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Department of Biochemistry


Molecular and cellular biology of trypanosomes

Trypanosomes belong to the kinetoplastid group of protozoa that contains many pathogenic as well as free-living species. Kinetoplastids diverged early during the radiation of eukaryotes and have evolved separately for over one billion years and during this time they have accumulated many unique and inherently interesting aspects to their biology. The lab uses African Trypanosomes as a model organism for kinetoplastid protozoa with the aim of determining the molecular mechanisms that underlie some of the unique aspects of the biology of trypanosomes. Current projects in the lab fall into three groups aimed at answering these three questions:

How does the trypanosome cell surface facilitate growth and survival in the mammalian host?

How are mRNA levels altered in response to environmental queues?

For more details visit the group web site

Lab members: Mark Carrington, Sarah Marsden, Olivia Macleod, Nancy Standart, Isobel Hambleton, Stephen Barrass, Camilla Trevor, Laura Rodriguez-Perez


Key recent publications:

MacGregor P, Gonzalez-Munoz AL, Jobe F, Taylor MC, Rust S, Sandercock AM,
Macleod OJS, Van Bocxlaer K, Francisco AF, D'Hooge F, Tiberghien A, Barry CS, Howard P, Higgins MK, Vaughan T, Minter R, Carrington M. (2019). bioRxiv 547208. 2019. doi:
A single dose of antibody-drug conjugate cures a stage 1 model of African trypanosomiasis. 

de Freitas Nascimento J, Kelly S, Sunter J, Carrington M. (2018). Elife. 7: e32467. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32467. PMCID: PMC5896880
Codon choice directs constitutive mRNA levels in trypanosomes.

Zoll, S, Lane-Serff, H., Mehmood, S, Robinson, C.V., Carrington, M and Higgins, M.K. (2017, Nat Microbiol. 3:295-301. doi: 10.1038/s41564-017-0085-3 PMID:29358741
The structure of the serum resistance associated protein of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and its implications for human infectivity. 

 Lane-Serff H, MacGregor P, Peacock L, Macleod OJ, Kay C, Gibson W, Higgins MK, Carrington M. (2016). eLife e13044. doi: 10.7554/eLife.13044.Evolutionary diversification of the trypanosome haptoglobin-haemoglobin receptor from an ancestral haemoglobin receptor.

Schwede A, Macleod OJ, MacGregor P, Carrington M. (2015). PLoS Pathog. 31:e1005259. How Does the VSG Coat of Bloodstream Form African Trypanosomes Interact with External Proteins?