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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.  Failure to respond to the surface of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes predicts susceptibility to clinical malaria amongst African children 
International Journal for Parasitology  2008;38(12):1445-1454.
Following infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria, children in endemic areas develop antibodies specific to antigens on the parasite-infected red cell surface of the infecting isolate, antibodies associated with protection against subsequent infection with that isolate. In some circumstances induction of antibodies to heterologous parasite isolates also occurs and this has been suggested as evidence for cross-reactivity of responses against the erythrocyte surface. The role of these relatively cross-reactive antibodies in protection from clinical malaria is currently unknown. We studied the incidence of clinical malaria amongst children living on the coast of Kenya through one high transmission season. By categorising individuals according to their pre-season parasite status and antibody response to the surface of erythrocytes infected with four parasite isolates we were able to identify a group of children, those who failed to make a concomitant antibody response in the presence of an asymptomatic parasitaemia, at increased susceptibility to clinical malaria in the subsequent 6 months. The fact that this susceptible group was identified regardless of the parasite isolate tested infers a cross-reactive or conserved target is present on the surface of infected erythrocytes. Identification of this target will significantly aid understanding of naturally acquired immunity to clinical malaria amongst children in endemic areas.
PMCID: PMC2697313  PMID: 18534600
Plasmodium falciparum; Malaria; Antibody responses; Susceptibility; Immunology; Epidemiology; Children; Sub-Saharan Africa
3.  Differential Binding of Clonal Variants of Plasmodium falciparum to Allelic Forms of Intracellular Adhesion Molecule 1 Determined by Flow Adhesion Assay 
Infection and Immunity  2000;68(1):264-269.
Adhesion of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to the endothelial ligand intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. Recently, a high-frequency coding polymorphism in the N-terminal domain of ICAM-1 (ICAM-1Kilifi) that is associated with susceptibility to cerebral disease in Kenya has been described. Preliminary static adhesion assays suggested that two different selected P. falciparum lines, ITO4-A4 (A4) and ItG-ICAM (ItG), have different properties of binding to the natural variant proteins ICAM-1 and ICAM-1Kilifi. Using a flow adhesion assay system, we have confirmed differences between the two lines in binding of parasitized erythrocytes to the variant ICAM-1 proteins. Total adhesion of ItG-infected erythrocytes to ICAM-1 and ICAM-1Kilifi is greater than that of A4-infected erythrocytes, and erythrocytes infected by both parasite strains show reduced binding to ICAM-1Kilifi. However, under these physiologically relevant flow conditions, we have shown differences between A4 and ItG strains in dynamic rolling behavior on ICAM-1Kilifi. The percentage of erythrocytes infected with A4 that roll on both ICAM-1 and ICAM-1Kilifi is greater than that of those infected with ItG. Also, the rolling velocity of A4-infected erythrocytes on ICAM-1Kilifi is markedly increased compared to that on ICAM-1, in contrast to the rolling velocity of ItG-infected erythrocytes, which is similar on both proteins. These findings suggest that different parasite lines can vary in their avidity for the same host ligand, which may have important consequences for the pathophysiology of P. falciparum malaria.
PMCID: PMC97130  PMID: 10603397
4.  Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and CD36 synergize to mediate adherence of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to cultured human microvascular endothelial cells. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;100(10):2521-2529.
We have compared the adhesion of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and have assessed the relative roles of the receptors CD36 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). HUVEC (a cell line that expresses high levels of ICAM-1 but no CD36) mediate low levels of adhesion, whereas HDMEC (which constitutively express CD36) mediate high levels of adhesion even before ICAM-1 induction ICAM-1 expression leads to yet greater levels of adhesion, which are inhibited both by anti-ICAM-1 and CD36 mAbs, despite no increase in the expression of CD36. The results indicate the presence of a substantial population of infected cells that require the presence of both receptors to establish adhesion. Synergy between these receptors could be demonstrated using a number of parasite lines, but it could not be predicted from the binding of these same parasite lines to purified ICAM-1 and CD36. This phenomenon could not be reproduced using either purified receptors presented on plastic, or formalin-fixed HDMEC, suggesting that receptor mobility is important. This is the first study to demonstrate receptor synergy in malaria cytoadherence to human endothelial cells, a phenomenon necessary for parasite survival and associated with disease severity.
PMCID: PMC508452  PMID: 9366566
5.  Failure to block adhesion of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to ICAM-1 with soluble ICAM-1. 
Infection and Immunity  1997;65(11):4580-4585.
The adhesion of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes is thought to play a central role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. ICAM-1 has been identified as one of the host receptors for parasitized erythrocytes and has been implicated as being involved in progression to cerebral malaria. Thus, intervention strategies based on the reversal of this interaction could potentially be used to reduce morbidity and mortality. We have investigated the inhibition of the interaction between ICAM-1 and infected erythrocytes by using recombinant soluble ICAM-1 as competitor and find that we are unable to reduce adhesion to ICAM-1 in vitro.
PMCID: PMC175657  PMID: 9353036
6.  Plasmodium falciparum rosetting is associated with malaria severity in Kenya. 
Infection and Immunity  1995;63(6):2323-2326.
Rosette formation in 154 fresh Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Kenyan children with mild (n = 54), moderate (n = 64), or severe (n = 36) malaria was studied to determine whether the ability to form rosettes in vitro is correlated with malaria severity. There was a wide distribution of rosette frequencies within each clinical category; however, a clear trend towards higher rosette frequency with increasing severity of disease was seen, with the median rosette frequency of the mild-malaria group (1%; range, 0 to 82%) being significantly lower than those of the moderate-malaria group (5%; range, 0 to 45%; Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.02) and the severe-malaria group (7%; range, 0 to 97%; Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.003). Within the severe-malaria category there was no difference in rosetting among isolates from cerebral malaria patients or those with other forms of severe malaria. We also examined the ABO blood groups of the patients from whom isolates were obtained and found that isolates from group O patients (median rosette frequency, 2%; range 0 to 45%) rosetted less well than those from group A (median, 7%; range 0 to 82%; Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.01) or group AB (median, 11%; range 0 to 94%; Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.03). We therefore confirm that rosetting is associated with severe malaria and provide further evidence that rosetting is influenced by ABO blood group type. Whether rosetting itself plays a direct role in the pathogenesis of severe malaria or is a marker for some other causal factor remains unknown.
PMCID: PMC173304  PMID: 7768616
7.  Monoclonal antibodies that protect in vivo against Plasmodium chabaudi recognize a 250,000-dalton parasite polypeptide. 
Infection and Immunity  1982;38(1):94-102.
Twenty monoclonal antibodies have been prepared to the erythrocytes from CBA/Ca mice infected with the rodent malaria Plasmodium chabaudi. By immunofluorescence, 15 of these antibodies recognized parasite antigens expressed only during the development of mature trophozoites to schizonts and merozoites, 2 recognized parasite antigens that were expressed throughout most of the intraerythrocytic cycle, and 3 recognized the membranes of all infected and uninfected erythrocytes. By immunoprecipitation of [35S]methionine-labeled, parasitized erythrocytes, parasite antigens recognized by all of the antiparasite antibodies were characterized. Eleven precipitated a 250,000-dalton parasite polypeptide which was synthesized and expressed late in the intraerythrocytic cell cycle and which appeared to be the major coat protein of the merozoites. In passive protection experiments, transfer of hyperimmune serum before infection with the parasite resulted in a delay in the rise of parasitemia, reduction in peak parasitemias, and a delay in the clearance of the parasitemia. Two monoclonal antibodies to the 250,000-dalton polypeptide had a similar but not as marked effect on parasitemia when given as a single dose before infection. When mixed and administered throughout the course of infection, their effects were greater. They had no influence on the course of Plasmodium berghei KSP11 parasitemia. Monoclonal antibodies to other parasite antigens and normal erythrocyte antigens failed to have a significant and reproducible effect on P. chabaudi parasitemia. The results suggest that this 250,000-dalton malaria parasite antigen may be important in the induction and expression of antibody-mediated immunity to malaria.
PMCID: PMC347702  PMID: 7141700

Results 1-7 (7)