A person's immune system can form antibodies against sugar molecules on the malaria pathogen, which protect against serious illness. A new blood test developed by a team of ETH Zurich and Swiss Tropical Institute researchers headed by Professor Peter Seeberger enables these antibodies to be detected. The researchers' work was published online in the journal "Nature Chemical Biology" on March 2, 2008.
ETH Zurich professor Peter Seeberger has been working on a sugar-based malaria vaccine for years. The new test takes him one important step closer to his goal. The malaria pathogen plasmodium falciparum carries poisonous sugar molecules - called GPIs for short - on its surface that are able to be individually identified. Professor Seeberger's research team is now developing a new method that demonstrates that the malaria pathogen's toxic sugar molecules trigger a specific immune reaction in adults.
Antibodies in blood from malaria regions
Tests show that blood samples taken from adults living in areas of Africa where malaria is endemic contain specific antibodies against particular GPIs. While infection is still possible despite the antibodies, the consequences are less serious. The immune system recognizes the poisonous sugar molecules as foreign bodies and blocks their toxic impact. Not living in high-risk areas, Europeans lack the relevant antibodies. As soon as Europeans are infected with malaria, the number of antibodies increases significantly. Subsequently, there is a direct link between the amount of antibodies and protection against the disease.
This insight is thanks to a novel method for detecting antibodies. Faustin Kamena, a post-doc in Professor Seeberger's lab, has developed a special chip that can, inexpensively and with minute quantities of blood serum and sugar molecules, determine whether or not someone has formed particular antibodies against various GPIs. To this end, the researchers use the purest possible GPIs. These can be produced synthetically and in large amounts in a laboratory, as the Seeberger team has demonstrated in earlier research.
The new method involves affixing over 64 pads comprising pinpoint dots to glass slides. Every little pad consists of several tiny heaps of different GPIs in varying concentrations. When blood serum is then administered to such a pad, possible antibodies specifically bind to certain sugar molecules. Dyes then reveal to which GPIs the antibodies have attached themselves.
Help for infants
Thanks to the information obtained from the chip, scientists can produce the specific sugar molecules that the immune system has to recognize. The findings on natural resistance subsequently acquired are crucial to developing a sugar-based malaria vaccine. This could prove particularly beneficial to children in malaria-infested regions.
The millions of malaria sufferers are primarily infants under the age of five as only adults develop antibodies against the malaria pathogen's sugars. An infant's immune system is incapable of recognizing and combating the toxic sugar molecules. Consequently, a new, selective vaccine is now called for. Professor Seeberger states: "This evidence is another important step towards finding a malaria vaccine because we now know which antibodies protect adults."
Renata Cosby | alfa
Hopkins researchers ID neurotransmitter that helps cancers progress
26.04.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Trigger region found for absence epileptic seizures
25.04.2019 | RIKEN
For the first time, physicists at the University of Basel have succeeded in measuring the magnetic properties of atomically thin van der Waals materials on the nanoscale. They used diamond quantum sensors to determine the strength of the magnetization of individual atomic layers of the material chromium triiodide. In addition, they found a long-sought explanation for the unusual magnetic properties of the material. The journal Science has published the findings.
The use of atomically thin, two-dimensional van der Waals materials promises innovations in numerous fields in science and technology. Scientists around the...
Flexible, organic and printed electronics conquer everyday life. The forecasts for growth promise increasing markets and opportunities for the industry. In Europe, top institutions and companies are engaged in research and further development of these technologies for tomorrow's markets and applications. However, access by SMEs is difficult. The European project SmartEEs - Smart Emerging Electronics Servicing works on the establishment of a European innovation network, which supports both the access to competences as well as the support of the enterprises with the assumption of innovations and the progress up to the commercialization.
It surrounds us and almost unconsciously accompanies us through everyday life - printed electronics. It starts with smart labels or RFID tags in clothing, we...
The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.
Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.
Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
26.04.2019 | Life Sciences
26.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
26.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy