Matching Items (11)

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Accelerated Diversification of Nonhuman Primate Malarias in Southeast Asia: Adaptive Radiation or Geographic Speciation?

Description

Although parasitic organisms are found worldwide, the relative importance of host specificity and geographic isolation for parasite speciation has been explored in only a few systems. Here, we study Plasmodium

Although parasitic organisms are found worldwide, the relative importance of host specificity and geographic isolation for parasite speciation has been explored in only a few systems. Here, we study Plasmodium parasites known to infect Asian nonhuman primates, a monophyletic group that includes the lineage leading to the human parasite Plasmodium vivax and several species used as laboratory models in malaria research. We analyze the available data together with new samples from three sympatric primate species from Borneo: The Bornean orangutan and the long-tailed and the pig-tailed macaques. We find several species of malaria parasites, including three putatively new species in this biodiversity hotspot. Among those newly discovered lineages, we report two sympatric parasites in orangutans. We find no differences in the sets of malaria species infecting each macaque species indicating that these species show no host specificity. Finally, phylogenetic analysis of these data suggests that the malaria parasites infecting Southeast Asian macaques and their relatives are speciating three to four times more rapidly than those with other mammalian hosts such as lemurs and African apes. We estimate that these events took place in approximately a 3–4-Ma period. Based on the genetic and phenotypic diversity of the macaque malarias, we hypothesize that the diversification of this group of parasites has been facilitated by the diversity, geographic distributions, and demographic histories of their primate hosts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-11-10

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Whole Genome Sequencing of Field Isolates Reveals Extensive Genetic Diversity in Plasmodium vivax from Colombia

Description

Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent malarial species in South America and exerts a substantial burden on the populations it affects. The control and eventual elimination of P. vivax are

Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent malarial species in South America and exerts a substantial burden on the populations it affects. The control and eventual elimination of P. vivax are global health priorities. Genomic research contributes to this objective by improving our understanding of the biology of P. vivax and through the development of new genetic markers that can be used to monitor efforts to reduce malaria transmission. Here we analyze whole-genome data from eight field samples from a region in Cordóba, Colombia where malaria is endemic. We find considerable genetic diversity within this population, a result that contrasts with earlier studies suggesting that P. vivax had limited diversity in the Americas. We also identify a selective sweep around a substitution known to confer resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). This is the first observation of a selective sweep for SP resistance in this species. These results indicate that P. vivax has been exposed to SP pressure even when the drug is not in use as a first line treatment for patients afflicted by this parasite. We identify multiple non-synonymous substitutions in three other genes known to be involved with drug resistance in Plasmodium species. Finally, we found extensive microsatellite polymorphisms. Using this information we developed 18 polymorphic and easy to score microsatellite loci that can be used in epidemiological investigations in South America.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12-28

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Plant-derived Oral Vaccines: The Current State of the Science and Its Value for the Future

Description

The development of plant-derived antigens is very promising in vaccine research and the ability to synthesize vaccines cheaply and safely in plant, which can then be ingested, has enormous potential

The development of plant-derived antigens is very promising in vaccine research and the ability to synthesize vaccines cheaply and safely in plant, which can then be ingested, has enormous potential benefits. The goal of this project is to summarize and synthesize the work of current scientists on this issue into a cohesive argument in favor of plant-derived vaccinations, while acknowledging any possible drawbacks to their development and the actions that are being taken to overcome them. Hepatitis B, a virus for which orally administered, plant-based vaccines are currently being developed, serves as the case study in which these issues are analyzed. It was found that the synthesized protein is effective immunogenic in humans, but there is still the remaining challenge of making it generate a strong enough immune response through simple ingestion. For this reason, it is clear that plant-derived, oral vaccinations merit further research and hold real prospects of success.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2008-05

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Bayesian Biogeographical Analyses with Beast: Assessment Using Simulated Data

Description

Biogeography is the study of the spatial distribution of the earth's biota, both in the present and the past. Traditionally, biogeographical studies have relied on a combination of surveys of

Biogeography is the study of the spatial distribution of the earth's biota, both in the present and the past. Traditionally, biogeographical studies have relied on a combination of surveys of existing populations, fossil evidence, and the geological record of the earth. However, with the advent of relatively inexpensive methods of DNA sequencing, it is now possible to use information concerning the genetic relatedness of individuals in populations to address questions about how those populations came to be where they are today. For example, biogeographical studies of HIV-I provide strong support for the hypothesis that this virus arose in Africa through a host switch from chimpanzees to humans and only began to spread to human populations located on other continents some 60 to 70 years ago (Sharp & Hahn, 2010).

