Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking a killer: Observing liver invasion by malarial parasites

24.05.2005


Tagged with red fluorescent protein, the malarial parasites in the sporozoite stage can be seen migrating along the sinusoids in a mouse liver. (Photo: Ute Frevert et al.)


Despite the efforts of governments and the World Health Organization to combine prevention measures and efforts to eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitoes, the disease kills more than a million people each year. Much is known about the microbes that cause the disease, tiny parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which have a complex life cycle involving several distinct phases and habitats. But, many details of the organism’s life cycle, including a critical stage in the parasite’s life cycle – invasion of the liver - have escaped direct observation until now. In their new study published in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, Ute Frevert et al. used intravital microscopy - which allows direct observation of events in a living animal - to study the discrete steps that facilitate the parasites’ entry into the liver.

To make these observations, the authors introduced genetically engineered Plasmodium parasites that express fluorescent tags to rodents through mosquito bites, and then watched for the arrival of the parasites in the livers of the test animals. They observed parasites crawling along the interior of the liver sinusoids (which take the place of capillaries in the liver), sometimes against the direction of blood flow, until they reached their portal of entry - a specialized cell called a Kupffer cell. They then watched as sporozoites traversed Kupffer cells using a special process distinct from ordinary parasite locomotion.

Upon exiting the Kupffer cell on the other side, the sporozoites wreaked havoc in the liver, leaving a path of destruction and dead cells behind them. They moved through several consecutive hepatocytes before finally settling down in one to begin reproducing. The visualization advantages provided by using the fluorescent parasites and intravital microscopy now make it possible to directly observe events in the Plasmodium life cycle that had only been inferred before. Understanding the invasion will help researchers in the battle against this deadly disease organism.

Paul Ocampo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plos.org
http://www.plosbiology.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>