Navigation Links
Parasite investigations breed 3 Tall Poppies
Date:9/23/2010

Three researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, who are investigating different aspects of parasite biology have tonight been named Young Tall Poppies by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.

Dr Justin Boddey, Dr Erinna Lee and Dr Chris Tonkin were among nine Young Tall Poppies from Victoria. Dr Tonkin was named Victorian Young Tall Poppy of the Year, receiving $5000.

Dr Tonkin is investigating how the Apicomplexan group of parasites invade human cells. In particular, he is interested in exposing the molecular mechanisms that activate cell invasion when these parasites come into contact with a human cell. This knowledge could reveal targets against which drugs can be developed to prevent parasite invasion.

"Apicomplexan parasites are a huge burden on humanity," Dr Tonkin said. "On one hand Toxoplasma gondii, the most abundant of all human parasites, infects between 30-80 per cent of the population and can cause congenital birth defects, spontaneous abortion and disease in people whose immune systems are compromised. Plasmodium falciparum, on the other hand is the cause of the most lethal form of malaria, infecting about 200 million people a year and killing about three million."

Dr Boddey is also trying to find ways to stop the malaria parasite. "Malaria involves large-scale infection of the blood stream after a bite from an infected mosquito," he said.

"The key to this disease is the parasite's ability to renovate red blood cells so that it can live inside them and hide from immune defenses. The parasite does this by delivering hundreds of specialised renovating proteins into red blood cells to transform them into diseased cells."

Dr Boddey's research has determined how the malaria parasite delivers these hundreds of renovating proteins into red blood cells and identified a single parasite protein that controls the process - a gatekeeper. "This gatekeeper protein is not present in humans and we are now developing a new drug that blocks it so that parasites can no longer modify the red blood cells they infect and, consequently, die," Dr Boddey said.

Death of a different kind is the subject of Dr Erinna Lee's research. Dr Lee is interested in apoptosis, the process by which damaged cells self-destruct.

Apoptosis is regulated by the pro-survival and pro-death proteins of the Bcl-2 family. "Dysfunctional apoptosis results in cancer, which arises when damaged cells fail to die and proliferate uncontrollably," Dr Lee said. "A class of anti-cancer drugs called BH3-mimetics have been developed that target the pro-survival proteins, triggering death."

Dr Lee is seeking to understand exactly how one BH3-mimetic, ABT-737, is successfully causing cell death.

In addition to her work on BH3-mimetics as anti-cancer therapeutics, Dr Lee recently discovered a number of Bcl-2 relatives in schistosomes, the parasites that cause schistosomiasis.

"Our preliminary studies show that ABT-737 binds the schistosome pro-survival protein. The next step is to establish the Bcl-2 family members essential for parasite survival, and provide proof-of-principle that targeting this pathway is a feasible anti-infective strategy."


'/>"/>

Contact: Penny Fannin
fannin@wehi.edu.au
61-393-452-345
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists uncover process enabling toxoplasmosis parasite to survive homelessness
2. Discovery offers hope of saving sub-Saharan crops from devastating parasites
3. New research shows how disease-causing parasite gets around human innate immunity
4. Cancer drugs may help stop major parasite
5. New parasite could be late summer beach pest
6. Immune evasion common in many viruses, bacteria and parasites is uncommon in M. tuberculosis
7. Lake sturgeon have genes from parasite, signs of human STD
8. Scientists sever molecular signals that prolific parasite uses to puppeteer cells
9. Penn researchers identify immune cells that fight parasites may promote allergies and asthma
10. UCR researcher identifies mechanism malaria parasite uses to spread among red blood cells
11. NTU researchers complete the worlds first in-depth study of the malaria parasite genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Parasite investigations breed 3 Tall Poppies
(Date:4/11/2017)... N.Y. , April 11, 2017 ... fingerprints, but researchers at the New York University ... College of Engineering have found that partial similarities ... security systems used in mobile phones and other ... thought. The vulnerability lies in the ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... 6, 2017 Forecasts by Product ... Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public ... & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business ... Are you looking for a definitive report on ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give ... Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, ... conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness Center ... the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness and ... , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two founders, ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... entrepreneurship within the healthcare and technology sector at their fourth annual Conference where ... featuring 30 inspiring speakers and the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital ...
Breaking Biology Technology: