The Plasmodium TRAP/MIC2 family member, TRAP-Like Protein (TLP), is involved in tissue traversal by sporozoites.
ABSTRACT: In the apicomplexan protozoans motility and cell invasion are mediated by the TRAP/MIC2 family of transmembrane proteins, members of which link extracellular adhesion to the intracellular actomyosin motor complex. Here we characterize a new member of the TRAP/MIC2 family, named TRAP-Like Protein (TLP), that is highly conserved within the Plasmodium genus. Similar to the Plasmodium sporozoite protein, TRAP, and the ookinete protein, CTRP, TLP possesses an extracellular domain architecture that is comprised of von Willebrand factor A (vWA) and thrombospondin type 1 (TSP1) domains, plus a short cytoplasmic domain. Comparison of the vWA domain of TLP genes from multiple Plasmodium falciparum isolates showed relative low sequence diversity, suggesting that the protein is not under selective pressures of the host immune system. Analysis of transcript levels by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed that TLP is predominantly expressed in salivary gland sporozoites of P. falciparum and P. berghei. Targeted disruption of P. berghei TLP resulted in a decreased capacity for cell traversal by sporozoites, and reduced infectivity of sporozoites in vivo, whereas in vitro sporozoite motility and hepatocyte invasion were unaffected. These results indicate a role of TLP in cell traversal by sporozoites.
Project description:Malaria transmission occurs by intradermal deposition of Plasmodium sporozoites during the infectious bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. After formation in midgut-associated oocysts sporozoites actively enter mosquito salivary glands and subsequently invade host hepatocytes where they transform into clinically silent liver stages. To date, two sporozoite-specific transmembrane proteins have been identified that perform vital functions in natural malaria transmission. The sporozoite invasin TRAP drives sporozoite motility and target cell entry whereas the adhesin MAEBL mediates sporozoite recognition of and attachment to salivary glands. Here, we demonstrate that the sporozoite-specific transmembrane protein S6 is required for efficient malaria transmission to the vertebrate host. Targeted deletion of S6 results in severe impairment of sporozoite gliding motility and invasion of mosquito salivary glands. During sporozoite maturation S6 expression is tightly regulated by transcriptional and translational control. We propose that S6 functions together with TRAP/MIC2 family invasins to direct fast, efficient and specific cell entry and, ultimately, life cycle progression of the malaria sporozoite.
Project description:The liver stage of the Plasmodium life cycle features sporozoite traversal of the liver sinusoidal barrier through Kupffer cells (KCs) followed by invasion of hepatocytes. Little is known about the interaction of Plasmodium sporozoites with KCs, the liver-resident macrophages. Previous reports suggest KCs do not mount a pro-inflammatory response and undergo cell death following this interaction. Our work explores this interaction using primary rat KCs (PRKCs) and Plasmodium berghei sporozoites. We analyzed PRKC culture supernatants for markers of an immunological response through cytokine arrays. Additionally, cell wounding and death were assessed by monitoring lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels in these supernatants and by live/dead cell imaging. We found that PRKCs mount an immunological response to P. berghei sporozoites by releasing a diverse set of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IFN?, IL-12p70, Mip-3?, IL-2, RANTES, IL-1?, IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, EPO, VEGF, IL-7, and IL-17?. We also observed no difference in LDH level or live/dead staining upon sporozoite exposure, suggesting that the KCs are not deeply wounded or dying. Overall, our data suggest that sporozoites may be actively modulating the KC's reaction to their presence and altering the way the innate immune system is triggered by KCs.
Project description:Accumulation of infectious Plasmodium sporozoites in Anopheles spp. salivary glands marks the final step of the complex development of the malaria parasite in the insect vector. Sporozoites are formed inside midgut-associated oocysts and actively egress into the mosquito hemocoel. Traversal of the salivary gland acinar cells correlates with the sporozoite's capacity to perform continuous gliding motility. Here, we characterized the cellular role of the Plasmodium berghei sporozoite invasion-associated protein 1 (SIAP-1). Intriguingly, SIAP-1 orthologs are found exclusively in apicomplexan hemoprotozoa, parasites that are transmitted by arthropod vectors, e.g., Plasmodium, Babesia, and Theileria species. By fluorescent tagging with mCherry, we show that SIAP-1 is expressed in oocyst-derived and salivary gland-associated sporozoites, where it accumulates at the apical tip. Targeted disruption of SIAP-1 does not affect sporozoite formation but causes a partial defect in sporozoite egress from oocysts and abolishes sporozoite colonization of mosquito salivary glands. Parasites with the siap-1(-) mutation are blocked in their capacity to perform continuous gliding motility. We propose that arthropod-transmitted apicomplexan parasites specifically express secretory factors, such as SIAP-1, that mediate efficient oocyst exit and migration to the salivary glands.