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

Selection of the AMA-1 Gene in Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax

Description

Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are two of the main propagators of human malaria. Both species contain the protein, Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (AMA-1), which is involved in the process

Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are two of the main propagators of human malaria. Both species contain the protein, Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (AMA-1), which is involved in the process of host cell invasion. However, the high degree of polymorphisms and antigenic diversity in this protein has prevented consistent single-vaccine success. Furthermore, the three main domains within AMA-1 (Domains I, II, and III), possess variable polymorphic features and levels of diversity. Overcoming this issue may require an understanding of the type of selection acting on AMA-1 in P. falciparum and P. vivax. Therefore, this investigation aimed to determine the type of selection acting on the whole AMA-1 coding sequence and in each domain for P. falciparum and P. vivax. Population structure was investigated on a global scale and among individual countries. AMA-1 sequences were obtained from the National Center for Biotechnology. For P. falciparum, 649 complete and 382 partial sequences were obtained. For P. vivax, 395 sequences were obtained (370 partial). The AMA-1 gene in P. falciparum was found to possess high nonsynonymous polymorphisms and disproportionately low synonymous polymorphisms. Domain I was found to have the most diverse region with consistently high nonsynonymous substitutions across all countries. Large, positive, and significant Z-test scores indicated the presence of positive selection while FST and NST values showed low genetic differentiation across populations. Data trends for all analyses were relatively consistent for the global and country-based analyses. The only country to deviate was Venezuela, which was the only South American country analyzed. Network analyses did not show distinguishable groupings. For P. falciparum, it was concluded that positive diversifying selection was acting on the AMA-1 gene, particularly in Domain I. In AMA-1 of P. vivax, nonsynonymous and synonymous polymorphisms were relatively equal across all analyses. FST and NST values were high, indicating that countries were genetically distinct populations. Network analyses did not show distinguishable grouping; however, the data was limited to small sample sizes. From the data, it was concluded that AMA-1 in P. vivax was evolving neutrally, where selective pressures did not strongly encourage positive or purifying selection specifically. In addition, different AMA-1 P. vivax strains were genetically distinct and this genetic identity correlated with geographic region. Therefore, AMA-1 strains in P. falciparum and P. vivax not only evolve differently and undergo different form of selection, but they also require different vaccine development strategies. A combination of strain-specific vaccines along with preventative measures on an environmental level will likely be more effective than trying to achieve a single, comprehensive vaccine.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Merozoite surface protein-3 alpha as a genetic marker for epidemiologic studies in Plasmodium vivax: a cautionary note

Description

Background
Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread of the human malaria parasites in terms of geography, and is thought to present unique challenges to local efforts aimed at control and

Background
Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread of the human malaria parasites in terms of geography, and is thought to present unique challenges to local efforts aimed at control and elimination. Parasite molecular markers can provide much needed data on P. vivax populations, but few such markers have been critically evaluated. One marker that has seen extensive use is the gene encoding merozoite surface protein 3-alpha (MSP-3α), a blood-stage antigen known to be highly variable among P. vivax isolates. Here, a sample of complete msp-3α gene sequences is analysed in order to assess its utility as a molecular marker for epidemiologic investigations.
Methods
Amplification, cloning and sequencing of additional P. vivax isolates from different geographic locations, including a set of Venezuelan field isolates (n = 10), yielded a sample of 48 complete msp-3α coding sequences. Characterization of standard population genetic measures of diversity, phylogenetic analysis, and tests for recombination were performed. This allowed comparisons to patterns inferred from the in silico simulation of a polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) protocol used widely.
Results
The larger sample of MSP-3α diversity revealed incongruence between the observed levels of nucleotide polymorphism, which were high in all populations, and the pattern of PCR-RFLP haplotype diversity. Indeed, PCR-RFLP haplotypes were not informative of a population’s genetic diversity and identical haplotypes could be produced from analogous bands in the commonly used protocol. Evidence of frequent and variable insertion-deletion mutations and recurrent recombination between MSP-3α haplotypes complicated the inference of genetic diversity patterns and reduced the phylogenetic signal.
Conclusions
The genetic diversity of P. vivax msp-3α involves intragenic recombination events. Whereas the high genetic diversity of msp-3α makes it a promising marker for some epidemiological applications, the ability of msp-3α PCR-RFLP analysis to accurately track parasites is limited. Local studies of the circulating alleles are needed before implementing PCR-RFLP approaches. Furthermore, evidence from the global sample analysed here suggests such msp-3α PCR-RFLP methods are not suitable for broad geographic studies or tracking parasite populations for an extended period of time.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-08-21

