Whole blood transcriptome during acute phase of infecion in avirulent and virulent Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi infection
ABSTRACT: Analysis of blood samples taken throughout the acute phase of infection from mice infected with avirulent P. chabaudi AS strain or virulent CB strain The influence of parasite genetic factors on immune responses and development of severe pathology of malaria is largely unknown. In this study, we performed genome-wide transcriptomic profiling of whole blood during blood-stage infections of two strains of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi that differ in virulence. We identified several transcriptomic signatures associated with the virulent infection, including signatures for lung inflammation, stronger and prolonged anemia and platelet aggregation. The latter two signatures were detected prior to pathology. The anemia signature indicated deregulation of host erythropoiesis, and the lung inflammation signature was linked to increased neutrophil infiltration, more cell death and greater parasite sequestration in the lungs. This comparative whole-blood transcriptomics profiling of virulent and avirulent malaria infections shows the validity of this approach to inform severity of malarial infection and provide insight into pathogenic mechanisms. Overall design: Blood samples collected from infected C57BL/6 mice via cardiac puncture into Tempus solution at 2, 4, 6, 8, (9), 10, 12 days post infection. Naïve samples were collected from age matched mice at the beginning (day 0) and the end (day 12) of the experiment. 3-4 replicates per conditon
Project description:The influence of parasite genetic factors on immune responses and development of severe pathology of malaria is largely unknown. In this study, we performed genome-wide transcriptomic profiling of mouse whole blood during blood-stage infections of two strains of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi that differ in virulence. We identified several transcriptomic signatures associated with the virulent infection, including signatures for platelet aggregation, stronger and prolonged anemia and lung inflammation. The first two signatures were detected prior to pathology. The anemia signature indicated deregulation of host erythropoiesis, and the lung inflammation signature was linked to increased neutrophil infiltration, more cell death and greater parasite sequestration in the lungs. This comparative whole-blood transcriptomics profiling of virulent and avirulent malaria shows the validity of this approach to inform severity of the infection and provide insight into pathogenic mechanisms.
Project description:Malaria is a devastating infectious disease and the immune response is complex and dynamic during a course of a malarial infection. Rodent malaria models allow detailed time-series studies of the host response in multiple organs. Here, we describe two comprehensive datasets containing host transcriptomic data from both the blood and spleen throughout an acute blood stage infection of virulent or avirulent Plasmodium chabaudi infection in C57BL/6 mice. The mRNA expression profiles were generated using Illumina BeadChip microarray. These datasets provide a groundwork for comprehensive and comparative studies on host gene expression in early, acute and recovering phases of a blood stage infection in both the blood and spleen, to explore the interaction between the two, and importantly to investigate whether these responses differ in virulent and avirulent infections.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Parasite cytoadherence within the microvasculature of tissues and organs of infected individuals is implicated in the pathogenesis of several malaria syndromes. Multiple host receptors may mediate sequestration. The identity of the host receptor(s), or the parasite ligand(s) responsible for sequestration of Plasmodium species other than Plasmodium falciparum is largely unknown. The rodent malaria parasites may be useful to model interactions of parasite species, which lack the var genes with their respective hosts, as other multigene families are shared between the species. The role of the endothelial receptors ICAM-1 and CD36 in cytoadherence and in the development of pathology was investigated in a Plasmodium chabaudi infection in C57BL/6 mice lacking these receptors. The schizont membrane-associated cytoadherence (SMAC) protein of Plasmodium berghei has been shown to exhibit reduced CD36-associated cytoadherence in P. berghei ANKA-infected mice.<h4>Methods</h4>Parasite tissue sequestration and the development of acute stage pathology in P. chabaudi infections of mice lacking CD36 or ICAM-1, their respective wild type controls, and in infections with mutant P. chabaudi parasites lacking the smac gene were compared. Peripheral blood parasitaemia, red blood cell numbers and weight change were monitored throughout the courses of infection. Imaging of bioluminescent parasites in isolated tissues (spleen, lungs, liver, kidney and gut) was used to measure tissue parasite load.<h4>Results</h4>This study shows that neither the lack of CD36 nor the deletion of the smac gene from P. chabaudi significantly impacted on acute-stage pathology or parasite sequestration. By contrast, in the absence of ICAM-1, infected animals experience less anaemia and weight loss, reduced parasite accumulation in both spleen and liver and higher peripheral blood parasitaemia during acute stage malaria. The reduction in parasite tissue sequestration in infections of ICAM-1 null mice is maintained after mosquito transmission.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results indicate that ICAM-1-mediated cytoadherence is important in the P. chabaudi model of malaria and suggest that for rodent malarias, as for P. falciparum, there may be multiple host and parasite molecules involved in sequestration.
