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Story ideas from molecular & cellular proteomics
Date:9/12/2007

Articles selected from the Sept. 2007 issue of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (Vol. 6, No. 9):

  • Finding better ways to treat schistosomiasis, a tropical disease caused by a parasitic worm

  • New insight into lethal shrimp viral disease

  • How some algae tolerate very salty environments

  • New technique detects protein changes with high sensitivity and selectivity

Finding better ways to treat schistosomiasis, a tropical disease caused by a parasitic worm

Researchers provide new details about the inner workings of a parasitic worm that causes a tropical disease called schistosomiasis, which leads to itchy skin, fever, chills, muscle aches, and liver disease that, in some cases, can be fatal. The new results may help design drugs or vaccines against the disease.

Schistosomiasis, a disease affecting up to 200 million people in Asia, Africa, and South America, is spread by parasitic worms called blood flukes that live in fresh water. The worms enter the human body through the skin and move to either the large intestine, small intestine, or the bladder. In the case of a species called Schistosoma mansoni, infection starts when larvae cross the skin and migrate to the large intestine, where they become adults and mate. The females then lay about 300 eggs a day in the blood vessels of the gut wall.

Stuart M. Haslam and colleagues compared the chemicals released by the larvae and eggs to understand how these chemicals help them to infect the human body. They found that although these chemicals are detected by the immune system, the parasite can still spread throughout the body.

In the case of the larvae, the scientists suggest that although the chemicals secreted prompt the human immune system to attack them, these chemicals act as a decoy so that the larvae themselves are not destroyed and can sprea
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Contact: Pat Pages
ppages@asbmb.org
301-634-7366
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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