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Research Interests

My group’s interest in the malaria parasite is driven by the desire to understand (a) the molecular workings and functions of the relict plastid (apicoplast) of Plasmodium, (b) mechanisms of protein translation employed by Plasmodium organelles and (c) human genetic factors and susceptibility to severe P. falciparum malaria in endemic and non-endemic regions of India. We use cellular and molecular biology tools to investigate the essentiality of specific apicoplast proteins in housekeeping and metabolic functions, determine their biochemical interactions, and explore the possibility of these serving as specific drug targets against malaria. Exploration of the organisation and replication of the apicoplast genome, its translation machinery, interactions of antibiotics with apicoplast and mitochondrial ribosomes, regulation of DNA repair and organellar transcription, and delineation of the SUF pathway of [Fe-S] cluster biosynthesis engages us. In collaboration with clinicians, we also look at variation in genes encoding immune regulatory and cell adhesion molecules in Indian populations and their association with susceptibility/resistance to falciparum malaria in the country.

Selected Recent Publications

image01 Vaishya S, Kumar V, Gupta A, Siddiqi MI and Habib S (2016) Polypeptide release factors and stop codon recognition in the apicoplast and mitochondrion of Plasmodium falciparum. Molecular Microbiology (In Press) doi: 10.1111/mmi.13369
image01Haider A, Allen SM, Jackson KE, Ralph SA and Habib S (2015) Targeting and function of proteins mediating translation initiation in organelles of Plasmodium falciparum. Molecular Microbiology. 96(4):796-814.
image01Kanchan K, Jha P, Pati SS, Mohanty S, Mishra SK, Sharma SK, Awasthi S, Venkatesh V and Habib S (2015) Interferon-γ (IFNG) microsatellite repeat and single nucleotide polymorphism haplotypes of IFN-α receptor (IFNAR1) associated with enhanced malaria susceptibility in Indian populations. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 29: 6-14.
image01Kanchan K, Pati SS, Mohanty S, Mishra SK, Sharma SK, Awasthi S, Indian Genome Variation Consortium, Venkatesh V and Habib S (2015) Polymorphisms in host genes encoding NOSII, C-reactive protein, and adhesion molecules thrombospondin and E-selectin are risk factors for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in India. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 34 (10):2029-39.
image01Gupta A, Shah P, Haider A, Gupta A, Siddiqi MI, Ralph SA and Habib S (2014) Reduced ribosomes of the apicoplast and mitochondrion of Plasmodium spp. and predicted interactions with antibiotics. Open Biology 4(5), 140045.
image01Charan M, Singh N, Kumar B, Srivastava K, Siddiqi MI, and Habib S (2014) Sulphur mobilisation for [Fe-S] cluster assembly by the essential SUF pathway in the Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast and its inhibition. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 58(6): 3389-3398.