Joel Vega-Rodríguez

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Wolbachia, a common bacterial endosymbiont of insects, has been shown to protect its hosts against a wide range of pathogens. However, not all strains exert a protective effect on their host. Here we assess the effects of two divergent Wolbachia strains, wAlbB from Aedes albopictus and wMelPop from Drosophila melanogaster, on the vector competence of(More)
Metarhizium anisopliae infects mosquitoes through the cuticle and proliferates in the hemolymph. To allow M. anisopliae to combat malaria in mosquitoes with advanced malaria infections, we produced recombinant strains expressing molecules that target sporozoites as they travel through the hemolymph to the salivary glands. Eleven days after a(More)
Infection of red blood cells (RBC) subjects the malaria parasite to oxidative stress. Therefore, efficient antioxidant and redox systems are required to prevent damage by reactive oxygen species. Plasmodium spp. have thioredoxin and glutathione (GSH) systems that are thought to play a major role as antioxidants during blood stage infection. In this report,(More)
Plasmodium ookinete invasion of the mosquito midgut is a crucial step of the parasite life cycle but little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved. Previously, a phage display peptide library screen identified SM1, a peptide that binds to the mosquito midgut epithelium and inhibits ookinete invasion. SM1 was characterized as a mimotope of an(More)
Malaria parasites contain a complete glutathione (GSH) redox system, and several enzymes of this system are considered potential targets for antimalarial drugs. Through generation of a gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS)-null mutant of the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei, we previously showed that de novo GSH synthesis is not critical for blood(More)
Malaria is one of the most devastating parasitic diseases worldwide. Plasmodium drug resistance remains a major challenge to malaria control and has led to the re-emergence of the disease. Chloroquine (CQ) and artemisinin (ART) are thought to exert their anti-malarial activity inducing cytotoxicity in the parasite by blocking heme degradation (for CQ) and(More)
Nearly one million people are killed every year by the malaria parasite Plasmodium . Although the disease-causing forms of the parasite exist only in the human blood, mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are the obligate vector for transmission. Here, we review the parasite life cycle in the vector and highlight the human and mosquito contributions that limit(More)
Recent studies have shown that immune responses against the cell-traversal protein for Plasmodium ookinetes and sporozoites (CelTOS) can inhibit parasite infection. While these studies provide important evidence toward the development of vaccines targeting this protein, it remains unknown whether these responses could engage the Plasmodium falciparum CelTOS(More)
Drug resistance compromises control of malaria. Here, we show that resistance to a commonly used antimalarial medication, atovaquone, is apparently unable to spread. Atovaquone pressure selects parasites with mutations in cytochrome b, a respiratory protein with low but essential activity in the mammalian blood phase of the parasite life cycle. Resistance(More)
The malaria parasite harbors a relict plastid called the apicoplast and its discovery opened a new avenue for drug discovery and development due to its unusual, nonmammalian metabolism. The apicoplast is essential during the asexual intraerythrocytic and hepatic stages of the parasite, and there is strong evidence supporting its essential metabolic role(More)