Projects per year
Abstract / Description of output
Sexual reproduction is an obligate step in the life cycle of many parasites, including the causative agents of malaria (Plasmodium). Mixed-species infections are common in nature and consequently, interactions between heterospecific gametes occur. Given the importance of managing gene flow across parasite populations, remarkably little is understood about how reproductive isolation between species is maintained. We use the rodent malaria parasites P. berghei and P. yoelii to investigate the ecology of mixed-species mating groups, identify proteins involved in pre-zygotic barriers, and examine their evolution. Specifically, we show that (i) hybridization occurs, but at low frequency; (ii) hybridization reaches high levels when female gametes lack the surface proteins P230 or P48/45, demonstrating that these proteins are key for pre-zygotic reproductive isolation; (iii) asymmetric reproductive interference occurs, where the fertility of P. berghei gametes is reduced in the presence of P. yoelii and (iv) as expected for gamete recognition proteins, strong positive selection acts on a region of P230 and P47 (P48/45 paralogue). P230 and P48/45 are leading candidates for interventions to block malaria transmission. Our results suggest that depending on the viability of hybrids, applying such interventions to populations where mixed-species infections occur could either facilitate or hinder malaria control.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 7 May 2015|
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- reproductive isolation
- ADAPTIVE PROTEIN EVOLUTION
- IN-VITRO HYBRIDIZATION
- MALARIA PARASITES
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- 1 Finished
The demography, population genetics and genome evolution of viral pathogens in an innate immunity model
1/08/08 → 31/01/14