Trypanosome Proteins Mapped in Cell; Work May Aid Understanding of Evolution and Lead to Potential Treatments for Sleeping Sickness; First Time Detailed “Protein Atlas” Developed for a Pathogen

A parasite that has devasting impacts on agriculture and human health is the first pathogen to have its proteins located and mapped within its cells – providing clues to their function and helping to identify potential drug targets. African trypanosomes are parasites transmitted by tsetse flies that cause sleeping sickness in humans (presenting as fever, anemia and, in serious cases, death) and a similar disease called nagana in cattle. These parasites have made large areas of Africa unsuitable for livestock production, costing rural farmers up to ~3.7 billion pounds each year in lost revenue. For the first time ever, scientists have developed a detailed “protein atlas” of a pathogen – a kind of biological map that locates proteins in cells. They conducted the research on Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), helping to understand where proteins are within its cells, providing functional insights that may ultimately help treat parasite infections.

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