Project description:Malaria vaccine developers are concerned that antigenic escape will erode vaccine efficacy. Evolutionary theorists have raised the possibility that some types of vaccine could also create conditions favoring the evolution of more virulent pathogens. Such evolution would put unvaccinated people at greater risk of severe disease. Here we test the impact of vaccination with a single highly purified antigen on the malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi evolving in laboratory mice. The antigen we used, AMA-1, is a component of several candidate malaria vaccines currently in various stages of trials in humans. We first found that a more virulent clone was less readily controlled by AMA-1-induced immunity than its less virulent progenitor. Replicated parasites were then serially passaged through control or AMA-1 vaccinated mice and evaluated after 10 and 21 rounds of selection. We found no evidence of evolution at the ama-1 locus. Instead, virulence evolved; AMA-1-selected parasites induced greater anemia in naïve mice than both control and ancestral parasites. Our data suggest that recombinant blood stage malaria vaccines can drive the evolution of more virulent malaria parasites.
Project description:Background: Malaria parasite species differ greatly in the harm they do to humans. While P. falciparum kills hundreds of thousands per year, P. vivax kills much less often and P. malariae is relatively benign. Strains of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi show phenotypic variation in virulence during infections of laboratory mice. This make it an excellent species to study genes which may be responsible for this trait. By understanding the mechanisms which underlie differences in virulence we can learn how parasites adapt to their hosts and how we might prevent disease. Methods: Here we present a complete reference genome sequence for a more virulent P. chabaudi strain, PcCB, and perform a detailed comparison with the genome of the less virulent PcAS strain. Results: We found the greatest variation in the subtelomeric regions, in particular amongst the sequences of the pir gene family, which has been associated with virulence and establishment of chronic infection. Despite substantial variation at the sequence level, the repertoire of these genes has been largely maintained, highlighting the requirement for functional conservation as well as diversification in host-parasite interactions. However, a subset of pir genes, previously associated with increased virulence, were more highly expressed in PcCB, suggesting a role for this gene family in virulence differences between strains. We found that core genes involved in red blood cell invasion have been under positive selection and that the more virulent strain has a greater preference for reticulocytes, which has elsewhere been associated with increased virulence. Conclusions: These results provide the basis for a mechanistic understanding of the phenotypic differences between Plasmodium chabaudi strains, which might ultimately be translated into a better understanding of malaria parasites affecting humans.
Project description:Although the spleen is broadly accepted as the major lymphoid organ involved in generating immune responses to the erythrocytic stages of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, human splenic tissue is not readily available in most cases. As a result, most studies of malaria in humans rely on peripheral blood to assess cellular immune responses to malaria. The suitability of peripheral blood as a proxy for splenic immune responses is however unknown. Here, we have simultaneously analysed the transcriptomes of whole blood and spleen over 12 days of erythrocytic stage Plasmodium chabaudi infection in C57BL/6 mice. Using both unsupervised and directed approaches, we compared gene expression between blood and spleen over the course of infection. Taking advantage of publicly available datasets, we used machine learning approaches to infer cell proportions and cell-specific gene expression signatures from our whole tissue transcriptome data. Our findings demonstrate that spleen and blood are quite dissimilar, sharing only a small amount of transcriptional information between them, with transcriptional differences in both cellular composition and transcriptional activity. These results suggest that while blood transcriptome data may be useful in defining surrogate markers of protection and pathology, they should not be used to predict specific immune responses occurring in lymphoid organs.
Project description:Defining mechanisms by which Plasmodium virulence is regulated is central to understanding the pathogenesis of human malaria. Serial blood passage of Plasmodium through rodents, primates or humans increases parasite virulence, suggesting that vector transmission regulates Plasmodium virulence within the mammalian host. In agreement, disease severity can be modified by vector transmission, which is assumed to 'reset' Plasmodium to its original character. However, direct evidence that vector transmission regulates Plasmodium virulence is lacking. Here we use mosquito transmission of serially blood passaged (SBP) Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi to interrogate regulation of parasite virulence. Analysis of SBP P.?c.?chabaudi before and after mosquito transmission demonstrates that vector transmission intrinsically modifies the asexual blood-stage parasite, which in turn modifies the elicited mammalian immune response, which in turn attenuates parasite growth and associated pathology. Attenuated parasite virulence associates with modified expression of the pir multi-gene family. Vector transmission of Plasmodium therefore regulates gene expression of probable variant antigens in the erythrocytic cycle, modifies the elicited mammalian immune response, and thus regulates parasite virulence. These results place the mosquito at the centre of our efforts to dissect mechanisms of protective immunity to malaria for the development of an effective vaccine.
