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Grant number: 18/00613-6
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2018
Effective date (End): June 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Fabio Trindade Maranhão Costa
Grantee:Catarina Baeta da Luz Bourgard
Supervisor abroad: Per Sunnerhagen
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Gothenburg, Sweden  
Associated to the scholarship:13/20509-5 - Analyses of “The immunopathological ánd molecular mechanisms involved ín cytoadherence of Plasmodium vivax, BP.DR


During the last decade, next generation sequencing has revolutionized our awareness in basic parasite molecular biology, its ecology and epidemiology knowledge. Malariology stands out, where extraordinary progresses have been achieved in Plasmodium spp. biology. Considering the several human malaria species, the prevalent, widespread and neglected Plasmodium vivax is currently imposing major health and economic burdens. Anti-malarial drug resistance and increase of severe clinical complications are of great concern, bringing our attention for the need to study P. vivax biology.The adhesion capacity of P. vivax has been demonstrated in functional essays, where infected erythrocytes were capable to adhere ex vivo to lung, brain and placental endothelium. The lower rate of peripheral circulating schizonts in P. vivax infected patients, as well as their higher adhesion capacity suggests P. vivax sequestration, leading to higher disease severity. However, studies on P. vivax biology and pathogenesis about the molecular mechanisms involved in the P. vivax cytoadhesion capacity are scarce, because of the lack of a reliable in vitro P. vivax long term culture. Recently, the enhanced sequencing, assembly and annotation of the P. vivax P01 reference genome opens new avenues for molecular biology and evolutionary studies, including transcriptomic aiming to grasp the molecular mechanisms underlying several aspects of P. vivax pathogenesis that are still lacking. The low parasitemias, multi-clonality and host contamination of natural isolates are important experimental limitations, even if in part they are overcome by techniques enriching and maturing the parasite ex vivo.Whole Transcriptome Shotgun Sequencing (WTSS), commonly known by RNA-seq, is a powerful approach to help us identify strain specific patterns of gene expression associated with P. vivax virulence and host-pathogen interactions, and may considerably impact in vaccines and drug design to fight against malaria. Having this goal, we have successfully (i) isolated RNA from a panel of P. vivax field isolates with scarce parasitemia enriched in (cyto-)adhesion phenotypes from the Amazon malaria endemic region, (ii) complete the generation of transcriptomic libraries and (iii) sequenced them using the Illumina® platform. Whole transcriptome data analysis is ongoing, making use of the best and most adequate available bioinformatic tools. We hope that such achievements will further open the investigations on the biology of the P. vivax apicomplexan parasite for more efficient decision-making of control policies, so as to succeed in eradication of vivax malaria.