Research Article

The development of Plasmodium ookinetes in vitro: an ultrastructural study including a description of meiotic division

R. E. Sindena1 p1, R. H. Hartleya1 and L. Wingera1

a1 Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ

Ookinetes have been cultured in vitro using modifications to the method of Weiss & Vanderberg (1977). Significant improvements in technique were produced by culture in medium at pH 8.4 and at a blood dilution at or over 1/10. Ookinetes produced were infective to mosquitoes by membrane feeding techniques. Ultrastructural analyses were made of nuclear, cytoskeletal, crystalloid and microneme development. The first intranuclear division in the zygote has been recognized as meiosis. Chromosome condensation during prophase follows the classical stages of leptotene, zygotene and pachytene. Diplotene and diakinesis are not present-the synaptonemal complexes persist into metaphase 1. Chromosomes separate at anaphase and rapidly de-condense prior to telophase. We have not recognized a second meiotic division in the ookinete. The implication of these findings to the molecular and Mendelian organization of the parasite genome are discussed.

(Accepted January 28 1985)


p1 Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berks SL5 7PY.