Copper-transporting ATPase is important for malaria parasite fertility.
Bottom Line: We show that male and female gametocytes are abundant in cutp(-) parasites, but activation of male microgametes and exflagellation were strongly impaired.A cross-fertilization assay demonstrated that female fertility was also severely abrogated.In conclusion, we provide experimental genetic and pharmacological evidence that a healthy copper homeostasis is critical to malaria parasite fertility of both genders of gametocyte and, hence, to transmission to the mosquito vector.
Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Parasitology Unit, 10117, Berlin, Germany.Show MeSH
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Mentions: So far, we determined a ∼ 10-fold reduction in microgamete formation, yet observed a ∼ 100-fold reduced oocyst burden in cutp− parasites. To confirm a male fertility defect and test female fertility, we performed a cross-fertilization assay and quantified the resulting ookinetes, a functional read-out for gamete fertility (van Dijk et al., 2001; 2010,). As published previously, no ookinetes were detectable in cultures containing p48/45− or p47− parasites alone, whereas in co-cultures p47− male microgametes were able to productively fertilize p48/45− females and ookinetes were readily formed (Fig. 7). Next, we tested ookinete formation in cultures containing cutp− parasites alone. Ookinetes were observed only infrequently, approximating 2% of WT ookinete numbers (Fig. 7). This prominent reduction correlates with the very low oocyst formation (Fig. 4B), and apparently exceeds reduced exflagellation rates (Fig. 5A).
Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Parasitology Unit, 10117, Berlin, Germany.