ABSTRACT: IgM is an ancestral Ab class found in all jawed vertebrates, from sharks to mammals. This ancient ancestry is shared by malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) that infect all classes of terrestrial vertebrates with whom they coevolved. IgM, the least studied and most enigmatic of the vertebrate Igs, was recently shown to form an intimate relationship with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In this article, we discuss how this association might have come about, building on the recently determined structure of the human IgM pentamer, and how this interaction could affect parasite survival, particularly in light of the just-discovered Fc mu R localized to B and T cell surfaces. Because this parasite may exploit an interaction with IgM to limit immune detection, as well as to manipulate the immune response when detected, a better understanding of this association may prove critical for the development of improved vaccines or vaccination strategies.
Project description:Protective immunity to blood-stage malaria is attributed to Plasmodium-specific IgG and effector-memory T helper 1 (Th1) cells. However, mice lacking the costimulatory receptor CD28 (CD28KO) maintain chronic parasitemia at low levels and do not succumb to infection, suggesting that other immune responses contribute to parasite control. We report here that CD28KO mice develop long-lasting non-sterile immunity and survive lethal parasite challenge. This protection correlated with a progressive increase of anti-parasite IgM serum levels during chronic infection. Serum IgM from chronically infected CD28KO mice recognize erythrocytes infected with mature parasites, and effectively control Plasmodium infection by promoting parasite lysis and uptake. These antibodies also recognize autoantigens and antigens from other pathogens. Chronically infected CD28KO mice have high numbers of IgM+ plasmocytes and experienced B cells, exhibiting a germinal-center independent Fas+GL7-CD38+CD73- phenotype. These cells are also present in chronically infected C57BL/6 mice although in lower numbers. Finally, IgM+ experienced B cells from cured C57BL/6 and CD28KO mice proliferate and produce anti-parasite IgM in response to infected erythrocytes. This study demonstrates that CD28 deficiency results in the generation of germinal-center independent IgM+ experienced B cells and the production of protective IgM during experimental malaria, providing evidence for an additional mechanism by which the immune system controls Plasmodium infection.
Project description:Recent findings of Plasmodium in African apes have changed our perspectives on the evolution of malarial parasites in hominids. However, phylogenetic analyses of primate malarias are still missing information from Southeast Asian apes. In this study, we report molecular data for a malaria parasite lineage found in orangutans.We screened twenty-four blood samples from Pongo pygmaeus (Kalimantan, Indonesia) for Plasmodium parasites by PCR. For all the malaria positive orangutan samples, parasite mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA) and two antigens: merozoite surface protein 1 42 kDa (MSP-1(42)) and circumsporozoite protein gene (CSP) were amplified, cloned, and sequenced. Fifteen orangutans tested positive and yielded 5 distinct mitochondrial haplotypes not previously found. The haplotypes detected exhibited low genetic divergence among them, indicating that they belong to one species. We report phylogenetic analyses using mitochondrial genomes, MSP-1(42) and CSP. We found that the orangutan malaria parasite lineage was part of a monophyletic group that includes all the known non-human primate malaria parasites found in Southeast Asia; specifically, it shares a recent common ancestor with P. inui (a macaque parasite) and P. hylobati (a gibbon parasite) suggesting that this lineage originated as a result of a host switch. The genetic diversity of MSP-1(42) in orangutans seems to be under negative selection. This result is similar to previous findings in non-human primate malarias closely related to P. vivax. As has been previously observed in the other Plasmodium species found in non-human primates, the CSP shows high polymorphism in the number of repeats. However, it has clearly distinctive motifs from those previously found in other malarial parasites.The evidence available from Asian apes indicates that these parasites originated independently from those found in Africa, likely as the result of host switches from other non-human primates.
Project description:Lungfish (Dipnoi) are the closest living relatives to tetrapods, and they represent the transition from water to land during vertebrate evolution. Lungfish are armed with immunoglobulins (Igs), one of the hallmarks of the adaptive immune system of jawed vertebrates, but only three Ig forms have been characterized in Dipnoi to date. We report here a new diversity of Ig molecules in two African lungfish species (Protopterus dolloi and Protopterus annectens). The African lungfish Igs consist of three IgMs, two IgWs, three IgNs, and an IgQ, where both IgN and IgQ originated evidently from the IgW lineage. Our data also suggest that the IgH genes in the lungfish are organized in a transiting form from clusters (IgH loci in cartilaginous fish) to a translocon configuration (IgH locus in tetrapods). We propose that the intraclass diversification of the two primordial gnathostome Ig classes (IgM and IgW) as well as acquisition of new isotypes (IgN and IgQ) has allowed lungfish to acquire a complex and functionally diverse Ig repertoire to fight a variety of microorganisms. Furthermore, our results support the idea that "tetrapod-specific" Ig classes did not evolve until the vertebrate adaptation to land was completed ~360 million years ago.
