The knowledge of how the malaria parasite makes blood vessels become sticky paves the way for a future vaccine for the disease, which currently kills some 2 million people every year.
Severe anaemia, respiratory problems and cardiac dysfunction are common and life-threatening symptoms of serious malaria infection. The diseases are caused when the malaria bacteria Plasmodium falciparium infects the red blood cells, which then accumulate in large amounts, blocking the flow of blood in the capillaries of the brain and other organs.
The reason that the blood cells conglomerate and lodge in the blood vessels is that once in the blood cell the parasite produces proteins that project from the surface of the cell and bind with receptor molecules on other blood cells and on the vessel wall, and thus act like a glue. The challenge facing scientists has been to understand why certain proteins produce a stronger adhesive and thus cause more severe malaria.
The research group, which is headed by Professor Mats Wahlgren at the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology, KI, has studied the adhesive protein PfEMP1 in children with severe malaria. The group has identified specific parts of PfEMP1 that are likely to bond more strongly to the receptors in the blood vessels, therefore producing a stronger adhesive effect. What the scientists show in their newly published study is that these protein parts are much more common in parasites that cause particularly severe malaria. If they can identify enough adhesive proteins causing severe malaria, it will be possible to design a vaccine that prepares the body’s own immune defence.
“There are no vaccines yet that can prevent the development of malaria and cure a seriously infected person,” says Professor Wahlgren. “We’ve now discovered a structure that can be used in a vaccine that might be able to help these people.”
The study is a collaboration between Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Makerere University and Medical Biotech Laboratories in Uganda, and has been financed by the Swedish International development cooperation Agency (Sida), the Swedish Research Council and the EU.
Katarina Sternudd | alfa
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences
21.08.2017 | Information Technology
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences