Professor Alan Cowman, Dr Brendan Crabb and their research teams at WEHI have identified how the most lethal malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is able to disguise itself from the human immune system.
This discovery builds on the work published in the 9 April 2005 issue of the journal Cell, in which Professor Cowman and Dr Crabb reported that to avoid detection and destruction, the parasite controls expression of 60 key virulence genes, effectively disguising itself from the human hosts immune system. The new discovery identifies the DNA sequence that is needed to switch these genes on and off.
With this greater understanding of the parasites disguise-switching mechanism, scientists will now attempt to identify the activating proteins that enable the parasites 60 disguises to be switched.
Brad Allen | EurekAlert!
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