Malaria is a major public health problem in the developing world and is endemic in many regions of India. The development of novel strategies for malaria control requires a better understanding of the biology of malaria parasites. Our project aims at bringing a significant contribution to this field, through dissecting the signalling pathways that regulate essential processes in the life cycle of malaria parasites. The proposed research will merge two lines of investigation that have thus far been conducted largely independently from each other, namely:
(i) the characterisation of components of signal transduction pathways (protein kinases, nucleotide cyclases, calcium signalling mediators) in malaria parasites;
(ii) the study of specific biological and developmental processes during the life cycle of malaria parasites.
Merging these two fields of malaria research will ensure a high level of complementarity and synergy within the consortium. Specific workpackages will be centred on understanding signalling-dependent regulation in the following processes and stage transition within the life cycle of malaria parasites:
- erythrocyte infection (invasion, parasite proliferation, egress)
- sexual development (gametocytogenesis, gametogenesis, transmission to the mosquito vector)
- hepatocyte infection (invasion, parasite proliferation, egress)
- membrane dynamics (trafficking, transporters)
Approaches will include proteomics, reverse genetics, structural biology, and the use of animal models of malaria.
The consortium is constituted of EU and Indian partners with a proven track record either in research into one of the developmental stages/processes described above, or in signal transduction in malaria parasites. The project will significantly strengthen EU-India cooperation in this highly relevant topic.