UoH researchers decode malaria – the Hindu BusinessLine

A new discovery led by a team of researchers at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) could be the next big step in the search for a cure for malaria.

The research team led by Professor Mrinal Bhattacharya of the University of Hyderabad has found a correlation between fever induced by malaria and the antigenic variation of malaria parasites.


the Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) (the protein of the malaria parasite under study) is the most predominant molecular determinant of antigenic variation in this parasite.

There could be up to 90 variants of this protein and only one protein is expressed at any given time, and that expression is completely random. These proteins do not live for several generations because malaria parasites constantly change from one form of protein to another, therefore the human host fails to mount a robust antibody response against these variant proteins.

“ The present study revealed how the parasites manipulate the expression of malaria proteins on the surface of infected red blood cells in response to fever, which is the most common manifestation of the disease, ” UoH said in a statement. Saturday.

The researchers found that exposure to febrile temperature modulates the expression of virulence genes that could impact the chronicity of malaria infection.

Other observations

The results suggest that targeting the parasitic proteins involved in the heat shock response during fever is likely to restrict the antigenic variation of the parasites and thus prevent malaria.

These results are published in a reputable journal Molecular microbiology by a team led by UoH professor Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharyya and his students, Wahida Tabassum and Shalu Varunan (Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad) in collaboration with Sunanda Bhattacharyya (Department of Biotechnology and bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad).

Malaria is a fatal disease caused by a malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum transmitted among humans by the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

The 2019 World Health Organization (WHO) report estimates 229 million cases of malaria and deaths from malaria at 4.09,000 worldwide. Children under 5 are the most vulnerable and account for 67 pc (2.74,000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.