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 October 22, 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 October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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