A transgenic Plasmodium falciparum NF54 strain that expresses GFP-luciferase throughout the parasite life cycle

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2012 Dec;186(2):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Oct 27.


Plasmodium falciparum is the pathogenic agent of the most lethal of human malarias. Transgenic P. falciparum parasites expressing luciferase have been created to study drug interventions of both asexual and sexual blood stages but luciferase-expressing mosquito stage and liver stage parasites have not been created which has prevented the easy quantification of mosquito stage development (e.g. for transmission blocking interventions) and liver stage development (for interventions that prevent infection). To overcome this obstacle, we have created a transgenic P. falciparum NF54 parasite that expresses a GFP-luciferase transgene throughout the life cycle. Luciferase expression is robust and measurable at all life cycle stages, including midgut oocyst, salivary gland sporozoites and liver stages, where in vivo development is easily measurable using humanized mouse infections in conjunction with an in vivo imaging system. This parasite reporter strain will accelerate testing of interventions against pre-erythrocytic life cycle stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culicidae / parasitology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Gene Order
  • Gene Targeting
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Life Cycle Stages*
  • Luciferases / genetics*
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Malaria, Falciparum / metabolism
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Mice
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Transgenes*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luciferases