Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking membranes of rupturing blood cells sheds light on malaria infection

22.09.2005


By specially tagging the outer and inner membranes of red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite and tracking the cellular changes that precede the cell bursting event that disperses parasites to other blood cells, a group of researchers has deepened our understanding of how the malaria pathogen destroys the cells in which it resides. The work is reported in Current Biology by Joshua Zimmerberg and colleagues at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



Malaria devastates humanity: Approximately every 10 seconds, another child dies as a result of a malarial infection. Globally, it is the third biggest killer, and it mostly kills children. The emergence of all-drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for most human malarial disease, is a frightening new reality that mandates aggressive research to develop new vaccines and drugs, particularly to uncover new targets for therapeutic agents. A major area of current ignorance is the mechanism by which parasites are released from the infected red blood cells within which they multiply.

To learn more about this release process, in their new work the researchers used high-quality microscopy and a "Nan crystal" fluorescent tag that allowed them to follow the behavior of membranes of infected cells during an extended period of time. The authors discovered that many minutes before release, infected cells look irregular, resembling a fried egg, with the parasites bunched together in the center. They found that just prior to release, cells round up and become very symmetric, resembling a flower, with the parasites (present beneath the cell-membrane surface) appearing like the petals.


The researchers showed that at the seemingly explosive event of release itself, cellular membranes fold upon themselves and bubble into small vesicles, allowing the newly born parasites (in this stage they are called merozoites) to infect neighboring red blood cells. Further experiments involving labeled membrane components showed that there is no membrane fusion during release, but that instead it is likely that a build-up of pressure occurs inside the cell, causing cell-membrane rupture and subsequent merozoite release. This idea was substantiated by experiments showing that shrinking cells to prevent their bursting stopped the release stage and thus stopped the infection from further development.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com
http://www.current-biology.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>