The liver could reveal malaria's achilles' heal

Maria M. Mota


    Maria M. Mota


    Institute of Molecular Medicine (iMM), Portugal


    Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito of the genus Anopheles, infected by Plasmodium. This parasite is a global health problem for which there is no cure. Every two minutes a child dies from malaria, the majority in Africa, and children under five years old represent two-thirds of the mortal victims.

    In the case of mammals, in contrast to other species, the parasite installs itself in the liver with great ease, where it replicates itself at an accelerated rate. Scientists do not understand why this happens, but they suspect that it is due to the metabolism of liver cells.

    The research project proposes a new paradigm for the study of malaria in order to understand how the environment and the resources that the parasite finds in the liver of mammals have influenced the life cycle of Plasmodium and its evolution. The goal is to find new treatments that will slow down the replication of the pathogen and eliminate the malaria.


    Plasmodium exploitation of liver-specific methionine metabolism