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Jennison C.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | Jennison C.,University of Melbourne | Arnott A.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | Arnott A.,University of Melbourne | And 13 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2015

Introduction: The human malaria parasite, Plasmodium vivax, is proving more difficult to control and eliminate than Plasmodium falciparum in areas of co-transmission. Comparisons of the genetic structure of sympatric parasite populations may provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the resilience of P. vivax and can help guide malaria control programs. Methodology/Principle findings:P. vivax isolates representing the parasite populations of four areas on the north coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG) were genotyped using microsatellite markers and compared with previously published microsatellite data from sympatric P. falciparum isolates. The genetic diversity of P. vivax (He = 0.83–0.85) was higher than that of P. falciparum (He = 0.64–0.77) in all four populations. Moderate levels of genetic differentiation were found between P. falciparum populations, even over relatively short distances (less than 50 km), with 21–28% private alleles and clear geospatial genetic clustering. Conversely, very low population differentiation was found between P. vivax catchments, with less than 5% private alleles and no genetic clustering observed. In addition, the effective population size of P. vivax (30353; 13043–69142) was larger than that of P. falciparum (18871; 8109–42986). Conclusions/Significance: Despite comparably high prevalence, P. vivax had higher diversity and a panmictic population structure compared to sympatric P. falciparum populations, which were fragmented into subpopulations. The results suggest that in comparison to P. falciparum, P. vivax has had a long-term large effective population size, consistent with more intense and stable transmission, and limited impact of past control and elimination efforts. This underlines suggestions that more intensive and sustained interventions will be needed to control and eventually eliminate P. vivax. This research clearly demonstrates how population genetic analyses can reveal deeper insight into transmission patterns than traditional surveillance methods. © 2015 Jennison et al.

Ahmed M.S.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Aleksunes L.M.,Rutgers University | Boeuf P.,University of Melbourne | Chung M.K.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | And 24 more authors.
Placenta | Year: 2013

Workshops are an important part of the IFPA annual meeting as they allow for discussion of specialized topics. At IFPA meeting 2012 there were twelve themed workshops, four of which are summarized in this report. These workshops related to various aspects of placental biology: 1) epigenetics and imprinting in the placenta; 2) growth factors and villous trophoblast differentiation; 3) role of the placenta in regulating fetal exposure to xenobiotics during pregnancy; 4) infection and the placenta.

Duffy M.F.,Royal Melbourne Hospital | Noviyanti R.,Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology | Tsuboi T.,Ehime University | Feng Z.-P.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | And 20 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2016

Background: Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) variants are encoded by var genes and mediate pathogenic cytoadhesion and antigenic variation in malaria. PfEMP1s can be broadly divided into three principal groups (A, B and C) and they contain conserved arrangements of functional domains called domain cassettes. Despite their tremendous diversity there is compelling evidence that a restricted subset of PfEMP1s is expressed in severe disease. In this study antibodies from patients with severe and uncomplicated malaria were compared for differences in reactivity with a range of PfEMP1s to determine whether antibodies to particular PfEMP1 domains were associated with severe or uncomplicated malaria. Methods: Parts of expressed var genes in a severe malaria patient were identified by RNAseq and several of these partial PfEMP1 domains were expressed together with others from laboratory isolates. Antibodies from Papuan patients to these parts of multiple PfEMP1 proteins were measured. Results: Patients with uncomplicated malaria were more likely to have antibodies that recognized PfEMP1 of Group C type and recognized a broader repertoire of group A and B PfEMP1s than patients with severe malaria. Conclusion: These data suggest that exposure to a broad range of group A and B PfEMP1s is associated with protection from severe disease in Papua, Indonesia. © 2016 Duffy et al.

Howes R.E.,University of Oxford | Patil A.P.,University of Oxford | Piel F.B.,University of Oxford | Nyangiri O.A.,Kenya Medical Research Institute | And 10 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2011

Blood group variants are characteristic of population groups, and can show conspicuous geographic patterns. Interest in the global prevalence of the Duffy blood group variants is multidisciplinary, but of particular importance to malariologists due to the resistance generally conferred by the Duffy-negative phenotype against Plasmodium vivax infection. Here we collate an extensive geo-database of surveys, forming the evidence-base for a multi-locus Bayesian geostatistical model to generate global frequency maps of the common Duffy alleles to refine the global cartography of the common Duffy variants. We show that the most prevalent allele globally was FY*A, while across sub-Saharan Africa the predominant allele was the silent FY*BES variant, commonly reaching fixation across stretches of the continent. The maps presented not only represent the first spatially and genetically comprehensive description of variation at this locus, but also constitute an advance towards understanding the transmission patterns of the neglected P. vivax malaria parasite. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Arnott A.,Burnet Institute | Arnott A.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | Arnott A.,University of Melbourne | Wapling J.,Burnet Institute | And 12 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2014

Background: As Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax co-exist in most malaria-endemic regions outside sub-Saharan Africa, malaria control strategies in these areas must target both species in order to succeed. Population genetic analyses can predict the effectiveness of interventions including vaccines, by providing insight into patterns of diversity and evolution. The aim of this study was to investigate the population genetics of leading malaria vaccine candidate AMA1 in sympatric P. falciparum and P. vivax populations of Papua New Guinea (PNG), an area of similarly high prevalence (Pf = 22.3 to 38.8%, Pv = 15.3 to 31.8%). Methods. A total of 72 Pfama1 and 102 Pvama1 sequences were collected from two distinct areas, Madang and Wosera, on the highly endemic PNG north coast. Results: Despite a greater number of polymorphic sites in the AMA1 genes of P. falciparum (Madang = 52; Wosera = 56) compared to P. vivax (Madang = 36, Wosera = 34), the number of AMA1 haplotypes, haplotype diversity (Hd) and recombination (R) was far lower for P. falciparum (Madang = 12, Wosera = 20; Hd ≤0.92, R ≤45.8) than for P. vivax (Madang = 50, Wosera = 38; Hd = 0.99, R = ≤70.9). Balancing selection was detected only within domain I of AMA1 for P. vivax, and in both domains I and III for P. falciparum. Conclusions: Higher diversity in the genes encoding P. vivax AMA1 than in P. falciparum AMA1 in this highly endemic area has important implications for development of AMA1-based vaccines in PNG and beyond. These results also suggest a smaller effective population size of P. falciparum compared to P. vivax, a finding that warrants further investigation. Differing patterns of selection on the AMA1 genes indicate that critical antigenic sites may differ between the species, highlighting the need for independent investigations of these two leading vaccine candidates. © 2014 Arnott et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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