Chagas disease affects over 18 million people in Latin America. The agent responsible is a protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, transmitted by haematophagous insects. For survival in the hosts organism, it uses several strategies, but especially one of inhibiting the hosts immune response. Research scientists from the IRD and INSERM (1) who are studying this trypanosome found that one of the proteins it secretes, Tc52, is a virulence factor that plays a pivotal role in the infection mechanism. Combining different in–vitro and in-vivo approaches, they brought into evidence its role in the development of infection and performed the molecular characterization by peptide analysis of the minimal sequence of Tc52 that carries immunosuppressive activity. Knowledge of the biological activity of this factor raises the prospects for developing vaccination strategies or drugs to combat T. cruzi.
Chagas disease – or American trypanosomiasis – is a parasitic illness which affects nearly 20 million people mainly in tropical regions of Central and South America. The aetiological agent that causes it is a flagellate protozoan, Trypanosoma cruzi, transmitted to humans by haematophagous insects (Reduviidae). Research scientists from the IRD research unit "Pathogénie des Trypanosomatidae" and co-workers from INSERM have studied the parasites development cycle, its virulence and its involvement in the infection process, with a view to identifying possible prevention and control methods. Using techniques of cellular and molecular biology, and of biochemistry, they sought to identify the nature and function of T. cruzi genes which code for the factors responsible for the virulence, in particular a protein called Tc52.
As in any parasitic disease, the pathogens ability to survive in its vertebrate host depends on many mechanisms, especially one which weakens the hosts immune response. In Chagas disease, during its life-cycle in humans T. cruzi takes on two forms, an infective flagellate one (trypomastigote) which circulates and reproduces in the blood and another intracellular one without flagellum (amastigote), which in its turn multiplies to produce another batch of circulating forms. These two forms prove to be able to secrete this protein Tc52. The research team revealed it to have several activities, including enzyme activity (2) and an immunosuppressive activity. The protein released by T. cruzi influences in a complex way the physiology of the host cell. It acts on cells of the immune system, the macrophages and the dendritic cells, and notably blocks the production of interleukin 2 (IL-2), a cytokine necessary for T-lymphocyte proliferation, in this way exerting an immunosuppressive activity.
Bénédicte Robert | EurekAlert!
'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton
A new approach to high insulin levels
18.09.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering