Environmental sensing and cell-cell communication in African trypanosomes


  • Prof Keith Matthews

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

Professor Matthews proposes a global approach to understanding the molecular mechanisms that control infection by the African trypanosome, the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness in humans and related diseases in cattle. Sensing of the environment by trypanosomes is central to both autoregulation of growth in the bloodstream and the cellular differentiation necessary for transmission by the tsetse fly vector. Professor Matthews's aims are: to develop a further understanding of the control of population density and growth regulation in infected mammals; to investigate interspecies competition; and to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying the perception, transmission and execution of signals for the differentiation that follows the transfer to a tsetse fly. This work could lead to a better understanding of the processes by which the pathogenic bloodstream forms limit infection while maximising transmissibility to the insect vector, and how the parasites respond to environmental signals upon ingestion by the tsetse fly.