Tuesday 25 June 2019 16:00 – 17:00 A. Payatakes Seminar Room
” The Plasmodium NF-Y like complex is required for malaria parasite transmission ”
Dr. Chiara Curra Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB)
Malaria is transmitted by Plasmodium parasites and has a tremendous impact in the world. The sporozoites, transmitted from the mosquito to the vertebrate host during a mosquito bite, are produced in the mosquito inside the oocyst in about 12 days after blood meal uptake. Oocyst rupture is an essential step for the release of the sporozoites, which next travel to the salivary glands where they will be transmitted to the new host. Here, parasites first invade the liver cells and after they reach the blood stream infecting erythrocytes. Little is known about the mechanism of oocyst rupture and liver cells invasion. Recently, three Oocyst Rupture Proteins (ORP1-3) have been identified with a function in sporozoite transmission. Mutants lacking orps are blocked at oocyst stage, and sporozoites mechanically released are not able to establish infection in the vertebrate host. ORP1 and ORP2 play a role in the mechanism of oocyst rupture through the interaction of their histone-fold domains, similar to subunit B and C of the transcription factor NFY. Also ORP3 has a function during oocyst rupture but the mechanism is not known. ORPs represent a new discovery on how the parasite exploits protein domains to provide vital functions such as oocyst rupture and liver cells invasion. ORPs, or their specific domains, could be a possible target for anti-malarial strategies development to stop malaria transmission to the vertebrate host.