Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Researchers have discovered a map on the hunt for malaria vaccine.
Researchers using the Australian Synchrotron, mapped the parasite protein CyRPA in atomic detail for the first time, and established how antibodies that block the function of CyRPA disrupt the parasite's ability to bind to and infect human red blood cells. Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly strain of malaria parasite, and is predominantly found in Africa, where it causes up to half a million deaths each year. It is widely accepted that malaria vaccines will play a crucial role in eliminating malaria infections, and the eventual eradication of the parasites. The study published in the journal eLife shows that CyRPA forms a complex with two other parasite proteins – PfRh5 and PfRipr – and together the complex is essential for the parasite to be able to burrow into red blood cells.This study has shown at atomic level how key antibodies block the parasite from infecting the human red blood cell which was previously unknown.