Transmission stage investment of malaria parasites in response to in-host competition

Andrew R. Wargo, Jacobus C. De Roode, Silvie Huijben, Damien R. Drew, Andrew F. Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Conspecific competition occurs in a multitude of organisms, particularly in parasites, where several clones are commonly sharing limited resources inside their host. In theory, increased or decreased transmission investment might maximize parasite fitness in the face of competition, but, to our knowledge, this has not been tested experimentally. We developed and used a clone-specific, stage-specific, quantitative PCR protocol to quantify Plasmodium chabaudi replication and transmission stage densities in mixed-clone infections. We co-infected mice from two strains with an avirulent and virulent parasite clone and found competitive suppression of in-host (blood-stage) parasite densities and generally corresponding reductions in transmission stage production, with the virulent clone obtaining overall competitive superiority. In response to competitive suppression, there was little evidence of any alteration in transmission stage investment, apart from a small reduction by one of the two clones in one of the two host strains. This alteration did not result in a competitive advantage, although it might have reduced the disadvantage. This study supports much of the current literature, which predicts that conspecific in-host competition will result in a competitive advantage and positive selection for virulent clones and thus the evolution of higher virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2629-2638
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume274
Issue number1625
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 22 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

malaria
Malaria
clone
parasite
Parasites
Clone Cells
clones
parasites
Plasmodium chabaudi
Blood
host strains
virulence
Coinfection
Virulence
quantitative polymerase chain reaction
fitness
blood
Polymerase Chain Reaction
organisms
mice

Keywords

  • Gametocyte
  • Life history
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Quantitative RT-PCR
  • Transmission
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Transmission stage investment of malaria parasites in response to in-host competition. / Wargo, Andrew R.; De Roode, Jacobus C.; Huijben, Silvie; Drew, Damien R.; Read, Andrew F.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 274, No. 1625, 22.10.2007, p. 2629-2638.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wargo, Andrew R. ; De Roode, Jacobus C. ; Huijben, Silvie ; Drew, Damien R. ; Read, Andrew F. / Transmission stage investment of malaria parasites in response to in-host competition. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2007 ; Vol. 274, No. 1625. pp. 2629-2638.
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