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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Malaria Centre

Malaria research in parasite biology

The roles and modes of action of a Plasmodium LCCL protein family in sporozoite development and transmission.

LSHTM investigators:
Johannes Dessens, Sadia Saeed & Annie Tremp.
Funding body:
Wellcome Trust.

Malaria crystalloids are unique organelles of as yet unknown function that are present only in the mosquito-specific ookinete and early oocyst stages of the parasite.

We have spatially and functionally linked crystalloid formation in Plasmodium berghei to the parasite protein PbSR, a member of the Plasmodium LCCL protein family composed of six modular multidomain proteins involved in sporozoite development and infectivity. We have also shown more recently that at least two other LCCL protein family members are targeted to the crystalloids in a similar way to PbSR. These results extend the similarities between the LCCL proteins, and provide strong supporting evidence that members of this protein family work in concert and are involved in the same molecular process. This project aims to investiate the molecular interactions of the LCCL protein family members to elucidate their precise roles and modes of action and in this process.