Abdul Ahad Bagsarawala

Year: Junior

Major(s):  Biology, Biochemistry

Mentor: Kanzok, Stefan

Department: Biology

Project Title: Regulatory Mechanism of the Antioxidant Defense Protein 1-Cys Peroxiredoxin

Project Abstract: The malaria parasite Plasmodium is transmitted by female mosquitoes. The parasite is ingested by the insect as part of a blood meal and immediately becomes exposed to challenging conditions, which include toxic reactive oxidative species (ROS). Only ookinetes, a motile form of Plasmodium, can withstand these stresses and eventually escape from the blood meal. Recent research in our lab has shown that ookinete strongly increases the expression of the antioxidant defense protein 1-Cys Peroxiredoxin (1-Cys Prx) in response to the conditions to the blood meal; potentially as part of parasites¿ antioxidant stress response. Significantly, this response can be induced in vitro by exposing cultured ookinetes to ROS. Starting with this information, I will investigate the regulatory mechanisms of 1-Cys Prx expression. Using molecular methods, I will determine dose-response and time-dependent expression of 1-Cys Prx in ookinetes challenged with various ROS. Simultaneously, in collaboration with Dr. Putonti, I will analyze the promoter region of the 1-Cys Prx gene using computational methods. The goal is to identify potential transcription factor binding sites in the malaria parasite. This will be used in the future to determine transcription factors and investigate how to inhibit its binding to the promoter. Understanding how the parasite copes with the toxic conditions may help to find new ways to interfere with parasite survival and to prevent the transmission of malaria.