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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1534. doi: 10.1038/srep01534.

Novel nanosomes for gene delivery to Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells.

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Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal street, SL-17, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Malaria threatens millions of people annually and is a burden to human health and economic development. Unfortunately in terms of disease control, no effective vaccines are available and the efficacy of treatment is limited by drug resistance. Genetic manipulation in Plasmodium falciparum is hampered due to the absence of robust methods for genetic analyses. Electroporation-based transfection methods have allowed the study of gene function in P. falciparum, with low efficiency. A lipid nanoparticle was developed that allowed nuclear targeting of pDNA with increased efficiency in reporter assay, compared to traditional electroporation method. This method has for the first time, facilitated transfection using both circular and linear DNA in P. falciparum thereby serving as an alternative to electroporation with an increase in transfection efficiency. Availability of a robust method for functional genomic studies in these organisms may be a catalyst for discovery of novel targets for developing drugs and vaccines.

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