Scientists lift malaria's invisible cloak

Dec 29, 2005

Australian scientists have found a way to break through the invisibility cloak of the world's deadliest malaria parasite.

The parasite, formally plasmodium falciparum, sneaks past the human immune system with the help of a wardrobe of invisibility cloaks, Science Daily says.

International research scholars at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Australia have determined how P. falciparum can turn on one cloaking gene and keep dozens of others silent until each is needed in turn.

Their findings, published in the journal Nature, reveal the mechanism of action thought to be the key to the parasite's survival.

A DNA sequence near the start of a cloaking gene, known as the gene's promoter, not only turns up production of its protein, but also keeps all other cloaking genes under wraps, the researchers say.

"The promoter is all you need for activation and silencing," says scholar Alan Cowman.

Malaria kills an estimated 2.7 million people annually, 75 percent of them children in Africa

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaur-times cockroach caught in amber, from Myanmar

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dinosaur-times cockroach caught in amber, from Myanmar

May 01, 2015

Geologica Carpathica has a paper on a new family of predatory cockroaches. Predatory? The authors, Peter Vrsansky and Günter Bechly, from the Slovak Republic and Germany, respectively, said that "unique adapta ...

Auditors: National Science Foundation suspends UConn grants

May 01, 2015

The National Science Foundation has frozen more than $2 million in grants to the University of Connecticut after a foundation investigation found two professors used grant money to buy products from their own company, Connecticut ...

Study indicates housing market cycles have become longer

May 01, 2015

A statistical analysis of data from 20 industrial countries covering the period 1970 to 2012 suggests housing market pricing cycles—normal, boom and bust phases—have become longer over the last four decades.

Good things in store for retailers

May 01, 2015

Shopping online or in catalogs is great for many reasons: to while away time on a snowy day; to avoid the holiday crush at the local mall; to do ultra-efficient comparison shopping; to enjoy a world of choice at your fingertips. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.