Navigation Links
Discovery of key malaria proteins could mean sticky end for parasite

Scientists funded by the Wellcome Trust have identified a key mechanism that enables malaria-infected red blood cells to stick to the walls of blood vessels and avoid being destroyed by the body's immune system. The research, published today in the journal Cell, highlights an important potential new target for anti-malarial drugs.

Malaria is one of the world's biggest killers, killing over a million people every year, mainly children and pregnant women in Africa and south east Asia. It is caused by the malaria parasite, which is injected into the bloodstream from the salivary glands of infected mosquitoes. There are a number of different species of parasite, but the deadliest is the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which accounts for 90% of deaths from malaria.

The malaria parasite infects healthy red blood cells, where it reproduces, producing up to thirty-two new daughter parasites. The parasite secretes a "glue", known as PfEMP1, which travels to the surface of the infected red blood cells, leading to the formation of the knobs on the surface of the cells. The cells become sticky and adhere to the walls of the blood vessels. This prevents the cells being flushed through the spleen, where the parasites would be destroyed by the body's immune system, but also restricts blood supply to vital organs.

Now, an international collaboration of scientists has identified eight new proteins that transport the P. falciparum parasite's "glue" to the surface of the infected red blood cells. The researchers, led by Professor Alan Cowman from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, have shown that removing just one of these proteins prevents the infected red blood cells from sticking to the walls of the blood vessels.

"These findings greatly enhance our understanding of how the malaria parasite commandeers the red blood cell for its own survival and avoids our immune defences," says Professor Cowman. "They also suggest that a drug that targets the 'stickiness' proteins could be an effective treatment for malaria."

Malaria is currently treated using drugs that kill the parasites. However, as the parasites evolve, they have become increasingly resistant to existing treatments such as chloroquine and mefloquine, and there is some evidence of increasing resistance against even the most effect and newest treatments, artemisinin derivatives such as artesunate.

"Malaria parasites are evolving, making our current treatments increasingly less effective," says Professor Alister Craig from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who collaborated on the project. "This suggests we need to approach the problem using a different strategy. A drug which prevents disease rather than killing the parasite might be important because it could retain natural inoculation in the patient, limiting damage caused by the parasite and providing protection from further infection."

The research was carried out by interfering with the function of specific genes on a scale not previously attempted in the malaria parasite. By blocking or "knocking out" the function of these genes the team was able to identify those important for allowing the parasite to stick to the walls of blood vessels.


Contact: Craig Brierley
Wellcome Trust

Related medicine news :

1. 9/11 Workers Refute Citys Allegation of Discovery Abuse and Malingering
2. Discovery of gene mechanism could bring about new ways to treat metastatic cancer
3. MYSTERY ER Season 2 Takes Viewers Behind the Curtain for Real-Life Medical Mysteries on Discovery Health
4. NIAID creates HIV vaccine discovery branch
5. Could new discovery about a shape-shifting protein lead to a mighty morpheein bacteria fighter?
6. Core Informatics Deploys Core LIMS to Support Antibody Discovery at Fabrus
7. Dynamin drug discovery team win prestigious international epilepsy grant
8. Singapore Is One of the Fastest Growing Bioclusters in Asia; Wave of Investments in Drug Discovery and Translational Research
9. New Molecule Discovery Shows Promise Against Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancers
10. Stem cell discovery sheds light on placenta development
11. Discovery of new signal pathway important to diabetes research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, ... Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. ... skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern ... Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He ... Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 on E ... goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not ... as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to ... came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Research and ... Market for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... for Companion Diagnostics The World Market for ... personalized medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes the ... Market (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 ... today announced the appointment of Dr. Edward ... as a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. ... Compensation and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a ... will provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function ... the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep ... in balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: