Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium simium origin in Americas

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A research experience from the field to the laboratory

research evolution adaptation origin pathogens malaria plasmodium parasites Plasmodium vivax

malaria-like symptoms associated with a natural plasmodium reichenowi infection in a chimpanzee

Whatever its origin, P. vivax is now present in almost all tropical and inter-tropical regions

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  • REHABS International Research Lab South Afrrica
  • rougeron.virginie@gmail.com
  • 06 46 64 23 18

More information about the project

photo virginie rougeron origin of human and african great apes plasmodium vivax

@ V. Rougeron

Genetic adaptation of parasites to new environments: Plasmodium vivax in Americas

Abstract

Plasmodium vivax, a malaria agent characterised by a succession of colonisation events, is an interesting model for studying how pathogens adapt to new environments. Whatever its origin, P. vivax is now present in almost all tropical and inter-tropical regions that it colonized more or less recently following human’s migrations. In the Americas, two main events colonization events occurred: (i) the first one when P. vivax arrived and infected new human populations (Amerindian and/or European populations) and new local vector species and (ii) the second one with the more recent transfer of P. vivax from humans to American monkeys, which gave rise to a new species genetically very close to P. vivax, named Plasmodium simium. During these colonisation events, P. vivax got exposed to new conditions in different vector species, in distinctive human populations and in different American monkey species. All these conditions likely exerted selective pressures on its genome to which it had to adapt by evolving towards new phenotypes and thus new genotypes.

In this context, the general questions of this project are: how and when did P. vivax genetically adapt to these new environments in the Americas: in humans and in American monkeys (P. simium)? Which genes were involved in its adaptation to these different environments? The first two objectives will be to study the origin of P. vivax in humans and in American monkeys (P. simium). The third objective will be to identify the mechanisms of adaptation of this parasite in these different environments (humans and different species of small monkeys). This project will increase our knowledge of how P. vivax has adapted to emerge in human populations.

Funding

ANR JCJC GENAD project ’Genetic adaptation of parasites to new environments: Plasmodium vivax in Americas’; Principal Investigator : Virginie Rougeron (316,843€ ; 48 months ; February 2021 – January 2025 ; https://anr.fr/Projet-ANR-20-CE35-0003).

 

Partners

Main results

New American P. vivax genomes

New P. simium genomes

Monkey, Saimiri sciureus, French Guiana. @ B. De Thoisy

Studied sampling distribution

Figure legend: Map of P. vivax (in black) and P. simium (in blue) samples that will be full-genome sequenced in the GENAD project. @ V. Rougeron

Main publications

Portfolio

Villages of Cacao and Saint Georges in French Guyana @V.Rougeron

Malarial agent in Americas

Collaborators involved

Andrea CHAVES

Andrea CHAVES

(veterinary and researcher, Universidad of Costa Rica/University of California Davis, USA), specialist in infectious diseases circulation in NHPs, help in molecular benchwork for P. simium samples, results analysis and publication writing

Camila Gonzales ROSAS

Camila Gonzales ROSAS

(researcher, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), specialist in infectious diseases, help in molecular benchwork for P. simium samples, results analysis and publication writing.

Antoine BERRY

Antoine BERRY

(Chef de service, PU-PH, département de Parasitologie, CHU Toulouse ; Centre de référence Paludisme, France) specialist in infectious diseases, provide P. vivax samples.

Sandrine HOUZE

Sandrine HOUZE

(professor, Hôpital Bichat Claude Bernard, Paris; Centre de référence Paludisme, France), specialist in infectious diseases, provide P. vivax samples.

Bruno PRADINES

Bruno PRADINES

(professor, chef de l’unité parasitologie et entomologie Institut de recherche biomédicale des armées, France ; Responsible of the Centre de référence Paludisme, France), specialist in infectious diseases, provide P. vivax samples.

Julia DANTUR

Julia DANTUR

(researcher, Unidad Ejecutora Lillo (CONICET-Fundación Miguel Lillo) - Universidad Nacional de Chilecito, Argentina), specialist in infectious diseases, provide P. vivax samples and help in publication writing.

Oscar NOYA-ALARCON

Oscar NOYA-ALARCON

(researcher, Central University of Venezuela, Venezuela), specialist in infectious diseases, provide P. vivax samples and help in publication writing.
michael fountain researcher

Michael FONTAINE

Michael FONTAINE

(CRCN, MIVEGEC, France), specialist in genomics and evolutionary adaptation of organisms, help in genomic data analysis and publication writing.
franck prugnolle crees researcher cnrs

Franck PRUGNOLLE

Franck PRUGNOLLE

(DR1, MIVEGEC, France), an evolutionary biologist and geneticist, help in data analysis and publication writing.
researcher arnathau celine

Céline ARNATHAU

Céline ARNATHAU

(IE, MiVEGEC, France), specialist in molecular biology and Plasmodium, be in charge of the molecular bench-work.
fanny degrugillier research virginie rougeron evolution adaptation

Fanny Degrugillier

Fanny Degrugillier

Project manager of the GENAD ANR project. She is responsible of the molecular bench management and of the functional genomic part of the project.