Scientists studying the parasite – which is spread by the tsetse fly and infects the blood of people and animals – have shed light on how it is able to survive when taken up by a feeding fly.
Sleeping sickness is a potentially fatal condition which affects up to 70,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, and millions more are at risk from the disease.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that when the parasite is swallowed by a fly, a reaction is triggered in a particular part of the parasites' cells. This causes a change in the activity of enzymes stored there, allowing the parasite to rapidly adapt its body to survive in the fly's gut.
The part of the parasite cell associated with this response has a corresponding part in human cells. Because of this, researchers say their study could also point towards greater understanding of human genetic disorders linked to cell defects. These include Zellweger syndrome, a rare neurological condition that causes infant death.
The study, published in the journal Genes and Development, was supported by the Wellcome Trust and the BBSRC.
Professor Keith Matthews, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the research, said: "Our results also give valuable insight into how our own cells evolved and how they function, which is helpful for understanding some inherited diseases. These findings also provide hope for a target to stop the spread of these deadly parasites."
Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences