Sex determination in malaria parasites | New Voices in Infection Biology

  • Datum: 24.02.2021
  • Uhrzeit: 16:00
  • Vortragende(r): Arthur Talman
  • MIVEGEC, IRD, CNRS, University of Montpellier
  • Ort: Zoom video conference
  • Gastgeber: Silvia Portugal
  • Kontakt:
Sex determination in malaria parasites | New Voices in Infection Biology

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Talk abstract:

Malaria is caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Whilst the disease is caused by asexual parasites, only sexual forms are capable of infecting mosquitoes. Sexual stages arise from a small subset of blood-stage parasites which divert from the cycle of asexual replication and embark on a sexual developmental trajectory. The bifurcation leading to a sexual fate is dependent on the master regulator of sex, the transcription factor AP2-G. In the absence of sex chromosomes or conserved sex-determining mechanisms, events that lead to determination into either a male or a female are completely unknown.

We applied single cell technology to understand the cascade of transcriptional events leading to determination into one sex or the other in the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. We performed a high throughput genome scale screen and identified genes involved in the sex determining pathway. We then characterised the role of one male determining factor in the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. We unravel the sex-specific regulation of md1 expression and initiate the functional characterisation of the sex determining pathway in human malaria parasites. Targeting sex determination to sterilise population of parasites in the host could be used as a strategy to interrupt transmission to mosquitoes.

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