University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have discovered a protein in the cell wall of parasites thats crucial to the molecular mechanism allowing them to move between cells, survive and cause disease.
The discovery was made in Toxoplasma gondii, an organism that can cause blindness and brain damage in people with an impaired immune system and can cause severe disease in first trimester fetuses. In addition, the organism is used as a model experimental system for studying the closely related mosquito-borne malaria parasite Plasmodium.
"The way these organisms move and the way their movement is controlled is absolutely critical to their ability to cause disease," said Dr. Con Beckers, associate professor of cell and developmental biology at UNCs School of Medicine.
Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
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