Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Tracking a killer: Observing liver invasion by malarial parasites


Tagged with red fluorescent protein, the malarial parasites in the sporozoite stage can be seen migrating along the sinusoids in a mouse liver. (Photo: Ute Frevert et al.)

Despite the efforts of governments and the World Health Organization to combine prevention measures and efforts to eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitoes, the disease kills more than a million people each year. Much is known about the microbes that cause the disease, tiny parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which have a complex life cycle involving several distinct phases and habitats. But, many details of the organism’s life cycle, including a critical stage in the parasite’s life cycle – invasion of the liver - have escaped direct observation until now. In their new study published in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, Ute Frevert et al. used intravital microscopy - which allows direct observation of events in a living animal - to study the discrete steps that facilitate the parasites’ entry into the liver.

To make these observations, the authors introduced genetically engineered Plasmodium parasites that express fluorescent tags to rodents through mosquito bites, and then watched for the arrival of the parasites in the livers of the test animals. They observed parasites crawling along the interior of the liver sinusoids (which take the place of capillaries in the liver), sometimes against the direction of blood flow, until they reached their portal of entry - a specialized cell called a Kupffer cell. They then watched as sporozoites traversed Kupffer cells using a special process distinct from ordinary parasite locomotion.

Upon exiting the Kupffer cell on the other side, the sporozoites wreaked havoc in the liver, leaving a path of destruction and dead cells behind them. They moved through several consecutive hepatocytes before finally settling down in one to begin reproducing. The visualization advantages provided by using the fluorescent parasites and intravital microscopy now make it possible to directly observe events in the Plasmodium life cycle that had only been inferred before. Understanding the invasion will help researchers in the battle against this deadly disease organism.

Paul Ocampo | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders
24.10.2016 | Baylor College of Medicine

nachricht New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground
24.10.2016 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>