Parasite maturation and host serum iron influence the labile iron pool of erythrocyte stage Plasmodium falciparum.
ABSTRACT: Iron is a critical and tightly regulated nutrient for both the malaria parasite and its human host. The importance of the relationship between host iron and the parasite has been underscored recently by studies showing that host iron supplementation may increase the risk of falciparum malaria. It is unclear what host iron sources the parasite is able to access. We developed a flow cytometry-based method for measuring the labile iron pool (LIP) of parasitized erythrocytes using the nucleic acid dye STYO 61 and the iron sensitive dye, calcein acetoxymethyl ester (CA-AM). This new approach enabled us to measure the LIP of P. falciparum through the course of its erythrocytic life cycle and in response to the addition of host serum iron sources. We found that the LIP increases as the malaria parasite develops from early ring to late schizont stage, and that the addition of either transferrin or ferric citrate to culture media increases the LIP of trophozoites. Our method for detecting the LIP within malaria parasitized RBCs provides evidence that the parasite is able to access serum iron sources as part of the host vs. parasite arms race for iron.
Project description:Iron deficiency and malaria have similar global distributions, and frequently co-exist in pregnant women and young children. Where both conditions are prevalent, iron supplementation is complicated by observations that iron deficiency anaemia protects against falciparum malaria, and that iron supplements increase susceptibility to clinically significant malaria, but the mechanisms remain obscure. Here, using an in vitro parasite culture system with erythrocytes from iron-deficient and replete human donors, we demonstrate that Plasmodium falciparum infects iron-deficient erythrocytes less efficiently. In addition, owing to merozoite preference for young erythrocytes, iron supplementation of iron-deficient individuals reverses the protective effects of iron deficiency. Our results provide experimental validation of field observations reporting protective effects of iron deficiency and harmful effects of iron administration on human malaria susceptibility. Because recovery from anaemia requires transient reticulocytosis, our findings imply that in malarious regions iron supplementation should be accompanied by effective measures to prevent falciparum malaria.
Project description:Artemisinin resistance, a long parasite clearance half-life in response to artemisinin, has been described in patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria in southeast Asia. Few baseline half-lives have been reported from Africa, where artemisinins were recently introduced.We treated P. falciparum malaria in 215 Malian children aged 0.5-15 years with artesunate (0, 24, 48 hours) and amodiaquine (72, 96, 120 hours). We estimated half-life by measuring parasite density every 6 hours until undetectable and evaluated the effects of age, sex, ethnicity, and red blood cell (RBC) polymorphisms on half-life. We quantified the proportion of parasitized RBCs recognized by autologous immunoglobulin G (IgG).The geometric mean half-life was 1.9 hours (95% confidence interval, 1.8-2.0) and did not correlate with parasite ex vivo susceptibility to artemisinins. In a linear model accounting for host factors, half-life decreased by 4.1 minutes for every 1-year increase in age. The proportion of parasitized RBCs recognized by IgG correlated inversely with half-life (r = -0.475; P = .0006).Parasite clearance in response to artesunate is faster in Mali than in southeast Asia. IgG responses to parasitized RBCs shorten half-life and may influence this parameter in areas where age is not an adequate surrogate of immunity and correlates of parasite-clearing immunity have not been identified.NCT00669084.
Project description:Plasmodium falciparum infections can cause severe malaria, but not every infected person develops life-threatening complications. In particular, carriers of the structural haemoglobinopathies S and C and infants are protected from severe disease. Protection is associated with impaired parasite-induced host actin reorganization, required for vesicular trafficking of parasite-encoded adhesins, and reduced cytoadherence of parasitized erythrocytes in the microvasculature. Here we show that aberrant host actin remodelling and the ensuing reduced cytoadherence result from a redox imbalance inherent to haemoglobinopathic and fetal erythrocytes. We further show that a transient oxidative insult to wild-type erythrocytes before infection with P. falciparum induces the phenotypic features associated with the protective trait of haemoglobinopathic and fetal erythrocytes. Moreover, pretreatment of mice with the pro-oxidative nutritional supplement menadione mitigate the development of experimental cerebral malaria. Our results identify redox imbalance as a causative principle of protection from severe malaria, which might inspire host-directed intervention strategies.
