Cover image for study of malaria parasite virulence & protein export

Matz Joachim.jpg

Three papers published, and thrice honoured with a cover image. The latest paper of Joachim Matz, PhD student in the group of Dr. Taco Kooij, Dept. Medical Microbiology, much like his previous two publications, made it to the cover, this time of the June 2015 issue of Eukaryotic Cell of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

In this paper, Matz, Kooij, and collaborators from the groups of Prof. Matuschewski (Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany) and Prof. Stenzel (Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany) describe the in-depth characterisation of a parasites deficient in PTEX88, a protein thought to be part of the malaria parasite protein export complex. These (green fluorescent) parasites grow at half the speed of wild-type parasites. They do not accumulate in organ tissues nor do they cause severe cerebral disease complications. Instead, the dying parasites lead to an increased spleen swelling. Perhaps most surprisingly, general protein export appears to be functional, as indicated by the staining of the surfaces of the infected red blood cells with anti-parasite serum (magenta). The presented data suggest that the protein export machinery of malaria parasites and their underlying mechanistic features are considerably more complex than previously anticipated and indicate challenges for targeted intervention strategies.

Abstract

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