Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, 113(6) june 2018
Review

The remarkable journey of adaptation of the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite to New World anopheline mosquitoes

Alvaro Molina-Cruz+, Carolina Barillas-Mury

Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,u00a0National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland, USA

Page: 662-667 DOI: 10.1590/0074-0276130553
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ABSTRACT

Plasmodium falciparum originated in Africa, dispersed around the world as a result of human migration and had to adapt to several different indigenous anopheline mosquitoes. Anophelines from the New World are evolutionary distant form African ones and this probably resulted in a more stringent selection of Plasmodium as it adapted to these vectors. It is thought that Plasmodium has been genetically selected by some anopheline species through unknown mechanisms. The mosquito immune system can greatly limit infection and P. falciparum evolved a strategy to evade these responses, at least in part mediated by Pfs47, a highly polymorphic gene. We propose that adaptation of P. falciparum to new vectors may require evasion of their immune system. Parasites with a Pfs47 haplotype compatible with the indigenous mosquito vector would be able to survive and be transmitted. The mosquito antiplasmodial response could be an important determinant of P. falciparum population structure and could affect malaria transmission in the Americas.

Financial support: Intramural Research Program/DIR/ NIAID/NIH
+ Corresponding author: amolina-cruz@niaid.nih.gov
Received 27 November 2013
Accepted 25 February 2014

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