A single-cell atlas of Plasmodium falciparum transmission through the mosquito

Real, E. et al. (2021) A single-cell atlas of Plasmodium falciparum transmission through the mosquito. Nature Communications, 12, 3196. (doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23434-z) (PMID:34045457) (PMCID:PMC8159942)

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Malaria parasites have a complex life cycle featuring diverse developmental strategies, each uniquely adapted to navigate specific host environments. Here we use single-cell transcriptomics to illuminate gene usage across the transmission cycle of the most virulent agent of human malaria - Plasmodium falciparum. We reveal developmental trajectories associated with the colonization of the mosquito midgut and salivary glands and elucidate the transcriptional signatures of each transmissible stage. Additionally, we identify both conserved and non-conserved gene usage between human and rodent parasites, which point to both essential mechanisms in malaria transmission and species-specific adaptations potentially linked to host tropism. Together, the data presented here, which are made freely available via an interactive website, provide a fine-grained atlas that enables intensive investigation of the P. falciparum transcriptional journey. As well as providing insights into gene function across the transmission cycle, the atlas opens the door for identification of drug and vaccine targets to stop malaria transmission and thereby prevent disease.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Facility for Imaging by Light Microscopy (FILM) at Imperial College London is part supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust (grant 104931/Z/14/Z) and BBSRC (grant BB/L015129/1). We thank Mark Tunnicliff for the maintenance and provision of A. stephensi mosquitoes and Alisje Churchyard, Sabrina Yahiya, and Catherine Ducker for assistance with experiments or figures. J.Baumis supported by the Wellcome Trust (Investigator Award 100993/Z/13/Z) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1200274). The Wellcome Sanger Institute is funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant 206194/Z/17/Z), which supports M.K.N.L. and A.J.R. V.M.H. is supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (grant 220185/Z/20/Z). C.A.B. is supported through a studentship from the Wellcome Trust (Grant 220123/Z/20/Z).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Howick, Dr Virginia
Authors: Real, E., Howick, V. M., Dahalan, F. A., Witmer, K., Cudini, J., Andradi-Brown, C., Blight, J., Davidson, M. S., Dogga, S. K., Reid, A. J., Baum, J., and Lawniczak, M. K. N.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 12: 3196
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
308631Identification of genomic components that predict transmission of the malaria parasite in different vector speciesVirginia HowickWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)220185/Z/20/ZMVLS - Polyomics Facility