Whole genome sequencing of field isolates provides robust characterization of genetic diversity in Plasmodium vivax.
ABSTRACT: An estimated 2.85 billion people live at risk of Plasmodium vivax transmission. In endemic countries vivax malaria causes significant morbidity and its mortality is becoming more widely appreciated, drug-resistant strains are increasing in prevalence, and an increasing number of reports indicate that P. vivax is capable of breaking through the Duffy-negative barrier long considered to confer resistance to blood stage infection. Absence of robust in vitro propagation limits our understanding of fundamental aspects of the parasite's biology, including the determinants of its dormant hypnozoite phase, its virulence and drug susceptibility, and the molecular mechanisms underlying red blood cell invasion.Here, we report results from whole genome sequencing of five P. vivax isolates obtained from Malagasy and Cambodian patients, and of the monkey-adapted Belem strain. We obtained an average 70-400 X coverage of each genome, resulting in more than 93% of the Sal I reference sequence covered by 20 reads or more. Our study identifies more than 80,000 SNPs distributed throughout the genome which will allow designing association studies and population surveys. Analysis of the genome-wide genetic diversity in P. vivax also reveals considerable allele sharing among isolates from different continents. This observation could be consistent with a high level of gene flow among parasite strains distributed throughout the world.Our study shows that it is feasible to perform whole genome sequencing of P. vivax field isolates and rigorously characterize the genetic diversity of this parasite. The catalogue of polymorphisms generated here will enable large-scale genotyping studies and contribute to a better understanding of P. vivax traits such as drug resistance or erythrocyte invasion, partially circumventing the lack of laboratory culture that has hampered vivax research for years.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is a protozoan parasite with an extensive worldwide distribution, being highly prevalent in Asia as well as in Mesoamerica and South America. In southern Mexico, P. vivax transmission has been endemic and recent studies suggest that these parasites have unique biological and genetic features. The msp1 gene has shown high rate of nucleotide substitutions, deletions, insertions, and its mosaic structure reveals frequent events of recombination, maybe between highly divergent parasite isolates. METHODS: The nucleotide sequence variation in the polymorphic icb5-6 fragment of the msp1 gene of Mexican and worldwide isolates was analysed. To understand how genotype diversity arises, disperses and persists in Mexico, the genetic structure and genealogical relationships of local isolates were examined. To identify new sequence hybrids and their evolutionary relationships with other P. vivax isolates circulating worldwide two haplotype networks were constructed questioning that two portions of the icb5-6 have different evolutionary history. RESULTS: Twelve new msp1 icb5-6 haplotypes of P. vivax from Mexico were identified. These nucleotide sequences show mosaic structure comprising three partially conserved and two variable subfragments and resulted into five different sequence types. The variable subfragment sV1 has undergone recombination events and resulted in hybrid sequences and the haplotype network allocated the Mexican haplotypes to three lineages, corresponding to the Sal I and Belem types, and other more divergent group. In contrast, the network from icb5-6 fragment but not sV1 revealed that the Mexican haplotypes belong to two separate lineages, none of which are closely related to Sal I or Belem sequences. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the new hybrid haplotypes from southern Mexico were the result of at least three different recombination events. These rearrangements likely resulted from the recombination between haplotypes of highly divergent lineages that are frequently distributed in South America and Asia and diversified rapidly.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The ideal malaria parasite populations for initial mapping of genomic regions contributing to phenotypes such as drug resistance and virulence, through genome-wide association studies, are those with high genetic diversity, allowing for numerous informative markers, and rare meiotic recombination, allowing for strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) between markers and phenotype-determining loci. However, levels of genetic diversity and LD in field populations of the major human malaria parasite P. vivax remain little characterized. RESULTS:We examined single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and LD patterns across a 100-kb chromosome segment of P. vivax in 238 field isolates from areas of low to moderate malaria endemicity in South America and Asia, where LD tends to be more extensive than in holoendemic populations, and in two monkey-adapted strains (Salvador-I, from El Salvador, and Belem, from Brazil). We found varying levels of SNP diversity and LD across populations, with the highest diversity and strongest LD in the area of lowest malaria transmission. We found several clusters of contiguous markers with rare meiotic recombination and characterized a relatively conserved haplotype structure among populations, suggesting the existence of recombination hotspots in the genome region analyzed. Both silent and nonsynonymous SNPs revealed substantial between-population differentiation, which accounted for ~40% of the overall genetic diversity observed. Although parasites clustered according to their continental origin, we found evidence for substructure within the Brazilian population of P. vivax. We also explored between-population differentiation patterns revealed by loci putatively affected by natural selection and found marked geographic variation in frequencies of nucleotide substitutions at the pvmdr-1 locus, putatively associated with drug resistance. CONCLUSION:These findings support the feasibility of genome-wide association studies in carefully selected populations of P. vivax, using relatively low densities of markers, but underscore the risk of false positives caused by population structure at both local and regional levels.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plasmodium vivax is the most geographically widespread of the human malaria parasites, causing 50,000 to 100,000 deaths annually. Plasmodium vivax parasites have the unique feature of forming dormant liver stages (hypnozoites) that can reactivate weeks or months after a parasite-infected mosquito bite, leading to new symptomatic blood stage infections. Efforts to eliminate P. vivax malaria likely will need to target the persistent hypnozoites in the liver. Therefore, research on P. vivax liver stages necessitates a marker for clearly distinguishing between actively replicating parasites and dormant hypnozoites. Hypnozoites possess a densely fluorescent prominence in the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) when stained with antibodies against the PVM-resident protein Upregulated in Infectious Sporozoites 4 (PvUIS4), resulting in a key feature recognizable for quantification of hypnozoites. Thus, PvUIS4 staining, in combination with the characteristic small size of the parasite, is currently the only hypnozoite-specific morphological marker available. RESULTS:Here, the generation and validation of a recombinant monoclonal antibody against PvUIS4 (?-rUIS4 mAb) is described. The variable heavy and light chain domains of an ?-PvUIS4 hybridoma were cloned into murine IgG1 and IgK expression vectors. These expression plasmids were co-transfected into HEK293 cells and mature IgG was purified from culture supernatants. It is shown that the ?-rUIS4 mAb binds to its target with high affinity. It reliably stains the schizont PVM and the hypnozoite-specific PVM prominence, enabling the visual differentiation of hypnozoites from replicating liver stages by immunofluorescence assays in different in vitro settings, as well as in liver sections from P. vivax infected liver-chimeric mice. The antibody functions reliably against all four parasite isolates tested and will be an important tool in the identification of the elusive hypnozoite. CONCLUSIONS:The ?-rUIS4 mAb is a versatile tool for distinguishing replicating P. vivax liver stages from dormant hypnozoites, making it a valuable resource that can be deployed throughout laboratories worldwide.
Project description:Parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) is extensively employed as malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Moreover, it is a well-known drug target candidate. However, the genetic diversity of this gene might influence performance of RDT kits and its drug target candidacy. This study aimed to determine polymorphism of pLDH gene from Iranian isolates of P. vivax and P. falciparum.Genomic DNA was extracted from whole blood of microscopically confirmed P. vivax and P. falciparum infected patients. pLDH gene of P. falciparum and P. vivax was amplified using conventional PCR from 43 symptomatic malaria patients from Sistan and Baluchistan Province, Southeast Iran from 2012 to 2013.Sequence analysis of 15 P. vivax LDH showed fourteen had 100% identity with P. vivax Sal-1 and Belem strains. Two nucleotide substitutions were detected with only one resulted in amino acid change. Analysis of P. falciparum LDH sequences showed six of the seven sequences had 100% homology with P. falciparum 3D7 and Mzr-1. Moreover, PfLDH displayed three nucleotide changes that resulted in changing only one amino acid. PvLDH and PfLDH showed 75%-76% nucleotide and 90.4%-90.76% amino acid homology.pLDH gene from Iranian P. falciparum and P. vivax isolates displayed 98.8-100% homology with 1-3 nucleotide substitutions. This indicated this gene was relatively conserved. Additional studies can be done weather this genetic variation can influence the performance of pLDH based RDTs or not.
Project description:The study of genetic variation in malaria parasites has practical significance for developing strategies to control the disease. Vaccines based on highly polymorphic antigens may be confounded by allelic restriction of the host immune response. In response to drug pressure, a highly plastic genome may generate resistant mutants more easily than a monomorphic one. Additionally, the study of the distribution of genomic polymorphisms may provide information leading to the identification of genes associated with traits such as parasite development and drug resistance. Indeed, the age and diversity of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum has been the subject of recent debate, because an ancient parasite with a complex genome is expected to present greater challenges for drug and vaccine development. The genome diversity of the important human pathogen Plasmodium vivax, however, remains essentially unknown. Here we analyze an approximately 100-kb contiguous chromosome segment from five isolates, revealing 191 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 44 size polymorphisms. The SNPs are not evenly distributed across the segment with blocks of high and low diversity. Whereas the majority (approximately 63%) of the SNPs are in intergenic regions, introns contain significantly less SNPs than intergenic sequences. Polymorphic tandem repeats are abundant and are more uniformly distributed at a frequency of about one polymorphic tandem repeat per 3 kb. These data show that P. vivax has a highly diverse genome, and provide useful information for further understanding the genome diversity of the parasite.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is the second most prevalent malaria parasite affecting more than 75 million people each year, mostly in South America and Asia. In addition to major morbidity this parasite is associated with relapses and a reduction in birthweight. The emergence and spread of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is a major factor in the resurgence of this parasite. P. vivax resistance to drugs has more recently emerged and monitoring the situation would be helped, as for P. falciparum, by molecular methods that can be used to characterize parasites in field studies and drug efficacy trials. METHODS: Practical PCR genotyping protocols based on polymorphic loci present in two P. vivax genetic markers, Pvcs and Pvmsp1, were developed. The methodology was evaluated using 100 P. vivax isolates collected in Thailand. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Analysis revealed that P. vivax populations in Thailand are highly diverse genetically, with mixed genotype infections found in 26 % of the samples (average multiplicity of infection = 1.29). A large number of distinguishable alleles were found for the two markers, 23 for Pvcs and 36 for Pvmsp1. These were generally randomly distributed amongst the isolates. A total of 68 distinct genotypes could be enumerated in the 74 isolates with a multiplicity of infection of 1. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the genotyping protocols presented can be useful in the assessment of in vivo drug efficacy clinical trials conducted in endemic areas and for epidemiological studies of P. vivax infections.
Project description:Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent human malaria parasite, causing serious public health problems in malaria-endemic countries. Until recently the Duffy-negative blood group phenotype was considered to confer resistance to vivax malaria for most African ethnicities. We and others have reported that P. vivax strains in African countries from Madagascar to Mauritania display capacity to cause clinical vivax malaria in Duffy-negative people. New insights must now explain Duffy-independent P. vivax invasion of human erythrocytes.Through recent whole genome sequencing we obtained ? 70× coverage of the P. vivax genome from five field-isolates, resulting in ? 93% of the Sal I reference sequenced at coverage greater than 20×. Combined with sequences from one additional Malagasy field isolate and from five monkey-adapted strains, we describe here identification of DNA sequence rearrangements in the P. vivax genome, including discovery of a duplication of the P. vivax Duffy binding protein (PvDBP) gene. A survey of Malagasy patients infected with P. vivax showed that the PvDBP duplication was present in numerous locations in Madagascar and found in over 50% of infected patients evaluated. Extended geographic surveys showed that the PvDBP duplication was detected frequently in vivax patients living in East Africa and in some residents of non-African P. vivax-endemic countries. Additionally, the PvDBP duplication was observed in travelers seeking treatment of vivax malaria upon returning home. PvDBP duplication prevalence was highest in west-central Madagascar sites where the highest frequencies of P. vivax-infected, Duffy-negative people were reported.The highly conserved nature of the sequence involved in the PvDBP duplication suggests that it has occurred in a recent evolutionary time frame. These data suggest that PvDBP, a merozoite surface protein involved in red cell adhesion is rapidly evolving, possibly in response to constraints imposed by erythrocyte Duffy negativity in some human populations.
Project description:Eradication of malaria is difficult because of the ability of hypnozoite, the dormant liver-stage form of Plasmodium vivax, to cause relapse in patients. Research efforts to better understand the biology of P. vivax hypnozoite and design relapse prevention strategies have been hampered by the lack of a robust and reliable model for in vitro culture of liver-stage parasites. Although the HC-04 hepatoma cell line is used for culturing liver-stage forms of Plasmodium, these cells proliferate unrestrictedly and detach from the culture dish after several days, which limits their usefulness in a long-term hypnozoite assay.A novel immortalized hepatocyte-like cell line (imHC) was evaluated for the capability to support P. vivax sporozoite infection. First, expression of basic hepatocyte markers and all major malaria sporozoite-associated host receptors in imHC was investigated. Next, in vitro hepatocyte infectivity and intracellular development of sporozoites in imHC were determined using an indirect immunofluorescence assay. Cytochrome P450 isotype activity was also measured to determine the ability of imHC to metabolize drugs. Finally, the anti-liver-stage agent primaquine was used to test this model for a drug sensitivity assay.imHCs maintained major hepatic functions and expressed the essential factors CD81, SR-BI and EphA2, which are required for host entry and development of the parasite in the liver. imHCs could be maintained long-term in a monolayer without overgrowth and thus served as a good, supportive substrate for the invasion and growth of P. vivax liver stages, including hypnozoites. The observed high drug metabolism activity and potent responses in liver-stage parasites to primaquine highlight the potential use of this imHC model for antimalarial drug screening.imHCs, which maintain a hepatocyte phenotype and drug-metabolizing enzyme expression, constitute an alternative host for in vitro Plasmodium liver-stage studies, particularly those addressing the biology of P. vivax hypnozoite. They potentially offer a novel, robust model for screening drugs against liver-stage parasites.
Project description:Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of malaria outside Africa and represents a significant health and economic burden on affected countries. A major obstacle for P. vivax eradication is the dormant hypnozoite liver stage that causes relapse infections and the limited antimalarial drugs that clear this stage. Advances in studying the hypnozoite and other unique biological aspects of this parasite are hampered by the lack of a continuous in vitro laboratory culture system and poor availability of molecular tools for genetic manipulation. In this study, we aim to develop molecular tools that can be used for genetic manipulation of P. vivax. A putative P. vivax centromere sequence (PvCEN) was cloned and episomal centromere based plasmids expressing a GFP marker were constructed. Centromere activity was evaluated using a rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii. A plasmid carrying PvCEN was stably maintained in asexual-stage parasites in the absence of drug pressure, and approximately 45% of the parasites retained the plasmid four weeks later. The same retention rate was observed in parasites possessing a native P. yoelii centromere (PyCEN)-based control plasmid. The segregation efficiency of the plasmid per nuclear division was > 99% in PvCEN parasites, compared to ~90% in a control parasite harboring a plasmid without a centromere. In addition, we observed a clear GFP signal in both oocysts and salivary gland sporozoites isolated from mosquitoes. In blood-stage parasites after liver stage development, GFP positivity in PvCEN parasites was comparable to control PyCEN parasites. Thus, PvCEN plasmids were maintained throughout the parasite life cycle. We also validated several P. vivax promoter activities and showed that hsp70 promoter (~1 kb) was active throughout the parasite life cycle. This is the first data for the functional characterization of a P. vivax centromere that can be used in future P. vivax biological research.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Genetic polymorphism is an inevitable component of a complex organism especially in multistage infectious organisms such as malaria parasites. Understanding the population genetic structure of the parasites would provide valuable information for effective malaria control strategies. Recently, the development of molecular tools like PCR has made analysis of field samples possible and easier and research on Plasmodium vivax has also been strengthened. Not many reports are available on the genetic polymorphism of P. vivax from the Indian sub-continent. This study evaluates the extent of diversity in field isolates of India with respect to Pvgam-1. METHODS: A study was designed to assess the diversity of Pvgam-1 among field isolates from India, using a nested PCR assay. Field isolates were collected from different regions of the country and the observed variability was confirmed by sequencing data. RESULTS: Both Belem and Chesson type alleles were present either exclusively or in mixed form among isolates of all 10 study sites. The Belem type allele was predominant, occurring in 67% of isolates. The proportion of isolates showing the mixed form (both Belem and Chesson type alleles occurring together in the same isolate) was about 13 overall (up to 38.5% in some isolates). Sequencing of the PCR-amplified Belem and Chesson type alleles confirmed the PCR results. Among the 10 study sequences, 11 polymorphic sites and four singleton variations were observed. All the nucleotide substitutions were non-synonymous. CONCLUSION: Study shows limited diversity of Pvgam-1 marker in Indian isolates with well representation of both Belem and Chesson type alleles.