Genomics and epigenetics of sexual commitment in Plasmodium

Waters, A.P. and Bechtsi, D.P. (2017) Genomics and epigenetics of sexual commitment in Plasmodium. International Journal for Parasitology, 47(7), pp. 425-434. (doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2017.03.002) (PMID:28455236)

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Malaria is the disease caused by the apicomplexan parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium. Expanding our arsenal to include transmission-blocking agents in our fight against malaria is becoming increasingly important. Such an implementation requires detailed understanding of the biology of the Plasmodium life cycle stages that are transmissible. Plasmodium gametocytes are the only parasite stage that can be transmitted to the mosquito vector and are the product of sexual development in a small percentage of parasites that continually proliferate in host blood. The critical decision made by asexual erythrocytic stages to cease further proliferation and differentiate into gametocytes, as well as the first steps they take into maturity, have long remained unknown. Recent studies have contributed to a breakthrough in our understanding of this branch point in development. In this review, we will discuss the findings that have allowed us to make this major leap forward in our knowledge of sexual commitment in Plasmodium. We will further propose a model for the mechanism triggering the switch to sexual development, constructed around the proteins currently known to regulate this process. Further insight into sexual commitment and gametocyte development will help identify targets for the development of transmission-blocking malaria therapies.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waters, Professor Andy and Bechtsi, Miss Dafni Paraskevi
Authors: Waters, A.P., and Bechtsi, D.P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:International Journal for Parasitology
ISSN (Online):0020-7519
Published Online:26 April 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal for Parasitology 47(7):425-434
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
690321Gene expression in Plasmodium parasites: the molecular mechanics of gametocytogenesis (and variant transcription of genes)Andrew WatersWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)107046/Z/15/ZIII - PARASITOLOGY