Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers locate protein that could 'turn off' deadly disease carrier

Date:
January 12, 2012
Source:
Boston College
Summary:
Genome sequencing leads to the identification of a protein crucial to the work of two parasites as they spread a pair of deadly diseases, toxoplasmosis and malaria.

Toxoplasma gondii in mouse ascitic fluid.
Credit: Credit: DPDx, CDC

Researchers from Boston College have discovered a protein that plays a pivotal role in the progression of the deadly diseases toxoplasmosis and malaria and shown that its function could be genetically blocked in order to halt the progress of the parasite-borne illnesses, the team reports in the current edition of the journal Science.

Related Articles


The protein, identified as DOC2.1, plays a similar role in the secretion of microneme organelles that are crucial to the mobility of the parasitic protozoa Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, and Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria, report Marc-Jan Gubbels and Gabor Marth, both professors of biology at Boston College.

The researchers say the discovery could lead to the development of drugs that target the protein in order to block the mechanism that advances the two diseases.

"The mechanism of microneme secretion, which is required for host cell invasion, is a valid drug target," said Gubbels. "Since neither microneme secretion nor invasion itself are currently targeted by any anti-malaria drugs, a potentially new class of anti-malaria reagents can be developed. The high incidence of drug resistance against malaria is a big problem, so new drugs are urgently needed."

Gubbels said researchers in his lab obtained a temperature-sensitive mutant of Toxoplasma gondii, which displayed a mobility defect preventing it from host cell invasion. Marth, a computational biologist, sequenced the parasite's genome and identified 33 possible sites in the genome responsible for the defect. Lab work isolated a single mutation in the DOC2.1 gene that was associated with a microneme secretion defect responsible for the mobility defect.

Co-author Manoj Duraisingh, of the Harvard School of Public Health, generated a Plasmodium mutant wherein DOC2.1 expression could be shut off and demonstrated the protein was also crucial to microneme secretion in the parasite that causes malaria.

Gubbels said the findings reinforce the dramatic advances made possible by complete genome sequencing and computational biology, which are Marth's areas of expertise. These approaches bypass the need for the difficult and time-consuming task of mapping causative mutations by genetic crosses as used in model organisms.

"The re-sequencing method will permit the study of eukaryotic pathogens by forward genetics, which has shown its power in studies of model organisms, such as yeast and fruit flies," said Gubbels. "To date, many of these pathogens have limited experimental and genetic accessibility, but this roadblock can now be lifted."

Added Marth, "We are now working with a number of research teams to gain insight into other critical pathogenic pathways, and already see promising initial results."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Farrell, S. Thirugnanam, A. Lorestani, J. D. Dvorin, K. P. Eidell, D. J. P. Ferguson, B. R. Anderson-White, M. T. Duraisingh, G. T. Marth, M.-J. Gubbels. A DOC2 Protein Identified by Mutational Profiling Is Essential for Apicomplexan Parasite Exocytosis. Science, 2012; 335 (6065): 218 DOI: 10.1126/science.1210829

Cite This Page:

Boston College. "Researchers locate protein that could 'turn off' deadly disease carrier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112142224.htm>.
Boston College. (2012, January 12). Researchers locate protein that could 'turn off' deadly disease carrier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112142224.htm
Boston College. "Researchers locate protein that could 'turn off' deadly disease carrier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112142224.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) 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


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