Seminar Series – 16 February  

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SymbNET Online Seminar Series

Monthly seminars on host-microbe symbiosis, genomics, and metabolomics, with two talks from SymbNET researchers.

The seminars are open and free to all, but registration is required.

Please register once for the entire seminar series.



16 Feb 2023, 15h00 WET // 16h00 CET

Hybrid seminar @FCG-IGC and online

Speaker: Maria Mota

Affiliation: Biology & Physiology of Malaria, Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (IMM), Portugal

Title: Host-Plasmodium interaction: a tale of symbiosis and pathogenesis

Abstract: Despite renewed eradication efforts from the international community, malaria still exerts an enormous disease burden, with nearly half the planet’s population at risk of infection. Within the human host, the disease-causing Plasmodium parasites pass through two distinct lifecycle stages, each in a different cellular environment. During the liver stage, a single Plasmodium sporozoite will invade a hepatocyte, and while sheltered there, supposedly undetected by the host, gives rise to thousands of new parasites, which will go on to initiate the subsequent blood stage of infection. While only 10-20 new parasites will be generated inside an erythrocyte, consecutive cycles of cell lysis and reinfection causing a potent host response, as well as the symptoms of malaria. The host contribution to infection outcome, on both the cellular and organismal levels has recently moved to center stage. We have identified hepatocyte molecules that modulate the success of liver stage infection, and showed that distinct host factors, not just the parasite itself, drive the onset and severity of diverse malaria syndromes. Our ongoing work indicates that the web of host-Plasmodium interactions is densely woven, with liver stage-mediated innate immune system activation, host nutritional status, and an antagonistic relationship between the two parasite stages themselves all working to modulate the balance between parasite replication and human health.