Navigation Links
Newly discovered protein an important tool for sleeping sickness research

Sixty million people in 36 countries of sub-Saharan Africa are threatened daily by a deadly parasitic disease known as African sleeping sickness. The disease is caused by organisms called trypanosomes, which are spread by the tsetse fly. African sleeping sickness affects approximately 500,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, a quarter of whom will die this year. Because the trypanosome has an exceptional genetic strategy for evading the human immune system and resisting treatment, the current treatment for this disease is melarsopal, an antiquated drug with terrible side effects, including death.

In the February issue (Volume 17, Issue 3) of the journal Molecular Cell, scientists in the Marine Biological Laboratory's (MBL's) Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution report their discovery of a protein called JBP2, which will help them test their hypothesis that a uniquely modified DNA base called base J is a key component of the trypanosome's mechanism for evading the immune system. If the hypothesis is correct, it will bring scientists closer to developing a more effective drug for treating African sleeping sickness.

The trypanosome evades the human immune system because it is coated with a surface antigen called variant surface glycoprotein (VSG). The human body makes antibodies for VSG, but trypanosomes randomly switch to another antigen when the organisms divide and reproduce. Trypanosomes whose VSG has switched evade the antibodies the human immune system made to fight the original antigen, thus assuring the long-term survival of these parasites within their hosts. The trypanosome has approximately 1,000 different VSG genes, but only expresses one at a time while the others are somehow silenced. This genetic trick, called antigenic variation, has severely limited sleeping sickness treatment options and essentially ruled out the possibility of a vaccine.

MBL trypanosome experts in Robert Sabatini's lab hypothes ize that base J (beta-D-glucosylhydroxymethyluracil) may play an important role in the gene silencing process behind antigenic variation. With the goal of learning how the organism regulates the process of antigenic variation, the scientists have been trying to understand how the trypanosome makes base J.

The discovery of JBP2, a member of a protein family that helps control DNA-related functions, is a significant breakthrough in this quest because Sabatini and his colleagues were able to demonstrate that the protein is the key regulator of base J synthesis. This will provide the scientists a new tool to elucidate the biological function of this unique modified DNA base in the regulation of antigenic variation.

If base J does indeed play a role in the gene silencing that enables the trypanosome to change its antigen coating, the discovery of JBP2 may one day enable scientists to create a drug that prevents the manufacture of base J, affecting the trypanosome's ability to vary its antigenic coating, and therefore allowing the human immune system to kill it.

Understanding trypanosomes at the molecular level is key to fighting African sleeping sickness and diseases caused by similar parasites.


'"/>

Source:Marine Biological Laboratory


Related biology news :

1. Newly-discovered class of genes determines ?and restricts ?stem cell fate
2. Newly discovered virus linked to childhood lung disorders and Kawasaki disease
3. Newly Discovered Compound Blocks Known Cancer-Causing Protein
4. Newly discovered pathway might help in design of cancer drugs
5. Newly Discovered Branding Process Helps Immune System Cells Pick Their Fights
6. Newly discovered genetic disease sheds light on bodys water balance
7. Newly Discovered Role for Heart Response Enzyme May Yield Better Heart Failure Therapy
8. Newly recognized gene mutation may reduce seeds, resurrect plants
9. Newly discovered birdlike dinosaur is oldest raptor ever found in South America
10. Fitting in: Newly evolved genes adopt a variety of strategies to remain in the gene pool
11. Newly identified mechanism helps explain why people of African descent are more vulnerable to TB
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/5/2018)... ... December 04, 2018 , ... Urological Associates of Southern ... Center of Excellence. The designation recognizes that Dr. Choi has achieved a high ... to exemplary care for men suffering from symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia ...
(Date:11/29/2018)... ... November 29, 2018 , ... Tosoh Bioscience LLC announced ... acquiring full ownership. The transaction was approved by the Board of Directors of ... “We are extremely pleased to team up with Tosoh Bioscience to offer customers ...
(Date:11/27/2018)... ... November 27, 2018 , ... LabArchives today announced a ... integrate the LabArchives Classroom Edition with Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques for use ... January of 2019. , The integration of LabArchives Classroom Edition and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/13/2018)... ... November 13, 2018 , ... , Park Systems, world leader in ... the increasingly growing demand for AFM technology in China, Park Systems has decided to ... an office in Beijing equipped with Park AFM. , The Grand Opening of the ...
(Date:11/9/2018)... , ... November 08, 2018 , ... ... of custom industrial automation and IT solutions with 140 employees on both the ... Fair®, taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on November 14 and 15 ...
(Date:11/5/2018)... ... November 05, 2018 , ... USARAD Holdings ... Siemens Healthineers and several healthcare VC firms announces at Distributed Health 2018 conference ... history by purchasing tokens and obtaining its first radiology interpretations, one of the ...
(Date:10/31/2018)... ... ... Rooam , the premier payment platform for the nightlife and hospitality ... of the Tally payment app, the leading payment platform in Chicago that allows users ... market share and increase the number of restaurant and bar locations offered on its ...
Breaking Biology Technology: