Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Volume: 106 Supplement 1, Published: 2011
  • Foreword Articles

    Carvalho, Luzia Helena; Lourenço-de-Oliveira, Ricardo
  • Recent advances in the study of avian malaria: an overview with an emphasis on the distribution of Plasmodium spp in Brazil Articles

    Braga, Érika Martins; Silveira, Patricia; Belo, Nayara Oliveira; Valkiūnas, Gediminas

    Abstract in English:

    Avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium) have a worldwide distribution except for Antarctica. They are transmitted exclusively by mosquito vectors (Diptera: Culicidae) and are of particular interest to health care research due to their phylogenetic relationship with human plasmodia and their ability to cause avian malaria, which is frequently lethal in non-adapted avian hosts. However, different features of avian Plasmodium spp, including their taxonomy and aspects of their life-history traits, need to be examined in more detail. Over the last 10 years, ecologists, evolutionary biologists and wildlife researchers have recognized the importance of studying avian malaria parasites and other related haemosporidians, which are the largest group of the order Haemosporida by number of species. These studies have included understanding the ecological, behavioral and evolutionary aspects that arise in this wildlife host-parasite system. Molecular tools have provided new and exiting opportunities for such research. This review discusses several emerging topics related to the current research of avian Plasmodium spp and some related avian haemosporidians. We also summarize some important discoveries in this field and emphasize the value of using both polymerase chain reaction-based and microscopy-based methods in parallel for wildlife studies. We will focus on the genus Plasmodium, with an emphasis on the distribution and pathogenicity of these parasites in wild birds in Brazil.
  • Molecular markers and genetic diversity of Plasmodium vivax Articles

    Brito, Cristiana Ferreira Alves de; Ferreira, Marcelo Urbano

    Abstract in English:

    Enhanced understanding of the transmission dynamics and population genetics for Plasmodium vivax is crucial in predicting the emergence and spread of novel parasite phenotypes with major public health implications, such as new relapsing patterns, drug resistance and increased virulence. Suitable molecular markers are required for these population genetic studies. Here, we focus on two groups of molecular markers that are commonly used to analyse natural populations of P. vivax. We use markers under selective pressure, for instance, antigen-coding polymorphic genes, and markers that are not under strong natural selection, such as most minisatellite and microsatellite loci. First, we review data obtained using genes encoding for P. vivax antigens: circumsporozoite protein, merozoite surface proteins 1 and 3α, apical membrane antigen 1 and Duffy binding antigen. We next address neutral or nearly neutral molecular markers, especially microsatellite loci, providing a complete list of markers that have already been used in P. vivax populations studies. We also analyse the microsatellite loci identified in the P. vivax genome project. Finally, we discuss some practical uses for P. vivax genotyping, for example, detecting multiple-clone infections and tracking the geographic origin of isolates.
  • Analysis of the genetic variability of PvMSP-3α among Plasmodium vivax in Brazilian field isolates Articles

    Ribeiro, Ricardo Souza; Ladeira, Luisa; Rezende, Antonio Mauro; Fontes, Cor Jesus Fernandes; Carvalho, Luzia Helena; Brito, Cristiana Ferreira Alves de

    Abstract in English:

    Reliable molecular markers are essential for a better understanding of the molecular epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax, which is a neglected human malaria parasite. The aim of this study was to analyze the genetic diversity of P. vivax isolates from the Brazilian Amazon using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis of the highly polymorphic merozoite surface protein-3alpha (PvMSP-3α) gene. To accomplish this, 60 isolates of P. vivax from different endemic areas in the Brazilian Amazon were collected. The PvMSP-3α gene was amplified by nested-PCR. Three major types of the PvMSP-3α locus were detected at different frequencies: type A (68%), B (15%) and C (17%). A single sample showed two PCR fragments, which corresponded to infection with types A and C. PCR-RFLP analysis using the HhaI restriction enzyme for 52 isolates clearly identified 11 haplotypes, eight of which were from type A, two from type B and only one from type C. Seven other isolates did not show a clear pattern using PCR-RFLP. This result might be due to multiple clone infections. This study showed a high diversity of the PvMSP-3α gene among P. vivax isolates from the Brazilian Amazon, but also indicated that the detection performance of PCR-RFLP of the PvMSP-3α gene may not be sufficient to detect multiple clone infections.
  • Antibodies against the Plasmodium falciparum glutamate-rich protein from naturally exposed individuals living in a Brazilian malaria-endemic area can inhibit in vitro parasite growth Articles

