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Int J Parasitol. 2009 Jun;39(7):755-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2008.11.008. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Plasmodium male development gene-1 (mdv-1) is important for female sexual development and identifies a polarised plasma membrane during zygote development.

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The Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Imperial College London, London, UK.


Successful development of Plasmodium sexual stages is essential for parasite survival, but the genes involved are poorly understood. We 'knocked out' the male development gene-1 (mdv-1) locus in Plasmodium berghei and found it to be important in female gametocyte activation. Indirect immunofluorescence assays show MDV-1 has a punctate cytoplasmic distribution in gametocytes. After activation of both females and males, MDV-1 is more peripherally located but in males exclusively it becomes concentrated in a few large foci. In vitro ookinete conversion assays that test the ability of activated female gametocytes to develop into retort stage ookinetes, suggests a complicit role for MDV-1, with the knock-out parasite producing 86% reduction in ookinetes. The retort stage ookinete develops from the zygote by increasing growth of an apical protrusion and MDV-1 locates at the 'leading' extracellular apical pole of this protrusion. In the fully developed ookinete MDV-1 is localised to the posterior pole. In vivo, the knock-out parasites demonstrate a phenotype in which there is a 90% reduction of parasite transmission to oocysts in mosquitoes.

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