The Latest Malaria News, in 60 Seconds.
The secrets to the Dantu blood group’s innate protection from malaria are revealed, researchers identify the protein needed for efficiency egress of rodent malaria from the liver, and a letter Trends in Parasitology defends the mosquito.
Individuals with a rare blood variant found only in parts of East Africa, named Dantu blood type, have long been known to have innate protection from malaria. Yet the cause of this protection has never been fully understood. By following the process of invasion using video microscopy, researchers have now found that higher-than-average surface tension of Dantu red blood cells block malaria parasite entry and therefore protect against the most severe form of the disease.
Researchers have found that a specific protein – PbSERA4 – is required for efficient egress of the rodent malaria parasite P. berghei from the liver. When removed, the ability of the malaria parasite to establish blood-stage infection, whilst not eliminated, is strongly inhibited.
The mosquito is often referred to as the ‘world’s deadliest killer’; a new letter in the Trends in Parasitology emphasises the mosquito’s role as a vector of disease, not as a killer in and of itself.
Image Credits: NIAID [Flickr]
Scientific Advisor: Elena Gómez-Díaz, Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine, Spain