Background: Both host and pathogen factors contribute to disease outcome in Plasmodium falciparum infection. The feasibility of studying the P. falciparum in vivo transcriptome to understand parasite transcriptional response while it resides in the human host is presented. Methods: A custom made oligonucleotide array with probes based on the P. falciparum 3D7 laboratory strain chromosome 2 sequence was used to detect in vivo P. falciparum transcripts. This study analyzed transcripts from total RNA derived from small blood samples of P. falciparum infected patients and compared the in vivo expression profile to the in vitro cultivated 3D7 strain transcriptome. Results: The data demonstrated that in vivo transcription can be studied from a small blood sample, despite the abundance of human RNA. The in vivo transcriptome is similar to the 3D7 ring stage transcriptome, but there are significant differences in genes encoding a sexual stage antigen and surface proteins. Conclusions: Whole genome transcription analysis of P. falciparum can be carried out successfully and further studies in selected patient cohorts may provide insight into parasite in vivo biology and defense against host immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases