MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Nottingham study reveals role of cyclin in malaria parasites

Study reveals role of cyclin in malaria parasites | Courtesy of harvard.edu
University of Nottingham scientists recently discovered how cyclin, which is a protein molecule within the parasites that cause malaria, helps the virus to spread throughout its host.

Malaria parasites have complicated life cycles that need two hosts -- first a mosquito and then a mammal -- to survive. Another important part of its survival is cyclin, which is crucial to cell division in the virus. Now scientists know that cyclin helps malaria to grow when it is inside its mosquito host.

"This first functional study of cyclin in the malaria parasite and its consequences in parasite development within pathogen-carrying mosquitoes will definitely further our understanding of parasite cell division, which I hope will lead to the elimination of this disease in the future,” Magali Roques, the study's lead author, said.

Understanding how the virus works will further advance malaria studies and solutions, and this discovery could help researchers develop new treatments for the virus. 

"Cyclins are a really diverse class of proteins comprising many different types in different organisms,” Bill Wickstead, from the university's School of Life Sciences, said. “What's interesting is that Plasmodium contains a really small set of unusual composition. It was clear that this was likely to be related to their unusual cell and life-cycles and Professor [Rita] Tewari's group was in a great position to be able to test this."

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