Project description:Migrating cells are guided in complex environments mainly by chemotaxis or structural cues presented by the surrounding tissue. During transmission of malaria, parasite motility in the skin is important for Plasmodium sporozoites to reach the blood circulation. Here we show that sporozoite migration varies in different skin environments the parasite encounters at the arbitrary sites of the mosquito bite. In order to systematically examine how sporozoite migration depends on the structure of the environment, we studied it in micro-fabricated obstacle arrays. The trajectories observed in vivo and in vitro closely resemble each other suggesting that structural constraints can be sufficient to guide Plasmodium sporozoites in complex environments. Sporozoite speed in different environments is optimized for migration and correlates with persistence length and dispersal. However, this correlation breaks down in mutant sporozoites that show adhesion impairment due to the lack of TRAP-like protein (TLP) on their surfaces. This may explain their delay in infecting the host. The flexibility of sporozoite adaption to different environments and a favorable speed for optimal dispersal ensures efficient host switching during malaria transmission.
Project description:Malaria infection is initiated when the insect vector injects Plasmodium sporozoites into a susceptible vertebrate host. Sporozoites rapidly leave the circulatory system to invade hepatocytes, where further development generates the parasite form that invades and multiplies within erythrocytes. Previous experiments have shown that the thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP) plays an important role in sporozoite infectivity for hepatocytes. TRAP, a typical type-1 transmembrane protein, has a long extracellular region, which contains two adhesive domains, an A-domain and a thrombospondin repeat. We have generated recombinant proteins of the TRAP adhesive domains. These TRAP fragments show direct interaction with hepatocytes and inhibit sporozoite invasion in vitro. When the recombinant TRAP A-domain was used for immunoprecipitation against hepatocyte membrane fractions, it bound to alpha2-Heremans-Schmid glycoprotein/fetuin-A, a hepatocyte-specific protein associated with the extracellular matrix. When the soluble sporozoite protein fraction was immunoprecipitated on a fetuin-A-adsorbed protein A column, TRAP bound this ligand. Importantly, anti-fetuin-A antibodies inhibited invasion of hepatocytes by sporozoites. Further, onset of malaria infection was delayed in fetuin-A-deficient mice compared to that in wild-type C57BL/6 mice when they were challenged with Plasmodium berghei sporozoites. These data demonstrate that the extracellular region of TRAP interacts with fetuin-A on hepatocyte membranes and that this interaction enhances the parasite's ability to invade hepatocytes.
Project description:Regulated protein secretion is required for malaria parasite life cycle progression and transmission between the mammalian host and mosquito vector. During transmission from the host to the vector, exocytosis of highly specialised secretory vesicles, such as osmiophilic bodies, is key to the dissolution of the red blood cell and parasitophorous vacuole membranes enabling gamete egress. The positioning of adhesins from the TRAP family, from micronemes to the sporozoite surface, is essential for gliding motility of the parasite and transmission from mosquito to mammalian host. Here we identify a conserved role for the putative pantothenate transporter PAT in Plasmodium berghei in vesicle fusion of two distinct classes of vesicles in gametocytes and sporozoites. PAT is a membrane component of osmiophilic bodies in gametocytes and micronemes in sporozoites. Despite normal formation and trafficking of osmiophilic bodies to the cell surface upon activation, PAT-deficient gametes fail to discharge their contents, remain intraerythrocytic and unavailable for fertilisation and further development in the mosquito. Sporozoites lacking PAT fail to secrete TRAP, are immotile and thus unable to infect the subsequent rodent host. Thus, P. berghei PAT appears to regulate exocytosis in two distinct populations of vesicles in two different life cycle forms rather than acting as pantothenic transporter during parasite transmission.
Project description:Malaria infection starts when sporozoites are transmitted to the mammalian host during a mosquito bite. Sporozoites enter the blood circulation, reach the liver, and infect hepatocytes. The formation of a parasitophorous vacuole (PV) establishes their intracellular niche. Recently, two members of the 6-Cys domain protein family, P52 and P36, were each shown to play an important albeit nonessential role in Plasmodium berghei sporozoite infectivity for the rodent host. Here, we generated p52/p36-deficient Plasmodium yoelii parasites by the simultaneous deletion of both genes using a single genetic manipulation. p52/p36-deficient parasites exhibited normal progression through the life cycle during blood-stage infection, transmission to mosquitoes, mosquito-stage development, and sporozoite infection of the salivary glands. p52/p36-deficient sporozoites also showed normal motility and cell traversal activity. However, immunofluorescence analysis and electron microscopic observations revealed that p52/p36-deficient parasites did not form a PV within hepatocytes in vitro and in vivo. The p52/p36-deficient parasites localized as free entities in the host cell cytoplasm or the host cell nucleoplasm and did not develop as liver stages. Consequently, they did not cause blood-stage infections even at high sporozoite inoculation doses. Mice immunized with p52/p36-deficient sporozoites were completely protected against infectious sporozoite challenge. Our results demonstrate for the first time the generation of two-locus gene deletion-attenuated parasites that infect the liver but do not progress to blood-stage infection. The study will critically guide the design of Plasmodium falciparum live attenuated malaria vaccines.
Project description:Four different vaccine platforms, each targeting the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax cell-traversal protein for ookinetes and sporozoites (PvCelTOS), were generated and assessed for protective efficacy. These platforms consisted of a recombinant chimpanzee adenoviral vector 63 (ChAd63) expressing PvCelTOS (Ad), a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing PvCelTOS (MVA), PvCelTOS conjugated to bacteriophage Q? virus-like particles (VLPs), and a recombinant PvCelTOS protein expressed in eukaryotic HEK293T cells (protein). Inbred BALB/c mice and outbred CD-1 mice were immunized using the following prime-boost regimens: Ad-MVA, Ad-VLPs, and Ad-protein. Protective efficacy against sporozoite challenge was assessed after immunization using a novel chimeric rodent Plasmodium berghei parasite (Pb-PvCelTOS). This chimeric parasite expresses P. vivax CelTOS in place of the endogenous P. berghei CelTOS and produces fully infectious sporozoites. A single Ad immunization in BALB/c and CD-1 mice induced anti-PvCelTOS antibodies which were boosted efficiently using MVA, VLP, or protein immunization. PvCelTOS-specific gamma interferon- and tumor necrosis factor alpha-producing CD8+ T cells were induced at high frequencies by all prime-boost regimens in BALB/c mice but not in CD-1 mice; in CD-1 mice, they were only marginally increased after boosting with MVA. Despite the induction of anti-PvCelTOS antibodies and PvCelTOS-specific CD8+ T-cell responses, only low levels of protective efficacy against challenge with Pb-PvCelTOS sporozoites were obtained using any immunization strategy. In BALB/c mice, no immunization regimens provided significant protection against a Pb-PvCelTOS chimeric sporozoite challenge. In CD-1 mice, modest protective efficacy against challenge with chimeric P. berghei sporozoites expressing either PvCelTOS or P. falciparum CelTOS was observed using the Ad-protein vaccination regimen.
Project description:Recent studies have shown that immune responses against the cell-traversal protein for Plasmodium ookinetes and sporozoites (CelTOS) can inhibit parasite infection. While these studies provide important evidence toward the development of vaccines targeting this protein, it remains unknown whether these responses could engage the Plasmodium falciparum CelTOS in vivo Using a newly developed rodent malaria chimeric parasite expressing the P. falciparum CelTOS (PfCelTOS), we evaluated the protective effect of in vivo immune responses elicited by vaccination and assessed the neutralizing capacity of monoclonal antibodies specific against PfCelTOS. Mice immunized with recombinant P. falciparum CelTOS in combination with the glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant-stable emulsion (GLA-SE) or glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant-liposome-QS21 (GLA-LSQ) adjuvant system significantly inhibited sporozoite hepatocyte infection. Notably, monoclonal antibodies against PfCelTOS strongly inhibited oocyst development of P. falciparum and Plasmodium berghei expressing PfCelTOS in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that anti-CelTOS responses elicited by vaccination or passive immunization can inhibit sporozoite and ookinete infection and impair vector transmission.
Project description:Malaria-causing Plasmodium sporozoites are deposited in the dermis by the bite of an infected mosquito and move by gliding motility to the liver where they invade and develop within host hepatocytes. Although extracellular interactions between Plasmodium sporozoite ligands and host receptors provide important guidance cues for productive infection and are good vaccine targets, these interactions remain largely uncharacterized. Thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) is a parasite cell surface ligand that is essential for both gliding motility and invasion because it couples the extracellular binding of host receptors to the parasite cytoplasmic actinomyosin motor; however, the molecular nature of the host TRAP receptors is poorly defined. Here, we use a systematic extracellular protein interaction screening approach to identify the integrin ?v?3 as a directly interacting host receptor for Plasmodium falciparum TRAP. Biochemical characterization of the interaction suggests a two-site binding model, requiring contributions from both the von Willebrand factor A domain and the RGD motif of TRAP for integrin binding. We show that TRAP binding to cells is promoted in the presence of integrin-activating proadhesive Mn2+ ions, and that cells genetically targeted so that they lack cell surface expression of the integrin ?v-subunit are no longer able to bind TRAP. P. falciparum sporozoites moved with greater speed in the dermis of Itgb3-deficient mice, suggesting that the interaction has a role in sporozoite migration. The identification of the integrin ?v?3 as the host receptor for TRAP provides an important demonstration of a sporozoite surface ligand that directly interacts with host receptors.