Project description:During intra-erythrocytic development, late asexually replicating Plasmodium falciparum parasites sequester from peripheral circulation. This facilitates chronic infection and is linked to severe disease and organ-specific pathology including cerebral and placental malaria. Immature gametocytes – sexual stage precursor cells – likewise disappear from circulation. Recent work has demonstrated that these sexual stage parasites are located in the hematopoietic system of the bone marrow before mature gametocytes are released into the blood stream to facilitate mosquito transmission. However, as sequestration occurs only in vivo and not during in vitro culture, the mechanisms by which it is regulated and enacted (particularly by the gametocyte stage) remain poorly understood. We generated the most comprehensive P. falciparum functional gene network to date by integrating global transcriptional data from a large set of asexual and sexual in vitro samples, patient-derived in vivo samples, and a new set of in vitro samples profiling sexual commitment. We defined more than 250 functional modules (clusters) of genes that are co-expressed primarily during the intra-erythrocytic parasite cycle, including 35 during sexual commitment and gametocyte development. Comparing the in vivo and in vitro datasets allowed us, for the first time, to map the time point of asexual parasite sequestration in patients to 22 hours post invasion, confirming previous in vitro observations on the dynamics of host cell modification and cytoadherence. Moreover, we were able to define the properties of gametocyte sequestration, demonstrating the presence of two circulating gametocyte populations: gametocyte rings between 0 and ~30 hours post invasion and mature gametocytes after around 7 days post invasion. We used 164/TdTom, a transgenic parasite line expressing a red fluorescent protein reporter under a gametocyte-specific promoter to generate schizont samples. Schizonts were subsequently isolated from both the fluorescent and non-fluorescent population by FACS and prepared for microarray analysis. Two biological replicates were produced for both the fluorescent and the non-fluorescent samples.
Project description:Malaria represents a major public health problem in Africa . In the East African highlands, even in high-altitude areas previously considered too cold to support vector population and parasite transmission , frequent malaria epidemics have been reported since the 1980’s . Plasmodium falciparum infections have been detected in areas as high as 1,600-2,400m above sea level in Africa , albeit there is a marked gradient of parasite prevalence along the altitude transect [5-7]. Both the historical absence of malaria in the African highlands and now the intensive malaria control efforts put in place after the recent outbreaks have reduced malaria prevalence and incidence , rendering the East African highlands particularly prone to epidemic malaria due to the lack of the protective immunity, and causing significant human mortality amongst all age groups . Therefore, malaria transmission monitoring in the East African highlands becomes a particularly important public health issue.Despite the overall lower immunity of the population in these historically malaria-free areas, the many successive outbreaks since the 1980’s may have generated some level of immunity against P. falciparum amongst highland residents. The antibody response to Plasmodium is cumulative and long lasting, developing after repeated exposures to the parasite and persisting for months or years after infection was resolved. The antibody response to Plasmodium varies amongst individuals of different age groups (i.e. toddlers, children and adults) as well as amongst individuals of same age groups from areas of different parasite prevalence . The repertoire of targets of the antibody response also expands after multiple infections, with the number of recognized antigens being correlated to parasite prevalence, age and immunity to clinical malaria [11,12]. Serological studies bring forth indirect evidence of human exposure to the parasite, and can reliably assess its prevalence and transmission intensity in an endemic area [13-15]. However, the vast majority of serological studies of malaria have been, hereto, limited to a small number of the parasite’s antigens. The work we present here is an expansion of the study published by Badu et al. , in which the antibody response to the 19kDa fragment of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-119) was examined in populations from two endemic areas in the western Kenyan highlands. There, the tremendous variations of malaria transmission intensity in a small spatial scale are caused by substantial differences in altitude, topography and other environmental conditions [6,7,17,18]. We now expand our antibody profiling survey to include 854 P. falciparum proteins by using high-throughput proteomic microarray technology. Protein microarrays have been used to explore the humoral response to P. falciparum in other African settings [19-24], but this is the broadest characterization of the antibody responses of the population of western Kenyan highlands to date. In the present study we: i) determined the serological reactivity against P. falciparum (Pf) in subjects residing in a low transmission area, and detected hotspots of transmission; ii) examined the dynamics of antibody response to hundreds of Pf proteins generated by sera from toddlers, older children and adults residing in two endemic areas differing in transmission intensities, during two distinct malaria seasons, and compared the intensity, breadth and antigenic targets of these responses; and iii) identified candidate Pf antigenic markers that could provide more sensitive serological surveillance to detect micro-geographic variations in malaria transmission levels and differentiate hotspots of infection in low endemic areas. (references provided in the 'readme.txt') Antibody profiling was performed on sera from residents of western Kenyan highlands against Plasmodium falciparum. One-hundred and ten age-stratified serum samples collected during the dry and the wet seasons, from residents of two locations with differing parasite transmission levels (uphill and valley bottom), and 10 unexposed USA controls were probed on a protein microarray displaying 854 unique proteins of P. falciparum.
