Microbiology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 379 Views Nov 20, 2022

Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by pathogens belonging to the genus Babesia. In humans, the disease presents as a malaria-like illness and can be fatal in immunocompromised and elderly people. In the past few years, human babesiosis has been a rising concern worldwide. The disease is transmitted through tick bite, blood transfusion, and transplacentally in rare cases, with several species of Babesia causing human infection. Babesia microti, Babesia duncani, and Babesia divergens are of particular interest because of their important health impact and amenability to research inquiries. B. microti, the most commonly reported Babesia pathogen infecting humans, can be propagated in immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice but so far has not been successfully continuously propagated in vitro in human red blood cells (hRBCs). Conversely, B. divergens can be propagated in vitro in hRBCs but lacks a mouse model to study its virulence. Recent studies have highlighted the uniqueness of B. duncani as an ideal model organism to study intraerythrocytic parasitism in vitro and in vivo. An optimized B. duncani in culture and in mouse (ICIM) model has recently been described, combining long-term continuous in vitro culture of the parasite in human red blood cells with an animal model of parasitemia (P) and lethal infection in C3H/HeJ mice. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for the use of the B. duncani ICIM model in research. This model provides a unique and sound foundation to gain further insights into the biology, pathogenesis, and virulence of Babesia and other intraerythrocytic parasites, and has been validated as an efficient system to evaluate novel strategies for the treatment of human babesiosis and possibly other parasitic diseases.


Graphical abstract:



ICIM model [Adapted and modified from Pal et al. (2022)]


0 Q&A 3150 Views May 5, 2021

Hypnozoites are dormant liver-stage parasites unique to relapsing malarial species, including the important human pathogen Plasmodium vivax, and pose a barrier to the elimination of malaria. Little is known regarding the biology of these stages, largely due to their inaccessible location. Hypnozoites can be cultured in vitro but these cultures always consist of a mixture of hepatocytes, developing forms, and hypnozoites. Here, using a GFP-expressing line of the hypnozoite model parasite Plasmodium cynomolgi, we describe a protocol for the FACS-based isolation of malarial hypnozoites. The purified hypnozoites can be used for a range of ‘-omics’ studies to dissect the biology of this cryptic stage of the malarial life cycle.

0 Q&A 4752 Views Dec 20, 2018
Eimeria vermiformis is a tissue specific, intracellular protozoan that infects the murine small intestinal epithelia, which has been widely used as a coccidian model to study mucosal immunology. This mouse infection model is valuable to investigate the mechanisms of host protection against primary and secondary infection in the small intestine. Here, we describe the generation of an E. vermiformis stock solution, preparation of sporulated E. vermiformis to infect mice and determination of oocysts burden. This protocol should help to establish a highly reproducible natural infection challenge model to study immunity in the small intestine. The information obtained from using this mouse model can reveal fundamental mechanisms of interaction between the pathogen and the immune response, e.g., provided by intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) at the basolateral site of epithelial cells but also a variety of other immune cell populations present in the gut.



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