Kinesins are ATP-dependent microtubule-based motors with multiple essential roles in eukaryotes, including parasitic protozoa. The intracellular Plasmodium parasite infects >200 million people annually, killing nearly 1 million. The complex parasite life cycle presents numerous challenges to text-book concepts of cell biology. The few drugs available and emerging drug resistance also mean that novel drug targets are urgently needed. Mitotic kinesins are targets for cancer therapeutics and could form attractive targets for anti-malarials. Little is known about kinesins in Plasmodium, so the aim of this project is to combine structural, biochemical and parasitology approaches to mechanistically and functionally characterize these motors.
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