Parasitology international

Contrasting infection susceptibility of the Japanese macaques and cynomolgus macaques to closely related malaria parasites, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium cynomolgi.

PMID 25316604


Although the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax is closely related to Asian Old World monkey malaria parasites, there are no reports of P. vivax infections in macaques. In this study, we compared the infectivity of P. vivax and Plasmodium cynomolgi in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) and in cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis). The Japanese macaques were highly susceptible to P. cynomolgi but not to P. vivax, whereas cynomolgus macaques showed mild/limited P. cynomolgi infection and were, also, not susceptible to P. vivax. Serotyping and amino acid sequence comparison of erythrocyte surface Duffy antigen/receptor for chemokines (DARC) indicate that the Japanese macaque DARC sequence is nearly identical to that of rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques. This suggests that the macaques share a common mechanism for preventing P. vivax infection. Comparison of amino acid sequences of the Duffy-binding-like (DBL) domain from several different Plasmodium species suggests that P. vivax DBLs will not bind to macaque DARCs, which can explain the lack of P. vivax infectivity. The DBL sequence analyses also suggest that P. cynomolgi DBLs may target Japanese macaque erythrocytes through a DARC-independent interaction.