Project description:Iron is an essential micronutrient but is also highly toxic. In yeast and plant cells, a key detoxifying mechanism involves iron sequestration into intracellular storage compartments, mediated by members of the vacuolar iron-transporter (VIT) family of proteins. Here we study the VIT homologue from the malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum (PfVIT) and Plasmodium berghei (PbVIT). PfVIT-mediated iron transport in a yeast heterologous expression system is saturable (Km ? 14.7 ?M), and selective for Fe(2+) over other divalent cations. PbVIT-deficient P. berghei lines (Pbvit(-)) show a reduction in parasite load in both liver and blood stages of infection in mice. Moreover, Pbvit(-) parasites have higher levels of labile iron in blood stages and are more sensitive to increased iron levels in liver stages, when compared with wild-type parasites. Our data are consistent with Plasmodium VITs playing a major role in iron detoxification and, thus, normal development of malaria parasites in their mammalian host.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax generate significant concentrations of free unbound ferrous iron heme as a side product of hemoglobin degradation. The presence of these chemically reactive forms of iron, rare in healthy cells, presents an opportunity for parasite-selective drug delivery. Accordingly, our group is developing technologies for the targeted delivery of therapeutics to the intra-erythrocytic malaria parasite. These so-called 'fragmenting hybrids' employ a 1,2,4-trioxolane ring system as an iron(II)-sensing 'trigger' moiety and a 'traceless' retro-Michael linker to which a variety of partner drug species may be attached. After ferrous iron-promoted activation in the parasite, the partner drug is released via a ?-elimination reaction. METHODS:In this report, we describe three orthogonal experimental approaches that were explored in order to generate in vitro proof-of-concept for ferrous iron-dependent drug delivery from a prototypical fragmenting hybrid. CONCLUSION:Studies of two fragmenting hybrids by orthogonal approaches confirm that a partner drug species can be delivered to live P. falciparum parasites. A key advantage of this approach is the potential to mask a partner drug's intrinsic bioactivity prior to release in the parasite.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Artesunate the most potent antimalarial is widely used for the treatment of multidrug-resistant malaria. The antimalarial cytotoxicity of artesunate has been mainly attributed to its selective, irreversible and iron- radical-mediated damage of parasite biomolecules. In the present research, iron oxide nanoparticle fortified artesunate was tested in P. falciparum and in an experimental malaria mouse model for enhancement in the selectivity and toxicity of artesunate towards parasite. Artesunate was fortified with nontoxic biocompatible surface modified iron oxide nanoparticle which is specially designed and synthesized for the sustained pH-dependent release of Fe2+ within the parasitic food vacuole for enhanced ROS spurt. METHODS:Antimalarial efficacy of Iron oxide nanoparticle fortified artesunate was evaluated in wild type and artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum (R539T) grown in O?+?ve human blood and in Plasmodium berghei ANKA infected swiss albino mice. Internalization of nanoparticles, the pH-dependent release of Fe2+, production of reactive oxygen species and parasite biomolecule damage by iron oxide nanoparticle fortified artesunate was studied using various biochemical, biophysical, ultra-structural and fluorescence microscopy. For determining the efficacy of ATA-IONP+ART on resistant parasite ring survival assay was performed. RESULTS:The nanoparticle fortified artesunate was highly efficient in the 1/8th concentration of artesunate IC50 and led to retarded growth of P. falciparum with significant damage to macromolecules mediated via enhanced ROS production. Similarly, preclinical In vivo studies also signified a radical reduction in parasitemia with ~8-10-fold reduced dosage of artesunate when fortified with iron oxide nanoparticles. Importantly, the ATA-IONP combination was efficacious against artemisinin-resistant parasites. INTERPRETATION:Surface coated iron-oxide nanoparticle fortified artesunate can be developed into a potent therapeutic agent towards multidrug-resistant and artemisinin-resistant malaria in humans. FUND: This study is supported by the Centre for Study of Complex Malaria in India funded by the National Institute of Health, USA.
