Start : April 2011 | Status : Complete

The scientists: Lydia Mata, a biologist with a Masters in pharmaceutical sciences worked alongside the Malaria and TB Drug Discovery teams at the Open Lab in Tres Cantos.

The sponsor: CICbioGUNE (Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences), a non-profit biomedical research organisation, founded in 2002 by the Department of Industry of the Basque Government, opened its research facilities at the Technology Park of Bizkaia in January 2005.

Foundation funding: The Foundation provided £95,900 funding.

GlaxoSmithKline’s contribution: GSK provided in-kind contributions (including facilities for parasite in vitro culture).

Project Description: The objective of this project was to characterise the ubiquitylation profiles of cells infected by multiple drug resistant tuberculosis and the malaria parasite P.falciparum. Ubiquitin is a small regulatory protein that is found in almost all organisms. Ubiquitin binds proteins (a process known as ubiquitylation), thus marking them for destruction or directing proteins to other locations in a cell, where they control other biological processes. The ubiquitylation systems of both the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, and the TB organism Mycobacterium are involved in pathogen replication and infection, so gaining an understanding of these systems in the infected cells could help uncover new approaches for medicines designed to treat malaria and TB.

This research enabled us to obtain samples from plasmodium falciparum infected cells that are being analysed for ubiquitylated proteins by mass spectrometry at the Open Lab in Tres Cantos. The results of this analysis could provide some potential new targets. This research has also generated new protocols which can benefit other related projects carried out by the DDW community more broadly. These protocols will be publicly available to the scientific community following their publication.”

This project would not have been possible without access to GSK´s resources and facilities which were crucial to advance our research as we did not have the required knowledge or facilities to work with the pathogens, plasmodium falciparum and mycobacterium tuberculosis.” (Lydia Mata, Open Lab scientist)