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Cell Microbiol. 2005 May;7(5):699-707.

Motility and infectivity of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites expressing avian Plasmodium gallinaceum circumsporozoite protein.

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Department of Biological Sciences, SAF Building, Imperial College, Imperial College Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK.


Avian and rodent malaria sporozoites selectively invade different vertebrate cell types, namely macrophages and hepatocytes, and develop in distantly related vector species. To investigate the role of the circumsporozoite (CS) protein in determining parasite survival in different vector species and vertebrate host cell types, we replaced the endogenous CS protein gene of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei with that of the avian parasite P. gallinaceum and control rodent parasite P. yoelii. In anopheline mosquitoes, P. berghei parasites carrying P. gallinaceum and rodent parasite P. yoelii CS protein gene developed into oocysts and sporozoites. Plasmodium gallinaceum CS expressing transgenic sporozoites, although motile, failed to invade mosquito salivary glands and to infect mice, which suggests that motility alone is not sufficient for invasion. Notably, a percentage of infected Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes showed melanotic encapsulation of late stage oocysts. This was not observed in control infections or in A. gambiae infections. These findings shed new light on the role of the CS protein in the interaction of the parasite with both the mosquito vector and the rodent host.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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