Project description:The completion of the Plasmodium falciparum clone 3D7 genome provides a basis on which to conduct comparative proteomics studies of this human pathogen. Here, we applied a high-throughput proteomics approach to identify new potential drug and vaccine targets and to better understand the biology of this complex protozoan parasite. We characterized four stages of the parasite life cycle (sporozoites, merozoites, trophozoites and gametocytes) by multidimensional protein identification technology. Functional profiling of over 2,400 proteins agreed with the physiology of each stage. Unexpectedly, the antigenically variant proteins of var and rif genes, defined as molecules on the surface of infected erythrocytes, were also largely expressed in sporozoites. The detection of chromosomal clusters encoding co-expressed proteins suggested a potential mechanism for controlling gene expression. Keywords: ordered
Project description:Sequencing based approaches have led to new insights about DNA methylation. While many different techniques for genome-scale mapping of DNA methylation have been employed, throughput has been a key limitation for most. To further facilitate the mapping of DNA methylation, we describe a protocol for gel-free multiplexed reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (mRRBS) that reduces the workload dramatically and enables processing of 96 or more samples per week. mRRBS achieves similar CpG coverage as the original RRBS protocol, while the higher throughput and lower cost make it better suited for large-scale DNA methylation mapping studies including cohorts of cancer samples. Libraries of 96 human samples
Project description:We have combined a machine-learning approach with other strategies to optimize the efficiency of sgRNAs for CRISPR screens and have constructed a genome-wide, sequence-verified, arrayed CRISPR library. This incorporates expression strategies to facilitate multiplexed or combinatorial screening. By conducting parallel loss-of-function screens, we compare our approach to existing sgRNA design and expression strategies. Overall design: High throughput sequencing was performed to identify CRISPR/Cas9 induced genomic scars at olfactory receptor loci.
Project description:Transcriptional profiling of P. falciparum cultures treated with cyclohexylamine over time (18, 25 and 30 hours post invasion) A control experiment was also set up in which P. falciparum was not treated with cyclohexylamine, and samples were taken at 18, 25 and 30 h post invasion). Background Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of severe human malaria, has evolved to become resistant to previously successful antimalarial chemotherapies, most notably chloroquine and the antifolates. The prevalence of resistant strains has necessitated the discovery and development of new chemical entities with novel modes-of-action. Although much effort has been invested in the creation of analogues based on existing drugs and the screening of chemical and natural compound libraries, a crucial shortcoming in current Plasmodial drug discovery efforts remains the lack of an extensive set of novel, validated drug targets. A requirement of these targets (or the pathways in which they function) is that they prove essential for parasite survival. The polyamine biosynthetic pathway, responsible for the metabolism of highly abundant amines crucial for parasite growth, proliferation and differentiation, is currently under investigation as an antimalarial target. Chemotherapeutic strategies targeting this pathway have been successfully utilized for the treatment of Trypanosomes causing West African sleeping sickness. In order to further evaluate polyamine depletion as possible antimalarial intervention, the consequences of inhibiting P. falciparum spermidine synthase (PfSpdSyn) were examined on a morphological, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolic level. Results Morphological analysis of P. falciparum 3D7 following application of the PfSpdSyn inhibitor cyclohexylamine confirmed that parasite development was completely arrested at the early trophozoite stage. This is in contrast to untreated parasites which progressed to late trophozoites at comparable time points. Global gene expression analyses confirmed a transcriptional arrest in the parasite. Several of the differentially expressed genes mapped to the polyamine biosynthetic and associated metabolic pathways. Differential expression of corresponding parasite proteins involved in polyamine biosynthesis was also observed. Most notably, uridine phosphorylase, adenosine deaminase, lysine decarboxylase (LDC) and S-adenosylmethionine synthetase were differentially expressed at the transcript and/or protein level. Several genes in associated metabolic pathways (purine metabolism and various methyltransferases) were also affected. The specific nature of the perturbation was additionally reflected by changes in polyamine metabolite levels. Conclusions This study details the malaria parasite’s response to PfSpdSyn inhibition on the transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolic levels. The