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1.  The genome of the simian and human malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi 
Nature  2008;455(7214):799-803.
Plasmodium knowlesi is an intracellular malaria parasite whose natural vertebrate host is Macaca fascicularis (the ‘kra’ monkey); however, it is now increasingly recognized as a significant cause of human malaria, particularly in southeast Asia1,2. Plasmodium knowlesi was the first malaria parasite species in which antigenic variation was demonstrated3, and it has a close phylogenetic relationship to Plasmodium vivax​4, the second most important species of human malaria parasite (reviewed in ref. 4). Despite their relatedness, there are important phenotypic differences between them, such as host blood cell preference, absence of a dormant liver stage or ‘hypnozoite’ in P. knowlesi, and length of the asexual cycle (reviewed in ref. 4). Here we present an analysis of the P. knowlesi (H strain, Pk1(A+) clone5) nuclear genome sequence. This is the first monkey malaria parasite genome to be described, and it provides an opportunity for comparison with the recently completed P. vivax genome4 and other sequenced Plasmodium genomes6-8. In contrast to other Plasmodium genomes, putative variant antigen families are dispersed throughout the genome and are associated with intrachromosomal telomere repeats. One of these families, the KIRs9, contains sequences that collectively match over one-half of the host CD99 extracellular domain, which may represent an unusual form of molecular mimicry.
PMCID: PMC2656934  PMID: 18843368
2.  Naturally acquired humoral and cellular immune responses to Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 9 in Northwestern Amazon individuals 
Vaccine  2008;26(51):6645-6654.
Antibody and T-cell reactivities to Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein-9 (PvMSP9) were evaluated in a cross-sectional study of individuals naturally exposed to malaria infections living in Ribeirinha, a native riverine community and in Colina, a transmigrant community, Rondonia, Brazil. The antibody responses to PvMSP9-RIRII and PvMSP9-Nt domains in Ribeirinha were higher compared with Colina and correlated with age and time of malaria exposure. IgG2 was most prevalent for PvMSP9-RII in both communities, and IgG1 was the predominant isotype for PvMSP9-Nt and PvMSP9-RIRII in Ribeirinha. IFN-γ and IL-4 predominated in Ribeirinha, while IFN-γ predominated in Colina. Variation in exposure to P. vivax likely accounts for the differences observed in cytokine and antibody levels between the two populations studied.
PMCID: PMC4431613  PMID: 18832003
Plasmodium vivax; Malaria; Vaccine; Merozoite Surface Protein-9
3.  Preclinical assessment of the receptor-binding domain of Plasmodium vivax Duffy-binding protein as a vaccine candidate in rhesus macaques 
Vaccine  2008;26(34):4338-4344.
The receptor-binding domain of Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding protein, region II (PvRII), is an attractive candidate for a vaccine against P. vivax malaria. Here, we have studied the safety and immunogenicity of recombinant PvRII in Macaca mulatta (rhesus monkeys). Recombinant PvRII with a C-terminal 6-histidine tag was expressed in E. coli, recovered from inclusion bodies, refolded into its functional conformation, purified to homogeneity and formulated with three adjuvants, namely, Alhydrogel, Montanide ISA 720 and the GSK proprietary Adjuvant System AS02A for use in immunogenicity studies. All the PvRII vaccine formulations tested were safe and highly immunogenic. The overall magnitude of the antibody response was significantly higher for both Montanide ISA 720 and AS02A formulations in comparison with Alhydrogel. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between antibody recognition titers by ELISA and binding inhibition titers in in vitro binding assays. The PvRII vaccine formulations also induced IFN-γ recall responses that were identified using ex vivo ELISPOT assays. These results provide support for further clinical development of a vaccine for P. vivax malaria based on recombinant PvRII.
PMCID: PMC2532489  PMID: 18573299
malaria vaccine; Duffy Binding Protein; Plasmodium vivax; adjuvant formulation
4.  Characterization and application of multiple genetic markers for Plasmodium malariae 
Parasitology  2006;134(Pt 5):637-650.
Plasmodium malariae, a protozoan parasite that causes malaria in humans, has a global distribution in tropical and subtropical regions and is commonly found in sympatry with other Plasmodium species of humans. Little is known about the genetics or population structure of P. malariae. In the present study, we describe polymorphic genetic markers for P. malariae and present the first molecular epidemiological data for this parasite. Six microsatellite or minisatellite markers were validated using 76 P. malariae samples from a diverse geographical range. The repeat unit length varied from 2 to17 bp, and up to 10 different alleles per locus were detected. Multiple genotypes of P. malariae were detected in 33 of 70 samples from humans with naturally acquired infection. Heterozygosity was calculated to be between 0·236 and 0·811. Allelic diversity was reduced for samples from South America and, at some loci, in samples from Thailand compared with those from Malawi. The number of unique multilocus genotypes defined using the 6 markers was significantly greater in Malawi than in Thailand, even when data from single genotype infections were used. There was a significant reduction in the multiplicity of infection in symptomatic infections compared with asymptomatic ones, suggesting that clinical episodes are usually caused by the expansion of a single genotype.
PMCID: PMC1868962  PMID: 17140466
Plasmodium malariae; malaria; genetic markers; microsatellites; minisatellites; population genetics

Results 1-4 (4)