Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale genomes provide insights into malaria parasite evolution.
ABSTRACT: Elucidation of the evolutionary history and interrelatedness of Plasmodium species that infect humans has been hampered by a lack of genetic information for three human-infective species: P. malariae and two P. ovale species (P. o. curtisi and P. o. wallikeri). These species are prevalent across most regions in which malaria is endemic and are often undetectable by light microscopy, rendering their study in human populations difficult. The exact evolutionary relationship of these species to the other human-infective species has been contested. Using a new reference genome for P. malariae and a manually curated draft P. o. curtisi genome, we are now able to accurately place these species within the Plasmodium phylogeny. Sequencing of a P. malariae relative that infects chimpanzees reveals similar signatures of selection in the P. malariae lineage to another Plasmodium lineage shown to be capable of colonization of both human and chimpanzee hosts. Molecular dating suggests that these host adaptations occurred over similar evolutionary timescales. In addition to the core genome that is conserved between species, differences in gene content can be linked to their specific biology. The genome suggests that P. malariae expresses a family of heterodimeric proteins on its surface that have structural similarities to a protein crucial for invasion of red blood cells. The data presented here provide insight into the evolution of the Plasmodium genus as a whole.
Project description:Six Plasmodium species are known to naturally infect humans. Mixed species infections occur regularly but morphological discrimination by microscopy is difficult and multiplicity of infection (MOI) can only be evaluated by molecular methods. This study investigated the complexity of Plasmodium infections in patients treated for microscopically detected non-falciparum or mixed species malaria in Gabon.Ultra-deep sequencing of nucleus (18S rRNA), mitochondrion, and apicoplast encoded genes was used to evaluate Plasmodium species diversity and MOI in 46 symptomatic Gabonese patients with microscopically diagnosed non-falciparum or mixed species malaria.Deep sequencing revealed a large complexity of confections in patients with uncomplicated malaria, both on species and genotype levels. Mixed infections involved up to four parasite species (Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale curtisi, and P. ovale wallikeri). Multiple genotypes from each species were determined from the asexual 18S rRNA gene. 17 of 46 samples (37%) harboured multiple genotypes of at least one Plasmodium species. The number of genotypes per sample (MOI) was highest in P. malariae (n = 4), followed by P. ovale curtisi (n = 3), P. ovale wallikeri (n = 3), and P. falciparum (n = 2). The highest combined genotype complexity in samples that contained mixed-species infections was seven.Ultra-deep sequencing showed an unexpected breadth of Plasmodium species and within species diversity in clinical samples. MOI of P. ovale curtisi, P. ovale wallikeri and P. malariae infections were higher than anticipated and contribute significantly to the burden of malaria in Gabon.
Project description:Treatment recommendations for Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale malaria are largely based on anecdotal evidence. The aim of this prospective study, conducted in Gabon, was to systematically assess the efficacy and safety of artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of patients with uncomplicated P. malariae or P. ovale species monoinfections or mixed Plasmodium infections. Patients with microscopically confirmed P. malariae, P. ovale, or mixed-species malaria with at least one of these two Plasmodium species were treated with an oral, fixed-dose combination of artemether-lumefantrine for 3 consecutive days. The primary endpoints were per-protocol PCR-corrected adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) on days 28 and 42. Tolerability and safety were recorded throughout the follow-up period. Seventy-two participants (42 male and 30 female) were enrolled; 62.5% of them had PCR-corrected mixed Plasmodium infections. Per protocol, PCR-corrected ACPR rates were 96.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 91.9 to 100) on day 28 and 94.2% (95% CI, 87.7 to 100) on day 42. Considering Plasmodium species independently from their coinfecting species, day 42 ACPR rates were 95.5% (95% CI, 89.0 to 100) for P. falciparum, 100% (exact CI, 84.6 to 100) for P. malariae, 100% (exact CI, 76.8 to 100) for P. ovale curtisi, and 90.9% (95% CI, 70.7 to 100) for P. ovale wallikeri Study drug-related adverse events were generally mild or moderate. In conclusion, this clinical trial demonstrated satisfying antimalarial activity of artemether-lumefantrine against P. ovalewallikeri, P. ovale curtisi, P. malariae, and mixed Plasmodium infections, with per-protocol efficacies of 90% to 100% and without evident tolerability or safety concerns. (This trial was registered in the clinical study database ClinicalTrials.gov under the identifier NCT02528279.).
Project description:Microsatellites can be utilized to explore genotypes, population structure, and other genomic features of eukaryotes. Systematic characterization of microsatellites has not been a focus for several species of Plasmodium, including P. malariae and P. ovale, as the majority of malaria elimination programs are focused on P. falciparum and to a lesser extent P. vivax. Here, five human malaria species (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale curtisi, and P. knowlesi) were investigated with the aim of conducting in-depth categorization of microsatellites for P. malariae and P. ovale curtisi. Investigation of reference genomes for microsatellites with unit motifs of 1-10 base pairs indicates high diversity among the five Plasmodium species. Plasmodium malariae, with the largest genome size, displays the second highest microsatellite density (1421 No./Mbp; 5% coverage) next to P. falciparum (3634 No./Mbp; 12% coverage). The lowest microsatellite density was observed in P. vivax (773 No./Mbp; 2% coverage). A, AT, and AAT are the most commonly repeated motifs in the Plasmodium species. For P. malariae and P. ovale curtisi, microsatellite-related sequences are observed in approximately 18-29% of coding sequences (CDS). Lysine, asparagine, and glutamic acids are most frequently coded by microsatellite-related CDS. The majority of these CDS could be related to the gene ontology terms "cell parts," "binding," "developmental processes," and "metabolic processes." The present study provides a comprehensive overview of microsatellite distribution and can assist in the planning and development of potentially useful genetic tools for further investigation of P. malariae and P. ovale curtisi epidemiology.
Project description:Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum, the agent of severe malaria, is currently a major obstacle to malaria control in Southeast Asia. A gene named "kelch13" has been associated with artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum The orthologue of the kelch gene in P. vivax was identified and a small number of mutations were found in previous studies. The kelch orthologues in the other two human malaria parasites, P. malariae and P. ovale, have not yet been studied. Therefore, in this study, the orthologous kelch genes of P. malariae, P. ovale wallikeri, and P. ovale curtisi were isolated and analyzed for the first time. The homologies of the kelch genes of P. malariae and P. ovale were 84.8% and 82.7%, respectively, compared to the gene in P. falciparum kelch polymorphisms were studied in 13 P. malariae and 5 P. ovale isolates from Thailand. There were 2 nonsynonymous mutations found in these samples. One mutation was P533L, which was found in 1 of 13 P. malariae isolates, and the other was K137R, found in 1 isolate of P. ovale wallikeri (n = 4). This result needs to be considered in the context of widespread artemisinin used within the region; their functional consequences for artemisinin sensitivity in P. malariae and P. ovale will need to be elucidated.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In Ethiopia Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are the dominant species accounting for roughly 60 and 40% of malaria cases, respectively. Recently a major shift from P. falciparum to P. vivax has been observed in various parts of the country but the epidemiology of the other human malaria species, Plasmodium ovale spp. and Plasmodium malariae remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to assess P. ovale curtisi and wallikeri infection in north-west Ethiopia by using microscopy and nested PCR. METHODS: A health institution-based survey using non-probability sampling techniques was conducted at Maksegnet, Enfranze and Kola Diba health centres and Metema hospital in North Gondar. Three-hundred patients with signs and symptoms consistent with malaria were included in this study and capillary blood was collected for microscopic examination and molecular analysis of Plasmodium species. Samples were collected on Whatman 903 filter papers, stored in small plastic bags with desiccant and transported to Vienna (Austria) for molecular analysis. Data from study participants were entered and analysed by SPSS 20 software. RESULTS: Out of 300 study participants (167 males and 133 females), 184 samples were classified positive for malaria (133 P. falciparum and 51 P. vivax) by microscopy. By species-specific PCR 233 Plasmodium spp (95% CI: 72.6-82) were detected and the majority 155 (66.5%, 95% CI: 60.2-72.3) were P. falciparum followed by P. vivax 69 (29.6%, 95% CI; 24.1-35.8) and 9 (3.9%, 95% CI: 2-7.2) samples were positive for P. ovale. Seven of P. ovale parasites were confirmed as P. ovale wallikeri and two were