The Plasmodium falciparum var gene switching rate, switching mechanism and patterns of parasite recrudescence described by mathematical modelling.

Abstract

Recrudescing Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia is attributed to the switching of PfEMP1, a variant antigen family encoded by the var gene repertoire, and the host's immune response. We have developed a mathematical model which incorporates var gene switching, and variant specific, non-variant specific and non-specific immunity. By conducting a sensitivity analysis of the model we have defined the parameter limits which produce chronic and recrudescing infections. We explore 3 switching mechanisms: ordered, random and uncoupled switching. We show that if var genes switch on and off independently at variable rates through the repertoire a chronic clinical infection is predicted. The fastest switching-on rate that produces a chronic infection is 0.03% per generation. The model predicts that non-variant specific immunity plays an important role in reducing disease severity. This work illustrates the complex relationship between the malaria parasite and its host and shows that var gene switching at rates substantially slower than 2% are essential for parasite survival.

Statistics

01020'04'06'08'10'12'14'16
Citations per Year

86 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 86 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{PagetMcNicol2002ThePF, title={The Plasmodium falciparum var gene switching rate, switching mechanism and patterns of parasite recrudescence described by mathematical modelling.}, author={S Paget-McNicol and Michelle L. Gatton and Ian M. Hastings and Allan Saul}, journal={Parasitology}, year={2002}, volume={124 Pt 3}, pages={225-35} }