Our laboratory is interested in understanding how malaria parasites manipulate their intracellular environment in order to live within humans.

We are examining:

How the parasite enters liver cells.
How the parasite survives inside liver cells.
How the parasite is transmitted to, and develops within, mosquitoes.
Our recent research has focused on how malaria parasites commandeer red blood cells by exporting their own proteins into these cells. This has revealed potential new targets for antimalarial treatments. We are very keen to see whether these parasite targets are also active during the earliest and last phases of malaria in the human host, in order to intercept the parasite at multiple stages of its lifecycle.

We use cell biology and biochemistry to study the parasite and its interactions with the host. We also utlise the institute’s new insectary, in which Anopheles stenphensi mosquitoes are reared and can be infected with P. falciparum, P. vivax and P. berghei parasites. We use in vitro and humanised models to study malaria-host interactions across the lifecycle.

Our research also involves the development of small molecule inhibitors for use as tools to understand the role of protein export across the lifecycle, and also for potential use as antiparasitic therapies.

Image: https://www.wehi.edu.au/sites/default/files/Boddey-Lab-malaria-lifecycle-figure.jpg


Selected publications from A/Prof Justin Boddey

Jennison C, Lucantoni L, O’Neill MT, McConville R, Erickson SM, Cowman AF, Sleebs BE, Avery VM, Boddey JA. Inhibition of Plasmepsin V Activity Blocks Plasmodium falciparum Gametocytogenesis and Transmission to Mosquitoes. Cell Rep. 2019 Dec 17;29(12):3796-3806.e4. PMID: 31851913

Armistead JS, Jennison C, O’Neill MT, Lopaticki S, Liehl P, Hanson KK, Annoura T, Rajasekaran P, Erickson SM, Tonkin CJ, Khan SM, Mota MM, Boddey JA. Plasmodium falciparum subtilisin-like ookinete protein SOPT plays an important and conserved role during ookinete infection of the Anopheles stephensi midgut. Mol Microbiol. 2018 Jun 5. PMID: 29873127

Lopaticki S, Yang ASP, John A, Scott NE, Lingford JP, O’Neill MT, Erickson SM, McKenzie NC, Jennison C, Whitehead LW, Douglas DN, Kneteman NM, Goddard-Borger ED*, Boddey JA*. Protein O-fucosylation in Plasmodium falciparum ensures efficient infection of mosquito and vertebrate hosts. Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 15;8(1):561. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00571-y. *corresponding authors PMID: 28916755

Yang AS, O’Neill MT, Jennison C, Lopaticki S, Allison CC, Armistead JS, Erickson SM, Rogers KL, Ellisdon AM, Whisstock JC, Tweedell RE, Dinglasan RR, Douglas DN, Kneteman NM, Boddey JA. Cell Traversal Activity Is Important for Plasmodium falciparum Liver Infection in Humanized Mice. Cell Rep. 2017 Mar 28;18(13):3105-3116. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.03.017 PMID: 28355563

Boddey JA*, O’Neill MT, Lopaticki S, Carvalho TG, Hodder AN, Nebl T, Wawra S, van West P, Ebrahimzadeh Z, Richard D, Flemming S, Spielmann T, Przyborski J, Babon JJ, Cowman AF*. Export of malaria proteins requires co-translational processing of the PEXEL motif independent of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate binding. Nat Commun. 2016 1;7:10470. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10470. *corresponding authors PMID: 26832821

Coffey MJ, Sleebs BE, Uboldi AD, Garnham AL, Franco M, Marino ND, Panas MW, Ferguson DJ, Enciso M, O’Neill MT, Lopaticki S, Stewart RJ, Dewson G, Smyth GK, Smith BJ, Masters SL, Boothroyd JC, Boddey JA*, Tonkin CJ*. An aspartyl protease defines a novel pathway for export of Toxoplasma proteins into the host cell. Elife. 2015 4:e10809. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10809. *corresponding authors PMID: 26576949

Hodder AN, Sleebs BE, Czabotar PE, Gazdik M, Xu Y, O’Neill MT, Lopaticki S, Nebl T, Triglia T, Smith BJ, Lowes K, Boddey JA*, Cowman AF*. Structural basis for plasmepsin V inhibition that blocks export of malaria proteins to human erythrocytes. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2015 Aug;22(8):590-6. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.3061. Epub 2015 Jul 27. *corresponding authors. PMID: 26214367

Sleebs BE, Lopaticki S, Marapana DS, O’Neill MT, Rajasekaran P, Gazdik M, Gunther S, Whitehead LW, Lowes KN, Barfod L, Hviid L, Shaw PJ, Hodder AN, Smith BJ, Cowman AF, Boddey JA. Inhibition of Plasmepsin V activity demonstrates its essential role in protein export, PfEMP1 display, and survival of malaria parasites. PLoS Biol. 2014 Jul;12(7):e1001897. PMID: 24983235.

Boddey JA, Hodder AN, Gunther S, Gilson PR, Patsiouras H, Kapp EA, Pearce JA, de Koning-Ward TF, Simpson RJ, Crabb BS, Cowman AF. An aspartyl protease directs malaria effector proteins to the host cell. Nature. 2010 Feb 4;463(7281):627-31. PMID: 20130643.

de Koning-Ward TF, Gilson PR, Boddey JA, Rug M, Smith BJ, Papenfuss AT, Sanders PR, Lundie RJ, Maier AG, Cowman AF, Crabb BS. A newly discovered protein export machine in malaria parasites. Nature. 2009 Jun 18;459(7249):945-9. PMID: 19536257.

Lab research projects

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