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.
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
Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules
24.01.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
24.01.2017 | Universität Basel
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...
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...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
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...
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...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy