Dynamics of gametocytes among Plasmodium falciparum clones in natural infections in an area of highly seasonal transmission

J Infect Dis. 2002 Jun 15;185(12):1838-42. doi: 10.1086/340638. Epub 2002 May 31.


The dynamics of gametocyte production in Plasmodium falciparum clones were studied in inhabitants of an area of highly seasonal malaria transmission in eastern Sudan. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was used to detect expression of 2 genes that encode gametocyte-specific proteins, pfs25 and pfg377, in parasites sampled from individuals throughout one year. Some patients who acquired infections during the wet season were found to harbor subpatent gametocytemia through the following dry season in the apparent absence of mosquito transmission. Genotyping of parasites in multiclonal infections showed considerable fluctuation of gametocyte production by individual clones. The gametocytes present at the end of the dry season provide the most probable source of the genetically complex cyclical malaria outbreaks following the rainy season in this region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / transmission*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / physiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Protozoan Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Reproduction
  • Reproduction, Asexual
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seasons
  • Sudan


  • Pfs25 protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Protozoan Proteins