P. knowlesi model to study P. vivax

Commonly used acronym: Pk model

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
red blood cells


Method keywords
  • P. knowlesi
  • P.vivax
  • malaria
  • transgenics
  • CRISPR-Cas9
Scientific area keywords
  • malaria
  • drug-resistance
  • genetics
  • parasitology
Method description

The lack of a continuous in vitro culture system for P. vivax has made it impossible to genetically engineer P. vivax for mechanistic research studies. One alternative that is being used is the infection of non-human primates, however this is restricted to few laboratories across the world. An additional alternative is the use of P. knowlesi, a Plasmodium species closely related to P. vivax that can be cultured in vitro. P. knowlesi is the zoonotic monkey parasite, which was adapted to grow in human erythrocytes. The ease of genetic manipulation of P. knowlesi using CRISPR-Cas9 methodologies and its successful use as surrogate for homologous genes of P. vivax make it an ideal model to study the function of P. vivax genes. We use genetic-engineering strategies in a P. knowlesi transgenic model to replace P. knowlesi genes with P. vivax homologues using CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

Lab equipment
  • - L2 culture facilities;
  • - Genomic platforms.
Method status
  • Internally validated
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


P. knowlesi transgenic model / in vitro culture allows to investigate gene function of P. vivax as an alternative model to P. vivax infection of non-human primates.


The expression of P. vivax genes in a P. knowlesi parasite.

References, associated documents and other information

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33654746/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31205…

Contact person

Anna Rosanas-Urgell


Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp
department of Biomedical Sciences


Royal Veterinary College