Researchers discover key protein in malaria
Hamburg/Melbourne – Researchers have discovered a new drug target that blocks the malaria parasite from entering human blood cells (PLoSPathog.Jun 3;6(6):e100094). Currently, there is no vaccine against the Plasmodium parasite due to the high variability of its cell surface proteins. Malaria kills 1 million people every year and every malaria parasite has only one chance to infect a blood cell. If it does not succeed it dies“ says Dr. Tim Gilberger from the Hamburg-based Bernhard Nocht Institute for tropical medicine. Together with colleages from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, Gilberger found that blood invasion of the parasite depends on the activation of the AMA1 protein by protein kinase A. The researchers are now screening for drugs and vaccines that block phosphorylation of AMA1.