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:1/27/2020)... SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) , ... January 27, 2020 ... ... Christopher Thorne as Chairman. Thorne is a noted investor, tech entrepreneur, and former ... serves as Executive Chairman of Broadline Capital, the global alternative investment firm. ...
(Date:1/23/2020)... ... 2020 , ... GIOSTAR/HEAMGEN has developed and secured ... The red blood cells are made utilizing a bioreactor that permits the production ... replaces the need for a human blood donor. GIOSTAR/HEAMGEN mature red ...
(Date:1/10/2020)... ... January 09, 2020 , ... ... spinal solutions, today announced the 510(K) clearance and commercial launch of the latest ... fusion system. , The EVOL®ha-DLIF is made of PEEK-OPTIMA HA Enhanced material ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/7/2020)... Kingdom (PRWEB) , ... January 07, 2020 , ... ... recombinant antibody products and services, today announced the launch of its VivopureX™ recombinant ... popular antibody clones, many originally obtained from rats or hamsters, which Absolute Antibody ...
(Date:1/7/2020)... , ... January 06, 2020 , ... ... today announced its expansion into whole-home smart lighting with two new products: the ... unlocks the ability for homeowners and homebuilders to affordably add high-end smart lighting ...
(Date:12/31/2019)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... December 31, 2019 , ... At ... the conference that will be broadly focused on 3D cell culture , ... its NASH 3D cell culture assays for assessing steatosis , inflammation and ...
(Date:12/27/2019)... ... December 27, 2019 , ... Vici ... 505(b)(2) product pipeline that offers patients and healthcare providers options in ... were identified in collaboration with doctors and managed care professionals and developed at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: