Malaria causes high rates of mortality and morbidity, mainly in children and pregnant women. This most important parasitic disease is responsible for 500 million annual cases. In Brazil, where the situation is preoccupying, more than 500.000 cases of malaria have been registered mainly in the Amazon region in 2000. However, there are cases, in areas of high endemicity, of a naturally acquired immunity against malaria. In 2001 a new family of variant genes in Plasmodium (P.vixax) was characterized, called vir, which may be involved in the clinical protection of these naturally immune individuals. In the present project we purpose to carry out a high through put analysis of the clinical association of the variant VIR proteins with malaria infection by P. vivax. Concomitantly, we want to determine the subcellular localization of different subfamilies of these proteins, since recent studies strongly indicate that they differ in their cellular localization depending on the function of the distinct domains present in each of the different subfamilies of Vir. For this we intend to use a heterologous expression system for the production of 100 recombinant proteins that will be used to search its relation with the clinical protection and naturally acquired IgG responses in asymptomatic patients infected by P. vivax. In parallel, we will carry out assays of subcellular localization by Laser Confocal Microscopy and heterologous transfections in P. vivax to infer putative biological functions of these proteins in the parasite-host relation.
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