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November 2021

Malaria parasites live in human erythrocytes. After entering the host cell, they form novel "bumps" on the surface, the so-called knobs, which are necessary for the parasite to survive in the body.

Tomogram and enlargements of the deformations on the surface of parasitized erythrocytes (Photo: Przyborski)

Using reverse genetics and electron tomography, the Przyborski laboratory examined a mutated strain of parasites and found, that a certain protein is essential for the correct biogenesis of the knobs. Using drugs against this protein could allow the immune system to destroy the parasites and protect people from malaria.

Diehl, M, Roling, L, Rohland, L, Weber, S, Cyrklaff, M, Sanchez, CP, Beretta, CA, Simon, CS, Guizetti, J, Hahn, J, Schulz, N, Mayer, MP, Przyborski, JM (2021) Co-chaperone involvement in knob biogenesis implicates host-derived chaperones in malaria virulence. PLoS Pathog, 17, e1009969. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009969

For more information:
Jude Przyborski, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology