alexa Malaria parasite deploys genetic trickery to escape immune system attack

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Malaria parasite deploys genetic trickery to escape immune system attack

Up to one million people -- mainly pregnant woman and young children -- are killed each year by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes the most devastating form of human malaria. Now, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have revealed the genetic trickery this deadly parasite deploys to escape attack by the human immune system. The parasite is known to replicate within the circulating blood of infected individuals and modify the surface of infected red blood cells. Its virulence comes from its impressive ability to hide from the immune system by selectively changing which surface proteins it displays. The research provides evidence that these lncRNAs molecules play a key role in regulating the genetic mechanisms enabling the deadly parasite to evade human immunity. According to Prof. Dzikowski, "We believe this breakthrough has exposed the tip of the iceberg in understanding how the deadliest malaria parasite regulates the selective expression of its genes, enabling it to evade the immune system. Understanding the mechanisms by which the parasite evades immunity takes us closer to finding ways to either block this ability, or force the parasite to expose its entire antigenic repertoire and thus allow the human immune system to overcome the disease. Such findings can help pave the way for development of new therapies and vaccines for malaria".

 
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