Flow cytometry-assisted rapid isolation of recombinant Plasmodium berghei parasites exemplified by functional analysis of aquaglyceroporin

Kenthirapalan, S., Waters, A.P. , Matuschewski, K. and Kooij, T.W. (2012) Flow cytometry-assisted rapid isolation of recombinant Plasmodium berghei parasites exemplified by functional analysis of aquaglyceroporin. International Journal for Parasitology, 42(13-14), pp. 1185-1192. (doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.10.006)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.10.006


The most critical bottleneck in the generation of recombinant Plasmodium berghei parasites is the mandatory in vivo cloning step following successful genetic manipulation. This study describes a new technique for rapid selection of recombinant P. berghei parasites. The method is based on flow cytometry to isolate isogenic parasite lines and represents a major advance for the field, in that it will speed the generation of recombinant parasites as well as cut down on animal use significantly. High expression of GFP during blood infection, a prerequisite for robust separation of transgenic lines by flow cytometry, was achieved. Isogenic recombinant parasite populations were isolated even in the presence of a 100-fold excess of wild-type (WT) parasites. Aquaglyceroporin (AQP) loss-of-function mutants and parasites expressing a tagged AQP were generated to validate this approach. aqp(-) parasites grow normally within the WT phenotypic range during blood infection of NMRI mice. Similarly, colonization of the insect vector and establishment of an infection after mosquito transmission were unaffected, indicating that AQP is dispensable for life cycle progression in vivo under physiological conditions, refuting its use as a suitable drug target. Tagged AQP localized to perinuclear structures and not the parasite plasma membrane. We suggest that flow-cytometric isolation of isogenic parasites overcomes the major roadblock towards a genome-scale repository of mutant and transgenic malaria parasite lines.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waters, Professor Andy
Authors: Kenthirapalan, S., Waters, A.P., Matuschewski, K., and Kooij, T.W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:International Journal for Parasitology
ISSN (Online):879-0135

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