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Disrupting common parasites' ability to 'talk' to each other reduces infection
Date:1/9/2008

ps the parasites control their reproductive cycle by communicating with each other in the host cell. When they sense high enough levels of ABA, the parasites break out of host cells; otherwise, they stay in the host cell and remain dormant.

With help of online databases and botanists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and elsewhere, researchers quickly identified a class of herbicides that block ABA production and that are already in use commercially and screened for low toxicity to animals.

Scientists tested one of those herbicides against toxoplasmosis, labeling the test parasites with the firefly luciferase protein. Whole animal imaging showed that treatment with the herbicide reduced the number of parasites in infected mice during the initial infection and also reduced the chronic burden.

Sibley plans further studies to learn what other aspects of T. gondii biology are controlled by ABA and whether other inhibitors of ABA might make more potent treatments for toxoplasmosis. Nagamune is exploring the new findings' implications for treatment of malaria.


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Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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