Host-parasite interactions for virulence and resistance in a malaria model system

K. Grech, K. Watt, Andrew Fraser Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A rich body of theory on the evolution of virulence (disease severity) attempts to predict the conditions that cause parasites to harm their hosts, and a central assumption to many of these models is that the relative virulence of pathogen strains is stable across a range of host types. In contrast, a largely nonoverlapping body of theory on coevolution assumes that the fitness effects of parasites on hosts is not stable across host genotype, but instead depends on host genotype by parasite genotype interactions. If such genetic interactions largely determine virulence, it becomes difficult to predict the strength and direction of selection on virulence. In this study, we tested for host-by-parasite interactions in a medically relevant vertebrate disease model: the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi in laboratory mice. We found that parasite and particularly host main effects explained most of the variance in virulence (anaemia and weight loss), resistance (parasite burden) and transmission potential. Host-by-parasite interactions were of limited influence, but nevertheless had significant effects. This raises the possibility that host heterogeneity may affect the rate of any parasite response to selection on virulence. This study of rodent malaria is one of the first tests for host-by-parasite interactions in any vertebrate disease; host-by-parasite interactions typical of those assumed in coevolutionary models were present, but were by no means pervasive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1620-1630
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

Fingerprint

host-parasite interaction
Host-Parasite Interactions
host-parasite relationships
malaria
virulence
Malaria
Virulence
Parasites
parasite
parasites
Genotype
Vertebrates
Rodent Diseases
genotype
Plasmodium chabaudi
rodent
vertebrate
rodents
parasite resistance
vertebrates

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Palaeontology
  • Genetics

Cite this

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Host-parasite interactions for virulence and resistance in a malaria model system. / Grech, K.; Watt, K.; Read, Andrew Fraser.

In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 19, No. 5, 01.09.2006, p. 1620-1630.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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