Jun 3, 2022
Researchers look under the microscope to better understand how sporozoites move in the skin.
The malaria parasite changes shape throughout its lifecycle, and it’s the sporozoite - a slender, crescent-like form of the parasite - which is injected into the human by mosquitoes.
Accumulating in the mosquito in the salivary glands, sporozoites are injected individually into the skin, through the mosquito’s proboscis. In the skin, sporozites migrate to find and enter a blood vessel.
Researchers wanted to better understand how sporozoites move in the skin. Rather than looking at single sporozoites, they turned to the cell collectives originating from the salivary glands.
In dissected salivary glands, sporozoites move in vortices, spinning circles with a hole in the middle. While the holes demonstrate that sporozoites are relatively stiff and cannot bend too much, in the rest of the vortices they observed strong mechanical flexibility. Moreover, the vortices as a whole oscillated in size.
About The Podcast
The Johns Hopkins Malaria Minute podcast is produced by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute to highlight impactful malaria research and to share it with the global community.