Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Fluky Find

Liver fluke protein identified that can be used to speed up diagnosis of infection

11 September 2018

Fluky Find

Clonorchis sinensis is a leaf-shaped liver fluke – a hermaphrodite flatworm that feasts on a host’s blood. Common in China and other areas of Asia, infection brings a risk of Clonorchiasis, a potentially deadly disease that is hard to diagnose. Yet the fluke may have a big clue buried in its DNA – the genetic code for a protein called rCs1, which has a unique repetitive structure. Antibodies designed to recognise the tell-tale protein during blood analysis, or serology, will help speed up the fight against infections. Meanwhile, on this zoomed in section of C. sinesis (stained red), rCs1 (green) collects around the edge and inner 'lips' of its acetabulum, a sucker this fluky fiend uses to attach inside its prey – a place researchers are already searching for further signs of weakness.

Written by John Ankers

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