confirmed as P. ovale curtisi. None of the samples tested positive for P. malariae. During microscopic examination there were high (16.3%) false negative reports and all mixed infections and P. ovale cases were missed or misclassified. CONCLUSION: This study indicates that P. ovale malaria is under-reported in Ethiopia and provides the first known evidence of the sympatric distribution of indigenous P. ovale wallikeri and P. ovale curtisi in Ethiopia. Therefore, further studies assessing the prevalence of the rare species P. ovale and P. malariae are urgently needed to better understand the species distribution and to adapt malaria control strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plasmodium ovale is comprised of two genetically distinct subspecies, P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri. Although P. ovale subspecies are similar based on morphology and geographical distribution, allelic differences indicate that P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri are genetically divergent. Additionally, potential clinical and latency duration differences between P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri demonstrate the need for investigation into the contribution of this neglected malaria parasite to the global malaria burden. METHODS:In order to detect all P. ovale subspecies simultaneously, we developed an inclusive P. ovale-specific real-time PCR assay based on conserved regions between P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri in the reticulocyte binding protein 2 (rbp2) gene. Additionally, we characterized the P. ovale subspecies prevalence from 22 asymptomatic malaria infections using multilocus genotyping to discriminate P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri. RESULTS:Our P. ovale rbp2 qPCR assay validation experiments demonstrated a linear dynamic range from 6.25 rbp2 plasmid copies/microliter to 100,000 rbp2 plasmid copies/microliter and a limit of detection of 1.5 rbp2 plasmid copies/microliter. Specificity experiments showed the ability of the rbp2 qPCR assay to detect low-levels of P. ovale in the presence of additional malaria parasite species, including P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. malariae. We identified P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri in Western Kenya by DNA sequencing of the tryptophan-rich antigen gene, the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene, and the rbp2 gene. CONCLUSIONS:Our novel P. ovale rbp2 qPCR assay detects P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri simultaneously and can be utilized to characterize the prevalence, distribution, and burden of P. ovale in malaria endemic regions. Using multilocus genotyping, we also provided the first description of the prevalence of P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri in Western Kenya, a region holoendemic for malaria transmission.
Project description:Plasmodium ovale curtisi and Plasmodium ovale wallikeri are distinct species of malaria parasite which are sympatric throughout the tropics, except for the Americas. Despite this complete overlap in geographic range, these two species do not recombine. Although morphologically very similar, the two taxa must possess distinct characters which prevent recombination between them. We hypothesised that proteins required for sexual reproduction have sufficiently diverged between the two species to prevent recombination in any mosquito blood meal in which gametocytes of both species are ingested. In order to investigate possible barriers to inter-species mating between P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri, homologues of genes encoding sexual stage proteins in other plasmodia were identified and compared between the two species. Database searches with motifs for 6-cysteine, Limulus Coagulation factor C domain-containing proteins and other relevant sexual stage proteins in the genus Plasmodium were performed in the available P. ovale curtisi partial genome database (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK). Sequence fragments obtained were used as the basis for PCR walking along each gene of interest in reference isolates of both P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri. Sequence alignment of the homologues of each gene in each species showed complete dimorphism across all isolates. In conclusion, substantial divergence between sexual stage proteins in the two P. ovale spp. was observed, providing further evidence that these do not recombine in nature. Incompatibility of proteins involved in sexual development and fertilisation thus remains a plausible explanation for the observed lack of natural recombination between P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri.
Project description:The Greater Mekong Subregion is aiming to achieve regional malaria elimination by 2030. Though a shift in malaria parasite species predominance by Plasmodium vivax has been recently documented, the transmission of the two minor Plasmodium species, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale spp., is poorly characterized in the region. This study aims to determine the prevalence of these minor species in the China-Myanmar border area and their genetic diversity.Epidemiology study was conducted during passive case detection in hospitals and clinics in Myanmar and four counties in China along the China-Myanmar border. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in villages and camps for internally displaced persons to determine the prevalence of malaria infections. Malaria infections were diagnosed initially by microscopy and later in the laboratory using nested PCR for the SSU rRNA genes. Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale infections were confirmed by sequencing the PCR products. The P. ovale subtypes were determined by sequencing the Pocytb, Pocox1 and Pog3p genes. Parasite populations were evaluated by PCR amplification and sequencing of the MSP-1 genes. Antifolate sensitivity was assessed by sequencing the dhfr-ts and dhps genes from the P. malariae and P. ovale isolates.Analysis of 2701 blood samples collected from the China-Myanmar border by nested PCR targeting the parasite SSU rRNA genes identified 561 malaria cases, including 161 Plasmodium falciparum, 327 P. vivax, 66 P. falciparum/P. vivax mixed infections, 4 P. malariae and 3 P. ovale spp. P. vivax and P. falciparum accounted for >60 and ~30% of all malaria cases, respectively. In comparison, the prevalence of P. malariae and P. ovale spp. was very low and only made up ~1% of all PCR-positive cases. Nevertheless, these two species were often misidentified as P. vivax infections or completely missed by microscopy even among symptomatic patients. Phylogenetic analysis of the SSU rRNA, Pocytb, Pocox1 and Pog3p genes confirmed that the three P. ovale spp. isolates belonged to the subtype P. ovale curtisi. Low-level genetic diversity was detected in the MSP-1, dhfr and dhps genes of these minor parasite species, potentially stemming from the low prevalence of these parasites preventing their mixing. Whereas most of the dhfr and dhps positions equivalent to those conferring antifolate resistance in P. falciparum and P. vivax were wild type, a new mutation S113C corresponding to the S108 position in pfdhfr was identified in two P. ovale curtisi isolates.The four human malaria parasite species all occurred sympatrically at the China-Myanmar border. While P. vivax has become the predominant species, the two minor parasite species also occurred at very low prevalence but were often misidentified or missed by conventional microscopy. These minor parasite species displayed low levels of polymorphisms in the msp-1, dhfr and dhps genes.
Project description:Expanded malaria control efforts in Sénégal have resulted in increased use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) to identify the primary disease-causing Plasmodium species, Plasmodium falciparum. However, the type of RDT utilized in Sénégal does not detect other malaria-causing species such as Plasmodium ovale spp., Plasmodium malariae, or Plasmodium vivax. Consequently, there is a lack of information about the frequency and types of malaria infections occurring in Sénégal. This study set out to better determine whether species other than P. falciparum were evident among patients evaluated for possible malaria infection in Kédougou, Sénégal.Real-time polymerase chain reaction speciation assays for P. vivax, P. ovale spp., and P. malariae were developed and validated by sequencing and DNA extracted from 475 Plasmodium falciparum-specific HRP2-based RDT collected between 2013 and 2014 from a facility-based sample of symptomatic patients from two health clinics in Kédougou, a hyper-endemic region in southeastern Sénégal, were analysed.Plasmodium malariae (n = 3) and P. ovale wallikeri (n = 2) were observed as co-infections with P. falciparum among patients with positive RDT results (n = 187), including one patient positive for all three species. Among 288 negative RDT samples, samples positive for P. falciparum (n = 24), P. ovale curtisi (n = 3), P. ovale wallikeri (n = 1), and P. malariae (n = 3) were identified, corresponding to a non-falciparum positivity rate of 2.5%.These findings emphasize the limitations of the RDT used for malaria diagnosis and demonstrate that non-P. falciparum malaria infections occur in Sénégal. Current RDT used for routine clinical diagnosis do not necessarily provide an accurate reflection of malaria transmission in Kédougou, Sénégal, and more sensitive and specific methods are required for diagnosis and patient care, as well as surveillance and elimination activities. These findings have implications for other malaria endemic settings where species besides P. falciparum may be transmitted and overlooked by control or elimination activities.
Project description:Plasmodium malariae is the only human malaria parasite species with a 72-hour intraerythrocytic cycle and the ability to persist in the host for life. We present a case of a P. malariae infection with clinical recrudescence after directly observed administration of artemether/lumefantrine. By using whole-genome sequencing, we show that the initial infection was polyclonal and the recrudescent isolate was a single clone present at low density in the initial infection. Haplotypic analysis of the clones in the initial infection revealed that they were all closely related and were presumably recombinant progeny originating from the same infective mosquito bite. We review possible explanations for the P. malariae treatment failure and conclude that a 3-day artemether/lumefantrine regimen is suboptimal for this species because of its long asexual life cycle.