The malarial tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase protein binds and enters human macrophages and triggers an immune response reports a paper published in Nature Communications this week. These findings suggest that this protein could be a new target for combating malaria.
Ttyrosyl-tRNA synthetase is a housekeeping protein required for protein translation. Amit Sharma and colleagues now solve the structure of the Plasmodium falciparum enzyme and show that the protein contains a certain motif that can bind to macrophages. Once bound to macrophages the protein induces the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which have an important role in the pathophysiology of malaria.
These findings suggest that tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase could be an important target for preventing parasite infection.