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New twist on potential malaria drug target acts by trapping parasites in cells
Date:5/14/2010

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The method, first developed in a mammalian cell culture system by co-author Thomas Wandless of Stanford University, allows scientists to analyze the function of certain proteins and to identify other potential therapeutic targets in the malaria parasite, the researchers said.

As adapted for this study, Dvorin and his colleagues reverse-engineered candidate genes to make faulty proteins that would only survive in the presence of a stabilizing chemical. Without that constant protection, the protein is eliminated from the parasite.

"For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we grew the parasites in the presence of the stabilizing chemical," Dvorin said. "After the parasites invaded new red blood cells, we washed away the stabilizing drug. Even though the parasites seemed to develop just fine, they were unable to leave the red blood cell."

Interestingly, the team's work also produced an elusive scientific tool for their colleagues in the vaccine field: Mature invasive parasites. "One of the experiments in the paper mechanically releases the parasites, which have matured into virulent and invasive forms," Duraisingh said. "People have been trying to get viable parasites in this form for study. This is a great resource for vaccine studies."


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Contact: Christina Roache
croache@hsph.harvard.edu
617-384-8979
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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