Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Immunology
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Scientists Identify Gene that Allows Malaria Parasite to Survive in Mosquitoes

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
NIAID researchers have identified a gene that helps malaria-causing parasites elude the mosquito immune system, allowing the microbes to transmit efficiently to people when the insect takes a blood meal.

Background
Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite from the genus Plasmodium. The parasite undergoes several developmental stages inside the mosquito. The bite of the infected insect then transmits the disease-causing parasite to people. Malaria caused by P. falciparum, one of four Plasmodium strains that commonly infect people,mostly affects young children in Africa and causes more than half a million deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Certain types of mosquitoes are resistant to malaria infection. When parasites come into contact with the serum-like liquid that flows through the mosquito’s circulatory system, the insect’s immune system interacts with the surfaces of the parasites and kills them.

Several years ago, researchers noted that a particular strain of Anopheles gambiae mosquito can kill many Plasmodium species, including several P. falciparum strains. But some P. falciparum lines from West Africa survived in the resistant A. gambiae strain. More recent work attributed these striking differences in survival to interactions between the parasites and the mosquito immune system.

Results of Study
To better understand how some parasites can evade the mosquito immune system, NIAID researchers led by Carolina V. Barillas-Mury, M.D., Ph.D., in NIAID’s Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research studied genetic differences between P. falciparum lines from Brazil and Ghana. Malaria-resistant mosquitoes with healthy immune systems effectively kill the Brazil line, but when the mosquito’s immune system is disrupted, the parasites survive. In contrast, the mosquito immune system seemingly did not detect the parasites from the Ghana line.

By analyzing the offspring of a genetic cross between these two lines, the scientists identified the gene that makes some parasites invisible to the mosquito immune system.  The gene, called Pfs47, is expressed on the surface of the fertilized form of the malaria parasite. African parasites engineered to lack this key gene are readily detected by the mosquito and eliminated.

Significance
The NIAID scientists pinpointed the gene that allows P. falciparum to efficiently infect mosquitoes and be transmitted to people. The parasite’s ability to evade the mosquito immune system may contribute to the high rate of malaria transmission in some geographic areas where the disease is prevalent.  The researcher’s findings potentially could help scientists devise ways to recruit the mosquito immune system to prevent malaria transmission to people.

Next Steps
The NIAID scientists are investigating whether antibodies against the gene can block its function and allow the mosquito immune system to recognize and eliminate malaria-causing parasites.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Experimental MERS Vaccine Shows Promise in Animal Studies
A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
NIAID Study Identifies Immune Sensors of Malnutrition
Leading research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Scientific News
Food Triggers Creation of Regulatory T Cells
IBS researchers document how normal diet establishes immune tolerance conditions in the small intestine.
Therapeutic Approach Gives Hope for Multiple Myeloma
A new therapeutic approach tested by a team from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS-EST, Montreal) and the University of Montreal gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow currently considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy and for which the average life expectancy is about 6 or 7 years.
Cellular 'Relief Valve'
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved a long-standing mystery in cell biology by showing essentially how a key “relief-valve” in cells does its job.
Switch Lets Salmonella Fight, Evade Immune System
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a molecular regulator that allows salmonella bacteria to switch from actively causing disease to lurking in a chronic but asymptomatic state called a biofilm.
Tricked-Out Immune Cells Could Attack Cancer
New cell-engineering technique may lead to precision immunotherapies.
Neural Networks Adapt to the Presence of a Toxic HIV Protein
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) afflict approximately half of HIV infected patients.
HIV Protein Manipulates Hundreds of Human Genes
Findings search for new or improved treatments for patients with AIDS.
Breaking the Brain’s Garbage Disposal
The children’s ataxia gene problem turned out to be not such a big deal genetically — it was such a slight mutation that it barely changed the way the cells made the protein.
Flesh-Eating Bacteria Work Together
Scientists recently discovered different strains of deadly flesh-eating bacteria working together to spread infection and they now have a better understanding of the role of the toxins they produce. The discovery could change how the illness and other diseases are treated.
Utilizing Antibodies from Ebola Survivors
A collaborative team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Vanderbilt University, The Scripps Research Institute and Integral Molecular Inc. have learned that antibodies in the blood of people who have survived a strain of the Ebola virus can kill various types of Ebola.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!