Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




EPIDEMICS
New discoveries about severe malaria
by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX) May 23, 2012


File image.

Researchers from Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (Seattle BioMed), the University of Copenhagen and the University of Edinburgh have uncovered new knowledge related to host-parasite interaction in severe malaria, concerning how malaria parasites are able to bind to cells in the brain and cause cerebral malaria - the most lethal form of the disease.

Three related papers will be published in the May 21 online edition of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), a premier scientific journal, highlighting this research.

"Identifying the molecules that allow malaria parasites to 'stick' to the brain takes us one step closer to new treatments," said Joseph Smith, Ph.D., leader of the Seattle team.

Red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the type most lethal to humans, bind to receptors on cells lining blood vessel walls, which helps the parasite avoid being detected and killed by the spleen.

The binding is mediated by one of several members of a family of parasite proteins called P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, or PfEMP1. A single PfEMP1 mediates placental malaria - the cause of malaria during pregnancy, which kills thousands of women and causes premature births and low-birth weight babies each year - but other PfEMP1 types causing life-threatening disease in young children are unknown.

To hone in on specific PfEMP1 types associated with severe malaria, Thomas Lavstsen, Ph.D., and his team from the University of Denmark used molecular techniques to compare the levels of different PfEMP1 transcripts in blood samples from children hospitalized in the pediatric ward of the Korogwe District Hospital in Tanzania.

"Our research revealed that genes encoding two distinct types of PfEMP1 - named domain cassettes 8 and 13 - were tied to cases of severe malaria, suggesting that those proteins might be suitable targets in efforts aimed at curbing the disease," explained Lavstsen.

Co-author Louise Turner, Ph.D. adds "Another important aspect of our study is that we show these PfEMP1 domain cassettes are recognized by natural acquired immunity in young African children, which gives us hope that we can base a vaccine on the discovered PfEMP1 types."

In a related paper in this issue, Antoine Claessens, Ph.D., who works in the lab of Alexandra Rowe, D. Phil., of the University of Edinburgh, reports that these particular PfEMP1 types - domain cassettes 8 and 13 - mediate the binding of infected red blood cells to cells that line blood vessels in the brain. "This provides us with new molecules that could be targeted to develop drugs to treat the most deadly forms of malaria," said Rowe.

"In addition, because animal models for cerebral malaria are currently unavailable, we believe our findings might lead to a laboratory tool for testing drugs and vaccines that block the binding of the parasite to blood vessels in the brain."

Marion Avril, Ph.D., who works in the Smith lab at Seattle BioMed, reports in this issue that domain cassette 8 encodes binding activity for brain blood vessel cells. Additionally, the authors uncovered a potential explanation for the evolutionary persistence of parasite protein variants that mediate cerebral malaria, an often-fatal disease that tends to wipe out the parasite's host.

"Because those brain-binding variants can also bind to blood vessels in the skin, heart, and lung, the parasite might sequester in those organs," Smith explained. "Together, the findings could help researchers better address the lingering problem of childhood malaria."

"It's been a 15-year journey since this gene family was discovered, but the coming together of these three studies, which all identify the same key players in severe malaria, is an important milestone," said Rowe. "We're excited to have this knowledge and begin to apply it to developing new solutions for malaria."

.


Related Links
Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
Epidemics on Earth - Bird Flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EPIDEMICS
Biologists produce potential malarial vaccine from algae
San Diego CA (SPX) May 22, 2012
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have succeeded in engineering algae to produce potential candidates for a vaccine that would prevent transmission of the parasite that causes malaria, an achievement that could pave the way for the development of an inexpensive way to protect billions of people from one of the world's most prevalent and debilitating diseases. Initial proof-of ... read more


EPIDEMICS
Fukushima radiation mostly within accepted levels: WHO

Bulgaria warned over quake response

Culture losses magnify Italy earthquake trauma lead

One year after tornado, Obama sees US city as example

EPIDEMICS
Measuring Transient X-rays with Lobster Eyes

Reversible doping: Hydrogen flips switch on vanadium oxide

From Lemons to Lemonade: Reaction Uses CO2 to Make Carbon-Based Semiconductor

Using Graphene, Scientists Develop a Less Toxic Way to Rust-Proof Steel

EPIDEMICS
Could cap and trade for water solve problems facing large US rivers

Greenpeace urges action on slumping tuna stocks

Europe's beaches clean, but France lagging: study

China to increase rainmaking efforts

EPIDEMICS
Russia's Antarctic probes to be tested in Ladoga Lake

Scientists discover new site of potential instability in West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Farewell to the Sun

Russia's Antarctic probes to be tested in Ladoga Lake

EPIDEMICS
Blossom end rot plummets in Purdue-developed transgenic tomato

Where bees are, there will be honey even pre-historic

Financial tool considered climate change uncertainty to select land for conservation

How plants chill out

EPIDEMICS
Alaskan ecologists see surge in Japan tsunami debris

'Creeping quakes' rumble New Zealand: researchers

Strong quake shakes Japan

Scientists document volcanic history of turbulent Sumatra region

EPIDEMICS
G. Bissau army to return to barracks

Somali, AU troops close in on Islamist stronghold of Afgoye

45 Chinese arrested for illegal trading in Nigeria: official

Army, mutineers clash near DR Congo rare gorilla park

EPIDEMICS
Chimpanzees have human-like personalities

Urban landscape's power to hurt or heal

Anthropologists discover earliest form of wall art

Evolution's gift may also be at the root of a form of autism




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement