MOLECULAR PARASITOLOGY GROUP
Erasmus Student Susanne Schoettler
The African trypanosomes are extracellular parasitic protozoa responsible for sleeping sickness in humans and related diseases in domestic animals. These parasites evade the mammalian humoral responses by antigenic variation of the closely packed variable surface glycoprotein (VSG). However, these parasites depend on their host for the supply of certain macromolecules. This requirement highlights a paradox: how do these parasites take up required macromolecules without exposing the molecular machinery involved to the attention of the immune system? Ligand binding and uptake occur only in a specialized region of the cellular surface called the flagellar pocket. Emerging evidence suggests that receptors for host macromolecules are unusual and that endocytic activity is highly polarized and far higher than in other eukaryotes.
The primary interest of the group is characterization the mechanism of endocytosis and trafficking of surface proteins in trypanosomes. The approach is multidisciplinary and is currently focused at identifying and functionally characterizing protein constituents of the flagellar pocket and endocytic pathway in Trypanosoma brucei.
Dr. Nóirín Nic a` Bháird
Prof. Etienne Pays, Molecular Parasitology, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Gosselies B-6041, Belgium.
Wellcome Trust, SFI, HRB, IRSECT(Ulysses Scheme), Irish Aid (partner group for CDPC, NUI Maynooth) and PIA (Belgium).
Recent Publications by the Molecular Parasitology Group
Last updated: May 02 2013.