Malaria fight sees improvement

Identification of RNA-dependent proteins across the proteome.


Using a lab method called R-DeeP, University of California- Riverside researchers advance malaria therapy research. They focus on RNA-dependent proteins, essential for cell survival but poorly understood in Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite. Limited tools hindered previous research, but their work sheds light on these crucial proteins.

Using R-DeeP, Karine Le Roch and her team discovered 898 RNA-dependent proteins in P. falciparum. This includes new and parasite-specific proteins, offering potential for malaria treatments. One such protein, PF3D7_0823200, interacts with vital Plasmodium transcripts, making it a promising drug target. The study, published in Nature Communications, highlights the importance of these proteins in malaria.

Le Roch said, “Our study provides the first snapshot of the Plasmodium protein-protein and protein-RNA interaction network in the parasite. These generated R-DeeP results highlight the importance of RNA in many biological pathways in the parasite and identify new targets for combating malaria.”

Le Roch collaborated with Hollin, Abel, and Prudhomme from UCR, Banks, and Florens from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, and Hristov, Hales, and Noble from the University of Washington. The National Institutes of Health and UCR provided funding.

The research led by Karine Le Roch and her team represents a significant advancement in malaria research, offering insights into RNA-dependent proteins and potential therapeutic targets. With continued collaborative efforts and support, these findings hold promise for developing more effective treatments against malaria, bringing us closer to the goal of eradicating this deadly disease.

Journal reference:

  1. Hollin, T., Abel, S., Banks, C., et al. Proteome-Wide Identification of RNA-dependent proteins and an emerging role for RNAs in Plasmodium falciparum protein complexes. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-45519-1.
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