Plasmodium

The malaria parasite has an intrinsic clock

Filipa Rijo-Ferreira, Victoria A. Acosta-Rodriguez, John H. Abel, Izabela Kornblum, Ines Bento, Gokhul Kilaru, Elizabeth B. Klerman, Maria M. Mota, Joseph S. Takahashi

Malarial fevers are notably regular, occurring when parasitized red blood cells rupture synchronously to release replicated parasites. It has long been speculated that the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria must therefore have intrinsic circadian clocks to be able to synchronize like this. (...) Moreover, we find that the parasite population remains synchronous and rhythmic even in an arrhythmic clock mutant host. Thus, we propose that parasite rhythms are generated by the parasite, possibly to anticipate its circadian environment.