    Pratt-Riccio, Lilian Rose; Bianco-Junior, Cesare; Totino, Paulo Renato Rivas; Perce-Da-Silva, Daiana De Souza; Silva, Luciene Aquino; Riccio, Evelyn Kety Pratt; Ennes-Vidal, Vítor; Neves-Ferreira, Ana Gisele Costa; Perales, Jonas; Rocha, Surza Lucia Gonçalves Da; Dias-Da-Silva, Fabrício; Ferreira-da-Cruz, Maria de Fátima; Daniel-Ribeiro, Cláudio Tadeu; Oliveira-Ferreira, Joseli De; Theisen, Michael; Carvalho, Leonardo José De Moura; Banic, Dalma Maria

    Abstract in English:

    The glutamate-rich protein (GLURP) is an exoantigen expressed in all stages of the Plasmodium falciparum life cycle in humans. Anti-GLURP antibodies can inhibit parasite growth in the presence of monocytes via antibody-dependent cellular inhibition (ADCI), and a major parasite-inhibitory region has been found in the N-terminal R0 region of the protein. Herein, we describe the antiplasmodial activity of anti-GLURP antibodies present in the sera from individuals naturally exposed to malaria in a Brazilian malaria-endemic area. The anti-R0 antibodies showed a potent inhibitory effect on the growth of P. falciparum in vitro, both in the presence (ADCI) and absence (GI) of monocytes. The inhibitory effect on parasite growth was comparable to the effect of IgGs purified from pooled sera from hyperimmune African individuals. Interestingly, in the ADCI test, higher levels of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were observed in the supernatant from cultures with higher parasitemias. Our data suggest that the antibody response induced by GLURP-R0 in naturally exposed individuals may have an important role in controlling parasitemia because these antibodies are able to inhibit the in vitro growth of P. falciparum with or without the cooperation from monocytes. Our results also indicate that TNF-α may not be relevant for the inhibitory effect on P. falciparum in vitro growth.
  • Monoclonal auto-antibodies and sera of autoimmune patients react with Plasmodium falciparum and inhibit its in vitro growth Articles

    Brahimi, Karima; Martins, Yuri Chaves; Zanini, Graziela Maria; Ferreira-da-Cruz, Maria de Fátima; Daniel-Ribeiro, Cláudio Tadeu

    Abstract in English:

    The relationship between autoimmunity and malaria is not well understood. To determine whether autoimmune responses have a protective role during malaria, we studied the pattern of reactivity to plasmodial antigens of sera from 93 patients with 14 different autoimmune diseases (AID) who were not previously exposed to malaria. Sera from patients with 13 different AID reacted against Plasmodium falciparum by indirect fluorescent antibody test with frequencies varying from 33-100%. In addition, sera from 37 AID patients were tested for reactivity against Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL and the asexual blood stage forms of three different P. falciparum strains. In general, the frequency of reactive sera was higher against young trophozoites than schizonts (p < 0.05 for 2 strains), indicating that the antigenic determinants targeted by the tested AID sera might be more highly expressed by the former stage. The ability of monoclonal auto-antibodies (auto-Ab) to inhibit P. falciparum growth in vitro was also tested. Thirteen of the 18 monoclonal auto-Ab tested (72%), but none of the control monoclonal antibodies, inhibited parasite growth, in some cases by greater than 40%. We conclude that autoimmune responses mediated by auto-Ab may present anti-plasmodial activity.
  • Thrombocytopenia in malaria: who cares? Articles

    Lacerda, Marcus Vinícius Guimarães; Mourão, Maria Paula Gomes; Coelho, Helena Cristina Cardoso; Santos, João Barberino

    Abstract in English:

    Despite not being a criterion for severe malaria, thrombocytopenia is one of the most common complications of both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In a systematic review of the literature, platelet counts under 150,000/mm³ ranged from 24-94% in patients with acute malaria and this frequency was not different between the two major species that affected humans. Minor bleeding is mentioned in case reports of patients with P. vivax infection and may be explained by medullary compensation with the release of mega platelets in the peripheral circulation by megakaryocytes, thus maintaining a good primary haemostasis. The speculated mechanisms leading to thrombocytopenia are: coagulation disturbances, splenomegaly, bone marrow alterations, antibody-mediated platelet destruction, oxidative stress and the role of platelets as cofactors in triggering severe malaria. Data from experimental models are presented and, despite not being rare, there is no clear recommendation on the adequate management of this haematological complication. In most cases, a conservative approach is adopted and platelet counts usually revert to normal ranges a few days after efficacious antimalarial treatment. More studies are needed to specifically clarify if thrombocytopenia is the cause or consequence of the clinical disease spectrum.
  • Pregnancy malaria: cryptic disease, apparent solution Articles

    Duffy, Patrick Emmet; Fried, Michal

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria during pregnancy can be severe in non-immune women, but in areas of stable transmission, where women are semi-immune and often asymptomatic during infection, malaria is an insidious cause of disease and death for mothers and their offspring. Sequelae, such as severe anaemia and hypertension in the mother and low birth weight and infant mortality in the offspring, are often not recognised as consequences of infection. Pregnancy malaria, caused by Plasmodium falciparum, is mediated by infected erythrocytes (IEs) that bind to chondroitin sulphate A and are sequestered in the placenta. These parasites have a unique adhesion phenotype and distinct antigenicity, which indicates that novel targets may be required for development of an effective vaccine. Women become resistant to malaria as they acquire antibodies against placental IE, which leads to higher haemoglobin levels and heavier babies. Proteins exported from the placental parasites have been identified, including both variant and conserved antigens, and some of these are in preclinical development for vaccines. A vaccine that prevents P. falciparum malaria in pregnant mothers is feasible and would potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.
  • Biomarkers for susceptibility to infection and disease severity in human malaria Articles

    Andrade, Bruno Bezerril; Barral-Netto, Manoel

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria remains a major infectious disease that affects millions of people. Once infected with Plasmodium parasites, a host can develop a broad range of clinical presentations, which result from complex interactions between factors derived from the host, the parasite and the environment. Intense research has focused on the identification of reliable predictors for exposure, susceptibility to infection and the development of severe complications during malaria. Although most promising markers are based on the current understanding of malaria immunopathogenesis, some are also focused more broadly on mechanisms of tissue damage and inflammation. Taken together, these markers can help optimise therapeutic strategies and reduce disease burden. Here, we review the recent advances in the identification of malarial biomarkers, focusing on those related to parasite exposure and disease susceptibility. We also discuss priorities for research in biomarkers for severe malaria.
  • On cytoadhesion of Plasmodium vivax: raison d'être? Articles

    Costa, Fabio TM; Lopes, Stefanie CP; Ferrer, Mireia; Leite, Juliana A; Martin-Jaular, Lorena; Bernabeu, Maria; Nogueira, Paulo A; Mourão, Maria Paula G; Fernandez-Becerra, Carmen; Lacerda, Marcus VG; Portillo, Hernando del

    Abstract in English:

    It is generally accepted that Plasmodium vivax, the most widely distributed human malaria parasite, causes mild disease and that this species does not sequester in the deep capillaries of internal organs. Recent evidence, however, has demonstrated that there is severe disease, sometimes resulting in death, exclusively associated with P. vivax and that P. vivax-infected reticulocytes are able to cytoadhere in vitro to different endothelial cells and placental cryosections. Here, we review the scarce and preliminary data on cytoadherence in P. vivax, reinforcing the importance of this phenomenon in this species and highlighting the avenues that it opens for our understanding of the pathology of this neglected human malaria parasite.
  • Surface-expressed enolases of Plasmodium and other pathogens Articles

    Ghosh, Anil Kumar; Jacobs-Lorena, Marcelo

    Abstract in English:

    Enolase is the eighth enzyme in the glycolytic pathway, a reaction that generates ATP from phosphoenol pyruvate in cytosolic compartments. Enolase is essential, especially for organisms devoid of the Krebs cycle that depend solely on glycolysis for energy. Interestingly, enolase appears to serve a separate function in some organisms, in that it is also exported to the cell surface via a poorly understood mechanism. In these organisms, surface enolase assists in the invasion of their host cells by binding plasminogen, an abundant plasma protease precursor. Binding is mediated by the interaction between a lysine motif of enolase with Kringle domains of plasminogen. The bound plasminogen is then cleaved by specific proteases to generate active plasmin. Plasmin is a potent serine protease that is thought to function in the degradation of the extracellular matrix surrounding the targeted host cell, thereby facilitating pathogen invasion. Recent work revealed that the malaria parasite Plasmodium also expresses surface enolase, and that this feature may be essential for completion of its life cycle. The therapeutic potential of targeting surface enolases of pathogens is discussed.
  • Malaria-related anaemia: a Latin American perspective Articles

    Quintero, Juan Pablo; Siqueira, André Machado; Tobón, Alberto; Blair, Silvia; Moreno, Alberto; Arévalo-Herrera, Myriam; Lacerda, Marcus Vinícius Guimarães; Valencia, Sócrates Herrera

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria is the most important parasitic disease worldwide, responsible for an estimated 225 million clinical cases each year. It mainly affects children, pregnant women and non-immune adults who frequently die victims of cerebral manifestations and anaemia. Although the contribution of the American continent to the global malaria burden is only around 1.2 million clinical cases annually, there are 170 million inhabitants living at risk of malaria transmission in this region. On the African continent, where Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent human malaria parasite, anaemia is responsible for about half of the malaria-related deaths. Conversely, in Latin America (LA), malaria-related anaemia appears to be uncommon, though there is a limited knowledge about its real prevalence. This may be partially explained by several factors, including that the overall malaria burden in LA is significantly lower than that of Africa, that Plasmodium vivax, the predominant Plasmodium species in the region, appears to display a different clinical spectrus and most likely because better health services in LA prevent the development of severe malaria cases. With the aim of contributing to the understanding of the real importance of malaria-related anaemia in LA, we discuss here a revision of the available literature on the subject and the usefulness of experimental animal models, including New World monkeys, particularly for the study of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of malaria.
  • The prospect of eliminating malaria transmission in some regions of Brazil Articles

    Tauil, Pedro Luiz

    Abstract in English:

    This paper discusses malaria epidemiology and control in Brazil as well as the prospect of interrupting transmission in some areas of the country. The concepts of receptivity and vulnerability of an area to malaria transmission are analysed to predict where elimination might occur in a near future. Outside of the Amazon Region and in the oriental states of the Amazon, such as Tocantins, Maranhão and Mato Grosso, it is likely that malaria transmission can be eliminated with the development and sustained use of a good surveillance system.
  • Predictors of local malaria outbreaks: an approach to the development of an early warning system in Colombia Articles

    Mateus, Julio César; Carrasquilla, Gabriel

    Abstract in English:

    Risk factor surveillance is a complementary tool of morbidity and mortality surveillance that improves the likelihood that public health interventions are implemented in a timely fashion. The aim of this study was to identify population predictors of malaria outbreaks in endemic municipalities of Colombia with the goal of developing an early warning system for malaria outbreaks. We conducted a multiple-group, exploratory, ecological study at the municipal level. Each of the 290 municipalities with endemic malaria that we studied was classified according to the presence or absence of outbreaks. The measurement of variables was based on historic registries and logistic regression was performed to analyse the data. Altitude above sea level [odds ratio (OR) 3.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34-9.98], variability in rainfall (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.40-2.44) and the proportion of inhabitants over 45 years of age (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.08-0.38) were factors associated with malaria outbreaks in Colombian municipalities. The results suggest that environmental and demographic factors could have a significant ability to predict malaria outbreaks on the municipal level in Colombia. To advance the development of an early warning system, it will be necessary to adjust and standardise the collection of required data and to evaluate the accuracy of the forecast models.
  • Epidemiology and control of malaria in Colombia Articles

    Rodríguez, Julio Cesar Padilla; Uribe, Gilberto Álvarez; Araújo, Roberto Montoya; Narváez, Pablo Chaparro; Valencia, Sócrates Herrera

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria is currently one of the most serious public health problems in Colombia with an endemic/epidemic transmission pattern that has maintained endemic levels and an average of 105,000 annual clinical cases being reported over the last five years. Plasmodium vivax accounts for approximately 70% of reported cases with the remainder attributed almost exclusively to Plasmodium falciparum. A limited number of severe and complicated cases have resulted in mortality, which is a downward trend that has been maintained over the last few years. More than 90% of the malaria cases in Colombia are confined to 70 municipalities (about 7% of the total municipalities of Colombia), with high predominance (85%) in rural areas. The purpose of this paper is to review the progress of malaria-eradication activities and control measures over the past century within the eco-epidemiologic context of malaria transmission together with official consolidated morbidity and mortality reports. This review may contribute to the formulation of new antimalarial strategies and policies intended to achieve malaria elimination/eradication in Colombia and in the region.
  • Sentinel network for monitoring in vitro susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to antimalarial drugs in Colombia: a proof of concept Articles

    Aponte, Samanda L; Díaz, Gustavo; Pava, Zuleima; Echeverry, Diego F; Ibarguen, Darío; Rios, Melissa; Murcia, Luz M; Quelal, Claudia; Murillo, Claribel; Gil, Pedro; Björkman, Anders; Osorio, Lyda

    Abstract in English:

    Drug resistance is one of the principal obstacles blocking worldwide malaria control. In Colombia, malaria remains a major public health concern and drug-resistant parasites have been reported. In vitro drug susceptibility assays are a useful tool for monitoring the emergence and spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. The present study was conducted as a proof of concept for an antimalarial drug resistance surveillance network based on in vitro susceptibility testing in Colombia. Sentinel laboratories were set up in three malaria endemic areas. The enzyme linked immunosorbent assay-histidine rich protein 2 and schizont maturation methods were used to assess the susceptibility of fresh P. falciparum isolates to six antimalarial drugs. This study demonstrates that an antimalarial drug resistance surveillance network based on in vitro methods is feasible in the field with the participation of a research institute, local health institutions and universities. It could also serve as a model for a regional surveillance network. Preliminary susceptibility results showed widespread chloroquine resistance, which was consistent with previous reports for the Pacific region. However, high susceptibility to dihydroartemisinin and lumefantrine compounds, currently used for treatment in the country, was also reported. The implementation process identified critical points and opportunities for the improvement of network sustainability strategies.
  • Change in mutation patterns of Plasmodium vivax dihydrofolate reductase (Pvdhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (Pvdhps) in P. vivax isolates from malaria endemic areas of Thailand Articles

    Kuesap, Jiraporn; Rungsrihirunrat, Kanchana; Thongdee, Pimwan; Ruangweerayut, Ronnatrai; Na-Bangchang, Kesara

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria is the most important public health problem in several countries. In Thailand, co-infections of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum are common. We examined the prevalence and patterns of mutations in P. vivax dihydrofolate reductase (Pvdhfr) and P. vivax dihydropteroate synthase (Pvdhps) in 103 blood samples collected from patients with P. vivax infection who had attended the malaria clinic in Mae Sot, Tak Province during 2009 and 2010. Using nested polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorfism, we examined single nucleotide polymorphisms-haplotypes at amino acid positions 13, 33, 57, 58, 61, 117 and 173 of Pvdhfr and 383 and 553 of Pvdhps. All parasite isolates carried mutant Pvdhfr alleles, of which the most common alleles were triple mutants (99%). Eight different types of Pvdhfr and combination alleles were found, as follows: 57I/58R/117T, 57I/58R/117T, 57I/58R/117T/N, 57L/58R/117T, 57L/58R/117T, 58R/61M/117N, 58R/61M/117N and 13L/57L/58R/117T. The most common Pvdhfr alleles were 57I/58R/117T (77.7%), 57I/58R/117T/N (1%), 57L/58R/117T (5.8%) and 58R/61M/117N (14.5%). The most common Pvdhfr alleles were 57I/58R/117T (77.7%), 57I/58R/117T/N (1%), 57L/58R/117T (5.8%) and 58R/61M/117N (14.5%). Additionally, we recovered one isolate of a carrying a quadruple mutant allele, 13L/57L/58R/117T. The most prevalent Pvdhps allele was a single mutation in amino acid 383 (82.5%), followed by the wild-type A383/A553 (17.5%) allele. Results suggest that all P. vivax isolates in Thailand carry some combination of mutations in Pvdhfr and Pvdhps. Our findings demonstrate that development of new antifolate drugs effective against sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine-resistant P. vivax is required.
  • Isoprenoid biosynthesis in the erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum Articles

    Jordão, Fabiana Morandi; Kimura, Emília Akemi; Katzin, Alejandro Miguel

    Abstract in English:

    The development of new drugs is one strategy for malaria control. Biochemical pathways localised in the apicoplast of the parasite, such as the synthesis of isoprenic precursors, are excellent targets because they are different or absent in the human host. Isoprenoids are a large and highly diverse group of natural products with many functions and their synthesis is essential for the parasite's survival. During the last few years, the genes, enzymes, intermediates and mechanisms of this biosynthetic route have been elucidated. In this review, we comment on some aspects of the methylerythritol phosphate pathway and discuss the presence of diverse isoprenic products such as dolichol, ubiquinone, carotenoids, menaquinone and isoprenylated proteins, which are biosynthesised during the intraerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum.
  • A review of antimalarial plants used in traditional medicine in communities in Portuguese-Speaking countries: Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola Articles

