In vitro Babesia duncani Strain Now Available


Babesia duncani has emerged as an interesting apicomplexan parasite and a possible model to study intraerythrocytic parasitism.1 This parasite is closely related to Babesia microti, the main causative agent of human babesiosis, as well as Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of human malaria.

Whereas B. microti is readily studied in mice, no continuous in vitro culture exists for B. duncani. Similarly, whereas P. falciparum can be propagated continuously in vitro, useful mouse models are limited to humanized mice.2 B. duncani offers advantages over both with its ability to grow continuously in human red blood cells in culture, as well as its ability to infect mice with varying levels of virulence.3 Researchers have recently named this system the B. duncani in culture-in mouse (ICIM) model of parasitic infection.1,4,5

B. duncani, Strain WA1, Clone BdWA1-301 is an in vitro strain developed for continuous culture in human red blood cells and is now available from BEI Resources as NR-59103. With recent advances in genomic and genetic analyses, this line will further contribute to unraveling critical cellular and metabolic functions necessary for survival in human red blood cells and for survival in the mammalian host.   

Microscopic image of NR-59103 cultured in vitro in human red blood cells. (BEI Resources)



1. Pal, A. C., et al. “Babesia duncani as a Model Organism to Study the Development, Virulence, and Drug Susceptibility of Intraerythrocytic Parasites In Vitro and In Vivo.” J. Infect. Dis. 226 (2022): 1267-1275. PubMed: 35512141

2. Tyagi, R. K., et al. “Humanized Mice Are Instrumental to the Study of Plasmodium falciparum Infection.” Front. Immunol. 9 (2018): 2550. PubMed: 30631319.

3. Abraham, A., et al. “Establishment of a Continuous In Vitro Culture of Babesia duncani in Human Erythrocytes Reveals Unusually High Tolerance to Recommended Therapies.” J. Biol. Chem. 293 (2018): 19974-19981. PubMed: 30463941.

4. Fang, T. and C. Ben Mamoun. “Babesia duncani, A Model Organism for Investigating Intraerythrocytic Parasitism and Novel Anti-Parasitic Therapeutic Strategies.” J. Infect. Dis. (2024). PubMed: 38626187. Online ahead of print. 

5. Singh, P., A. C. Pal and C. Ben Mamoun. “An Alternative Culture Medium for Continuous In Vitro Propagation of the Human Pathogen Babesia duncani in Human Erythrocytes.” Pathogens 11 (2022): 599. PubMed: 35631120.

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