Project description:The distributions of human malaria parasite species overlap in most malarious regions of the world, and co-infections involving two or more malaria parasite species are common. Little is known about the consequences of interactions between species during co-infection for disease severity and parasite transmission success. Anti-malarial interventions can have disproportionate effects on malaria parasite species and may locally differentially reduce the number of species in circulation. Thus, it is important to have a clearer understanding of how the interactions between species affect disease and transmission dynamics. Controlled competition experiments using human malaria parasites are impossible, and thus we assessed the consequences of mixed-species infections on parasite fitness, disease severity, and transmission success using the rodent malaria parasite species Plasmodium chabaudi, Plasmodium yoelii, and Plasmodium vinckei. We compared the fitness of individual species within single species and co-infections in mice. We also assessed the disease severity of single vs. mixed infections in mice by measuring mortality rates, anemia, and weight loss. Finally, we compared the transmission success of parasites in single or mixed species infections by quantifying oocyst development in Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. We found that co-infections of P. yoelii with either P. vinckei or P. chabaudi led to a dramatic increase in infection virulence, with 100% mortality observed in mixed species infections, compared to no mortality for P. yoelii and P. vinckei single infections, and 40% mortality for P. chabaudi single infections. The increased mortality in the mixed infections was associated with an inability to clear parasitaemia, with the non-P. yoelii parasite species persisting at higher parasite densities than in single infections. P. yoelii growth was suppressed in all mixed infections compared to single infections. Transmissibility of P. vinckei and P. chabaudi to mosquitoes was also reduced in the presence of P. yoelii in co-infections compared to single infections. The increased virulence of co-infections containing P. yoelii (reticulocyte restricted) and P. chabaudi or P. vinckei (predominantly normocyte restricted) may be due to parasite cell tropism and/or immune modulation of the host. We explain the reduction in transmission success of species in co-infections in terms of inter-species gamete incompatibility.
Project description:A major challenge in disease ecology is to understand how co-infecting parasite species interact. We manipulate in vivo resources and immunity to explain interactions between two rodent malaria parasites, Plasmodium chabaudi and P. yoelii. These species have analogous resource-use strategies to the human parasites Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax: P. chabaudi and P. falciparum infect red blood cells (RBC) of all ages (RBC generalist); P. yoelii and P. vivax preferentially infect young RBCs (RBC specialist). We find that: (1) recent infection with the RBC generalist facilitates the RBC specialist (P. yoelii density is enhanced ~10 fold). This occurs because the RBC generalist increases availability of the RBC specialist's preferred resource; (2) co-infections with the RBC generalist and RBC specialist are highly virulent; (3) and the presence of an RBC generalist in a host population can increase the prevalence of an RBC specialist. Thus, we show that resources shape how parasite species interact and have epidemiological consequences.
Project description:Infection with the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, is characterized by excessive inflammation. The establishment of a precise balance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory responses is critical to guarantee control of the parasite and survival of the host. IL-10, a key regulatory cytokine produced by many cells of the immune system, has been shown to protect mice against pathology during acute Plasmodium0 chabaudi chabaudi AS model of malaria. However, the critical cellular source of IL-10 is still unknown. In this article, we demonstrate that T cell-derived IL-10 is necessary for the control of pathology during acute malaria, as mice bearing specific deletion of Il10 in T cells fully reproduce the phenotype observed in Il10(-)(/)(-) mice, with significant weight loss, decline in temperature, and increased mortality. Furthermore, we show that IFN-?(+) Th1 cells are the main producers of IL-10 throughout acute infection, expressing high levels of CD44 and ICOS, and low levels of CD127. Although Foxp3(+) regulatory CD4(+) T cells produce IL-10 during infection, highly activated IFN-?(+) Th1 cells were shown to be the essential and sufficient source of IL-10 to guarantee protection against severe immune-mediated pathology. Finally, in this model of malaria, we demonstrate that the generation of protective IL10(+)IFN-?(+) Th1 cells is dependent on IL-27 signaling and independent of IL-21.