Navigation Links
Malaria parasite goes bananas before sex: New study
Date:2/14/2012

New research from the University of Melbourne shows how the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) changes into a banana shape before sexual reproduction, a finding that could provide targets for vaccine or drug development and may explain how the parasite evades the human immune system.

The work was conducted by an Australian research team led by Dr Matthew Dixon and PhD student Megan Dearnley from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne, and is published in the Journal of Cell Science today.

Dr Dixon said the new study solves a 130-year old mystery, revealing how the most deadly of human malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum performs its shape-shifting.

"In 1880 the banana or crescent shape of the malaria parasite was first seen in the blood of a patient. Using a 3D microscope technique, we reveal that malaria uses a scaffold of special proteins to form a banana shape before sexual reproduction," said Dr Dixon.

"As the malaria parasite can only reproduce in its 'banana form', if we can target these scaffold proteins in a vaccine or drug, we may be able to stop it reproducing and prevent malaria transmission entirely."

When in its banana shape, the malaria parasite is passed from a human host to a mosquito where it reproduces in the mosquito gut. The study found that specific proteins form scaffolds, called microtubules, which lie underneath the parasite surface and elongate it into the sexual stage banana shape.

The work suggests that when the parasites are ready for sexual reproduction, they adopt the banana shape so that they can fit through the tiny sinusoidal slits in the spleen. This enables them to avoid the host's mechanical filtering and immune surveillance mechanisms and to survive in the circulation long enough to be picked up by a mosquito and transmitted to the next victim.

The banana shape was revealed in greater detail than ever before by using high-end imaging techniques - 3D Structured Illumination Microscopy and Cryo Electron Microscopy conducted with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-Ray Science.

One child dies from malaria every minute in Africa. Around the world, the malaria parasite kills more than 600,000 people each year, most of them children and pregnant women, while another 225 million people suffer illness as a result of malaria infections.


'/>"/>
Contact: Nerissa Hannink
nhannink@unimelb.edu.au
61-343-058-8055
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Test and Treat model offers new strategy for eliminating malaria
2. Notre Dame researchers report fundamental malaria discovery
3. Anti-malaria drug synthesized with the help of oxygen and light
4. Scientists characterize protein essential to survival of malaria parasite
5. Immunological defense mechanism leaves malaria patients vulnerable to deadly infection
6. Cell surface mutation protects against common type of malaria
7. Protection from severe malaria explained
8. Contrasting patterns of malaria drug resistance found between humans and mosquitoes
9. Protein microarrays may reveal new weapons against malaria
10. Dormant malaria parsites in red blood cells may contribute to treatment failure
11. UH engineers finding new ways to fight malaria with DOD grant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... UAE, April 20, 2016 The ... as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all ... fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration authorization ... access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access ... into the building installations offer considerable freedom of design ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central Florida ... telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi.   ... can routinely track key health measurements, such as blood ... they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians through ... location at no cost. By leveraging this data, IMPOWER ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... PBI-Gordon Corporation is pleased to announce Dave Loecke ... his 15-year career with PBI-Gordon, Dave has served in a wide variety of roles. ... the development and launch of many of PBI-Gordon’s most successful products. , “Dave has ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... LAKE LINDEN, Mich. , May 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... of Des Moines, Iowa is ... blooms in Lake Erie and ... nutrients is key to preventing this widespread issue. ... Michigan,s Upper Peninsula, developed a new, ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... Medistem Panama Inc. at the City of Knowledge in Panama, a 6 ... cells in the US earlier this year following FDA approval of a second ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... delegation at BIO 2016 in San Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives ... to answer questions and discuss the Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: