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Infected red cells thereby get stuck and avoid being with the circulation pumped through the spleen and being filtered out there - and the parasites survive. At the same time the binding to vessel walls may in the human cause life-threatening organ damage by disturbing the microcirculation.
For our studies we used malaria parasites freshly isolated from patients. We could show that the proteins involved in the binding to vessel walls are being produced at very different time points during parasite maturation. On one hand they were transported to the red blood cell surface, on the other hand they appeared in the daughter parasites, the merozoites. Their functions obviously are manifold. This could not be found using malaria parasites grown in the test tube. For further studies, therefore, we depend on the help of malaria patients and some small blood donations from them.
Bachmann A. et al., Cell Microbiol 2011, 13:1397- 1409
Anna Bachmann, Ann-Kathrin Tilly, Susann Ofori, Egbert Tannich, Iris Bruchhaus and external cooperation partners (see publication)