results corroborate and significantly expand previous functional genomics studies relating to polyamine depletion in this parasite. Moreover, they confirm the role of transcriptional regulation in P. falciparum, particularly in this pathway. The findings promote this essential pathway as a target for antimalarial chemotherapeutic intervention strategies. Keywords: Time course experiment in response to a drug treatment Overall design: Reference design. All timepoints compared with t = 18 hours (untreated) post invasion. Two biological replicates and one technical sample per treatment and per time point. A reference design was employed for array hybridisation, utilising the URR pool described previously. All solvent-control and drug-treated sampled were hybridised to Operon slides, along with the URR. For each time point and each untreated/treated sample, three microarray slides were processed, such that a total of eighteen slides were processed in the study. Two independent cDNA samples (biological replicates) were prepared for each untreated and drug-treated sample at each time point. One of the biological replicate cDNA samples were additionally hybridised to a third slide (representing the technical replicate). GenePix results (gpr) files were generated using GenePix 6.0 (Molecular Devices) software, without normalization. For clustering analyses, results files were normalized with DNMAD (Diagnosis and Normalization for MicroArray Data) using print-tip loess. The normalized values were subsequently downloaded and analyzed with the Multiexperiment Viewer (MeV) in the TM4 software suite. Hierarchical Clustering (HCL, average linkage) was performed to estimate technical and biological variation between samples and at which point cytostasis most likely occurred for comparative purposes in downstream analyses. Intensity data for individual slides were imported into LIMMA (linear models for microarray data) in the R computing environment. Pre- and post-normalization diagnostic plots were performed using MARRAY. Data from each microarray slide was normalized using print-tip loess. Data between microarrays was normalized using rquantile normalisation. Pearson correlations were computed in ExCel to estimate variation between technical and biological replicates. Spots excluded from slide correlations and normalisation were those weighted by the limma script or flagged in the genepix results file (gpr). Additionally, spots termed Alien, Empty, Null and Operon Use Only were excluded from the correlation analyses. These spots were similarly excluded for correlations between untreated and treated samples at each time point following normalisation. Results from biological and slide replicates within each of the time points were collated, and linear models were computed to contrast gene expression between time points. A two-fold change in gene expression was used as cut-off, in conjunction with correction for false discovery (false discovery rate (FDR) = 5%). Normalised data was deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database, number GSE18075. Analysis of differentially expressed genes was performed in MADIBA (Micro Array Data Interface for Biological Annotation).
Project description:A greater understanding of the relationships between a vaccine, the immune response it induces, and protection from disease would greatly facilitate vaccine development. Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A (MVA85A) is a novel tuberculosis (TB) vaccine designed to enhance responses induced by Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG). Antigen-specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production is greatly enhanced by MVA85A and peaks one week post-vaccination, however, the variability in response between healthy individuals is extensive. In this study we have sought to characterize the early changes in gene expression following vaccination with MVA85A and understand how these are related to long-term immunogenicity. 24 volunteers were vaccinated with 10^8 pfu MVA85A. 12 volunteers were vaccinated intramuscularly and 12 intradermally. Volunteers were healthy and did not have HIV, HCV, HBV or latent or active tuberculosis. Blood for this study was taken on the day of vaccination, immediately prior to the vaccine being given (day 0), and 2 and 7 days post-vaccination. Volunteers with a prior BCG vaccination were vaccinated with 1x10^8 pfu MVA85A either intradermally (id) or intramuscularly (im). Blood was taken immediately prior to vaccination (day 0) and 2 and 7 days post-vaccination. PBMCs were separated and frozen down. PBMCs were then thawed and RNA was extracted directly for microarray analysis. Some arrays contain control samples: from volunteers, incubated with either media alone or antigen 85, MVA85A or MVA wild type. These samples were used separately.
Project description:Optimize SNP genotyping probes and demonstrate a new P. falciparum microarray platform that includes CGH and resequencing probes on the same chip Overall design: 3D7 common reference; lab samples: HB3, Dd2, SC05, 7C126; field patient samples: M1176, M1069, M1094, M1321, M1064, M1111