A new study identifies the reason for malaria growth in organisms. This could lead to new forms of treatments.
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases. There are over 500,000 death each year. New research could lead to new ways of treating malaria.
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The malaria parasite is a single-celled organism that multiplies asexually in a non-canonical way in both vertebrate host and mosquito vector. In the mosquito midgut, atypical cell division occurs in oocysts, where repeated nuclear division (endomitosis) precedes cell division, which then gives rise to many sporozoites in a process known as sporogony.
The molecular mechanisms controlling this process are poorly understood. In many model organisms including mouse and yeast cells the cell cycle is regulated by members of the cyclin protein family, but the role of this family in the malaria parasite is unknown.
A new study published in PLOS Pathagens pin points three cyclin genes responsible for the growth of malaria. The researchers layout the function of the single P-type cyclin (CYC3) in the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei.
CYC3 has a cytoplasmic and nuclear localisation throughout most of the parasite lifecycle and by gene deletion we demonstrate that CYC3 is important for normal oocyst development, maturation and sporozoite formation.
Deletion of cyc3 affects the transcription of genes required for cell signalling and oocyst development. The data suggest that CYC3 modulates asexual multiplication in oocysts and plays a vital role in parasite development in the mosquito.
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The details of the research led by scientists of the University of Nottingham in the UK can be found in the paper titled "Plasmodium P-Type Cyclin CYC3 Modulates Endomitotic Growth during Oocyst Development in Mosquitoes" on PLOS.