Kitsanapong Reaksudsan - Infectious Diseases & Immune Defence division

Kitsanapong Reaksudsan - Infectious Diseases & Immune Defence division

Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:00pm
End Time: 
Mon, 11/11/2019 - 4:00pm

Characterization of the aspartyl protease plasmepsin VI in transmission of Plasmodium falciparum

PhD Completion seminar hosted by Professor Alan Cowman​

Sexual stage development in Plasmodium spp. is essential for transmission through the mosquito and to the human host. After the bloodmeal, male and female gametes emerge from intracellular gametocytes and zygote formation follows fertilization. Ookinetes develop from the zygote and traverse through the midgut epithelial cell layer to the basal lamina side of outer wall and develop into oocysts, the only parasite developmental stage that grows extracellularly and this growth and development creates thousands of sporozoites. Once fully developed and egressed, these sporozoites are released into the mosquito hemocoel and they migrate to the salivary gland ready to infect next mammalian host and continue their life cycle.

Protease enzymes are essential during many steps of malaria parasite development in the blood stage and transmission stages and an important group of these enzymes are the plasmepsins, of which there are 10 in Plasmodium acting at various points through the life cycle. Plasmepsin VI is highly expressed during sexual stages and was previously shown to be involved in sporozoite development in P. berghei.

During his PhD, Tup has analyzed the functional importance of P. falciparum plasmepsin VI in mosquito stages in order to provide more information on its role and determine if it holds potential as a target for transmission blocking strategies. Furthermore, Tup also evaluated transmission blocking effect of 2 novel antimalarial compounds. Taken together, Tup’s work provides more information on sexual stages of malaria parasites which is crucial for further drug or vaccine development.