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Exp Parasitol. 2008 Apr;118(4):498-504. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Transient transfection of purified Babesia bovis merozoites.

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Program in Vector-Borne Diseases, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7040, USA.


Transient transfection of intraerythrocytic Babesia bovis parasites has been previously reported. In this study, we describe the development and optimization of methods for transfection of purified B. bovis merozoites using either nucleofection (Amaxa) or conventional electroporation (Gene Pulser II, BioRad). Initially, the optimal buffer ("Plasmodium 88A6") and program (v-24) for nucleofection of free merozoites with a plasmid containing the luciferase gene as a reporter were determined. Using the same reporter plasmid, optimal voltage, capacitance and resistance for transfecting free merozoites by electroporation were defined to be 1.2 kV/25 microF/200 Omega. Using these optimal parameters, analysis of the time course of luciferase expression using either system to transfect free B. bovis merozoites showed high enzyme activity at 24h, with a rapid decline thereafter. Nucleofection was approximately five times more effective than electroporation when using a small quantity (2 microg) of DNA, while electroporation was twice as effective as nucleofection when a larger quantity of plasmid DNA (100 microg) was used. Parasite viability was significantly higher when using nucleofection when compared to electroporation regardless of the amount of DNA used. Comparison of luciferase expression after transfection of merozoites with circular, linearized, or double digested plasmid indicated that intact, circular plasmid was necessary for optimal luciferase expression. Overall, the results provide a basis for optimal transfection of purified B. bovis merozoites using either nucleofection or conventional electroporation. However, nucleofection is significantly more efficient when transfecting either circular or restriction digested DNA in the 2-10 microg range.

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