Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Essential malaria parasite genes revealed

04.05.2018

NIAID-funded research could aid antimalarial drug development

Researchers have exploited a quirk in the genetic make-up of the deadly malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to create 38,000 mutant strains and then determine which of the organism's genes are essential to its growth and survival. P. falciparum is responsible for about half of all malaria cases and 90 percent of all malaria deaths. New information about the parasite's critical gene repertoire could help investigators prioritize targets for future antimalarial drug development.


Colorized scanning electron micrograph of red blood cell infected with malaria parasites, which are colorized in blue. The infected cell is in the center of the image area. To the left are uninfected cells with a smooth red surface.

Credit: NIAID

The international research team led by John H. Adams, Ph.D., of the University of South Florida, was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appears in the May 4 issue of Science. Rays H.Y. Jiang, Ph.D., of Universtiy of South Florida, and Julian C. Rayner, Ph.D., of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, U.K., collaborated with Dr. Adams in this research.

The complete genetic sequence of P. falciparum was determined more than a decade ago, but the functions of most of its genes remain unknown, and until now only a few hundred mutant strains had been created in the lab. The difficulties in manipulating P. falciparum stem in part from the extremely high percentage of adenine or thymine (two of the four chemical building blocks that make up DNA) in its genome. Standard methods for creating mutants rely on more variation in gene sequences and so do not work on P. falciparum. In the new research, Dr. Adams and his colleagues created mutated versions of nearly all the parasite's 6,000 genes with a technique that preferentially targets areas rich in adenine and thymine, thus exploiting the very feature that had foiled previous attempts at genetic manipulation.

The team used computational analysis to distinguish non-essential genes (those that could be mutated) from essential, non-mutable ones. About 2,600 were identified as indispensable for growth and survival during the parasite's asexual, blood stage. These included ones associated with P. falciparum's ability to resist antimalaria drugs, highlighting them as high-priority targets for new or improved antimalarial compounds, the researchers note.

###

This research was supported, in part, by NIAID grants R01 AI094973, R01 AI117017 and F32 AI112271.

ARTICLE:

M Zhang et al. Uncovering the essential genes of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum by saturation mutagenesis. Science DOI:10.1126/science.aap7847 (2018).

WHO:

NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to discuss this research. Deidre Joy, Ph.D., of NIAID's Parasitology and International Programs Branch, is also available.

CONTACT:

To schedule interviews, please contact Anne A. Oplinger, (301) 402-1663, aoplinger@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

Media Contact

Anne A. Oplinger
aoplinger@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663

 @NIAIDNews

http://www.niaid.nih.gov 

Anne A. Oplinger | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Structure of a mitochondrial ATP synthase
19.11.2019 | Science For Life Laboratory

nachricht Mantis shrimp vs. disco clams: Colorful sea creatures do more than dazzle
19.11.2019 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: With artificial intelligence to a better wood product

Empa scientist Mark Schubert and his team are using the many opportunities offered by machine learning for wood technology applications. Together with Swiss Wood Solutions, Schubert develops a digital wood-selection- and processing strategy that uses artificial intelligence.

Wood is a natural material that is lightweight and sustainable, with excellent physical properties, which make it an excellent choice for constructing a wide...

Im Focus: Atoms don't like jumping rope

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have...

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

With artificial intelligence to a better wood product

20.11.2019 | Materials Sciences

Strengthening regional development through old growth beech forests in Europe

20.11.2019 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Structure of a mitochondrial ATP synthase

19.11.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>