Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 36183663
Link to DOI – S1369-5274(22)00091-110.1016/j.mib.2022.102207
Curr Opin Microbiol 2022 Sep; 70(): 102207
A commonly observed survival strategy in protozoan parasites is the sequential expression of clonally variant-surface antigens to avoid elimination by the host’s immune response. In malaria-causing P. falciparum, the immunovariant erythrocyte-membrane protein-1 (PfEMP1) adhesin family, encoded by var genes, is responsible for both antigenic variation and cytoadherence of infected erythrocytes to the microvasculature. Until recently, the biological function of these variant genes was believed to be restricted to intraerythrocytic developmental stages. With the advent of new technologies, var gene expression has been confirmed in transmission and pre-erythrocytic stages. Here, we discuss how repurposing of var gene expression beyond chronic blood-stage infection may be critical for successful transmission.