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J Infect Dis 2013 Jan 1;207(1):164-74

Radiation-induced cellular and molecular alterations in asexual intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum.

Oakley MS, Gerald N, Anantharaman V, Gao Y, Majam V, Mahajan B, Pham PT, Lotspeich-Cole L, Myers TG, McCutchan TF, Morris SL, Aravind L, Kumar S


BACKGROUND: ¿-irradiation is commonly used to create attenuation in Plasmodium parasites. However, there are no systematic studies on the survival, reversion of virulence, and molecular basis for ¿-radiation-induced cell death in malaria parasites. METHODS: The effect of ¿-irradiation on the growth of asexual Plasmodium falciparum was studied in erythrocyte cultures. Cellular and ultrastructural changes within the parasite were studied by fluorescence and electron microscopy, and genome-wide transcriptional profiling was performed to identify parasite biomarkers of attenuation and cell death. RESULTS: ¿-radiation induced the death of P. falciparum in a dose-dependent manner. These parasites had defective mitosis, sparse cytoplasm, fewer ribosomes, disorganized and clumped organelles, and large vacuoles-observations consistent with "distressed" or dying parasites. A total of 185 parasite genes were transcriptionally altered in response to ¿-irradiation (45.9% upregulated, 54.1% downregulated). Loss of parasite survival was correlated with the downregulation of genes encoding translation factors and with upregulation of genes associated with messenger RNA-sequestering stress granules. Genes pertaining to cell-surface interactions, host-cell remodeling, and secreted proteins were also altered. CONCLUSIONS: These studies provide a framework to assess the safety of ¿-irradiation attenuation and promising targets for genetic deletion to produce whole parasite-based attenuated vaccines.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #23100570 DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jis645
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-12-05 Entry Last Modified: 2013-02-18