Walls? Not an obstacle for this parasite
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to walk through walls? New research by a team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia, has revealed how Plasmodium falciparum – the protozoan parasite that causes malaria – can do just that. In order to multiply, the parasite needs to travel through the human body to reach the liver, but it is only transmitted through mosquito bites, which occur far away at the skin. The study identified two proteins that help P. falciparum traverse through the host’s cell walls, so that they can reach liver cells quickly and start multiplying. The scientists say that pinpointing these proteins may lead to new treatments that help break the cycle of infection, by targeting the parasites before they can spread.