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Local population structure of Plasmodium: impact on malaria control and elimination

Description

Background
Regardless of the growing interest in detecting population structures in malarial parasites, there have been limited discussions on how to use this concept in control programmes. In such context,

Background
Regardless of the growing interest in detecting population structures in malarial parasites, there have been limited discussions on how to use this concept in control programmes. In such context, the effects of the parasite population structures will depend on interventions’ spatial or temporal scales. This investigation explores the problem of identifying genetic markers, in this case microsatellites, to unveil Plasmodium genetic structures that could affect decisions in the context of elimination. The study was performed in a low-transmission area, which offers a good proxy to better understand problems associated with surveillance at the final stages of malaria elimination.
Methods
Plasmodium vivax samples collected in Tumeremo, Venezuela, between March 2003 and November 2004 were analysed. Since Plasmodium falciparum also circulates in many low endemic areas, P. falciparum samples from the same locality and time period were included for comparison. Plasmodium vivax samples were assayed for an original set of 25 microsatellites and P. falciparum samples were assayed for 12 microsatellites.
Results
Not all microsatellite loci assayed offered reliable local data. A complex temporal-cluster dynamics is found in both P. vivax and P. falciparum. Such dynamics affect the numbers and the type of microsatellites required for identifying individual parasites or parasite clusters when performing cross-sectional studies. The minimum number of microsatellites required to differentiate circulating P. vivax clusters differs from the minimum number of hyper-variable microsatellites required to distinguish individuals within these clusters. Regardless the extended number of microsatellites used in P. vivax, it was not possible to separate all individual infections.
Conclusions
Molecular surveillance has great potential; however, it requires preliminary local studies in order to properly interpret the emerging patterns in the context of elimination. Clonal expansions and clusters turnovers need to be taken into account when using molecular markers. Those affect the number and type of microsatellite markers, as well as, the expected genetic patterns in the context of operational investigations. By considering the local dynamics, elimination programmes could cost-effectively use molecular markers. However, population level studies need to consider the local limitations of a given set of loci in terms of providing epidemiologically relevant information.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012-12-11

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Fitness components and natural selection: why are there different patterns on the emergence of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax?

Description

Background
Considering the distinct biological characteristics of Plasmodium species is crucial for control and elimination efforts, in particular when facing the spread of drug resistance. Whereas the evolutionary fitness of

Background
Considering the distinct biological characteristics of Plasmodium species is crucial for control and elimination efforts, in particular when facing the spread of drug resistance. Whereas the evolutionary fitness of all malarial species could be approximated by the probability of being taken by a mosquito and then infecting a new host, the actual steps in the malaria life cycle leading to a successful transmission event show differences among Plasmodium species. These “steps” are called fitness components. Differences in terms of fitness components may affect how selection imposed by interventions, e.g. drug treatments, differentially acts on each Plasmodium species. Thus, a successful malaria control or elimination programme should understand how differences in fitness components among different malaria species could affect adaptive evolution (e.g. the emergence of drug resistance). In this investigation, the interactions between some fitness components and natural selection are explored.
Methods
A population-genetic model is formulated that qualitatively explains how different fitness components (in particular gametocytogenesis and longevity of gametocytes) affect selection acting on merozoites during the erythrocytic cycle. By comparing Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, the interplay of parasitaemia and gametocytaemia dynamics in determining fitness is modelled under circumstances that allow contrasting solely the differences between these two parasites in terms of their fitness components.
Results
By simulating fitness components, it is shown that selection acting on merozoites (e.g., on drug resistant mutations or malaria antigens) is more efficient in P. falciparum than in P. vivax. These results could explain, at least in part, why resistance against drugs, such as chloroquine (CQ) is highly prevalent in P. falciparum worldwide, while CQ is still a successful treatment for P. vivax despite its massive use. Furthermore, these analyses are used to explore the importance of understanding the dynamic of gametocytaemia to ascertain the spreading of drug resistance.
Conclusions
The strength of natural selection on mutations that express their advantage at the merozoite stage is different in P. vivax and P. falciparum. Species-specific differences in gametocytogenesis and longevity of gametocytes need to be accounted for when designing effective malaria control and elimination programmes. There is a need for reliable data on gametocytogenesis from field studies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-01-11