Project description:The haem detoxification pathway of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a potential biochemical target for drug development. Free haem, released after haemoglobin degradation, is polymerized by the parasite to form haemozoin pigment. Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein-2 (Pfhrp-2) has been implicated as the catalytic scaffold for detoxification of haem in the malaria parasite. Previously we have shown that a hexapeptide repeat sequence (Ala-His-His-Ala-Ala-Asp), which appears 33 times in Pfhrp-2, may be the major haem binding site in this protein. The haem binding studies carried out by ourselves indicate that up to 18 equivalents of haem could be bound by this protein with an observed K(d) of 0.94 microM. Absorbance spectroscopy provides evidence that chloroquine is capable of extracting haem bound to Pfhrp-2. This was supported by the K(d) value, of 37 nM, observed for the haem-chloroquine complex. The native PAGE studies reveal that the formation of the haem-Pfhrp-2 complex is disrupted by chloroquine. These results indicate that chloroquine may be acting by inhibiting haem detoxification/binding to Pfhrp-2. Moreover, the higher affinity of chloroquine for haem than Pfhrp-2 suggests a possible mechanism of action for chloroquine; it may remove the haem bound to Pfhrp-2 and form a complex that is toxic to the parasite.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium is of major concern today. Effective vaccines or successful applications of RNAi-based strategies for the treatment of malaria are currently unavailable. An unexplored area in the field of malaria research is the development of DNA-targeting drugs that can specifically interact with parasitic DNA and introduce deleterious changes, leading to loss of vital genome function and parasite death. PRESENTATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS: Advances in the development of zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) with engineered DNA recognition domains allow us to design and develop nuclease of high target sequence specificity with a mega recognition site that typically occurs only once in the genome. Moreover, cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) can cross the cell plasma membrane and deliver conjugated protein, nucleic acid, or any other cargo to the cytoplasm, nucleus, or mitochondria. This article proposes that a drug from the combination of the CPP and ZFN systems can effectively enter the intracellular parasite, introduce deleterious changes in its genome, and eliminate the parasite from the infected cells. TESTING THE HYPOTHESIS: Availability of a DNA-binding motif for more than 45 triplets and its modular nature, with freedom to change number of fingers in a ZFN, makes development of customized ZFN against diverse target DNA sequence of any gene feasible. Since the Plasmodium genome is highly AT rich, there is considerable sequence site diversity even for the structurally and functionally conserved enzymes between Plasmodium and humans. CPP can be used to deliver ZFN to the intracellular nucleus of the parasite. Signal-peptide-based heterologous protein translocation to Plasmodium-infected RBCs (iRBCs) and different Plasmodium organelles have been achieved. With successful fusion of CPP with mitochondrial- and nuclear-targeting peptides, fusion of CPP with 1 more Plasmodium cell membrane translocation peptide seems achievable. IMPLICATIONS OF THE HYPOTHESIS: Targeting of the Plasmodium genome using ZFN has great potential for the development of anti-malarial drugs. It allows the development of a single drug against all malarial infections, including multidrug-resistant strains. Availability of multiple ZFN target sites in a single gene will provide alternative drug target sites to combat the development of resistance in the future.
Project description:Avian malaria is caused by a diverse community of genetically differentiated parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. Rapid seasonal and annual antigenic allele turnover resulting from selection by host immune systems, as observed in some parasite populations infecting humans, may extend analogously to dynamic species compositions within communities of avian malarial parasites. To address this issue, we examined the stability of avian malarial parasite lineages across multiple time-scales within two insular host communities. Parasite communities in Puerto Rico and St Lucia included 20 and 14 genetically distinct parasite lineages, respectively. Lineage composition of the parasite community in Puerto Rico did not vary seasonally or over a 1 year interval. However, over intervals approaching a decade, the avian communities of both islands experienced an apparent loss or gain of one malarial parasite lineage, indicating the potential for relatively frequent lineage turnover. Patterns of temporal variation of parasite lineages in this study suggest periodic colonization and extinction events driven by a combination of host-specific immune responses, competition between lineages and drift. However, the occasional and ecologically dynamic lineage turnover exhibited by insular avian parasite communities is not as rapid as antigenic allele turnover within populations of human malaria.
