The development of pre-erythrocytic Plasmodium vivax vaccines is hindered by the lack of in vitro culture systems or experimental rodent models. To help bypass these roadblocks, we exploited the fact that naturally exposed Fy− individuals who lack the Duffy blood antigen (Fy) receptor are less likely to develop blood-stage infections; therefore, they preferentially develop immune responses to pre-erythrocytic–stage parasites, whereas Fy+ individuals experience both liver- and blood-stage infections and develop immune responses to both pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic parasites. We screened 60 endemic sera from P. vivax-exposed Fy+ or Fy− donors against a protein microarray containing 91 P. vivax proteins with P. falciparum orthologs that were up-regulated in sporozoites. Antibodies against 10 P. vivax antigens were identified in sera from P. vivax-exposed individuals but not unexposed controls. This technology has promising implications in the discovery of potential vaccine candidates against P. vivax malaria.
Latin America contributes 1 to 1.2 million clinical malaria cases to the global malaria burden of about 300 million per year. In 21 malaria endemic countries, the population at risk in this region represents less than 10% of the total population exposed worldwide. Factors such as rapid deforestation, inadequate agricultural practices, climate change, political instability, and both increasing parasite drug resistance and vector resistance to insecticides contribute to malaria transmission. Recently, several malaria endemic countries have experienced a significant reduction in numbers of malaria cases. This is most likely due to actions taken by National Malaria Control Programs (NMCP) with the support from international funding agencies. We describe here the research strategies and activities to be undertaken by the Centro Latino Americano de Investigación en Malaria (CLAIM), a new research center established for the non-Amazonian region of Latin America by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Throughout a network of countries in the region, initially including Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, and Peru, CLAIM will address major gaps in our understanding of changing malaria epidemiology, vector biology and control, and clinical malaria mainly due to Plasmodium vivax. In close partnership with NMCPs, CLAIM seeks to conduct research on how and why malaria is decreasing in many countries of the region as a basis for developing and implementing new strategies that will accelerate malaria elimination.
malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium vivax; Anopheles mosquitoes; vector control; epidemiology; malaria elimination; malaria pathogenesis; non-Amazon regions; Latin America
Approximately 170 million inhabitants of the American continent live at risk of malaria transmission. Although the continent’s contribution to the global malaria burden is small, at least 1 to 1.2 million malaria cases are reported annually. Sixty per cent of the malaria cases occur in Brazil and the other 40% are distributed in 20 other countries of Central and South America. Plasmodium vivax is the predominant species (74.2 %) followed by P. falciparum (25.7 %) and P. malariae (0.1%), and no less than 10 Anopheles species have been identified as primary or secondary malaria vectors. Rapid deforestation and agricultural practices are directly related to increases in Anopheles species diversity and abundance, as well as in the number of malaria cases. Additionally, climate changes profoundly affect malaria transmission and are responsible for malaria epidemics in some regions of South America. Parasite drug resistance is increasing, but due to bio-geographic barriers there is extraordinary genetic differentiation of parasites with limited dispersion. Although the clinical spectrum ranges from uncomplicated to severe malaria cases, due to the generally low to middle transmission intensity, features such as severe anemia, cerebral malaria and other complications appear to be less frequent than in other endemic regions and asymptomatic infections are a common feature. Although the National Malaria Control Programs (NMCP) of different countries differ in their control activities these are all directed to reduce morbidity and mortality by using strategies like health promotion, vector control and impregnate bed nets among others. Recently, international initiatives such as the Malaria Control Program in Andean-country Border Regions (PAMAFRO) (implemented by the Andean Organism for Health (ORAS) and sponsored by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)) and The Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance (RAVREDA) (sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and several other partners), have made great investments for malaria control in the region. We describe here the current status of malaria in a non-Amazonian region comprising several countries of South and Central America participating in the Centro Latino Americano de Investigación en Malaria (CLAIM), an International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium vivax; malaria elimination; epidemiology; Latin America
Armenia, situated between the Black and Caspian Seas, lies at the junction of Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan and former Mesopotamia. This geographic position made it a potential contact zone between Eastern and Western civilizations. In this investigation, we assess Y-chromosomal diversity in four geographically distinct populations that represent the extent of historical Armenia. We find a striking prominence of haplogroups previously implicated with the Agricultural Revolution in the Near East, including the J2a-M410-, R1b1b1*-L23-, G2a-P15- and J1-M267-derived lineages. Given that the Last Glacial Maximum event in the Armenian plateau occured a few millennia before the Neolithic era, we envision a scenario in which its repopulation was achieved mainly by the arrival of farmers from the Fertile Crescent temporally coincident with the initial inception of farming in Greece. However, we detect very restricted genetic affinities with Europe that suggest any later cultural diffusions from Armenia to Europe were not associated with substantial amounts of paternal gene flow, despite the presence of closely related Indo-European languages in both Armenia and Southeast Europe.
