The Secret Behind the Rampant Spread of Malaria

By Richard Liang ’18

Malaria Mosquito

Unlike in model organisms such as yeast and human beings, the microbiological means of cell reproduction in Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, has remained relatively unknown until very recently. Understanding this proliferation has provided researchers with unique and vital insight on the progression of the malaria, a fast-reproducing, medication-resistant, deadly disease.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have identified that Plant (P)-type cyclin (CYC3), a protein necessary for cell division, is responsible for the rapid proliferation of the parasitic cells. According to the research, when the gene coding for CYC3 was deleted, the developing bodies were defective, exhibiting atypical bud and sporozoite formation. These findings shed light on the mechanism governing Plasmodium’s endomitosis, one of the two forms of mitosis that the parasite’s cells undergo.

Although the exact role of CYC3 in the formation of oocysts is still unknown, this research provides a direction for scientists searching for this information. Additionally, knowledge of CYC3’s mechanism can enable researchers in the future to disrupt the parasitic cell’s proliferation, ultimately preventing the development of malaria in infected individuals.



  1. M.Roques, R.Wall, A. Douglass, A. Ramaprasad. Plasmodium P-Type cyclin CYC3 modulates endomitotic growth during oocyst development in mosquitoes. PLOS Pathogens (2015) DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005273

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