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Protein offers way to stop microscopic parasites in their tracks

e of the cell membrane.

Using other rhomboid proteases as guides, Brossier identified genes for five rhomboid proteases in Toxoplasma. Scientists showed that the parasite used at least four of those genes to make active proteases. When they looked at where and when Toxoplasma made the proteases, they found that only one, TgROM5, consistently showed up at the back end of the parasite, where it would be ideally positioned to snip off the adhesive protein spots.

Cell tests in Urban's lab showed that only TgROM5 could cleave the proteins that make up the adhesive spots.

"There's a great deal of interest in this because TgROM5 might someday be targeted with inhibitors," Sibley says. "And by comparison to TgROM5 we can now point to highly similar proteins in malaria and other related protozoa that are also potentially promising targets for inhibitors."


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Source:Washington University in St. Louis


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