    Silva, Jefferson Rocha de A; Ramos, Aline de S; Machado, Marta; Moura, Dominique F de; Zoraima Neto,; Canto-Cavalheiro, Marilene M; Figueiredo, Paula; Rosário, Virgilio E do; Amaral, Ana Claudia F; Lopes, Dinora

    Abstract in English:

    The isolation of bioactive compounds from medicinal plants, based on traditional use or ethnomedical data, is a highly promising potential approach for identifying new and effective antimalarial drug candidates. The purpose of this review was to create a compilation of the phytochemical studies on medicinal plants used to treat malaria in traditional medicine from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPSC): Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe. In addition, this review aimed to show that there are several medicinal plants popularly used in these countries for which few scientific studies are available. The primary approach compared the antimalarial activity of native species used in each country with its extracts, fractions and isolated substances. In this context, data shown here could be a tool to help researchers from these regions establish a scientific and technical network on the subject for the CPSC where malaria is a public health problem.
  • Chemoresistance of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax parasites in Brazil: consequences on disease morbidity and control Articles

    Gama, Bianca Ervatti; Lacerda, Marcus Vinicius Guimarães; Daniel-Ribeiro, Cláudio Tadeu; Ferreira-da-Cruz, Maria de Fátima

    Abstract in English:

    In Brazil, malaria still remains a clinically important febrile syndrome for local populations and travelers, occurring mostly in the Amazon Basin. This review aims to report the main efforts employed to control this disease since the 1940s and the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax chemoresistance to chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine among other drugs. Additionally, in vivo, in vitro and molecular studies as well as malaria chemoresistance consequences on disease morbidity and policy treatment guidelines were commented.
  • TLR5-dependent immunogenicity of a recombinant fusion protein containing an immunodominant epitope of malarial circumsporozoite protein and the FliC flagellin of Salmonella Typhimurium Articles

    Camacho, Ariane Guglielmi Ariza; Teixeira, Laís Helena; Bargieri, Daniel Youssef; Boscardin, Silvia Beatriz; Soares, Irene da Silva; Nussenzweig, Ruth Sonntag; Nussenzweig, Victor; Rodrigues, Mauricio Martins

    Abstract in English:

    Recently, we described the improved immunogenicity of new malaria vaccine candidates based on the expression of fusion proteins containing immunodominant epitopes of merozoites and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium flagellin (FliC) protein as an innate immune agonist. Here, we tested whether a similar strategy, based on an immunodominant B-cell epitope from malaria sporozoites, could also generate immunogenic fusion polypeptides. A recombinant His6-tagged FliC protein containing the C-terminal repeat regions of the VK210 variant of Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (CS) protein was constructed. This recombinant protein was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli as soluble protein and was purified by affinity to Ni-agarose beads followed by ion exchange chromatography. A monoclonal antibody specific for the CS protein of P. vivax sporozoites (VK210) was able to recognise the purified protein. C57BL/6 mice subcutaneously immunised with the recombinant fusion protein in the absence of any conventional adjuvant developed protein-specific systemic antibody responses. However, in mice genetically deficient in expression of TLR5, this immune response was extremely low. These results extend our previous observations concerning the immunogenicity of these recombinant fusion proteins and provide evidence that the main mechanism responsible for this immune activation involves interactions with TLR5, which has not previously been demonstrated for any recombinant FliC fusion protein.
  • Induction and maintenance of protective CD8+ T cells against malaria liver stages: implications for vaccine development Articles

    Tse, Sze-Wah; Radtke, Andrea J; Zavala, Fidel

    Abstract in English:

    CD8+ T cells against malaria liver stages represent a major protective immune mechanism against infection. Following induction in the peripheral lymph nodes by dendritic cells (DCs), these CD8+ T cells migrate to the liver and eliminate parasite infected hepatocytes. The processing and presentation of sporozoite antigen requires TAP mediated transport of major histocompatibility complex class I epitopes to the endoplasmic reticulum. Importantly, in DCs this process is also dependent on endosome-mediated cross presentation while this mechanism is not required for epitope presentation on hepatocytes. Protective CD8+ T cell responses are strongly dependent on the presence of CD4+ T cells and the capacity of sporozoite antigen to persist for a prolonged period of time. While human trials with subunit vaccines capable of inducing antibodies and CD4+ T cell responses have yielded encouraging results, an effective anti-malaria vaccine will likely require vaccine constructs designed to induce protective CD8+ T cells against malaria liver stages.
  • Platform for Plasmodium vivax vaccine discovery and development Articles

