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Signalling in life cycle stages of malaria parasites
Framework programme:
Contract/Grant agreement number:
EC contribution:
3.000.000 €
Funding scheme:
Collaborative project (SICA)
Starting date:

Keywords: malaria, Plasmodium, signalling, phosphorylation, invasion, sexual development, exoerythrocytic schizogony, trafficking.


Our knowledge and understanding of the basic biology of malaria parasites is still fragmentary. This is particularly true with respect to the molecular mechanisms that regulate progression through the different stages of the parasite’s life cycle in the human host and the mosquito vector.

The development of novel strategies for malaria control requires a better understanding of the biology of malaria parasites. MALSIG aims at bringing a significant contribution to this field by dissecting the signalling pathways that regulate essential processes in the life cycle of malaria parasites. The proposed research will merge two lines of investigation that have thus far been conducted largely independently from each other, namely:

  • the characterisation of components of signal transduction pathways (protein kinases, nucleotide cyclases, calcium signalling mediators) in malaria parasites;
  • the study of specific biological and developmental processes during the life cycle of malaria parasites.

Merging these two fields of malaria research will ensure a high level of complementarity and synergy within the consortium. Specific work packages (WPs) will be centred on understanding signalling-dependent regulation in the following processes and stage transition within the life cycle of malaria parasites:

  • erythrocyte infection (invasion, parasite proliferation, egress);
  • sexual development (gametocytogenesis, gametogenesis, transmission to the mosquito vector);
  • hepatocyte infection (invasion, parasite proliferation, egress);
  • membrane dynamics (trafficking, transporters).

Approaches will include proteomics, reverse genetics, structural biology, and the use of animal models of malaria.

The consortium includes both EU and Indian partners with proven track records either in research into one of the developmental stages/processes described above, or in signal transduction in malaria parasites. The project will significantly strengthen EU-Indian cooperation in this highly relevant topic.

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