Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts.

Otto, T. D. et al. (2014) Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts. Nature Communications, 5, 4754. (doi: 10.1038/ncomms5754) (PMID:25203297) (PMCID:PMC4166903)

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Plasmodium falciparum causes most human malaria deaths, having prehistorically evolved from parasites of African Great Apes. Here we explore the genomic basis of P. falciparum adaptation to human hosts by fully sequencing the genome of the closely related chimpanzee parasite species P. reichenowi, and obtaining partial sequence data from a more distantly related chimpanzee parasite (P. gaboni). The close relationship between P. reichenowi and P. falciparum is emphasized by almost complete conservation of genomic synteny, but against this strikingly conserved background we observe major differences at loci involved in erythrocyte invasion. The organization of most virulence-associated multigene families, including the hypervariable var genes, is broadly conserved, but P. falciparum has a smaller subset of rif and stevor genes whose products are expressed on the infected erythrocyte surface. Genome-wide analysis identifies other loci under recent positive selection, but a limited number of changes at the host-parasite interface may have mediated host switching.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Otto, Dr Thomas
Authors: Otto, T. D., Rayner, J. C., Böhme, U., Pain, A., Spottiswoode, N., Sanders, M., Quail, M., Ollomo, B., Renaud, F., Thomas, A. W., Prugnolle, F., Conway, D. J., Newbold, C., and Berriman, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Published Online:09 September 2014
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited
First Published:First published in Nature Communication 5:4754
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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