    Valencia, Sócrates Herrera; Rodríguez, Diana Carolina; Acero, Diana Lucía; Ocampo, Vanessa; Arévalo-Herrera, Myriam

    Abstract in English:

    Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent malaria parasite on the American continent. It generates a global burden of 80-100 million cases annually and represents a tremendous public health problem, particularly in the American and Asian continents. A malaria vaccine would be considered the most cost-effective measure against this vector-borne disease and it would contribute to a reduction in malaria cases and to eventual eradication. Although significant progress has been achieved in the search for Plasmodium falciparum antigens that could be used in a vaccine, limited progress has been made in the search for P. vivax components that might be eligible for vaccine development. This is primarily due to the lack of in vitro cultures to serve as an antigen source and to inadequate funding. While the most advanced P. falciparum vaccine candidate is currently being tested in Phase III trials in Africa, the most advanced P. vivax candidates have only advanced to Phase I trials. Herein, we describe the overall strategy and progress in P. vivax vaccine research, from antigen discovery to preclinical and clinical development and we discuss the regional potential of Latin America to develop a comprehensive platform for vaccine development.
  • Synergism/complementarity of recombinant adenoviral vectors and other vaccination platforms during induction of protective immunity against malaria Articles

    Almeida, Ana Paula Morais Martins; Bruna-Romero, Oscar

    Abstract in English:

    The lack of immunogenicity of most malaria antigens and the complex immune responses required for achieving protective immunity against this infectious disease have traditionally hampered the development of an efficient human malaria vaccine. The current boom in development of recombinant viral vectors and their use in prime-boost protocols that result in enhanced immune outcomes have increased the number of malaria vaccine candidates that access pre-clinical and clinical trials. In the frontline, adenoviruses and poxviruses seem to be giving the best immunization results in experimental animals and their mutual combination, or their combination with recombinant proteins (formulated in adjuvants and given in sequence or being given as protein/virus admixtures), has been shown to reach unprecedented levels of anti-malaria immunity that predictably will be somehow reproduced in the human setting. However, all this optimism was previously seen in the malaria vaccine development field without many real applicable results to date. We describe here the current state-of-the-art in the field of recombinant adenovirus research for malaria vaccine development, in particular referring to their use in combination with other immunogens in heterologous prime-boost protocols, while trying to simultaneously show our contributions and point of view on this subject.
  • Malaria transmission blocking immunity and sexual stage vaccines for interrupting malaria transmission in Latin America Articles

    Arévalo-Herrera, Myriam; Solarte, Yezid; Marin, Catherin; Santos, Mariana; Castellanos, Jenniffer; Beier, John C; Valencia, Sócrates Herrera

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria is a vector-borne disease that is considered to be one of the most serious public health problems due to its high global mortality and morbidity rates. Although multiple strategies for controlling malaria have been used, many have had limited impact due to the appearance and rapid dissemination of mosquito resistance to insecticides, parasite resistance to multiple antimalarial drug, and the lack of sustainability. Individuals in endemic areas that have been permanently exposed to the parasite develop specific immune responses capable of diminishing parasite burden and the clinical manifestations of the disease, including blocking of parasite transmission to the mosquito vector. This is referred to as transmission blocking (TB) immunity (TBI) and is mediated by specific antibodies and other factors ingested during the blood meal that inhibit parasite development in the mosquito. These antibodies recognize proteins expressed on either gametocytes or parasite stages that develop in the mosquito midgut and are considered to be potential malaria vaccine candidates. Although these candidates, collectively called TB vaccines (TBV), would not directly stop malaria from infecting individuals, but would stop transmission from infected person to non-infected person. Here, we review the progress that has been achieved in TBI studies and the development of TBV and we highlight their potential usefulness in areas of low endemicity such as Latin America.
  • Can Wolbachia be used to control malaria? Articles

    Walker, Thomas; Moreira, Luciano Andrade

    Abstract in English:

    Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted by the infectious bite of Anopheles mosquitoes. Vector control of malaria has predominantly focused on targeting the adult mosquito through insecticides and bed nets. However, current vector control methods are often not sustainable for long periods so alternative methods are needed. A novel biocontrol approach for mosquito-borne diseases has recently been proposed, it uses maternally inherited endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria transinfected into mosquitoes in order to interfere with pathogen transmission. Transinfected Wolbachia strains in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector of dengue fever, directly inhibit pathogen replication, including Plasmodium gallinaceum, and also affect mosquito reproduction to allow Wolbachia to spread through mosquito populations. In addition, transient Wolbachia infections in Anopheles gambiae significantly reduce Plasmodium levels. Here we review the prospects of using a Wolbachia-based approach to reduce human malaria transmission through transinfection of Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • Molecular divergence in the timeless and cpr genes among three sympatric cryptic species of the Anopheles triannulatus complex Articles

    Silva-do-Nascimento, Teresa Fernandes; Pitaluga, Luisa Damazio Rona; Peixoto, Alexandre Afranio; Lourenço-de-Oliveira, Ricardo

    Abstract in English:

    Anopheles triannulatus s.l. is a malaria vector with a wide geographic distribution, ranging from Argentina-Nicaragua and Trinidad. Here we analysed sequences of two genes, timeless and cpr, to assess the genetic variability and divergence among three sympatric cryptic species of this complex from Salobra, central-western Brazil. The timeless gene sequences did not conclusively differentiate Anopheles halophylus and An. triannulatus species "C". However, a partial separation has been observed between these species and An. triannulatus s.s. Importantly, the analysis of the cpr gene sequences revealed fixed differences, no shared polymorphisms and considerable genetic differentiation among the three species of the An. triannulatus complex. The results confirm that An. triannulatus s.s., An. halophylus and An. triannulatus species C are distinct taxa, with the latter two likely representing a more recent speciation event.
  • Malaria vector species in Colombia: a review Articles

    Montoya-Lerma, James; Solarte, Yezid A; Giraldo-Calderón, Gloria Isabel; Quiñones, Martha L; Ruiz-López, Freddy; Wilkerson, Richard C; González, Ranulfo

    Abstract in English:

    Here we present a comprehensive review of the literature on the vectorial importance of the major Anopheles malaria vectors in Colombia. We provide basic information on the geographical distribution, altitudinal range, immature habitats, adult behaviour, feeding preferences and anthropophily, endophily and infectivity rates. We additionally review information on the life cycle, longevity and population fluctuation of Colombian Anopheles species. Emphasis was placed on the primary vectors that have been epidemiologically incriminated in malaria transmission: Anopheles darlingi, Anopheles albimanus and Anopheles nuneztovari. The role of a selection of local, regional or secondary vectors (e.g., Anopheles pseudopunctipennis and Anopheles neivai) is also discussed. We highlight the importance of combining biological, morphological and molecular data for the correct taxonomical determination of a given species, particularly for members of the species complexes. We likewise emphasise the importance of studying the bionomics of primary and secondary vectors along with an examination of the local conditions affecting the transmission of malaria. The presence and spread of the major vectors and the emergence of secondary species capable of transmitting human Plasmodia are of great interest. When selecting control measures, the anopheline diversity in the region must be considered. Variation in macroclimate conditions over a species' geographical range must be well understood and targeted to plan effective control measures based on the population dynamics of the local Anopheles species.
  • Habitat suitability of Anopheles vector species and association with human malaria in the Atlantic Forest in south-eastern Brazil Articles

    Laporta, Gabriel Zorello; Ramos, Daniel Garkauskas; Ribeiro, Milton Cezar; Sallum, Maria Anice Mureb

    Abstract in English:

    Every year, autochthonous cases of Plasmodium vivax malaria occur in low-endemicity areas of Vale do Ribeira in the south-eastern part of the Atlantic Forest, state of São Paulo, where Anopheles cruzii and Anopheles bellator are considered the primary vectors. However, other species in the subgenus Nyssorhynchus of Anopheles (e.g., Anopheles marajoara) are abundant and may participate in the dynamics of malarial transmission in that region. The objectives of the present study were to assess the spatial distribution of An. cruzii, An. bellator and An. marajoara and to associate the presence of these species with malaria cases in the municipalities of the Vale do Ribeira. Potential habitat suitability modelling was applied to determine both the spatial distribution of An. cruzii, An. bellator and An. marajoara and to establish the density of each species. Poisson regression was utilized to associate malaria cases with estimated vector densities. As a result, An. cruzii was correlated with the forested slopes of the Serra do Mar, An. bellator with the coastal plain and An. marajoara with the deforested areas. Moreover, both An. marajoara and An. cruzii were positively associated with malaria cases. Considering that An. marajoara was demonstrated to be a primary vector of human Plasmodium in the rural areas of the state of Amapá, more attention should be given to the species in the deforested areas of the Atlantic Forest, where it might be a secondary vector.
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