Molecular Parasitology UnitMajor Interests
The spread of malaria depends on the transmission of Plasmodium parasites from the human host to the mosquito vector and relies on fertilization and development of zygotes into the motile ookinete form.
During this 24-hour window the parasite encounters drastic changes in environmental conditions, and relies on timely and appropriate control of protein expression to undergo development. Our lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms that allow the parasite to respond to these environmental and developmental changes. Both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms have been shown to play key roles during this crucial time in the parasite’s life cycle. Using molecular and cell biology, as well as biochemistry, microarray profiling and proteomics techniques, our aim is to understand how these diverse mechanisms are integrated to allow the parasite to quickly and successfully perform these required changes with an ultimate goal to identify novel transmission blocking strategies.
» Research Areas
» Group Leader
» Research Team
Gunnar Rudolf Mair
PhD (1998) in Molecular Parasitology at Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Post-doctoral research at Queen’s University Belfast (UK), the Leiden University
Medical Center (The Netherlands), and Yale Medical School (USA)
Group leader at IMM since 2008
» Ongoing Research Projects
From 2008: start up funding from the IMM.
From 1-01-2010: Non coding RNA in malaria parasites, PTDC/SAU-GMG/104392/2008 from FCT (project leader Celine Carret).
From 1-02-2010: Transcriptional regulation of Plasmodium during host-vector transmission, PTDC/BIA-BCM/105610/2008 from FCT (project leader Gunnar Mair).
From 1-01-2012: Pumilio-regulated gene expression of malaria during mosquito vector to mammalian host transmission,PTDC/SAU-MIC/122082/2010 (project leader Gunnar Mair).
» Science and Society Activities
Hosting of 2 high school students within the Ciencia Viva Summer Program – August 2008, 2 weeks.
Participation of Alexandre Costa and Catarina W. Teofilo at the “Noite dos Investigadores” at the Centro Cultural de Belém.
» Selected Publications
» Useful Links
Mwai L, Diriye A, Masseno V, Muriithi S, Feltwell T, Musyoki J, Lemieux J, Feller A, Mair GR, Marsh K, Newbold C, Nzila A, Carret CK.Genome Wide Adaptations of Plasmodium falciparum in Response to Lumefantrine Selective Drug Pressure. PLoS One 2012; 7(2):e31623.
Carina SS Gomes-Santos, J Anneke M Braks, Miguel Prudêncio, Céline K Carret, Ana Rita Gomes, Arnab Pain, Theresa Feltwell, Shahid M Khan, Andrew P Waters, Chris J Janse, Gunnar R Mair, and Maria M Mota. Transition of Plasmodium Sporozoites into Liver-Stage Forms is Regulated by the RNA Binding Protein Pumilio.PLoS Pathogens 2011, 7(5):e1002046
Mair GR, Lasonder E, Garver LS, Franke-Fayard BM, Carret CK, Wiegant JC, Dirks
RW, Dimopoulos G, Janse CJ, Waters AP. Universal features of post-transcriptional
gene regulation are critical for Plasmodium zygote development. PLoS Pathog. 2010
Yuda M, Iwanaga S, Shigenobu S, Mair GR, Janse CJ, Waters AP, Kato T, Kaneko I (2009). Identification of a transcription factor in the mosquito-invasive stage of malaria parasites. Mol Microbiol. 2009 Feb 10. [Epub ahead of print].
Lasonder E, Janse CJ, van Gemert GJ, Mair GR, Vermunt AM, Douradinha BG, van Noort V, Huynen MA, Luty AJ, Kroeze H, Khan SM, Sauerwein RW, Waters AP, Mann M, Stunnenberg HG (2008). Proteomic profiling of Plasmodium sporozoite maturation identifies new proteins essential for parasite development and infectivity. PLoS Pathog. 2008 Oct;4(10):e1000195. Epub 2008 Oct 31.
Braks JA, Mair GR, Franke-Fayard B, Janse CJ, Waters AP (2008). A conserved U-rich RNA region implicated in regulation of translation in Plasmodium female gametocytes. Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Mar;36(4): 1176-86.
Mair GR, Braks JA, Garver LS, Wiegant JC, Hall N, Dirks RW, Khan SM, Dimopoulos G, Janse CJ, Waters AP (2006). Regulation of sexual development of Plasmodium by translational repression. Science. 2006 Aug 4;313(5787): 667-9.
Khan SM, Franke-Fayard B, Mair GR, Lasonder E, Janse CJ, Mann M, Waters AP (2005). Proteome analysis of separated male and female gametocytes reveals novel sex-specific Plasmodium biology. Cell. 2005 Jun 3;121(5): 675-87.
Nina Matova, Ph.D.