Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The virulence of the Toxoplasma parasite identified

15.12.2006
A research group led by Antonio Barragan of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI) and Karolinska Institutet (KI) has identified, with the help of colleagues from Washington University, the gene in the Toxoplasma parasite that accounts for its ability to cause disease.

What the scientists have located is the kinase (an enzyme) that seems to be the main virulence factor. The results are presented in the prestigious scientific journal Science.

Between 14 and 25 per cent of the population of Sweden, and between 25 and 50 per cent of the global population, are bearers of a chronic, dormant infection from the Toxoplasma parasite. This makes the parasite possibly the most common in the world. It exists in our natural environment and is transferred into people through food, dirty water or contact with cats.

A healthy person who becomes infected with the parasite can develop influenza-like symptoms; it can then become dormant, making these people life-long carriers. However, for a person with weakened immune defence, such as someone with HIV/AIDS, an organ recipient or a cancer patient, the infection can prove life-threatening. An infection during pregnancy can also have serious consequences for the foetus.

... more about:
»Toxoplasma »parasite

The scientists have found that parasites that exist in the environment or in chronically infected individuals carry either a ”benign” (non-virulent) or a malignant (virulent) variant of the identified gene. The studies carried out in the SMI’s laboratories show that when the virulent variant of the gene is transferred to a benign parasite it leads to a 100 per cent lethal infection in mice; in other words, the formerly benign parasite becomes highly virulent.

The group believes that their findings will be of decisive importance for vaccine development and the diagnosis and treatment of serious Toxoplasma infection.

The article is published “back to back” with a scientific article from Stanford University, where a group of scientists have arrived independently at exactly the same results, something that is very rare in the world of research.

Katarina Sternudd | alfa
Further information:
http://ki.se

Further reports about: Toxoplasma parasite

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules
24.01.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
24.01.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>