Friday, March 26, 2004

Four Genes May Aid Fight Against Malaria

FINDINGS ( "The discovery of four genes that help or hinder the malaria parasite as it infects mosquitoes could lead to new ways to battle one of the world's biggest killers, researchers in Germany said.
Two of the mosquito genes kill the plasmodium parasite in the insect's gut, and two others promote the parasite's development, the researchers report in today's issue of the journal Science.
Studying their effects could lead to novel ways to fight malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and kills a million people every year.
'We now see a way to potentially stop the parasite in its tracks,' said Fotis Kafatos, director-general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, who led the study.
Some mosquitoes do not transmit the parasites, and Kafatos's colleagues identified two genes that control proteins made by the mosquitoes that kill the parasite in the gut. The research was published in the journal Cell.
Kafatos and colleagues found two other proteins that protect the parasite as it develops in the mosquito gut. If these proteins were eliminated, the parasites died. "

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