Structural studies of Plasmodium falciparum – University of Copenhagen

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Structural studies of Plasmodium falciparum proteins implicated in severe malaria pathogenesis and immunity

Studies on the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum that causes the most severe forms of malaria in humans is the focus of this collaborative project. the virulence of Plasmodium falciparum is related to the expression of high-molecular weight adhesive proteins called PfEMP1 on the surface of intected erythrocytes (IEs). The PfEMP1 proteins can bind to host vascular receptors, thereby mediating sequestraion of IEs in various tissues, which leads to inflammation and organ dysfunction. Through the UCPH 2016 project, we aim to obtain low- and high-resolution topological information of ligand-receptor interaction through small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS and SANS) and crystallographic analysis of the PfEMP1 adhesive domains and/or co-crystals of these domains in comples either with receptors or ligand-specific monoclonal antibodies or with peptide mimics of these.

This project is realized through collaboration between researchers from the Faculty of SCIENCE (Department of Chemistry) and the Faculty of HEALTH and Medical Sciences (Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology).

Participants:
Professor Sine Larsen#
Professor Lars Hviid*
Professor Anja T.R. Jensen*
Postdoc, PhD Vladislav Soroka*#
Postdoc Anja Bengtsson*

Affiliations:
*Centre for Medical Parasitology at Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen and at Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet).
# Department of Chemistry, SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen