6-cysteine proteins: key mediators between malaria parasites and human host

6-cysteine proteins: key mediators between malaria parasites and human host

Project details

Surface-associated proteins play critical roles in the Plasmodium parasite life cycle and are major targets for vaccine development. The 6-cysteine (6-cys) protein family is expressed in stage-specific manner throughout the parasite life cycle and conserved across Plasmodium species, but the precise function of many family members is still unknown.

The main aim of this project is to dissect the roles of 6-cys family during the parasite life cycle. We have nanobodies against several 6-cys proteins to examine the cellular localisation, to identify interacting partners and neutralising antibodies against parasite blood stage invasion and transmission studies. These studies will shed light on the diverse functions of the 6-cys family in the Plasmodium life cycle and provide opportunities to develop interventions that may inhibit parasite infection.

About our research group

Malaria is one of the most widespread parasitic diseases in the world with more than 40 per cent of humans under the risk of contracting this devastating disease. Human malaria is caused by six species of Plasmodium parasites, of which Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax contribute to the majority of human infections.

We have been working to understand how malaria parasites cause disease so that we can use this pivotal information to develop a vaccine. Our research seeks a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms utilised by malaria parasites to infect humans and mosquitoes, and of parasite evasion strategies to circumvent human immune responses.

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