Molecular mechanisms of parasite motility
New PhD

Devaki defended her PhD

On Tuesday August 15th, Devaki defended her PhD at the University of Oulu. The opponent was Associate Professor Beáta Bugyi from the University of Pécs Medical School, Pécs, Hungary. We all very much enjoyed an insightful discussion on actins, actin depolymerizing factors, and their roles in the malaria parasite. Thanks to everyone involved and huge congratulations to Dr. Devaki Lasiwa!

Devaki with her opponent and custos
Aleksi Sutinen

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Enjoy some moments from the big day in form of some of the many pictures taken by Aleksi Sutinen!

Studies on actin depolymerizing factors of the malaria parasite and its vector

Actin depolymerizing factors (ADFs) are among the key proteins involved in regulation of actin. This study used various biochemical and structural biology methods to uncover several key aspects of ADFs from the malaria parasite and its vector, the Anopheles mosquito. The results show that ADFs from the malaria parasite can bind different phosphoinositides, which are components of the cell membrane. ADFs bind phosphoinositides by a small, positively charged surface patch, and the binding may be regulated by phosphorylation. The parasite ADFs also bind to actin in a pH dependent manner. This study also presents the three-dimensional structure of the ADF from the Anopheles mosquito. The structure is different from that of the parasite ADFs. The mosquito ADF interacts tightly with actin.