Malaria has a tremendous global impact, where nearly half the world’s population is at risk of acquiring the disease. The parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes the most severe form of malaria, has been estimated to cause approximately half a million deaths per year, mainly among young children.

The highly complex lifecycle of Plasmodium falciparum involves transitioning between a human host and a mosquito vector. Our lab has set out to generate a detailed understanding of the genetic pathways involved during these key developmental stages both on the parasite and on the host side. To address our specific research aims we use a combination of genetic, molecular and cell biological tools. We have established, and heavily exploit, various methodologies to combine cell biological approaches with targeted isolation of parasites or parasite-host complexes, followed by transcriptional profiling. This is done in close collaboration with the Imaging Facility at Stockholm University (IFSU) as well as Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Stockholm and Uppsala.

Within the Stockholm University Malaria/Mosquito Facility (SUMF) we have a biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) certified insectary and are in the unique position of performing infections of Anopheles mosquitoes with the human infecting malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.


Keywords

Malaria, Plasmodium spp., Anopheles spp., Apicomplexan parasites, Parasite-host interactions, Cell fate specification, Sexual-stage development, Single-cell transcriptomics


Selected publications

Ankarklev J, Brancucci NMB, Goldowitz I, Mantel P-Y, Marti M (2014) Sex: how malaria parasites get turned on. Curr Biol 24: R368-70.

Brolin KJM, Ribacke U, Nilsson S, Ankarklev J, Moll K, Wahlgren M, Chen Q (2009) Simultaneous transcription of duplicated var2csa gene copies in individual Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Genome Biol 10: R117.

Mantel P-Y, Hjelmqvist D, Walch M, Kharoubi-Hess S, Nilsson S, Ravel D, Ribeiro M, Gruring C, Ma S, Padmanabhan P, Trachtenberg A, Ankarklev J, Brancucci NM, Huttenhower C, Duraisingh MT, Ghiran I, Kuo WP, Filgueira L, Martinelli, Marti M (2016) Infected erythrocyte-derived extracellular vesicles alter vascular function via regulatory Ago2-miRNA complexes in malaria. Nat Commun 7: 12727.

Ankarklev J, Franzen O, Peirasmaki D, Jerlstrom-Hultqvist J, Lebbad M, Andersson J, Andersson B, Svard SG (2015) Comparative genomic analyses of freshly isolated Giardia intestinalis assemblage  A isolates. BMC Genomics 16: 697.

Ankarklev J, Svard SG, Lebbad M (2012) Allelic sequence heterozygosity in single Giardia parasites. BMC Microbiol 12: 65.

Ankarklev J, Jerlstrom-Hultqvist J, Ringqvist E, Troell K, Svard SG (2010) Behind the smile: cell biology and disease mechanisms of Giardia species. Nat Rev Microbiol 8: 413–422.