surface of live extracellular merozoites and coexpression on single merozoites was confirmed. Individual antisera against MSA-2a, MSA-2b, and MSA-2c significantly inhibited merozoite invasion of bovine erythrocytes. As tick-derived sporozoites also directly invade erythrocytes, expression of each MSA-2 protein on the sporozoite surface was examined and verified. Finally, statistically significant inhibition of sporozoite binding to the erythrocytes was demonstrated by using antisera specific for MSA-2a, MSA-2b, and MSA-2c. These results indicate an important role for MSA-2 proteins in the initial binding and invasion of host erythrocytes and support the hypothesis that sporozoites and merozoites use common surface molecules in erythrocyte invasion.  (+info)

(5/327) Myosin A tail domain interacting protein (MTIP) localizes to the inner membrane complex of Plasmodium sporozoites.

Apicomplexan host cell invasion and gliding motility depend on the parasite's actomyosin system located beneath the plasma membrane of invasive stages. Myosin A (MyoA), a class XIV unconventional myosin, is the motor protein. A model has been proposed to explain how the actomyosin motor operates but little is known about the components, topology and connectivity of the motor complex. Using the MyoA neck and tail domain as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen we identified MTIP, a novel 24 kDa protein that interacts with MyoA. Deletion analysis shows that the 15 amino-acid C-terminal tail domain of MyoA, rather than the neck domain, specifically interacts with MTIP. In Plasmodium sporozoites MTIP localizes to the inner membrane complex (IMC), where it is found clustered with MyoA. The data support a model for apicomplexan motility and invasion in which the MyoA motor protein is associated via its tail domain with MTIP, immobilizing it at the outer IMC membrane. The head domain of the immobilized MyoA moves actin filaments that, directly or via a bridging protein, connect to the cytoplasmic domain of a transmembrane protein of the TRAP family. The actin/TRAP complex is then redistributed by the stationary MyoA from the anterior to the posterior end of the zoite, leading to its forward movement on a substrate or to penetration of a host cell.  (+info)

(6/327) Malaria blood stage suppression of liver stage immunity by dendritic cells.

Malaria starts with Plasmodium sporozoites infection of the host's liver, where development into blood stage parasites occurs. It is not clear why natural infections do not induce protection against the initial liver stage and generate low CD8+ T cell responses. Using a rodent malaria model, we show that Plasmodium blood stage infection suppresses CD8+ T cell immune responses that were induced against the initial liver stage. Blood stage Plasmodium affects dendritic cell (DC) functions, inhibiting maturation and the capacity to initiate immune responses and inverting the interleukin (IL)-12/IL-10 secretion pattern. The interaction of blood stage parasites with DCs induces the secretion of soluble factors that inhibit the activation of CD8+ T cells in vitro and the suppression of protective CD8+ T cell responses against the liver stage in vivo. We propose that blood stage infection induces DCs to suppress CD8+ T cell responses in natural malaria infections. This evasion mechanism leaves the host unprotected against reinfection by inhibiting the immune response against the initial liver stage of the disease.  (+info)

(7/327) Baculovirus surface display of Theileria parva p67 antigen preserves the conformation of sporozoite-neutralizing epitopes.

Theileria parva is an intracellular protozoan parasite that causes East Coast fever, a severe lymphoproliferative disease in cattle. Previous attempts to produce recombinant sporozoite surface antigen (p67) in bacterial or insect cells for vaccine purposes have not resulted in a correctly folded protein. Here, we report the expression of N- and C-terminal domains of p67 fused to the baculovirus envelope glycoprotein GP64 by cloning the appropriate p67 cDNA segments between the signal sequence and the major portion of GP64. To further advance the generation of such recombinants, existing surface display techniques were combined with bacmid technology. Chimeric proteins were present on the surface of budded viruses as judged by immunogold labelling and were exposed on the surface of insect cells, as concluded from immunofluorescence studies of infected, non-fixed insect cells. In non-denaturing dot blot experiments, a strong reaction was obtained between monoclonal TpM12 and baculovirus particles displaying the p67N-GP64 chimeric protein. This antibody, raised against native p67, also specifically recognized the surface of recombinant-infected cells. Apparently, a more native conformation was achieved than when p67 was expressed in E.coli or in conventional baculovirus expression systems. The baculovirus surface expression system, therefore, provides an improved way of expressing this T.parva sporozoite surface protein.  (+info)

(8/327) Transformation of sporozoites into early exoerythrocytic malaria parasites does not require host cells.

Malaria parasite species that infect mammals, including humans, must first take up residence in hepatic host cells as exoerythrocytic forms (EEF) before initiating infection of red blood cells that leads to malaria disease. Despite the importance of hepatic stages for immunity against malaria, little is known about their biology and antigenic composition. Here, we show that sporozoites, the parasites' transmission stage that resides in the mosquito vector salivary glands, can transform into early EEF without intracellular residence in host hepatocytes. The morphological sequence of transformation and the expression of proteins in the EEF appear indistinguishable from parasites that develop within host cells. Transformation depends on temperature elevation to 37 degrees C and serum. Our findings demonstrate that residence in a host hepatocyte or specific host cell-derived factors are not necessary to bring about the profound morphological and biochemical changes of the parasite that occur after its transmission from vector to mammalian host.  (+info)