Invasion of the midgut cell layer is an essential stage in the parasite’s lifecycle and in the transmission of malaria from mosquitoes to humans. By reducing the level of the sugar, chondroitin sulfate, in the mosquito, the researchers prevented 95 percent of the parasites in the mosquito from attaching to the gut, thus blocking its development. The study is published in the online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“This study provides significant new insights on how the parasite develops in the mosquito, complementing our earlier identification of another parasite midgut receptor that is a target for a transmission-blocking vaccine,” said Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena, PhD, senior author of the study and a professor in the Bloomberg School’s W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. “This line of research could lead to new approaches for interfering with the spread of this deadly disease.”
To determine whether the parasite utilizes chondroitin glycosaminoglycans to invade the mosquito midgut cells, the researchers used a process known as RNA interference to inhibit production of a mosquito enzyme that is needed to produce chondroitin sulfate. With the sugar removed, parasite adhesion and midgut invasion were substantially decreased.
“Our study highlights the importance of sugars in parasite invasion of the mosquito gut. Previously, this phenomenon was only observed during parasite invasion of human tissues,” said Rhoel R. Dinglasan, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow with the Malaria Research Institute. “It appears as if the parasite’s use of sugars as a strategy for cell invasion of tissues is similar in both man and mosquito. This may be an Achilles’ heel for the parasite, opening up the possibility of developing a vaccine that works against all stages of the parasite’s lifecycle.”
According to the researchers, many important questions must still be answered to determine if the glycosaminolgycan identified could be a potential antigen for a transmission-blocking vaccine. In a study published earlier this year in the PNAS, the JHMRI team identified a previously unknown mosquito antigen that the parasite uses for entry into the mosquito midgut, a critical step in the Plasmodium parasite’s development. The researchers produced an antibody that acts as a blanket to prevent the parasite from accessing the mosquito midgut antigen.
Their research showed that the antibodies were effective against multiple malaria parasites and could potentially provide the basis for a future ‘universal’ malaria transmission-blocking vaccine.
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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