This is the Saglin Project

Posted by on Aug 12 2008 | Group projects

Malaria and the problems of control

Malaria remains one of the most devastating diseases occurring in the world today. Over 100 million cases are estimated to occur every year in tropical Africa alone. Increasing drug resistance and weak health infrastructure may also affect the control of this disease.

Malaria is transmitted by Anopheline mosquitoes. It is caused by parasitic protozoa of the genus Plasmodium, and alternates between human and mosquito hosts.

Although some new drugs have appeared in the last twenty years, new (especially inexpensive and affordable) drugs and more practical formulations of existing drugs are badly needed. In spite of drug resistance , malaria is a curable disease, not an inevitable burden

The three main types of vaccine being developed are:

1. ‘Anti-sporozoite’ or ‘pre-erythrocytic’ vaccines, designed to prevent infection.

2.  ‘Anti-asexual blood stage’ vaccines, designed to reduce severe and complicated manifestations of the disease.

3.  ‘Transmission-blocking’ vaccines, designed to arrest the development of the parasite in the mosquito, thereby reducing or eliminating transmission of the disease.

Invasion of mosquito salivary glands by Plasmodium sporozoites is a necessary step for successful transmission of malaria. Molecular mechanisms involved in the recognition and subsequent invasion of salivary glands by the sporozoites released from rupturing oocysts remain poorly understood. Previous  studies have shown that interaction of sporozoites with salivary glands is species specific and may involve specific molecular recognition mechanisms. It has been previously suggested that the invasion of Anopheles salivary glands is mediated by specific receptor-ligand interactions. Saglin is a secreted protein that may represent one of the molecules involved during the invasion of salivary glands by Plasmodium sporozoites,


Proposed Study:

  1. Find amino acid and/or nucleotide sequence data of saglin for Anopheles.
  2. Determine if saglin or similar protein is present in non-Anopleles mosquitoes
  3. Compare saglin sequence in Anopheles and other mosquitoes.
  4. If other proteins similar to saglin are found in other mosquitoes, identify the active site of the molecule.
  5. Determine the structure and physical properties of saglin.
  6. Find possible ways to inactivate the molecule.

Group #1

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