Imperial College London

Professor George K. Christophides

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Professor of Infectious Diseases & Immunity



+44 (0)20 7594 5342g.christophides




6167Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Habtewold, T and Sharma, AA and Wyer, CAS and Masters, EKG and Windbichler, N and Christophides, GK},
doi = {10.1101/2020.03.07.981951},
title = {Plasmodium oocysts respond with dormancy to crowding and nutritional stress},
url = {},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Malaria parasites develop and grow as oocysts in the mosquito for several days before being able to infect another human. During this time, mosquitoes take regular bloodmeals to replenish their nutrient and energy reserves needed for flight and reproduction. We hypothesized that supplemental bloodmeals are critical for oocyst growth and that experimental infection protocols, typically involving a single bloodmeal, cause nutritional stress to developing oocysts. Therefore, enumerating oocysts independently of their growth and differentiation state may lead to erroneous conclusions regarding the efficacy of malaria transmission blocking interventions. We tested this hypothesis in <jats:italic>Anopheles coluzzii</jats:italic> mosquitoes infected with human and rodent parasites <jats:italic>Plasmodium falciparum</jats:italic> and <jats:italic>Plasmodium berghei</jats:italic>, respectively. We find that oocyst growth rates decrease at late developmental stages as infection intensities increase; an effect exacerbated at very high infection intensities. Oocyst growth and differentiation can be restored by supplemental bloodmeals even at high infection intensities. We show that high infection intensities as well as starvation conditions reduce RNA Polymerase III activity in oocysts unless supplemental bloodmeals are provided. Our data suggest that oocysts respond to crowding and nutritional stress by employing a dormancy-like strategy and urge development of alternative methods to assess the efficacy of transmission blocking interventions.</jats:p>
AU - Habtewold,T
AU - Sharma,AA
AU - Wyer,CAS
AU - Masters,EKG
AU - Windbichler,N
AU - Christophides,GK
DO - 10.1101/2020.03.07.981951
PY - 2020///
TI - Plasmodium oocysts respond with dormancy to crowding and nutritional stress
UR -
ER -