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Identified mechanism in the malaria parasite to help it adapt to infected individuals

em again in a different host, explains Corts. We are talking about a very sophisticated adaptation system to the host and our challenge is to find out how this mechanism works at molecular level; that is, we need to figure out which specific epigenetic modifications are associated to activity or to silencing. Another immediate objective is to find out how many of the 30 genes involved in the invasion of red blood cells are active or inactive in parasites found in nature. Thanks to this study we have been able to identify 7 genes in 4 different genetic families that may be silenced in a specific P. falciparum strain; we suspect, however, that other genes may also be silenced, and well follow this up with studies on wild strains of the parasite, concludes Corts.

The scientist, who leads a research line in molecular parasitology in the Genetic Translation Laboratory at IRB Barcelona, emphasises that this study has also revealed that none of these proteins acting on its own would be a suitable candidate to develop a vaccine because the parasite will still succeed in invading the red blood cell to continue its life cycle. Researchers like Alfred Corts believe that more insight into the biology of this parasite will allow us to design vaccines with a high likelihood of success.


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Contact: Sonia Armengou
armengou@irbbarcelona.org
34-934-037-255
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB)
2-Aug-2007


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