Plant-Like Enzyme Acts As Key Life Cycle Switch In Malaria Parasite 
10/19/2005 5:11:18 PM

An essential switch in the life cycle of the malaria parasite has been uncovered by researchers in England, Germany and Holland. They have established that to infect mosquitoes that transmit malaria, the parasites depend on a type of molecule normally found in plants, which they have named Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase 4 (CDPK4). The finding, based on studies of the malaria parasite of rodents, Plasmodium berghei, is described as basic science, but the authors suggest it may give drug researchers a specific and safe target against which to screen potential anti-malarial drug compounds. The findings are reported in today's edition of the journal Cell (14 May) by researchers from Imperial College London, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands, and the Max-Planck Institute of Infection Biology, Germany.