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February 25, 2014

Researchers identify protein responsible for malaria transmission

Researchers identify protein responsible for malaria transmission

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes.

Two groups of researchers have independently identified the the protein responsible for malaria transmission to mosquitoes in studies published in journal Nature on Sunday.

The scientists found a direct relationship between the protein AP2-G’s with malaria gametocytes (male and female sexual forms) production, which is necessary for the transmission. Only the sexual forms infect mosquitoes and sexual reproduction occurs within the mosquito digestive tract.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The initially separate teams looked at different plasmodium species. One, an international group led by Manuel Llinás of Penn State University in the US, examined Plasmodium falciparum, which is responsible for the worst form of human malarial infections; the other, led by UK scientists Oliver Billker from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England and Andy Waters from University of Glasgow in Scotland, looked at Plasmodium berghei, which infects rodents.

The P. falciparum group was kickstarted by research in Spain which found different organisms from the same strain with identical DNA had varying levels of AP2-G, with a strong correlation to their levels of sexual activity. The more AP2-G, the higher the rate of gametocyte formation. Researchers in England, later also drawn into the international team, analyzed the genomes of two mutated strains of P. falciparum which were both unable to form gametocytes. They found that the gene responsible for producing the AP2-G protein was the only common non-functioning gene.

The international team found found the AP2-G protein catalyzes the transmission by activating a relevant gene set in the parasite.

Women tend to their malaria-infected babies in Angola.
Image: USAID Africa.

Both teams confirmed the finding by gene therapy — both by adding the gene into a mutated strain and observing its ability to form gametocytes, and the other way round.

The parasites exist in a mosquito, then in a human, and require subsequent transmission for the parasite to spread. The transmission can only happen through gametocytes. The parasite triggers formation of the sexual gametocytes into the human’s circulatory system every two days in small quantities — not wasting energy on the process at the dry time of year when few mosquitoes are available — but little was known about the mechanism.

Dr. Oliver Billker commented on the potential of getting the transmission of malaria under control, unlike the existing focus on addressing the phrase causing the clinical symptoms, “Current drugs treat patients by killing the sexless form of the parasite in their blood — this is the detrimental stage of the malaria lifecycle that causes illness. However, it is now widely accepted that to eliminate malaria from an entire region, it will be equally important to kill the sexual forms that transmit the disease.”

The researchers hope to continue research toward drugs to prevent the transmission of the disease. The science was funded by groups including UK research councils, the Spanish government, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the European Commission.


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News Briefs: March 25, 2014

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News Briefs: March 25, 2014 – Wikinews, the free news source

News Briefs: March 25, 2014

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wikinews Audio Briefs
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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Today on Wikinews: We briefly recap some of the stories appearing on Wikinews during the last two weeks and from around the world.

Today is Wednesday, March twenty five – twenty fourteen. I am Jordan Bayes and this is Wikinews.


Community members host fundraiser to help family of slain Texas woman

After the body of missing nineteen-year-old Alicia Benefield of Deberry, Texas was discovered, community members hosted a bake sale to support her family. Benefield was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Rodris Webster, who was arrested last week. Webster was charged with one count of murder and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. The bake sale was organized by Sharon Jernigan and was a big success.

Kansas anti-gay church leader Fred Phelps dies at 84

The founder and leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas died last Wednesday. Fred Phelps founded the church in nineteen fifty-five. Since then, the church has gained a reputation by picketing funerals of dead US soldiers and other events like concerts by famous pop acts. The Church has received many negative responses from community members, but the US Supreme Court has upheld their right to petition at funerals in twenty eleven. Phelps was excommunicated from the Church last year.

Docudays UA eleventh edition opens

On Friday, The Eleventh International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival opened in Kyiv, Ukraine. The films entered into the festival are separated into different categories and will be judged by famous human rights activists, writers, film producers, critics, etc. The festival will continue until Friday, March twenty-eight. The best films in the festival will also be shown at the Docudays UA Traveling Festival.

Arch Enemy singer Angela Gossow quits

Angela Gossow announced her departure from Swedish extreme metal band Arch Enemy via the band’s Facebook page Monday, March seventeen. Gossow intends to pursue other goals and interests in her life. Arch Enemy will replace Gossow with Alissa White-Gluz, the lead singer of a Canadian extreme metal band, The Agonist. Fans of Arch Enemy have had mixed reactions about the replacement; the most popular Facebook comment read: “Arch Enemy without Angela Gossow is not Arch Enemy anymore.” Gossow does intend to stay and manage Arch Enemy and other acts as well.

Labour politician Tony Benn dies aged 88

A British Labour Party politician and left-wing campaigner died in his London home Friday, March fourteen due to health issues. Tony Benn’s health had been weakening since a stroke in twenty twelve. Benn became a Member of Parliament in 1950 following in his father’s and both grandfathers’ footsteps. Benn was often referred to as “the most dangerous man in Britain” because of his strong left-wing political views.

Fire burns at Barangaroo construction site, Sydney, Australia

An apparent welding accident in the basement of a building caused a large fire at the Barangaroo construction site in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday, March twelve. A large traffic jam developed in the Sydney Central Business District as the Western Distributor motorway and part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge were closed. All workers at the site and people in the neighboring buildings were evacuated with no injuries reported.

Guantanamo inmate challenges force-feeding practices by suing U.S. president

On Tuesday, March eleven, Guantanamo Bay inmate Emad Hassan filed a lawsuit against US president Barack Obama regarding the military’s practice of force-feeding inmates while on hunger strikes. Hassan and other inmates reported experiencing water torture techniques, having large nose tubes inserted to deliver food, and force-feeding. Hassan has been on a hunger strike since two thousand seven, and this lawsuit is the first of its kind to proceed.

Israel jails teen bomber Mohammed Mafarja for 25 years

During a brief war between Israel and Gaza in twenty twelve, Mohammed Mafarja, a minor at the time, placed a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv, severely injuring two, wounding eight, and sending fourteen into shock. On Monday, March ten, twenty fourteen, Mafarja was sentenced to twenty-five years in jail by Israel’s court. By dropping a charge of aiding an enemy in war in December twenty thirteen, Mafarja was spared a life sentence.


And those are the headlines from Wikinews.

This has been the Audio Wikinews brief. To receive the latest news, please visit, presenting up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy and entertaining content without bias. Wikinews is a free service and it is funded by your generous donations. Click on the donate link on our homepage to learn how you can contribute. This recording has been released under the Creative Commons 2.5 License.


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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