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Role of protein glycosylation in malaria parasite transmission

Project type

  • PhD and Graduate Research Masters
  • Masters by Coursework

Project details

Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and this is dependent on the ability of parasites to invade and exit from mosquito and human cells. This project aims to understand the role of malaria parasite protein glycosylation in parasite infection. Malaria parasites express proteins on their surface that enable movement, invasion and egress and we have shown that glycosylation is a crucial event for transmission (Lopaticki et al., Nature Communications 2017 and Nature Communications 2022). The project will involve cell culture, molecular biology, CRISPR/Cas9 genetics to tag and knockout Plasmodium falciparum genes, fluorescence microscopy and proteomics to understand how glycosylation of different P. falciparum proteins affects transmission. These results will have important implications for the design of vaccines that block transmission and pre-erythrocytic liver infection.

Malaria parasites require proteins that are glycosylated to successfully infect mosquitoes and the human host. Here a Plasmodium falciparum parasite is seen inside a mosquito gut exiting red blood cells in readiness to undergo sexual development and invasion of the mosquito gut wall. Image: Sash Lopaticki and Justin Boddey
Above: Malaria parasites require proteins that are glycosylated to successfully infect mosquitoes and the human host. Here a Plasmodium falciparum parasite is seen inside a mosquito gut exiting red blood cells in readiness to undergo sexual development and invasion of the mosquito gut wall. Image: Sash Lopaticki and Justin Boddey

About our research group

Our laboratory is interested in malaria parasite transmission by mosquitoes. We study the function of proteins involved in infection to develop new interventions to fight malaria. This includes novel drugs and vaccine approaches.

Education pathways