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Chimeric P. falciparum parasites expressing P. vivax circumsporozoite protein fail to produce salivary gland sporozoites

The ability to infect immunized volunteers with the human malaria parasite P. falciparum (Pf) in so-called Controlled Human Malaria Infection (CHMI) studies, has transformed research into malaria vaccines and vaccine formulations. However, CHMI for the second most important malaria parasite, P. vivax (Pv) is extremely limited. In our study we created, using CRISPR/Cas9 methodologies, two chimeric Pf parasites where Pf csp gene was replaced by one of the two major Pv csp alleles in order to create chimeric Pf parasites expressing Pv antigens suitable for vaccine testing in CHMI studies. While the chimeric Pf-PvCSP parasites produce sporozoite-containing oocysts in mosquitoes, most oocysts degenerate before full maturation and no sporozoites were found in salivary glands. Sporozoite-containing oocysts are absent in Pf parasites lacking CSP. Combined, these studies show that while PvCSP can partially complement the function of PfCSP, species-specific features of CSP govern sporozoite maturation in these human malaria parasites.

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    Authors: Bharathi Avula, Babu L. Tekwani, Narayan D. Chaurasiya, Pius Fasinu, N. P. Dhammika Nanayakkara, H. M. T. Bhandara Herath, Yan-Hong Wang, Ji-Yeong Bae, Shabana I. Khan, Mahmoud A. Elsohly, James D. McChesney, Peter A. Zimmerman, Ikhlas A. Khan and Larry A. Walker

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Malaria Journal is aimed at the scientific community interested in malaria in its broadest sense. It is the only journal that publishes exclusively articles on malaria and, as such, it aims to bring together knowledge from the different specialties involved in this very broad discipline, from the bench to the bedside and to the field. Malaria Journal offers a fast publication schedule while maintaining rigorous peer-review; this is achieved by managing the whole of the publication process electronically, from submission to peer-review.

Editor-in-Chief - Marcel Hommel, University of Liverpool, UK

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