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HIV evolution: biogeography and intra-individual dynamics

Description

The entire history of HIV-1 is hidden in its ten thousand bases, where information regarding its evolutionary traversal through the human population can only be unlocked with fine-scale sequence analysis.

The entire history of HIV-1 is hidden in its ten thousand bases, where information regarding its evolutionary traversal through the human population can only be unlocked with fine-scale sequence analysis. Measurable footprints of mutation and recombination have imparted upon us a wealth of knowledge, from multiple chimpanzee-to-human transmissions to patterns of neutralizing antibody and drug resistance. Extracting maximum understanding from such diverse data can only be accomplished by analyzing the viral population from many angles. This body of work explores two primary aspects of HIV sequence evolution, point mutation and recombination, through cross-sectional (inter-individual) and longitudinal (intra-individual) investigations, respectively. Cross-sectional Analysis: The role of Haiti in the subtype B pandemic has been hotly debated for years; while there have been many studies, up to this point, no one has incorporated the well-known mechanism of retroviral recombination into their biological model. Prior to the use of recombination detection, multiple analyses produced trees where subtype B appears to have first entered Haiti, followed by a jump into the rest of the world. The results presented here contest the Haiti-first theory of the pandemic and instead suggest simultaneous entries of subtype B into Haiti and the rest of the world. Longitudinal Analysis: Potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGS) are the most evolutionarily dynamic component of one of the most evolutionarily dynamic proteins known to date. While the number of mutations associated with the increase or decrease of PNGS frequency over time is high, there are a set of relatively stable sites that persist within and between longitudinally sampled individuals. Here, I identify the most conserved stable PNGSs and suggest their potential roles in host-virus interplay. In addition, I have identified, for the first time, what may be a gp-120-based environmental preference for N-linked glycosylation sites.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Ecology of chytridiomycosis in boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata)

Description

Infectious diseases have emerged as a significant threat to wildlife. Environmental change is often implicated as an underlying factor driving this emergence. With this recent rise in disease emergence and

Infectious diseases have emerged as a significant threat to wildlife. Environmental change is often implicated as an underlying factor driving this emergence. With this recent rise in disease emergence and the acceleration of environmental change, it is important to identify the environmental factors that alter host-pathogen dynamics and their underlying mechanisms. The emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a clear example of the negative effects infectious diseases can have on wildlife. Bd is linked to global declines in amphibian diversity and abundance. However, there is considerable variation in population-level responses to Bd, with some hosts experiencing marked declines while others persist. Environmental factors may play a role in this variation. This research used populations of pond-breeding chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata) in Arizona to test if three rapidly changing environmental factors nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and temperature influence the presence, prevalence, and severity of Bd infections. I evaluated the reliability of a new technique for detecting Bd in water samples and combined this technique with animal sampling to monitor Bd in wild chorus frogs. Monitoring from 20 frog populations found high Bd presence and prevalence during breeding. A laboratory experiment found 85% adult mortality as a result of Bd infection; however, estimated chorus frog densities in wild populations increased significantly over two years of sampling despite high Bd prevalence. Presence, prevalence, and severity of Bd infections were not correlated with aqueous concentrations of N or P. There was, however, support for an annual temperature-induced reduction in Bd prevalence in newly metamorphosed larvae. A simple mathematical model suggests that this annual temperature-induced reduction of Bd infections in larvae in combination with rapid host maturation may help chorus frog populations persist despite high adult mortality. These results demonstrate that Bd can persist across a wide range of environmental conditions, providing little support for the influence of N and P on Bd dynamics, and show that water temperature may play an important role in altering Bd dynamics, enabling chorus frogs to persist with this pathogen. These findings demonstrate the importance of environmental context and host life history for the outcome of host-pathogen interactions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012