Causes of variation in malaria infection dynamics: Insights from theory and data

Nicole Mideo, Nicholas J. Savill, William Chadwick, Petra Schneider, Andrew F. Read, Troy Day, Sarah E. Reece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parasite strategies for exploiting host resources are key determinants of disease severity (i.e., virulence) and infectiousness (i.e., transmission between hosts). By iterating the development of theory and empirical tests, we investigated whether variation in parasite traits across two genetically distinct clones of the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium chabaudi, explains differences in within-host infection dynamics and virulence. First, we experimentally tested key predictions of our earlier modeling work. As predicted, the more virulent genotype produced more progeny parasites per infected cell (burst size), but in contrast to predictions, invasion rates of red blood cells (RBCs) did not differ between the genotypes studied. Second, we further developed theory by confronting our earlier model with these new data, testing a new set of models that incorporate more biological realism, and developing novel theoretical tools for identifying differences between parasite genotypes. Overall, we found robust evidence that differences in burst sizes contribute to variation in dynamics and that differential interactions between parasites and host immune responses also play a role. In contrast to previous work, our model predicts that RBC age structure is not important for explaining dynamics. Integrating theory and empirical tests is a potentially powerful way of progressing understanding of disease biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E174-E188
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume178
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

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malaria
parasite
parasites
infection
genotype
virulence
erythrocytes
blood
Plasmodium chabaudi
development theory
disease severity
prediction
testing
immune response
age structure
rodent
clone
rodents
clones
Biological Sciences

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Mideo, N., Savill, N. J., Chadwick, W., Schneider, P., Read, A. F., Day, T., & Reece, S. E. (2011). Causes of variation in malaria infection dynamics: Insights from theory and data. American Naturalist, 178(6), E174-E188. https://doi.org/10.1086/662670
Mideo, Nicole ; Savill, Nicholas J. ; Chadwick, William ; Schneider, Petra ; Read, Andrew F. ; Day, Troy ; Reece, Sarah E. / Causes of variation in malaria infection dynamics : Insights from theory and data. In: American Naturalist. 2011 ; Vol. 178, No. 6. pp. E174-E188.
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Mideo, N, Savill, NJ, Chadwick, W, Schneider, P, Read, AF, Day, T & Reece, SE 2011, 'Causes of variation in malaria infection dynamics: Insights from theory and data', American Naturalist, vol. 178, no. 6, pp. E174-E188. https://doi.org/10.1086/662670

Causes of variation in malaria infection dynamics : Insights from theory and data. / Mideo, Nicole; Savill, Nicholas J.; Chadwick, William; Schneider, Petra; Read, Andrew F.; Day, Troy; Reece, Sarah E.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 178, No. 6, 01.12.2011, p. E174-E188.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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