Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2005 Mar 7;272(1562):511-7.

Host cell preference and variable transmission strategies in malaria parasites.

Author information

  • 1Institutes of Evolution, Immunology and Infection Research, School of Biological Sciences, Ashworth Laboratories, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.


Malaria and other haemosporin parasites must undergo a round of sexual reproduction in their insect vector in order to produce stages that can be transmitted to vertebrate hosts. Consequently, it is crucial that parasites produce the sex ratio (proportion of male sexual stages) that will maximize the number of fertilization and thus, transmission to new vertebrate hosts. There is some evidence to show that, consistent with evolutionary theory, the sex ratios of malaria parasites are negatively correlated to their inbreeding rate. However, recent theory has shown that when fertilization success is compromised, parasites should respond by increasing their investment in sexual stages or by producing a less female biased ration than predicted by their inbreeding rate alone. Here, we show that two species of rodent malaria, Plasmodium chabaudi and Plasmodium vinckei petteri, adopt different strategies in response to host anaemia, a factor though to compromise transmission success: P. chabaudi increases investment in sexual stages, whereas P. vinckei produces a less female biased sex ratio. We suggest that these different transmission strategies may be due to marked differences in host cell preference.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center