Hypnozoites in Plasmodium: Do Parasites Parallel Plants?
Trends in parasitology
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Merrick, C. (2020). Hypnozoites in Plasmodium: Do Parasites Parallel Plants?. Trends in parasitology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2020.11.001
The phenomenon of relapsing malaria has been recognised for centuries. It is caused in humans by the parasite species Plasmodium vivax and ovale, which can arrest growth at an early, asymptomatic stage as hypnozoites inside liver cells. These dormant parasites can remain quiescent for months or years, then reactivate causing symptomatic malaria. The dynamics of hypnozoite dormancy and reactivation are well documented but the molecular basis remains a complete mystery. Here I observe that the process has striking parallels with plant vernalisation, whereby plants remain dormant through the winter before flowering in spring. Vernalisation is thoroughly studied in several plant species and its mechanisms are known in exquisite detail. Vernalisation may thus provide a useful framework for interrogating hypnozoite biology.
European Research Council [Plasmocycle].
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (725126)
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2020.11.001
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/313182
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Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/