Transformation of malaria parasites by the spontaneous uptake and expression of DNA from human erythrocytes.

TitleTransformation of malaria parasites by the spontaneous uptake and expression of DNA from human erythrocytes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsDeitsch K, Driskill C, Wellems T
JournalNucleic Acids Res
Date Published2001 Feb 01
KeywordsAnimals, Blotting, Southern, DNA, Drug Resistance, Erythrocytes, Gene Expression, Humans, Luciferases, Methotrexate, Plasmids, Plasmodium falciparum, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase, Transfection, Transformation, Genetic

The uptake and expression of extracellular DNA has been established as a mechanism for horizontal transfer of genes between bacterial species. Such transfer can support acquisition of advantageous elements, including determinants that affect the interactions between infectious organisms and their hosts. Here we show that erythrocyte-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites spontaneously take up DNA from the host cell cytoplasm into their nuclei. We have exploited this finding to produce levels of reporter expression in P.falciparum that are substantially improved over those obtained by electroporation protocols currently used to transfect malaria parasites. Parasites were transformed to a drug-resistant state when placed into cell culture with erythrocytes containing a plasmid encoding the human dihydrofolate reductase sequence. The findings reported here suggest that the malaria genome may be continually exposed to exogenous DNA from residual nuclear material in host erythrocytes.

Alternate JournalNucleic Acids Res
PubMed ID11160909
PubMed Central IDPMC30384

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