Project description:Humoral immunity consists of pre-existing antibodies expressed by long-lived plasma cells and rapidly reactive memory B cells (MBC). Recent studies of MBC development and function after protein immunization have uncovered significant MBC heterogeneity. To clarify functional roles for distinct MBC subsets during malaria infection, we generated tetramers that identify Plasmodium-specific MBCs in both humans and mice. Long-lived murine Plasmodium-specific MBCs consisted of three populations: somatically hypermutated immunoglobulin M(+) (IgM(+)) and IgG(+) MBC subsets and an unmutated IgD(+) MBC population. Rechallenge experiments revealed that high affinity, somatically hypermutated Plasmodium-specific IgM(+) MBCs proliferated and gave rise to antibody-secreting cells that dominated the early secondary response to parasite rechallenge. IgM(+) MBCs also gave rise to T cell-dependent IgM(+) and IgG(+)B220(+)CD138(+) plasmablasts or T cell-independent B220(-)CD138(+) IgM(+) plasma cells. Thus, even in competition with IgG(+) MBCs, IgM(+) MBCs are rapid, plastic, early responders to a secondary Plasmodium rechallenge and should be targeted by vaccine strategies.
Project description:Host cell invasion by apicomplexan pathogens such as the malaria parasite Plasmodium spp. and Toxoplasma gondii involves discharge of proteins from secretory organelles called micronemes and rhoptries. In Toxoplasma a protein complex comprising the microneme apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1), two rhoptry neck proteins, and a protein called Ts4705, localises to the moving junction, a region of close apposition between parasite and host cell during invasion. Antibodies against AMA1 prevent invasion and are protective in vivo, and so AMA1 is of widespread interest as a malaria vaccine candidate. Here we report that the AMA1 complex identified in Toxoplasma is conserved in Plasmodium falciparum. We demonstrate that the invasion-inhibitory monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4G2, which recognises P. falciparum AMA1 (PfAMA1), cannot bind when PfAMA1 is in a complex with its partner proteins. We further show that a single completely conserved PfAMA1 residue, Tyr251, lying within a conserved hydrophobic groove adjacent to the mAb 4G2 epitope, is required for complex formation. We propose that mAb 4G2 inhibits invasion by preventing PfAMA1 from interacting with other components of the invasion complex. Our findings should aid the rational design of subunit malaria vaccines based on PfAMA1.
Project description:Antibodies and B cells are critical in the protective immune response to the blood stage of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium chabaudi. However, little is known about the development of memory B cells and their differentiation into plasma cells during infection or after re-infection. Here we have shown that B cells with phenotypic characteristics of memory cells (CD19(+)IgD(-) CD38(+), IgG1(+)) are generated in a primary Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi infection of mice. In addition, we observed that germinal centre cells (CD19(+), GL7(+), MHCII(hi)) and Marginal Zone B cells (CD19(+)CD23(-)IgD(-)) show faster expansion on re-infection than in the primary, though other subsets do not. Interestingly, though both IgM(-) and IgM(+) memory cells are produced, IgM(+) memory cells do not expand on second infection. The second infection quickly produced mature bone marrow plasma cells (intracellular Ig(hi), CD138(hi), CD9(+), B220(-)), compared to primary infection; which generates a very large population of immature splenic plasma cells (B220+). This analysis suggests that a memory B cell population is generated after a single infection of malaria, which on re-infection responds quickly producing germinal centres and generating long-lived plasma cells making the second encounter with parasite more efficient.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapy, currently considered the therapy of choice for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in endemic countries, may be under threat from newly emerging parasite resistance to the artemisinin family of drugs. Studies in Southeast Asia suggest some patients exhibit an extended parasite clearance time in the three days immediately following treatment with artesunate monotherapy. This phenotype is likely to become a more important trial endpoint in studies of anti-malarial drug efficacy, but currently requires frequent, closely spaced blood sampling in hospitalized study participants, followed by quantitation of parasite density by microscopy. METHODS: A simple duplex quantitative PCR method was developed in which distinct fluorescent signals are generated from the human and parasite DNA components in each blood sample. The human amplification target in this assay is the β tubulin gene, and the parasite target is the unique methionine tRNA gene (pgmet), which exhibits perfect sequence identity in all six Plasmodium species that naturally infect humans. In a small series of malaria cases treated as hospital in-patients, the abundance of pgmet DNA was estimated relative to the human DNA target in daily peripheral blood samples, and parasite clearance times calculated. RESULTS: The qPCR assay was reproducibly able to replicate parasite density estimates derived from microscopy, but provided additional data by quantification of parasite density 24 hours after the last positive blood film. Robust estimates of parasite clearance times were produced for a series of patients with clinical malaria. CONCLUSIONS: Large studies, particularly in Africa where children represent a major proportion of treated cases, will require a simpler blood sample collection regime, and a method capable of high throughput. The duplex qPCR method tested may fulfil these criteria, and should now be evaluated in such field studies.