JCJC SVSE 7 - JCJC - SVSE 7 - Biodiversité, évolution, écologie et agronomie

Origin, adaptation and evolution of Plasmodium falciparum – ORIGIN

Origin, adaptation and evolution of the most virulent agent of Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum

Some very recent studies claimed that P. falciparum appeared in humans in Africa following a recent transfer from gorillas. Although the data presented in these studies were quite conclusive, it still remains possible that other primate species might have served as sources. In addition, the modalities and the consequences of this transfer on the evolution of the parasite are still unknown.

Wild reservoirs, vectors and genetic adaptation to humans

In this project, our aim is to reconstruct and get clues on how the transfer of P. falciparum to humans occurred. This will include: aim 1) a more thorough examination of the natural host range of P. praefalciparum, a lineage discovered recently in gorillas and suspected to be at the origin of P. falciparum in humans; aim 2) the identification as well as the analysis of the ecology and the feeding behaviour of the vector species involved in the transmission of the different species of Plasmodium related to P. falciparum (especially P. praefalciparum) to determine if they might have served as bridging vectors during the transfer; and aim 3) an examination of the lineage specific genomic features of P. falcipaurm in humans to determine how the parasite genetically adapted to its new host following the transfer from non-human primates.

The screening of wild host of P. praefalciparum will be performed using non-invasive methode. Parasites will be searched and identified using genetic methods. The same method will be used to identify mosquitoes infected with the parasites. The analyses of the genetic adaptation of the parasite to its hosts will be done by comparing the genome of P. falciparum and P. praefalciparum.

The project has only started 6 months ago, so no solid results can be given so far.

n this project, our aim is to reconstruct and get clues on how the transfer of P. falciparum to humans occurred. This will include: aim 1) a more thorough examination of the natural host range of P. praefalciparum, a lineage discovered recently in gorillas and suspected to be at the origin of P. falciparum in humans; aim 2) the identification as well as the analysis of the ecology and the feeding behaviour of the vector species involved in the transmission of the different species of Plasmodium related to P. falciparum (especially P. praefalciparum) to determine if they might have served as bridging vectors during the transfer; and aim 3) an examination of the lineage specific genomic features of P. falcipaurm in humans to determine how the parasite genetically adapted to its new host following the transfer from non-human primates.

Not available

From which host did the most malignant human malaria come? When did the transfer occur? How? Why? Over the last half century, these have been some of the questions up for debate about the origin of Plasmodium falciparum (subgenus Laverania), the most common and deadliest human malaria parasite.
Some very recent studies claimed that P. falciparum appeared in humans in Africa following a recent transfer from gorillas. Although the data presented in these studies were quite conclusive, it still remains possible that other primate species might have served as sources. In addition, the modalities and the consequences of this transfer on the evolution of the parasite are still unknown.
In this project, our aim is to reconstruct and get clues on how the transfer of P. falciparum to humans occurred. This will include: aim 1) a more thorough examination of the natural host range of P. praefalciparum, a lineage discovered recently in gorillas and suspected to be at the origin of P. falciparum in humans; aim 2) the identification as well as the analysis of the ecology and the feeding behaviour of the vector species involved in the transmission of the different species of Plasmodium related to P. falciparum (especially P. praefalciparum) to determine if they might have served as bridging vectors during the transfer; and aim 3) an examination of the lineage specific genomic features of P. falcipaurm in humans to determine how the parasite genetically adapted to its new host following the transfer from non-human primates.
Our research project, which includes three main tasks corresponding to the three main objectives, will be mainly performed in Gabon, in collaboration with Gabonese researchers and their research institutions.
The results expected from this project will allow us to understand the modalities of the transfer of P. falciparum into humans and should provide elements to understand how diseases emerge into new host, a recurrent problem faced in public health.

Project coordination

Franck Prugnolle (UMR 5290/224 CNRS/IRD/UM Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs: Ecologie, Génétique, Evolution, Contrôle) – franck.prugnolle@ird.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

Laboratoire MIVEGEC UMR 5290/224 CNRS/IRD/UM Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs: Ecologie, Génétique, Evolution, Contrôle

Help of the ANR 254,946 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2012 - 48 Months

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