Host heterogeneity is a determinant of competitive exclusion or coexistence in genetically diverse malaria infections

Jacobus C. De Roode, Richard Culleton, Sandra J. Cheesman, Richard Carter, Andrew Fraser Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During an infection, malaria parasites compete for limited amounts of food and enemy-free space. Competition affects parasite growth rate, transmission and virulence, and is thus important for parasite evolution. Much evolutionary theory assumes that virulent clones outgrow avirulent ones, favouring the evolution of higher virulence. We infected laboratory mice with a mixture of two Plasmodium chabaudi clones: one virulent, the other avirulent. Using real-time quantitative PCR to track the two parasite clones over the course of the infection, we found that the virulent clone overgrew the avirulent clone. However, host genotype had a major effect on the outcome of competition. In a relatively resistant mouse genotype (C57B1/6J), the avirulent clone was suppressed below detectable levels after 10 days, and apparently lost from the infection. By contrast, in more susceptible mice (CBA/Ca), the avirulent clone was initially suppressed, but it persisted, and during the chronic phase of infection it did better than it did in single infections. Thus, the qualitative outcome of competition depended on host genotype. We suggest that these differences may be explained by different immune responses in the two mouse strains. Host genotype and resistance could therefore play a key role in the outcome of within-host competition between parasite clones and in the evolution of parasite virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1080
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume271
Issue number1543
DOIs
StatePublished - May 22 2004

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competitive exclusion
malaria
Malaria
coexistence
clone
Clone Cells
clones
parasite
Parasites
Infection
parasites
infection
genotype
virulence
Genotype
Virulence
mice
Plasmodium chabaudi
enemy free space
Inbred CBA Mouse

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

De Roode, Jacobus C. ; Culleton, Richard ; Cheesman, Sandra J. ; Carter, Richard ; Read, Andrew Fraser. / Host heterogeneity is a determinant of competitive exclusion or coexistence in genetically diverse malaria infections. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2004 ; Vol. 271, No. 1543. pp. 1073-1080.
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Host heterogeneity is a determinant of competitive exclusion or coexistence in genetically diverse malaria infections. / De Roode, Jacobus C.; Culleton, Richard; Cheesman, Sandra J.; Carter, Richard; Read, Andrew Fraser.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 271, No. 1543, 22.05.2004, p. 1073-1080.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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