Investigating the role of the Apicoplast in Plasmodium falciparum Gametocyte Stages
Wiley, Jessica Delia
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Malaria continues to be a global health burden that affects millions of people worldwide each year. Increasing demand for malaria control and eradication has led research to focus on sexual development of the malaria parasite. Sexual development is initiated when pre-destined intraerythrocytic ring stage parasites leave asexual reproduction and develop into gametocytes. A mosquito vector will ingest mature gametocytes during a blood meal. Sexual reproduction will occur in the midgut, leading to the production of sporozoites that will migrate to the salivary gland. The sporozoites will be injected to another human host during the next blood meal consequently, transmitting malaria. Due to decreased drug susceptibility of mature gametocytes, more investigation of the biology and metabolic requirements of malaria parasites during gametocytogenesis, as well as during the mosquito stages, are urgently needed to reveal novel targets for development of transmission-blocking agents. Furthermore, increasing drug resistance of the parasites to current antimalarials, including slowed clearance rates to artemisinin, requires the discovery of innovative drugs against asexual intraerythrocytic stages with novel mechanisms of action. Here, we have investigated the role of the apicoplast during Plasmodium falciparum gametocytogenesis. In addition, we describe drug-screening studies that have elucidated a novel mode of action of one compound from the Malaria Box, as well as identified new natural product compounds that may be serve as starting molecules for antimalarial development.
- Doctoral Dissertations