They have produced a mutant lacking the ancient bacterial Shewanella-like protein phosphatase known as SHLP1 (pronounced 'shelph').
This mutant is unable to complete its complex life cycle and is arrested in its development in the mosquito. The discovery could help in the design of new drugs to arrest the spread of this killer disease.
SHLP1 is critical to the cellular development of the malaria parasite. It can be found at every stage in the lifecycle of the malaria parasite and for the first time experts led by The University of Nottingham have analysed their biological function.
Dr Rita Tewari and her team in the Centre for Genetics and Genomics in the School of Biology have spent three years studying the phosphatase proteins that are important building blocks in the life cycle of the malaria parasite.
The findings of their latest study are published on 21st February 2013, in the journal Cell Reports.
Dr Tewari said: “SHLP1 is absent in humans and can be explored as an excellent target for malaria transmission control. Prevention of malaria transmission to and from the mosquito is vital in order to stop the devastating spread of malaria. Targeting SHLP1 could be an important step to achieve this goal.”
Although great strides have been made in reducing the number of deaths from malaria, half the world’s population remains at risk from the disease.
In 2010, 90 per cent of all malaria deaths occurred in Africa — mostly among children under the age of five.
Reducing the spread of malaria
Dr Tewari’s latest research has focused on the ancient bacterial Shewanella-like protein phosphatase (SHLP1) which is found only in bacteria, fungi, protists (organisms which paved the way for the evolution of early plants, animals and fungi) and plants.
The researchers, funded by the MRC and the Wellcome Trust, have discovered how SHLP1 controls development of the parasite at an essential stage of its life cycle. The parasite must move between human and mosquito in its quest to spread the disease.
It does this every time the mosquito bites. Removing this enzyme causes defects in structures vital for invading the mosquito gut — effectively stopping the mosquito from passing the disease on to another victim.
The research brought together expertise from Imperial College London, University of Oxford, the MRC National Institute for Medical Research and the University of Edinburgh.
The work of Dr Tewari and her team is becoming increasingly important in the urgent effort to stop an infectious disease which kills 1.2 million people every year.
In 2009 Dr Tewari received an MRC New Investigator Award of nearly £500,000 to study the role of protein phosphatases during development in malaria parasite biology. She is currently a co-investigator on an MRC programme grant of £290,000 for her work on drug targets for malaria.
Dr Tewari has just received a further grant of nearly £600,000 from the MRC to study the regulation of cell division in the malaria parasite.
For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter or find out more on our Press Office blog
Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.
Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager
Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751
ocation: University Park
Lindsay Brooke | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.nottingham.ac.uk
Further Reports about: building block > global food security > killer disease > life cycle > malaria parasite > malaria transmission > medical research > Merit Award > phosphatase proteins > SHELPH > SHLP1
More articles from Health and Medicine:
Artificial Sweetener a Potential Treatment for Parkinson's Disease
18.06.2013 | American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Preventing eggs' death from chemotherapy
18.06.2013 | Northwestern University
... two engines aircraft project “Elektro E6”.
The countdown has been started for opening the gates again for the worldwide leading aviation and space event in Le Bourget, Paris from June 17th - 23rd, 2013.
EADCO & PC-Aero will present at the Paris Air Show in Hall H4 booth F-7 their new future aircraft and innovative project: ...
Siemens scientists have developed new kinds of ceramics in which they can embed transformers.
The new development allows power supply transformers to be reduced to one fifth of their current size so that the normally separate switched-mode power supply units of light-emitting diodes can be integrated into the module's heat sink.
The new technology was developed in cooperation with industrial and research partners who ...
Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery.
Led by Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, research team members have found that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered -- or catalyzed -- by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth. ...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT generated a lot of interest at the LASER World of Photonics 2013 trade fair with its numerous industrial laser technology innovations.
Its highlights included beam sources and manufacturing processes for ultrashort laser pulses as well as ways to systematically optimize machining processes using computer simulations. There was even a specialist booth at the fair dedicated to the revolutionary technological potential of digital photonic production.
Now in its fortieth year, LASER World ...
It's not reruns of "The Jetsons", but researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new microscopy technique that uses a process similar to how an old tube television produces a picture—cathodoluminescence—to image nanoscale features.
Combining the best features of optical and scanning electron microscopy, the fast, versatile, and high-resolution technique allows scientists to view surface and subsurface features potentially as small as 10 nanometers in size.
The new microscopy technique, described in the journal AIP Advances,* uses a beam of electrons to excite a specially ...
18.06.2013 | Materials Sciences
18.06.2013 | Health and Medicine
18.06.2013 | Life Sciences
14.06.2013 | Event News
13.06.2013 | Event News
10.06.2013 | Event News