Invasion of the midgut cell layer is an essential stage in the parasite’s lifecycle and in the transmission of malaria from mosquitoes to humans. By reducing the level of the sugar, chondroitin sulfate, in the mosquito, the researchers prevented 95 percent of the parasites in the mosquito from attaching to the gut, thus blocking its development. The study is published in the online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“This study provides significant new insights on how the parasite develops in the mosquito, complementing our earlier identification of another parasite midgut receptor that is a target for a transmission-blocking vaccine,” said Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena, PhD, senior author of the study and a professor in the Bloomberg School’s W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. “This line of research could lead to new approaches for interfering with the spread of this deadly disease.”
To determine whether the parasite utilizes chondroitin glycosaminoglycans to invade the mosquito midgut cells, the researchers used a process known as RNA interference to inhibit production of a mosquito enzyme that is needed to produce chondroitin sulfate. With the sugar removed, parasite adhesion and midgut invasion were substantially decreased.
“Our study highlights the importance of sugars in parasite invasion of the mosquito gut. Previously, this phenomenon was only observed during parasite invasion of human tissues,” said Rhoel R. Dinglasan, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow with the Malaria Research Institute. “It appears as if the parasite’s use of sugars as a strategy for cell invasion of tissues is similar in both man and mosquito. This may be an Achilles’ heel for the parasite, opening up the possibility of developing a vaccine that works against all stages of the parasite’s lifecycle.”
According to the researchers, many important questions must still be answered to determine if the glycosaminolgycan identified could be a potential antigen for a transmission-blocking vaccine. In a study published earlier this year in the PNAS, the JHMRI team identified a previously unknown mosquito antigen that the parasite uses for entry into the mosquito midgut, a critical step in the Plasmodium parasite’s development. The researchers produced an antibody that acts as a blanket to prevent the parasite from accessing the mosquito midgut antigen.
Their research showed that the antibodies were effective against multiple malaria parasites and could potentially provide the basis for a future ‘universal’ malaria transmission-blocking vaccine.
Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy
17.12.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Communication between neural networks
17.12.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences
17.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering