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malarial synchrony

Tom Leete leete at slack.med.upenn.edu
Fri Jul 15 08:55:09 EST 1994

In article <305g00$e0f at harbinger.cc.monash.edu.au>, Dr BM Cooke
<bmcooke at vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au> wrote:

>  Tom Leete wrote:
> I'm just wondering if anyone had any idea how or why some malarial
>  (P. vivax, etc.) establish synchronous growth during erythrocytic
> schizogeny?  P. falciparum does not, which either makes it special or
> absolutely uninteresting (and also makes my research more difficult) - so
>  what's the story?
> Somewhere in here there's a good project...
> Your question is not entirely clear to me Tom, but I think that you may
> have got your facts a little confused.  Why do you say that P. falciparum
> does not exhibit synchronous growth?
> Moreover, I would hardly describe P. falciparum (the causes one of the
> major killing diseases of humans, possibly because of its ability to
> alter the adhesive properties of the parasitised red cell) "uninteresting"
> By the way, what are your research interests Tom?

     I was referring to the fact that during human infection, P. vivax
maintains a synchronous life cycle:  the progression from ring to
to schizont occurs at roughly the same time, leading to waves of RBC lysis
and resulting fever, etc.  P. falciparum, on the other hand, does not
this synchronous growth; rather, RBC lysis is fairly continuous.  This is
part of what makes P. falciparum so pathogenic.  It seems to
me that vivax must have some sort of method or signal to maintain
growth, while falciparum does not.  Of course, P. falciparum can be
in culture, but after only a few generations that synchrony is lost.  For
own research, I plan to be growing a lot of synchronized P. falciparum, and
was just wondering if anyone had ever looked into how synchronous infection
is maintained in vivo.  It certainly would be nice if we could find a way
alter the growth conditions of P. falciparum in culture so that synchronous

growth could be maintained.
     Finally, I only called P. falciparum uninteresting in this aspect:
that it might be lacking a signalling system that other malarias have; I'm 
certainly extremely interested in P. falciparum both as an interesting
and a major world health problem.  I'm currenty putting together a thesis 
proposal looking at some regulatory elements of the erythrocytic cycle
I hope will lead to both greater understanding of the organism and
targets for chemotherapy.
     Tom Leete  (leete at slack.med.upenn.edu)

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