Researchers from the University of Michigan recently identified several new proteins secreted by Toxoplasma gondii, the protozoan parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis. Among these was TgPLP1, which is related to proteins in the human immune system, and is responsible for helping spread the infection by forming pores in the cell membrane to allow the parasite to escape and cause disease more rapidly throughout the host. This research breakthrough may one day aid in developing drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent toxoplasmosis or related diseases, including malaria. A potential cure may possibly include a component that interferes with the protein’s functions via a selective treatment that disables the TgPLP1 and therefore slows or stops the Toxoplasma gondii’s spread.
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