Armenia; phylogenetics; Y-chromosome; SNPs; neolithic
Several studies have reported the following as determining factors for the adoption of healthy lifestyles among undergraduate students: gender, socioeconomic level, prior lifestyles, environment, parental lifestyles and health status, career choice, and healthy support networks. However, these factors are influenced by students’ knowledge about healthy lifestyles.
We will carry out a randomized trial in a sample of 280 new undergraduate students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Faculty of Higher Studies-Zaragoza (FES-Zaragoza, UNAM). There will be an experimental group (n = 140), comprising 20 students from each of the seven university departments (careers); these students will receive training as university student health promoters through an e-learning course. This course will allow the topics necessary for such promoters to be reviewed. There will be a control group (n = 140), comprising 20 students from each of the seven departments (careers); these students will not undergo the training. Later, the students who comply satisfactorily with the e-learning course will replicate the course to 10 of their classmates. A healthy-lifestyle questionnaire will be given to all the participants, and the parameters established in the self-care card will be recorded before and after the training. The study variables are as follows: (i) independent variable—compliance with the e-learning course; (ii) dependent variables—lifestyles changes prior to the educative intervention (including healthy eating, physical activity, and addiction prevention) and parameters related to health status established in self-care (including weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and hip circumference). Data will be analyzed using Student’s t test and logistic regression analysis odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. The analysis of the open answers will be carried out with ATLAS. ti 5.5 software.
Health promotion among university students should incorporate options that are feasible for and attractive to students. Thus, as proposed in the present protocol, e-learning courses offer excellent possibilities because they allow students to program their learning in their available time without affecting their academic studies.
University health promoter; University student health promoter; Self-care; Health promotion
The micropropagation is a powerful tool to scale up plants of economical and agronomical importance, enhancing crop productivity. However, a small but growing body of evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, can be affected under the in vitro conditions characteristic of micropropagation. Here, we tested whether the adaptation to different in vitro systems (Magenta boxes and Bioreactors) modified epigenetically different clones of Agave fourcroydes and A. angustifolia. Furthermore, we assessed whether these epigenetic changes affect the regulatory expression of KNOTTED1-like HOMEOBOX (KNOX) transcription factors.
To gain a better understanding of epigenetic changes during in vitro and ex vitro conditions in Agave fourcroydes and A. angustifolia, we analyzed global DNA methylation, as well as different histone modification marks, in two different systems: semisolid in Magenta boxes (M) and temporary immersion in modular Bioreactors (B). No significant difference was found in DNA methylation in A. fourcroydes grown in either M or B. However, when A. fourcroydes was compared with A. angustifolia, there was a two-fold difference in DNA methylation between the species, independent of the in vitro system used. Furthermore, we detected an absence or a low amount of the repressive mark H3K9me2 in ex vitro conditions in plants that were cultured earlier either in M or B. Moreover, the expression of AtqKNOX1 and AtqKNOX2, on A. fourcroydes and A. angustifolia clones, is affected during in vitro conditions. Therefore, we used Chromatin ImmunoPrecipitation (ChIP) to know whether these genes were epigenetically regulated. In the case of AtqKNOX1, the H3K4me3 and H3K9me2 were affected during in vitro conditions in comparison with AtqKNOX2.
Agave clones plants with higher DNA methylation during in vitro conditions were better adapted to ex vitro conditions. In addition, A. fourcroydes and A. angustifolia clones displayed differential expression of the KNOX1 gene during in vitro conditions, which is epigenetically regulated by the H3K4me3 and H3K9me2 marks. The finding of an epigenetic regulation in key developmental genes will make it important in future studies to identify factors that help to find climate-resistant micropropagated plants.
