Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identifying And Disrupting Key Elements Of Malaria's 'Sticky Sack' Adhesion Strategy

Date:
July 14, 2008
Source:
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Summary:
Malaria is one of the most devastating diseases afflicting humanity. It infects and debilitates about 600 million people, and kills up to three million people every year, mainly in the wet tropical regions of the world. Children and pregnant women are at particularly high risk.

Malaria is one of the most devastating diseases afflicting humanity. It infects and debilitates about 600 million people and kills up to three million people every year, mainly in the wet tropical regions of the world. Children and pregnant women are at particularly high risk.

The malaria parasite is injected into humans by an infected mosquito. The parasites then infect healthy red blood cells, transforming them into sticky sacks containing up to thirty-two new daughter parasites. The hijacked red blood cells stick to blood vessel walls, thereby avoiding being flushed through the spleen and being destroyed there by the body's immune system.

Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have revealed key elements in the parasite's "sticky sack" adhesion strategy. They have identified eight new proteins that transport the parasite's major adhesion factor, PfEMP1, to the surface of infected red cells, where it promotes the formation of sticky knobs. They have also shown that removal of just one of these proteins disrupts the ability of the parasite bag to stick to blood vessel walls.

This discovery has greatly enhanced our understanding of how the parasite commandeers the red blood cell for its own survival and avoids our immune defences. It also suggests that a drug that inactivates an essential adhesion protein would be an effective anti-malarial.

All currently available malaria drugs attempt to disrupt the metabolism or biological function of the parasite. Unfortunately, malaria parasites are evolving resistance to such drugs, suggesting that quite a different strategy may be required -- hence the importance of targeting the "stickiness factors." The inability of the parasite to prevent its transport to the human spleen would lead to the parasite's natural destruction.

The team of WEHI-based and international collaborators includes Alan Cowman, Alex Maier, Melanie Rug, Matthew O'Neill, Monica Brown, Srabasti Chakravorty, Tadge Szestak, Joanne Chesson, Yang Wu, Katie Hughes, Ross Coppel, Chris Newbold, James Beeson, Alister Craig and Brendan Crabb.

The work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the NHMRC, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

The findings were recently published in the journal Cell.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. "Identifying And Disrupting Key Elements Of Malaria's 'Sticky Sack' Adhesion Strategy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080711090051.htm>.
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. (2008, July 14). Identifying And Disrupting Key Elements Of Malaria's 'Sticky Sack' Adhesion Strategy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080711090051.htm
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. "Identifying And Disrupting Key Elements Of Malaria's 'Sticky Sack' Adhesion Strategy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080711090051.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins