Research Topic

Malaria Transmission Biology

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The malaria parasite life cycle is complex and includes an obligatory developmental stage in its mosquito vector host. This transition from human-host to mosquito-host to human-host involves multiple developmental stages and divergent host tissues. Over the years, the research focus on the asexual stage ...

The malaria parasite life cycle is complex and includes an obligatory developmental stage in its mosquito vector host. This transition from human-host to mosquito-host to human-host involves multiple developmental stages and divergent host tissues. Over the years, the research focus on the asexual stage parasites, which causes the symptoms of the disease, has transitioned towards a renewed focus on the transmission forms (or gametocytes), the only stages transmittable to the mosquito vector through ingestion of an infected blood meal. Analysis of sporozoite-liver interactions that result in the establishment of parasitic infection in the mammalian host has become an important research focus, and we now have a greater appreciation of the fascinating development of the sporozoites of the mosquito midgut wall and its travel to the salivary glands prior to inoculation into the mammalian dermis. This Research Topic embraces the full transition of the malaria parasite between its two obligatory hosts in what is termed as “malaria transmission biology”.

Of note are the critical, enabling technologies and experimental systems that have been developed over the recent decade and have opened up significant new avenues for exploring the multi-stage, and multi-step processes that comprise malaria transmission biology. From uncovering that gametocyte development occurs in the bone marrow to quantifying the influence of both human host metabolism and parasite genetics on mosquito infection, it is clear that malaria transmission biology has entered an exciting era of discovery. Importantly, recent maturation of humanized liver mice and more sophisticated in vitro platforms have allowed more accurate recapitulations of the mosquito-to-skin-to-liver stages of human malaria infection. This allows both observation and study of the biological nuances of parasite vector-to-mammalian host transmission as well as interventions which can inhibit or block this stage of transmission. Paired with observations from clinical trials and the field, we can better understand exactly which parameters in which systems are most relevant for translation and biology.

This Research Topic aims to disseminate and increase the community's understanding of the mechanistic pathways that mediate malaria parasite human-mosquito-human transmission. Specifically, we are interested in exploring:
• Gametocyte developmental biology
• Gametogenesis and fertilization
• Anopheles-parasite interactions (including invasion, immunity, physiological response to parasitism)
• Sporozoite delivery and invasion of the liver

This Research Topic welcomes article types including original research (across the broad remit of disciplines), reviews, mini-reviews and, methods.


Keywords: Malaria, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Genomics, Metabolomics, Developmental Biology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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