Unravelling mechanisms of stage conversion in malaria parasites


  • Prof Matthias Marti

    University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Project summary

Malaria parasites have co-evolved with humans over thousands of years, mirroring their migration out of Africa. They persist to this day, despite continuous elimination efforts worldwide. It is proposed that this is because the parasites can adapt to changes within their host and between hosts, thus regulating investment into growth versus transmission. Studies in the major human malaria parasite, P. falciparum, show that such adaptation can be regulated epigenetically. However, there is also increasing evidence for hardwired factors (i.e., genes) that determine differences in the investment into growth versus transmission between parasite strains. The work proposed here aims to identify these genetic determinants and thus define the parasite pathways that regulate the balance between growth and transmission in response to environmental cues.