Researchers record malaria parasite entering a red blood cell

first_imgAs humans we all know what infections are. We’ve all had colds, treated wounds to stop them getting infected, and a few of us have suffered worse such as contracting malaria. But most of us only understand that some parasite or bug gets into our body and causes us to get ill. We’ve never been able to visualize it. That is, until now.Dr. Jake Baum, from the Infection and Immunity Division, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, managed to capture the moment a malaria parasite invades a red blood cell. The recording was made possible through the use of transmission electron microscopy and 3D immunoflourescence microscopy.In order to capture the invasion, Dr. Baum had to control it. He used two drugs to block and then enable the malaria parasite to invade one of the cells, giving the camera more chance of seeing an invasion happen while it recorded.The end result is a 30 second attack and win for the parasite. According to Baum it quite literally drills into the cell:The parasites produce a protein called the tight junction marker and use it to attach to and drill into red blood cells. At the beginning of invasion it’s a dot, as the parasite enters the cell it becomes a beautiful circle, and then the marker is behind the parasite. Read more at New Scientistlast_img

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