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From the genome to the phenome: tools to understand the basic biology of Plasmodium falciparum

journal contribution
posted on 2014-11-01, 00:00 authored by Wesley Webster, G I McFadden
Malaria plagues one out of every 30 humans and contributes to almost a million deaths, and the problem could worsen. Our current therapeutic options are compromised by emerging resistance by the parasite to our front line drugs. It is thus imperative to better understand the basic biology of the parasite and develop novel drugs to stem this disease. The most facile approach to analyse a gene's function is to remove it from the genome or inhibit its activity. Although genetic manipulation of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a relatively standard procedure, there is no optimal method to perturb genes essential to the intraerythrocytic development cycle--the part of the life cycle that produces the clinical manifestation of malaria. This is a severe impediment to progress because the phenotype we wish to study is exactly the one that is so elusive. In the absence of any utilitarian way to conditionally delete essential genes, we are prevented from investigating the parasite's most vulnerable points. This review aims to focus on the development of tools identifying essential genes of P. falciparum and our ability to elicit phenotypic mutation.

History

Journal

Journal of eukaryotic microbiology

Volume

61

Issue

6

Season

Nov/Dec 2014

Pagination

655 - 671

Publisher

Wiley

Location

Hoboken, N.J.

ISSN

1066-5234

eISSN

1550-7408

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, The Authors