Project description:Recent studies show that some human malaria parasite species Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax parasitize erythroblasts; however, the biological and clinical significance of this is unclear. To investigate further, we generated a rodent malaria parasite (P. yoelii 17XNL) expressing GFP-ovalbumin (OVA). Its infectivity to erythroblasts was confirmed, and parasitized erythroblasts were capable of initiating malaria infections. Experiments showed that MHC class I molecules were highly expressed on parasitized erythroblasts. As CD8(+) T cells recognize MHC class I and peptide complexes on target cells, and are involved in protection or pathology against malaria, we examined whether erythroblasts are targeted by CD8(+) T cells. Purified non-parasitized erythroblasts pulsed with OVA peptides were recognized by OVA-specific CD8(+) T cells. Crucially, parasitized erythroblasts isolated from GFP-OVA-, but not GFP- infected-mice, activated OT-I CD8(+) T cells, indicating that CD8(+) T cells recognize parasitized erythroblasts in an antigen-specific manner.
Project description:Dendritic cells are key linkers of innate and adaptive immunity. Efficient dendritic cell activation is central to the acquisition of immunity and the efficacy of vaccines. Understanding how dendritic cells are affected by <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> blood-stage parasites will help to understand how immunity is acquired and maintained, and how vaccine responses may be impacted by malaria infection or exposure. This study investigates the response of dendritic cells to two different life stages of the malaria parasite, parasitized red blood cells and merozoites, using a murine model. We demonstrate that the dendritic cell responses to merozoites are robust whereas dendritic cell activation, particularly CD40 and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, is compromised in the presence of freshly isolated parasitized red blood cells. The mechanism of dendritic cell suppression by parasitized red blood cells is host red cell membrane-independent. Furthermore, we show that cryopreserved parasitized red blood cells have a substantially reduced capacity for dendritic cell activation.
Project description:The influence of host genetics on susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been extensively studied over the past twenty years. It is now clear that malaria parasites have imposed strong selective forces on the human genome in endemic regions. Different genes have been identified that are associated with different malaria related phenotypes. Factors that promote severity of malaria include parasitaemia, parasite induced inflammation, anaemia and sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in brain microvasculature.Recent advances in human genome research technologies such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and fine genotyping tools have enabled the discovery of several genetic polymorphisms and biomarkers that warrant further study in host-parasite interactions. This review describes and discusses human gene polymorphisms identified thus far that have been shown to be associated with susceptibility or resistance to P. falciparum malaria. Although some polymorphisms play significant roles in susceptibility to malaria, several findings are inconclusive and contradictory and must be considered with caution. The discovery of genetic markers associated with different malaria phenotypes will help elucidate the pathophysiology of malaria and enable development of interventions or cures. Diversity in human populations as well as environmental effects can influence the clinical heterogeneity of malaria, thus warranting further investigations with a goal of developing new interventions, therapies and better management against malaria.
Project description:Membrane electrochemical potential is a feature of the molecular profile of the cell membrane and the two-dimensional arrangement of its charge-bearing molecules. Plasmodium species, the causative agents of malaria, are intracellular parasites that remodel host erythrocytes by expressing their own proteins on erythrocyte membranes. Although various aspects of the modifications made to the host erythrocyte membrane have been extensively studied in some human Plasmodium species (such as Plasmodium falciparum), details of the structural and molecular biological modifications made to host erythrocytes by nonhuman Plasmodium parasites have not been studied. We employed zeta potential analysis of erythrocytes parasitized by P. chabaudi, a nonhuman Plasmodium parasite. From these measurements, we found that the surface potential shift was more negative for P. chabaudi-infected erythrocytes than for P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes. However, electron microscopic analysis of the surface of P. chabaudi-infected erythrocytes did not reveal any modifications as compared with nonparasitized erythrocytes. These results suggest that differences in the membrane modifications found herein represent unique attributes related to the pathogenesis profiles of the two different malaria parasite species in different host animals and that these features have been acquired through parasite adaptations acquired over long evolutionary time periods.