Solving the native structure of the malaria parasite using cryo-electron microscopy

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Department
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Location
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Leann Tilley ltilley@unimelb.edu.au 0383442227 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof. Eric Hanssen ehanssen@unimelb.edu.au 83442449

Project Details

To develop new treatment for infectious disease, we need a nano-scale understanding of complex drug targets in their native state. Very recently, it has become possible to obtain this crucial information due to a revolution in structural biology brought about by breakthrough developments in cryo-EM.

The malaria parasite’s proteasome show potential as a target for the treatment of malaria. Peptide boronate proteasome inhibitors under investigation in the Tilley lab show promise as inhibitors of P. falciparum and specific asparagine ethylenediamine have been reported recently.

The proteasome is like a shredder that chews up damaged or used-up proteins. Treating malaria parasites with proteasome inhibitors leads to the accumulation of damaged proteins and causes cell death. The Tilley/ Hanssen groups have already solved the structure of the plasmodium proteasome and now plan to use the method to facilitate drug design.

The proposed project will use cryoEM and molecular biology techniques to study the malaria proteasome to underpin efforts to find potent and specific inhibitors of the proteasome. The project will also solve the structure of mutant and wildtype Pf20S proteasome to understand the molecular basis of resistance.

cryo EM image



Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity, Cellular Imaging & Structural Biology



Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Tilley laboratory: Measuring and modelling malaria parasites to develop new antimalarials

Research Node

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute

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