Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The virulence of the Toxoplasma parasite identified

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:

Further reports about: Toxoplasma parasite

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

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...

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

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>