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Researchers at the University of Georgia Discover Protein is Crucial to Reproduction of Parasites Involved in Disease
Date:2/12/2009

A team of researchers at the University of Georgia led by postdoctoral associate Giel van Dooren has discovered a protein in T. gondii that is essential for the parasite's growth. The group's work points the way toward a new model system that can be used in studying other parasitic diseases and could one day lead to an effective target for drug intervention.

Athens, GA (Vocus) February 12, 2009 -- As diseases go, toxoplasmosis is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Its effects are usually mild, though infection is for life, and two out of five Americans are chronically infected. Those with compromised immune systems can, however, face serious complications. And the disease can also have serious effects on a human fetus if contracted by a mother.

The agent that causes the disease, Toxoplasma gondii, is of strong interest to scientists because it is easy to manipulate in the lab and can lead to insights about other parasitic diseases, such as malaria, that kill millions each year.

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Georgia led by postdoctoral associate Giel van Dooren has discovered a protein in T. gondii that is essential for the parasite's growth. The group's work points the way toward a new model system that can be used in studying other parasitic diseases and could one day lead to an effective target for drug intervention.

"By understanding basic cellular processes in Toxoplasma we can gain important insights into the biology of related parasites," said van Dooren.

The study was published today in the online edition of the journal Current Biology. The work took place in '/>"/>

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