Published the 05/07/2017 in Press Releases

Nottingham research plays key role in malaria breakthrough

Science initiated in Nottingham has helped to form the foundation for the latest breakthrough in the global fight against malaria.

Researchers in the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences were responsible for the identification of the molecular switches that control the three key stages of the malaria parasite’s life cycle – work which has underpinned a new discovery about the way in which the growth of the parasite is controlled.

Now, a team of international scientists led by Portuguese academics has discovered that one of the proteins identified by the Nottingham experts plays a vital role in modulating the parasite’s rate of replication by sensing the nutritional status of its host.

The results of the study, published in the journal Nature (: 10.1038/nature23009), show that this may ultimately dictate the outcome of a malaria infection: survival or death.

Rita Tewari, Professor of Parasite Cell Biology in the Nottigham University’s School of Life Sciences said: “This work comes as a result of major work which we undertook to further our understanding of how the protein signalling molecules called kinases control the malaria parasite development in the host body and the gut of the mosquito. As a result of our research, we produced a big resource of proteins called kinases and enzymes which work in tandem with them called phosphatases, which are very good potential targets for drugs. This is a valuable resource for the scientific community working on malaria.

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