Dr Jake Baum
Division: Infection and Immunity
Throughout its complex lifecycle the malaria parasite must traverse tissues and invade a diversity of host cells to ensure successful propagation of the lifecycle.
However, malaria parasites don’t depend on a flagellum to move, nor do they use arp2/3-mediated membrane protrusions (indeed they entirely lack the arp2/3 complex and its regulators). Instead, malaria parasites utilise a unique actin-myosin motor that enables them to literally glide across cell surfaces and enter host cells. The components of this gliding motor are well established yet we still know almost nothing about how motility is regulated.
Our lab is focussed on understanding the regulation of the malaria parasite actin-myosin motor and visualising the intricate processes underlying cell movement and invasion. A core focus is the molecular interactions underpinning host cell invasion and the regulation of actin dynamics – the molecular clutch at the heart of gliding motility.
Our research uses a combination of genetics, biochemistry and the latest tools in fluorescence microscopy and live-imaging to understand the cell biology of motility, which given its unique nature should provide a target for novel antimalarials that prevent cell movement and thereby stop malaria disease.
Jake is an ARC Future Fellow and gained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK before moving to Melbourne to join the laboratory of Professor Alan Cowman to work on the biology of malaria parasite invasion of the human red blood cell.
In 2010, Jake established his own laboratory focussed on understanding the biomechanics of how malaria parasites move and invade cells. Research in the Baum lab is funded through grants from the CASS Foundation, the ARC and Project Grants from the NHMRC.
- The mechanics of malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte
- Actin regulation in the malaria parasite
- Cytoskeletal dynamics across the malaria parasite lifecycle
- Riglar DT, Richard D, Wilson DW, Boyle MJ, Dekiwadia C, Turnbull L, Angrisano F, Marapana DS, Rogers KL, Whitchurch CB, Beeson JG, Cowman AF, Ralph SA, Baum J. Super-resolution dissection of coordinated events during malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte. Cell Host Microbe. 2011 Jan 20;9(1):9-20. PMID: 21238943 [PubMed - in process]
- Richard D, MacRaild CA, Riglar DT, Chan JA, Foley M, Baum J, Ralph SA, Norton RS, Cowman AF. Interaction between Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 and the rhoptry neck protein complex defines a key step in the erythrocyte invasion process of malaria parasites. J Biol Chem. 2010 May 7;285(19):14815-22. Epub 2010 Mar 12.PMID: 20228060 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
- Baum J, Papenfuss AT, Mair GR, Janse CJ, Vlachou D, Waters AP, Cowman AF, Crabb BS, de Koning-Ward TF. Molecular genetics and comparative genomics reveal RNAi is not functional in malaria parasites. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jun;37(11):3788-98. Epub 2009 Apr 20. PMID: 19380379 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
- Maier AG, Baum J, Smith B, Conway DJ, Cowman AF. Polymorphisms in erythrocyte binding antigens 140 and 181 affect function and binding but not receptor specificity in Plasmodium falciparum. Infect Immun. 2009 Apr;77(4):1689-99. Epub 2009 Feb 9. PMID: 19204093 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
- Baum J, Chen L, Healer J, Lopaticki S, Boyle M, Triglia T, Ehlgen F, Ralph SA, Beeson JG, Cowman AF. Reticulocyte-binding protein homologue 5 - an essential adhesin involved in invasion of human erythrocytes by Plasmodium falciparum. Int J Parasitol. 2009 Feb;39(3):371-80. PMID: 19000690 [PubMed - in process]
- Baum J, Gilberger TW, Frischknecht F, Meissner M. Host-cell invasion by malaria parasites: insights from Plasmodium and Toxoplasma. Trends Parasitol. 2008 Dec;24(12):557-63. PMID: 18835222 [PubMed - in process]
- Baum J, Tonkin CJ, Paul AS, Rug M, Smith BJ, Gould SB, Richard D, Pollard TD, Cowman AF. A malaria parasite formin regulates actin polymerization and localizes to the parasite-erythrocyte moving junction during invasion. Cell Host Microbe. 2008 Mar 13;3(3):188-98. PMID: 18329618 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
- Baum J, Papenfuss AT, Baum B, Speed TP, Cowman AF. Regulation of apicomplexan actin-based motility. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Aug;4(8):621-8. PMID: 16845432 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
- Baum J, Maier AG, Good RT, Simpson KM, Cowman AF. Invasion by P. falciparum merozoites suggests a hierarchy of molecular interactions. PLoS Pathog. 2005 Dec;1(4):e37. PMID: 16362075 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
- Baum J, Richard D, Healer J, Rug M, Krnajski Z, Gilberger TW, Green JL, Holder AA, Cowman AF. A conserved molecular motor drives cell invasion and gliding motility across malaria life cycle stages and other apicomplexan parasites. J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 24;281(8):5197-208. PMID: 16321976 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Current Laboratory Members
Faculty Member: Jake Baum, BA(Hons), MA Oxon; MSc, PhD London
Postdoctoral Scientist: Wilson Wong, BBiomedSc Griffiths; BSc(Hons) Monash
Research Assistant: Danushka Marapana BSc(Hons) Melb
Research Assistant: Yan Hong Tan BSc UWA; BSc(Hons) Melb
Postgraduate Student: David Riglar, BSc(Hons) Melb
Postgraduate Student: Liz Zuccala, BSc(Hons) Melb
Postgraduate Student: Fiona Angrisano, BBiolSc(Hons) LaT
Postgraduate Student: Maya Olshina, BSc(Hons) Melb