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PLoS Pathog. 2015 Jun 18;11(6):e1004871. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004871. eCollection 2015 Jun.

Targeting Human Transmission Biology for Malaria Elimination.

Author information

1
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
2
Centre for Communicable Disease Dynamics and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Abstract

Malaria remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, despite decades of public health efforts. The recent commitment by many endemic countries to eliminate malaria marks a shift away from programs aimed at controlling disease burden towards one that emphasizes reducing transmission of the most virulent human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Gametocytes, the only developmental stage of malaria parasites able to infect mosquitoes, have remained understudied, as they occur in low numbers, do not cause disease, and are difficult to detect in vivo by conventional methods. Here, we review the transmission biology of P. falciparum gametocytes, featuring important recent discoveries of genes affecting parasite commitment to gametocyte formation, microvesicles enabling parasites to communicate with each other, and the anatomical site where immature gametocytes develop. We propose potential parasite targets for future intervention and highlight remaining knowledge gaps.

PMID:
26086192
PMCID:
PMC4472755
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1004871
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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