Human-Tsetse Trypanosomes

Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi cause sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa and Chagas Disease in Latin America respectively. The two diseases affect millions of people in the endemic regions with resultant significant socioeconomic impact. For both diseases, there is no vaccine and chemotherapy is frequently inadequate due to a combination of hazardous side effects and parasite resistance. The development of new drugs aimed at novel target in both parasites is therefore urgently needed.

Since the completion of the draft genomes of T. brucei and T. cruzi which provided a basis for understanding these parasites’ biology and pathology, considerable value is still to be extracted in relation to relative genetic repertoires. SNAREs are key components of the intracellular trafficking in eukaryotic cells where they facilitate the docking and fusion of vesicles with organelles. Their essentiality in trypanomastids makes them attractive drug targets. We have assessed the complement of SNAREs in T. brucei and T. cruzi and studied their evolution and intracellular location.

Student: Edwin Murungi
  • Mark Fields, Cambridge University

Publication: Murungi, E., Adunga, V., Amanda J. O’Reilly, A.J., Field, M.C., and Christoffels, A (2014). Comparative analysis of kinetoplastid SNARE proteins. Parasitology International 63(2): 341-348