|The Merozoite Surface Protein 1 of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum a Candidate for a Malaria Vaccine
Malaria remains one of the most severe infectious diseases of mankind with around 40 % of the worlds population living in areas at risk. In African children alone, several hundred million malaria induced acute febril episodes are monitored annually and 1-3 million patients, primarily children under five, die per year. In addition to the malaria caused mortality and morbidity, it is the risk of acquiring the disease itself, which profoundly affects social and economical development and this severely hampers escape from poverty.
Among the various strategies for fighting malaria, the concept of vaccination is particularly attractive. Advances in modern biology, indeed make subunit vaccines based on defined antigens of the parasite feasible. Nevertheless, there is at present no vaccine available that provides long-lasting protection in the field despite considerable efforts during the past two decades.
The merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1) of P.falciparum is for a number of reasons considered a promising candidate for a vaccine against Malaria tropica, the most severe form of human malaria. MSP-1 constitutes the major protein component at the surface of the erythrocyte-invading form (merozoite) of the parasite, and eventhough we still lack informa-tion on exact function, it now is clear that MSP-1 plays a pivotal role during invasion of erythrocytes by merozoites.
Our work focusses on (1) development of a vaccine based on full size MSP-1; (2) exploration of the human immune response against MSP-1; (3) definition of structural and functional parameters of MSP-1 (read more).
Controlling Gene Activities in vivo via the Tet System
We are continuing to develop methodological improvements for Tet regulation in vivo. They aim at conditional mouse and rat models where gene activities placed under Tet control can be monitored non-invasively. These projects are carried out in collaborations with Drs. Dusan Bartsch, ZI, Mannheim and Winfried Denk, MPI fuer Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg.
Further collaborations in which we provide our colleagues with novel elements of the Tet system are ongoing.
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Gene expression control via the Tet system
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