Epigenetics; In vitro; Histone methylation; Agave; KNOX genes
At less than 90 Mbp, the tiny nuclear genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant Utricularia is an attractive model system for studying molecular evolutionary processes leading to genome miniaturization. Recently, we reported that expression of genes encoding DNA repair and reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification enzymes is highest in Utricularia traps, and we argued that ROS mutagenic action correlates with the high nucleotide substitution rates observed in the Utricularia plastid, mitochondrial, and nuclear genomes. Here, we extend our analysis of 100 nuclear genes from Utricularia and related asterid eudicots to examine nucleotide substitution biases and their potential correlation with ROS-induced DNA lesions. We discovered an unusual bias toward GC nucleotides, most prominently in transition substitutions at the third position of codons, which are presumably silent with respect to adaptation. Given the general tendency of biased gene conversion to drive GC bias, and of ROS to induce double strand breaks requiring recombinational repair, we propose that some of the unusual features of the bladderwort and its genome may be more reflective of these nonadaptive processes than of natural selection.
Carnivorous plant; DNA mutation; GC bias; Gene conversion; transcriptome
A safe and reproducible Plasmodium vivax infectious challenge method is required to evaluate the efficacy of malaria vaccine candidates. Seventeen healthy Duffy (+) and five Duffy (−) subjects were randomly allocated into three (A–C) groups and were exposed to the bites of 2–4 Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium vivax derived from three donors. Duffy (−) subjects were included as controls for each group. Clinical manifestations of malaria and parasitemia were monitored beginning 7 days post-challenge. All Duffy (+) volunteers developed patent malaria infection within 16 days after challenge. Prepatent period determined by thick smear, was longer for Group A (median 14.5 d) than for Groups B and C (median 10 d/each). Infected volunteers recovered rapidly after treatment with no serious adverse events. The bite of as low as two P. vivax-infected mosquitoes provides safe and reliable infections in malaria-naive volunteers, suitable for assessing antimalarial and vaccine efficacy trials.
We assessed the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a mixture of three synthetic peptides derived from the Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein formulated in Montanide ISA 720 or Montanide ISA 51. Forty healthy malaria-naive volunteers were allocated to five experimental groups (A–E): four groups (A–D) were immunized intramuscularly with 50 and 100 μg/dose injections of a mixture of N, R, and C peptides formulated in the two different adjuvants at 0, 2, and 4 months and one group was administered placebo. Vaccines were immunogenic, safe, well tolerated, and no serious adverse events related to the vaccine occurred. Seroconversion occurred in > 90% of the vaccines and antibodies recognized the sporozoite protein on immunofluorescent antibody test. Vaccines in Montanide ISA 51 showed a higher sporozoite protein recognition and interferon production. Results encourage further testing of the vaccine protective efficacy.
Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a leading malaria vaccine candidate previously assessed in animals and humans. Here, combinations of three synthetic polypeptides corresponding to amino (N), central repeat (R), and carboxyl (C) regions of the CS protein formulated in Montanide ISA 720 or Montanide ISA 51 adjuvants were assessed for immunogenicity in rodents and primates. BALB/c mice and Aotus monkeys were divided into test and control groups and were immunized three times with doses of 50 and 100 μg of vaccine or placebo. Antigen-specific antimalarial antibodies were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunofluorescent antibody test, and IFN-γ responses by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELIspot). Both vaccine formulations were highly immunogenic in both species. Mice developed better antibody responses against C and R polypeptides, whereas the N polypeptide was more immunogenic in monkeys. Anti-peptide antibodies remained detectable for several months and recognized native proteins on sporozoites. Differences between Montanide ISA 720 and Montanide ISA 51 formulations were not significant.
