Role of glycosylation in malaria parasite infection of liver cells, red blood cells and mosquitoes

Role of glycosylation in malaria parasite infection of liver cells, red blood cells and mosquitoes

Project details

Malaria parasites are maintained between humans and mosquitoes in a complex lifecycle. Parasite success is dependent on the ability to move and to infect human and mosquito cells. 

This project aims to understand the role of glycosylation of parasite proteins expressed on its surface that are required for movement and host cell infection. Specifically, these proteins are expressed during infection of the mosquito (transmission) and during infection of the human liver (liver-stage) before blood-stage infection occurs (malaria) (Lopaticki et al., Nature Communications 2017 8(1):561). 

This project will involve cell culture, molecular biology, CRISPR/Cas9 genetics to tag and knockout Plasmodium falciparum genes, functional genomics, fluorescence microscopy of parasites and proteins, biochemistry and proteomics to understand glycosylation of different P. falciparum proteins.

About our research group

Our laboratory is interested in the function and glycosylation of proteins during malaria parasite infection of mosquitoes and human liver cells (read paper in Nature Communications). We use an insectary to explore the lifecycle of the malaria parasite. This equips us to study parasite transmission to mosquitoes and subsequent infection of the liver by sporozoites dissected from mosquitoes. The aim of this research is to develop new ways to fight malaria. 

We are a friendly and supportive lab whose researchers help each other to learn, provide feedback, obtain reproducible results, communicate our research and progress our careers. We collaborate with a variety of laboratories within WEHI and externally. This project will involve collaborations with the Goddard-Borger lab at WEHI and glycoproteomics experts at the University of Melbourne. 


Email supervisors


Malaria parasite lifecycle diagram
The malaria lifecycle and glycosylation project overview


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