Lessons Learned for Pathogenesis, Immunology, and Disease of Erythrocytic Parasites: Plasmodium and Babesia

Malaria caused by Plasmodium species and transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes affects large human populations, while Ixodes ticks transmit Babesia species and cause babesiosis. Babesiosis in animals has been known as an economic drain, and human disease has also emerged as a serious healthcare problem in the last 20–30 years. There is limited literature available regarding pathogenesis, immunity, and disease caused by Babesia spp. with their genomes sequenced only in the last decade. Therefore, using previous studies on Plasmodium as the foundation, we have compared similarities and differences in the pathogenesis of Babesia and host immune responses. Sexual life cycles of these two hemoparasites in their respective vectors are quite similar. An adult Anopheles female can take blood meal several times in its life such that it can both acquire and transmit Plasmodia to hosts. Since each tick stage takes blood meal only once, transstadial horizontal transmission from larva to nymph or nymph to adult is essential for the release of Babesia into the host. The initiation of the asexual cycle of these parasites is different because Plasmodium sporozoites need to infect hepatocytes before egressed merozoites can infect erythrocytes, while Babesia sporozoites are known to enter the erythrocytic cycle directly. Plasmodium metabolism, as determined by its two- to threefold larger genome than different Babesia, is more complex. Plasmodium replication occurs in parasitophorous vacuo...
Source: Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology - Category: Microbiology Source Type: research

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