Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Malaria parasites walk through cell walls to infect humans.
A new study has identified proteins that allow malaria parasites walk through cell walls to infect humans.The research has identified two parasite proteins that are the key to this superpower,the findings were published in the journal Cell Reports. The proteins could be targeted to develop much-needed antimalarial drugs or vaccines. Malaria causes more than 650,000 deaths each year, predominantly in children and pregnant women, and there is an urgent need for new malaria vaccines and treatments in an effort to eradicate the disease. When a person is infected with malaria, the parasite silently invades and multiplies in liver cells, but doesn't cause disease. The parasites then burst out of the liver and infect the blood, causing symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue and muscle and joint pain that are characteristic of malaria. The research confirmed the deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum had the ability to 'walk through cell walls' as it sought out liver cells where it could hide and multiply. The study identified that P. falciparum parasites traverse human cells - effectively walking through cell walls - using two proteins called SPECT and PLP1 to achieve this superpower. This allows parasites to get from the skin to the liver very quickly following a mosquito bite.