Plasmodium falciparum: purification of the various gametocyte developmental stages from in vitro-cultivated parasites
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Cultivated Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes reach maturity in vitro in approximately 14-16 days, during which they pass through five morphologically distinct developmental stages. Purification of the earlier developmental stages has not been previously reported. We have modified the standard discontinuous Percoll gradient method for the separation of stage IV and V gametocytes to obtain enriched preparations of those and the earlier P. falciparum gametocyte stages. In contrast to the stages II, III, and IV, the mature stage V gametocytes from our gradient readily transformed into gametes. Such preparations may be useful in research studies on the mechanisms that underlie gametocytogenesis.