Genetic mapping of fitness determinants across the malaria parasitePlasmodium falciparumlife cycle
Li X., Kumar S., McDew-White M., Haile M., Cheeseman IH., Emrich S., Button-Simons K., Nosten F., Kappe SHI., Ferdig MT., Anderson TJC., Vaughan AM.
AbstractMalaria is transmitted through female Anopheline mosquitoes where gamete fusion and meiosis occurs, and humans where parasites proliferate asexually. We describe a powerful approach to identify the genetic determinants of parasite fitness across both invertebrate and vertebrate life-cycle stages in human malaria parasitePlasmodium falciparumusing bulk segregant analysis (BSA). We combined experimental genetic crosses using humanized mice, with selective whole genome amplification and BSA at multiple developmental stages in both mosquito and vertebrate host to examine parasite competition and identify genomic regions under selection. We generated crosses between artemisinin resistant (ART-R,kelch13-C580Y) and ART-sensitive (ART-S,kelch13-WT) parasite clones recently isolated from Southeast Asian patients. We then quantified genome-wide changes in allele frequency in the parasite progeny population from infected midgut and salivary glands ofAnopheles stephensimosquitoes, infected livers, emerging merozoites and aliquots ofin vitrocultured progeny parasites at intervals over 30 days. Three striking results emerge: we observed (i) a strong skew (>80%) towards alleles from the ART-R parent in the mosquito stage, that dropped to ∼50% in the blood stage as selfed ART-R parasites were selected against; (ii) highly repeatable skews in allele frequencies across the genome in blood stage parasites; (iii) particularly strong selection (selection coefficient (s) ≤ 0.18/asexual cycle) against alleles from the ART-R parent at loci on chromosome 12 containing MRP2 and chromosome 14 containing ARPS10. This approach robustly identifies selected loci and has strong potential for identifying parasite genes that interact with the mosquito vector or compensatory loci involved in drug resistance.