New Delhi, December 14, 2008 : Scientists seek to determine which proteins influence the form-function and repair of the one mitochondrion the Malaria Parasite harbors.This will allow them to understand the mechanisms by which the Parasite adjusts to changes in the environment.Understanding these processes will allow us to decipher the mechanisms by which the Parasite responds to environment perturbations (phenotypic drugs resistance), reduce drug-induced toxicity, drive recurrence of infections after treatment is completed, and relapse form dormant stage,” a Department of Science & Technology release said.It was referring specifically the research done by Dr Niti, CSIR Central Drug Research Institute (Lucknow), scientist and Swarnajayanti fellow 2020-21 recipient, and her research group.
Malaria biology is an interesting field not only from the perspective of biochemical or molecular investigations, but it also allows addressing exciting cell biology/organelle-biology questions, it said.
The experimental exploration of biogenesis, division and repair of organelles in parasites of human Malaria is still very limited.
Understanding about the fission-fusion processes in Parasite organelles, especially for mitochondrion-ER-lysosomes organelle contacts, remains unexplored,” the release said.
To delve deeper into the subject, Dr Kumar’s research group examines mitochondrial dynamics during stress or drug-induced toxicities.
“For pharmaceutical companies, parasitic diseases are low priority area for investments, therefore, continuous academic research efforts are required for investigating critical Parasite pathways which may give hints into Alternative sites or drug Targets for antimalarial intervention to tackle emerging drug resistance, and this will directly translate into societal benefits,” said Dr Niti Kumar.
Her research group is using multi-pronged approaches to understand how the structurally-functionally diverged components of genome and proteome maintenance pathways give a survival advantage to the Malaria parasite.
“The know-how generated through curiosity-driven research explorations of Parasite biology can be also extrapolated to other human pathogens and host-pathogen interactions,” she pointed out.
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