Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alternative pathway to malaria infection identified

Date:
June 21, 2010
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Discovery of a key red cell molecule used by the malaria parasite gives renewed hope for an effective vaccine in the future, according to an international team of researchers.

Discovery of a key red cell molecule used by the malaria parasite gives renewed hope for an effective vaccine in the future, according to an international team of researchers.

Related Articles


Plasmodium falciparum, a blood parasite that causes malaria by invading and multiplying in the red blood cells, kills 1 to 2 million people annually.

"How the parasite invades red blood cells is not completely understood," said Jose A. Stoute, M.D., senior investigator and team leader, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Penn State College of Medicine. "For many years it has been known that proteins called glycophorins are used by the parasite to gain entry into the red cell."

Because infection can take place without glycophorins, researchers suspected that another protein is also involved. The identity of this protein remained a mystery for 20 years and it was named the "X" receptor. A team of researchers now reports in PLoS Pathogens, the identity of this protein as the complement receptor 1 (CR1), also known to help protect red cells from attack by the immune system. CR1 has been suspected of having other roles in the development of malaria complications. The team was able to demonstrate that this protein is important in the invasion of red cells by using several laboratory strains of malaria as well as strains obtained from Kenya.

"Our findings suggest that for many malaria strains, CR1 is an alternative receptor to glycophorins on intact red cells," Stoute said.

According to the researchers, the reasons malaria may use the CR1 protein instead of glycophorins are if the parasite encounters a variant that lacks the glycophorin receptor; if the immune system mounts a response against parasite proteins involved in the dominant pathway due to a previous infection; or if the host were to be vaccinated with a vaccine that blocks the glycophorin pathway.

"This work has important implications for the future development of a vaccine against malaria," Stoute said. "Therefore, it is imperative that all the major invasion pathways be represented in a future malaria blood stage vaccine."

Vaccines that target parasite proteins involved in the dominant glycophorin pathway, but do not block the CR1 pathway, may cause proliferation of parasites that rely on the CR1 pathway for infection.

"The demonstration that CR1 is a receptor of P. falciparum will facilitate the identification of additional parasite proteins that allow it to bind to the blood cell, and the future development of a vaccine that effectively blocks red cell invasion," said Carmenza Spadafora, lead author and scientist at the Institute for Advanced Science and High Technology Studies, Republic of Panama.

Working with Stoute and Spadafora were scientists from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research's malaria research program, including Gordon A. Awandare and parastiologists Karen M. Kopydlowski and J. Kathleen Moch. The collaboration also included Jozsef Czege, Biomedical Instrumentation Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Robert W. Finberg, University of Massachusetts Medical School; and George C. Tsokos, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School.

The National Institutes of Health, the Fogarty International Center, and the Department of Defense supported this work. In addition, Carmenza Spadafora received support from the National Secretariat of Science and Technology, Republic of Panama.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carmenza Spadafora, Gordon A Awandare, Karen M Kopydlowski, Jozsef Czege, J Kathleen Moch, Robert W Finberg, George C Tsokos, Jos้ A Stoute Jos้ A Stoute. Complement Receptor 1 Is a Sialic Acid-Independent Erythrocyte Receptor of Plasmodium falciparum. PLoS Pathogens, 2010; 6 (6): e1000968 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000968

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Alternative pathway to malaria infection identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617185123.htm>.
Penn State. (2010, June 21). Alternative pathway to malaria infection identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617185123.htm
Penn State. "Alternative pathway to malaria infection identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617185123.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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