Vaccine development for Plasmodium vivax malaria is underway. A model to assess the protective efficacy of vaccine candidates in humans is urgently needed. Given the lack of continuous P. vivax cultures, we developed a system to infect Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes using blood from P. vivax-infected patients and determined parameters for challenge of malaria-naive volunteers by mosquito bite. Absence of co-infections in parasitized blood was confirmed by tests consistent with blood bank screening. A total of 119 experiments were conducted using batches of 900–4,500 mosquitoes fed by an artificial membrane feeding method. Optimal conditions for mosquito probing and infection were determined. Presence of oocyst and sporozoites were assessed on Days 7–8 and 14–15, respectively, and conditions to choose batches of infected mosquitoes for sporozoite challenge were established. Procedures to infect volunteers took a 2-hour period including verification of inoculum dose. Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes represent a valuable resource for P. vivax sporozoite challenge of volunteers.
Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a leading malaria vaccine candidate. We describe the characterization of specific immune responses induced in 21 malaria-naive volunteers vaccinated with long synthetic peptides derived from the CS protein formulated in Montanide ISA 720. Both antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses were analyzed. Antibodies were predominantly of IgG1 and IgG3 isotypes, recognized parasite proteins on the immunofluorescent antibody test, and partially blocked sporozoite invasion of hepatoma cell lines in vitro. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from most volunteers (94%) showed IFN-γ production in vitro upon stimulation with both long signal peptide and short peptides containing CD8+ T-cell epitopes. The relatively limited sample size did not allow conclusions about HLA associations with the immune responses observed. In summary, the inherent safety and tolerability together with strong antibody responses, invasion blocking activity, and the IFN-γ production induced by these vaccine candidates warrants further testing in a phase II clinical trial.
A non-human primate model for the induction of protective immunity against the pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium vivax malaria using radiation-attenuated P. vivax sporozoites may help to characterize protective immune mechanisms and identify novel malaria vaccine candidates. Immune responses and protective efficacy induced by vaccination with irradiated P. vivax sporozoites were evaluated in malaria-naive Aotus monkeys. Three groups of six monkeys received two, five, or ten intravenous inoculations, respectively, of 100,000 irradiated P. vivax sporozoites; control groups received either 10 doses of uninfected salivary gland extract or no inoculations. Immunization resulted in the production low levels of antibodies that specifically recognized P. vivax sporozoites and the circumsporozoite protein. Additionally, immunization induced low levels of antigen-specific IFN-γ responses. Intravenous challenge with viable sporozoites resulted in partial protection in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that the Aotus monkey model may be able to play a role in preclinical development of P. vivax pre-erythrocytic stage vaccines.
Circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a malaria antigen involved in sporozoite invasion of hepatocytes, and thus considered to have good vaccine potential. We evaluated the polymorphism of the Plasmodium vivax CS gene in 24 parasite isolates collected from malaria-endemic areas of Colombia. We sequenced 27 alleles, most of which (25/27) corresponded to the VK247 genotype and the remainder to the VK210 type. All VK247 alleles presented a mutation (Gly → Asn) at position 28 in the N-terminal region, whereas the C-terminal presented three insertions: the ANKKAGDAG, which is common in all VK247 isolates; 12 alleles presented the insertion GAGGQAAGGNAANKKAGDAG; and 5 alleles presented the insertion GGNAGGNA. Both repeat regions were polymorphic in gene sequence and size. Sequences coding for B-, T-CD4+, and T-CD8+ cell epitopes were found to be conserved. This study confirms the high polymorphism of the repeat domain and the highly conserved nature of the flanking regions.
Frequency and levels of IgG antibodies to an N-terminal fragment of the Plasmodium vivax MSP-1 (Pv200L) protein, in individuals naturally exposed to malaria in four endemic areas of Brazil, were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Plasma samples of 261 P. vivax-infected individuals from communities of Macapá, Novo Repartimento, Porto Velho, and Plácido de Castro in the Amazonian region with different malaria transmission intensities. A high mean number of studied individuals (89.3%) presented with antibodies to the Pv200L that correlated with the number of previous malaria infections; there were significant differences in the frequency of the responders (71.9–98.7) and in the antibody levels (1:200–1:51,200) among the four study areas. Results of this study provide evidence that Pv200L is a naturally immunogenic fragment of the PvMSP-1 and is associated with the degree of exposure to parasites. The fine specificity of antibodies to Pv200L is currently being assessed.
Merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1) is a polymorphic malaria protein with functional domains involved in parasite erythrocyte interaction. Plasmodium vivax MSP-1 has a fragment (Pv200L) that has been identified as a potential subunit vaccine because it is highly immunogenic and induces partial protection against infectious parasite challenge in vaccinated monkeys. To determine the extent of genetic polymorphism and its effect on the translated protein, we sequenced the Pv200L coding region from isolates of 26 P. vivax-infected patients in a malaria-endemic area of Colombia. The extent of nucleotide diversity (π) in these isolates (0.061 ± 0.004) was significantly lower (P ≤ 0.001) than that observed in Thai and Brazilian isolates; 0.083 ± 0.006 and 0.090 ± 0.006, respectively. We found two new alleles and several previously unidentified dimorphic substitutions and significant size polymorphism. The presence of highly conserved blocks in this fragment has important implications for the development of Pv200L as a subunit vaccine candidate.
Malaria infection induces antibodies capable of suppressing the infectivity of gametocytes and gametes, however, little is known about the duration of the antibody response, the parasite specificity, and the role of complement. We report the analyses of the transmission-blocking (TB) activity of sera collected from 105 Plasmodium vivax-infected and 44 non-infected individuals from a malaria endemic region of Colombia, using a membrane feeding assay in Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes. In infected donors we found that TB activity was antibody dose dependent (35%), lasted for 2–4 months after infection, and in 70% of the cases different P. vivax wild isolates displayed differential susceptibility to blocking antibodies. Additionally, in a number of assays TB was complement-dependent. Twenty-seven percent of non-infected individuals presented TB activity that correlated with antibody titers. Studies here provide preliminary data on factors of great importance for further work on the development of TB vaccines.
In cancer cells, transcriptional gene silencing has been associated with genetic and epigenetic defects. The disruption of DNA methylation patterns and covalent histone marks has been associated with cancer development. Until recently, microRNA (miRNA) gene silencing was not well understood. In particular, miR-125b1 has been suggested to be an miRNA with tumor suppressor activity, and it has been shown to be deregulated in various human cancers. In the present study, we evaluated the DNA methylation at the CpG island proximal to the transcription start site of miR-125b1 in cancer cell lines as well as in normal tissues and gynecological tumor samples. In addition, we analyzed the association of CTCF and covalent histone modifications at the miR-125b1 locus.
To assess the DNA methylation status of the miR-125b1, genomic DNA was transformed with sodium bisulfite, and then PCR-amplified with modified primers and sequenced. The miR-125b1 gene expression was analyzed by qRT-PCR using U6 as a control for constitutive gene expression. CTCF repressive histone marks abundance was evaluated by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays.
The disruption of CTCF in breast cancer cells correlated with the incorporation of repressive histone marks such H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 as well as with aberrant DNA methylation patterns. To determine the effect of DNA methylation at the CpG island of miR-125b1 on the expression of this gene, we performed a qRT-PCR assay. We observed a significant reduction on the expression of miR-125b1 in cancer cells in comparison with controls, suggesting that DNA methylation at the CpG island might reduce miR-125b1 expression. These effects were observed in other gynecological cancers, including ovarian and cervical tumors.
A reduction of miR-125b1 expression in cancers, correlated with methylation, repressive histone marks and loss of CTCF binding at the promoter region.
CTCF; miR-125b1; Epigenetic; Cancer; Promoter; MicroRNA; Breast cancer
Influenza B virus infections are less common than infections caused by influenza A virus in critically ill patients, but similar mortality rates have been observed for both influenza types. Pneumonia caused by influenza B virus is uncommon and has been reported in pediatric patients and previously healthy adults. Critically ill patients with pneumonia caused by influenza virus may develop acute respiratory distress syndrome. We describe the clinical course of a critically ill patient with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma nongerminal center B-cell phenotype who developed acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by influenza B virus infection. This paper emphasizes the need to suspect influenza B virus infection in critically ill immunocompromised patients with progressive deterioration of cardiopulmonary function despite treatment with antibiotics. Early initiation of neuraminidase inhibitor and the implementation of guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock should be considered.
The carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba (bladderwort) is remarkable in having a minute genome, which at ca. 80 megabases is approximately half that of Arabidopsis. Bladderworts show an incredible diversity of forms surrounding a defined theme: tiny, bladder-like suction traps on terrestrial, epiphytic, or aquatic plants with a diversity of unusual vegetative forms. Utricularia plants, which are rootless, are also anomalous in physiological features (respiration and carbon distribution), and highly enhanced molecular evolutionary rates in chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal sequences. Despite great interest in the genus, no genomic resources exist for Utricularia, and the substitution rate increase has received limited study.
Here we describe the sequencing and analysis of the Utricularia gibba transcriptome. Three different organs were surveyed, the traps, the vegetative shoot bodies, and the inflorescence stems. We also examined the bladderwort transcriptome under diverse stress conditions. We detail aspects of functional classification, tissue similarity, nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism, respiration, DNA repair, and detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Long contigs of plastid and mitochondrial genomes, as well as sequences for 100 individual nuclear genes, were compared with those of other plants to better establish information on molecular evolutionary rates.
The Utricularia transcriptome provides a detailed genomic window into processes occurring in a carnivorous plant. It contains a deep representation of the complex metabolic pathways that characterize a putative minimal plant genome, permitting its use as a source of genomic information to explore the structural, functional, and evolutionary diversity of the genus. Vegetative shoots and traps are the most similar organs by functional classification of their transcriptome, the traps expressing hydrolytic enzymes for prey digestion that were previously thought to be encoded by bacteria. Supporting physiological data, global gene expression analysis shows that traps significantly over-express genes involved in respiration and that phosphate uptake might occur mainly in traps, whereas nitrogen uptake could in part take place in vegetative parts. Expression of DNA repair and ROS detoxification enzymes may be indicative of a response to increased respiration. Finally, evidence from the bladderwort transcriptome, direct measurement of ROS in situ, and cross-species comparisons of organellar genomes and multiple nuclear genes supports the hypothesis that increased nucleotide substitution rates throughout the plant may be due to the mutagenic action of amplified ROS production.
The presence of free nucleic acids in plasma has been detected in cancer patients and is associated with poor prognosis. In the present study, the mRNA levels of three genes (EPAS1, KIAA0101 and UBE2D3) in plasma from colorectal cancer patients were analyzed. These genes were selected from a previous study of genomic profiles, discriminating between healthy controls and colorectal cancer patients. mRNA levels were analyzed by real-time PCR in the plasma of 154 patients with colorectal cancer. The association of plasma mRNA levels with clinicopathological parameters and patient survival were analyzed. High levels of EPAS1 in the plasma were associated with patients aged over 50 years, relapse of disease and patient mortality. When patients were divided into two groups, early (I and II) and advanced (III and IV) stages, an association was observed between high levels of EPAS1 mRNA and worse disease-free and overall survival in advanced stages. The expression of KIAA0101 and UBE2D3 was not associated with poor prognosis. Thus, our results suggest that EPAS1 mRNA levels may be an indicator of poor prognosis in colorectal cancer patients at advanced stages, obtained by a non-invasive method.
plasma; mRNA; EPAS1; outcome; colorectal cancer
Anemia is a common complication of human malaria. Since micronutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent in malaria-endemic areas and appear to contribute to anemia etiology, we conducted a cross-sectional study in Tumaco, Colombia, to examine the associations between plasma vitamin B12 or erythrocyte folate concentrations and hemoglobin (Hb) among 96 adults with predominantly Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Prevalence of folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies were 26.0% and 26.6%, respectively. There was an inverse, linear relation between folate and Hb concentrations. Adjusted difference in Hb between lowest and highest folate quartiles was 1 g/dL (p = 0.04; p, test for trend = 0.01). Vitamin B12 was not associated with Hb concentrations and did not modify the associations between folate and Hb. Incidentally, body mass index (BMI) was inversely associated with parasitemia and risk of clinical malaria. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to determine the potential pathophysiological role of folate in malaria-related anemia.
Malaria; Anemia; Plasmodium falciparum
Successful establishment of a Plasmodium vivax sporozoite challenge model in humans is described. Eighteen healthy adult, malaria-naïve volunteers were randomly allocated to Groups A–C and exposed to 3 ± 1, 6 ± 1, and 9 ± 1 bites of Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes infected with P. vivax, respectively. Seventeen volunteers developed signs and symptoms consistent with malaria, and geometric mean prepatent periods of 11.1 days (9.3–11) for Group A; 10.8 days (9.8–11.9) for Group B; and 10.6 days (8.7–12.4) for Group C, with no statistically significant difference among groups (Kruskal-Wallis, P = 0.70). One volunteer exposed to eight mosquito bites did not develop a parasitemia. No differences in parasite density were observed and all individuals successfully recovered after anti-malarial treatment. None of the volunteers developed parasite relapses within an 18-month follow-up. In conclusion, malaria-naive volunteers can be safely and reproducibly infected with bites of 2–10 An. albimanus mosquitoes carrying P. vivax sporozoites. This challenge method is suitable for vaccine and anti-malarial drug testing.
Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite variants have been identified in several geographical areas. The real implication of the genetic variation in this region of the P. vivax genome has been questioned for a long time. Although previous studies have observed significant association between VK210 and the Duffy blood group, we present here that evidences of this variation are limited to the CSP central portion.
The phylogenetic analyses were accomplished starting from the amplification of conserved domains of 18 SSU RNAr and Cyt B. The antibodies responses against the CSP peptides, MSP-1, AMA-1 and DBP were detected by ELISA, in plasma samples of individuals infected with two P. vivax CS genotypes: VK210 and P. vivax-like.
These analyses of the two markers demonstrate high similarity among the P. vivax CS genotypes and surprisingly showed diversity equal to zero between VK210 and P. vivax-like, positioning these CS genotypes in the same clade. A high frequency IgG antibody against the N- and C-terminal regions of the P. vivax CSP was found as compared to the immune response to the R- and V- repetitive regions (p = 0.0005, Fisher's Exact test). This difference was more pronounced when the P. vivax-like variant was present in the infection (p = 0.003, Fisher's Exact test). A high frequency of antibody response against MSP-1 and AMA-1 peptides was observed for all P. vivax CS genotypes in comparison to the same frequency for DBP.
This results target that the differences among the P. vivax CS variants are restrict to the central repeated region of the protein, mostly nucleotide variation with important serological consequences.
In-depth sequencing analysis has not been able to determine the overall complexity of transcriptional activity of a plant organ or tissue sample. In some cases, deep parallel sequencing of Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs), although not yet optimized for the sequencing of cDNAs, has represented an efficient procedure for validating gene prediction and estimating overall gene coverage. This approach could be very valuable for complex plant genomes. In addition, little emphasis has been given to efforts aiming at an estimation of the overall transcriptional universe found in a multicellular organism at a specific developmental stage.
To explore, in depth, the transcriptional diversity in an ancient maize landrace, we developed a protocol to optimize the sequencing of cDNAs and performed 4 consecutive GS20–454 pyrosequencing runs of a cDNA library obtained from 2 week-old Palomero Toluqueño maize plants. The protocol reported here allowed obtaining over 90% of informative sequences. These GS20–454 runs generated over 1.5 Million reads, representing the largest amount of sequences reported from a single plant cDNA library. A collection of 367,391 quality-filtered reads (30.09 Mb) from a single run was sufficient to identify transcripts corresponding to 34% of public maize ESTs databases; total sequences generated after 4 filtered runs increased this coverage to 50%. Comparisons of all 1.5 Million reads to the Maize Assembled Genomic Islands (MAGIs) provided evidence for the transcriptional activity of 11% of MAGIs. We estimate that 5.67% (86,069 sequences) do not align with public ESTs or annotated genes, potentially representing new maize transcripts. Following the assembly of 74.4% of the reads in 65,493 contigs, real-time PCR of selected genes confirmed a predicted correlation between the abundance of GS20–454 sequences and corresponding levels of gene expression.
A protocol was developed that significantly increases the number, length and quality of cDNA reads using massive 454 parallel sequencing. We show that recurrent 454 pyrosequencing of a single cDNA sample is necessary to attain a thorough representation of the transcriptional universe present in maize, that can also be used to estimate transcript abundance of specific genes. This data suggests that the molecular and functional diversity contained in the vast native landraces remains to be explored, and that large-scale transcriptional sequencing of a presumed ancestor of the modern maize varieties represents a valuable approach to characterize the functional diversity of maize for future agricultural and evolutionary studies.