Sydney: Scientists relying on new imaging technologies have for the first time caught malaria parasites in the act of invading red blood cells (RBCs).
Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), achieved the feat combining electron, light and super resolution microscopy.
The detailed look at what occurs as the parasite burrows through the RBCs wall provides new insights into the molecular and cellular events that drive cell invasion and may pave the way for developing new treatments for malaria.
UTS researchers Jake Baum, David Riglar, Dave Richard and their colleagues led the research with colleagues, the journal Cell Host & Microbe reports.
Baum said the real breakthrough for the research team had been the ability to capture high-resolution images of the parasite at each and every stage of invasion, and to do so reliably and repeatedly, according to a UTS statement.
"It is the first time we've been able to actually visualise this process in all its molecular glory, combining new advances developed at the institute for isolating viable parasites with innovative imaging technologies," Baum said.