Exploring parasite heterogeneity using single-cell RNA-seq reveals a gene signature among sexual stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites.

08:00 EDT 7th August 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Exploring parasite heterogeneity using single-cell RNA-seq reveals a gene signature among sexual stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites."

The malaria parasite has a complex lifecycle, including several events of differentiation and stage progression, while actively evading immunity in both its mosquito and human hosts. Important parasite gene expression and regulation during these events remain hidden in rare populations of cells. Here, we combine a capillary-based platform for cell isolation with single-cell RNA-sequencing to transcriptionally profile 165 single infected red blood cells (iRBCs) during the intra-erythrocyte developmental cycle (IDC). Unbiased analyses of single-cell data grouped the cells into eight transcriptional states during IDC. Interestingly, we uncovered a gene signature from the single iRBC analyses that can successfully discriminate between developing asexual and sexual stage parasites at cellular resolution, and we verify five, previously undefined, gametocyte stage specific genes. Moreover, we show the capacity of detecting expressed genes from the variable gene families in single parasites, despite the sparse nature of data. In total, the single parasite transcriptomics holds promise for molecular dissection of rare parasite phenotypes throughout the malaria lifecycle.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Experimental cell research
ISSN: 1090-2422


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The presence of apparently similar characters for which the genetic evidence indicates that different genes or different genetic mechanisms are involved in different pedigrees. In clinical settings genetic heterogeneity refers to the presence of a variety of genetic defects which cause the same disease, often due to mutations at different loci on the same gene, a finding common to many human diseases including ALZHEIMER DISEASE; CYSTIC FIBROSIS; LIPOPROTEIN LIPASE DEFICIENCY, FAMILIAL; and POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASES. (Rieger, et al., Glossary of Genetics: Classical and Molecular, 5th ed; Segen, Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 1992)

A phenomenon in which multiple and diverse phenotypic outcomes are influenced by a single gene (or single gene product.)

The number of copies of a given gene present in the cell of an organism. An increase in gene dosage (by GENE DUPLICATION for example) can result in higher levels of gene product formation. GENE DOSAGE COMPENSATION mechanisms result in adjustments to the level GENE EXPRESSION when there are changes or differences in gene dosage.

The introduction of new genes into cells for the purpose of treating disease by restoring or adding gene expression. Techniques include insertion of retroviral vectors, transfection, homologous recombination, and injection of new genes into the nuclei of single cell embryos. The entire gene therapy process may consist of multiple steps. The new genes may be introduced into proliferating cells in vivo (e.g., bone marrow) or in vitro (e.g., fibroblast cultures) and the modified cells transferred to the site where the gene expression is required. Gene therapy may be particularly useful for treating enzyme deficiency diseases, hemoglobinopathies, and leukemias and may also prove useful in restoring drug sensitivity, particularly for leukemia.

Determination of parasite eggs in feces.

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