Journal article

Competition for hosts modulates vast antigenic diversity to generate persistent strain structure in Plasmodium falciparum

Shai Pilosof, Qixin He, Kathryn E Tiedje, Shazia Ruybal-Pesantez, Karen P Day, Mercedes Pascual

PLOS BIOLOGY | PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE | Published : 2019

Abstract

In their competition for hosts, parasites with antigens that are novel to the host immune system will be at a competitive advantage. The resulting frequency-dependent selection can structure parasite populations into strains of limited genetic overlap. For the causative agent of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, the high recombination rates and associated vast diversity of its highly antigenic and multicopy var genes preclude such clear clustering in endemic regions. This undermines the definition of strains as specific, temporally persisting gene variant combinations. We use temporal multilayer networks to analyze the genetic similarity of parasites in both simulated data and in an extensivel..

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Grants

Awarded by Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (Program on the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases)


Awarded by James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative - Postdoctoral Program in Complexity Science-Complex Systems Fellowship Award


Awarded by FOGARTY INTERNATIONAL CENTER


Funding Acknowledgements

The study was supported by a grant from the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (Program on the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases), Grant number: R01-TW009670 to MP and KPD. SP was supported by a James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative - Postdoctoral Program in Complexity Science-Complex Systems Fellowship Award (grant number 220020423) and by a Fulbright Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.