Luciana Bento

Edição genética cria mosquitos resistentes à malária e encontra alvo para tratamento de leucemia | Bem Estar

Duas novas pesquisas publicadas neste quinta-feira (8) usaram a nova técnica de edição de DNA, Crispr. Cientistas da Universidade Johns Hopkins conseguiram detectar um dos genes responsáveis pela malária em mosquitos e bloqueá-lo. Já o grupo do Laboratório Cold Spring Harbor identificou uma maneira de controlar uma proteína que leva a um tipo de leucemia mais agressivo.

No caso da pesquisa da Johns Hopkins, os autores conseguiram mostrar que a inativação do gene FREP1 reduzia as chances de infecção pelo Plasmodium, parasita da malária, nos mosquitos. Segundo o artigo, o micro-organismo passa por uma série de etapas antes de chegar até a glândula salivar do Anopheles gambiae e transmitir a doença para seres humanos em uma picada. Esse ciclo de infecção depende de uma série de proteínas, entre elas a FREP1.

O grupo de pesquisadores identificou e examinou várias destas proteínas envolvidas na infecção da malária. Uma vacina da FREP1 está sendo desenvolvida, inclusive, mas a pesquisa dos professores da Johns Hopkins queria testar a técnica Crispr.

Com a ajuda dessa edição genética precisa, eles conseguiram inativar o gene nos mosquitos. Eles descobriram que a infecção por malária foi reduzida de forma significativa em humanos e ratos. A doença mata 500 mil pessoa por ano no mundo.

Um ponto negativo demonstrado, no entanto, é que a inativação da FREP1 mudou algumas características dos mosquitos: reduziu a fertilidade, a taxa de incubação dos ovos, a longevidade. Isso poderia reduzir a capacidade de competição dos Anopheles gambiae modificados com os já existentes no ambiente, sem conseguir reproduzir o gene e bloquear a malária em uma população maior de mosquitos.

O tratamento do câncer é uma das metas científicas mais almejadas com o Crispr. Os cientistas do Laboratório Cold Spring Harbor (CSHL, sigla em inglês), de Nova York, também usaram a detecção de uma proteína para controlar tipos agressivos de leucemia.

A MEF2F faz parte de uma classe de proteínas conhecida por dificilmente ser manipulada com o uso de medicamentos. A sua hiperatividade é responsável por 15% dos casos de leucemia mielogênica aguda (AML), câncer que progride de forma rápida e com alto índice de mortalidade.

Christopher Vakoc, cientista associado ao CSHL, escreveu o artigo desta quinta com outros colegas e diz que foi possível parar o crescimento das células deste tipo de câncer dirigidas pela MEF2F.

A descoberta faz parte de uma busca que começou em 2013, quando o sistema criado com base na técnica Crispr foi criado pelo laboratório. Eles usaram a edição genética para rastrear genes que tinham algum impacto na sobrevivência de células do câncer.

Fonte G1

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Luciana Bento

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