Elisabeth Manville
Feb 24, 2012

Scientists identify protein that plays crucial role in malaria parasite reproduction

A new study was published that about the newly discovered role of a protein involved in the reproduction of malaria. The protein, called cell-division cycle protein 20 (CDC20), had been previously known to play a role in cell division in many organisms, but scientists have just now discovered its role in malaria reproduction. The absence of CDC20 stops the exflagellation of male sex cells. This means that the male cells cannot form and burst out of their host cells, therefore preventing the fertilization of female cells. "The malaria parasite is a complex organism and to understand how it multiplies is crucial to stopping its transmission... Blocking the formation of these cells can be an important strategy in the prevention of malaria transmission from mosquito to mammalian hosts," said David Guttery, lead scientist of the paper, in a press release.