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© Christine Schmitt, Sophie Goyard, Jean-Marc Panaud
Trypanosoma vivax - forme sanguine. Responsable de la trypanosomose animale ou Nagana.

About

TRANSMISSION OF AFRICAN TRYPANOSOMES

African trypanosomes are flagellated protist parasites that cause sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa. These parasites are exclusively transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly. Successful transmission is the outcome of crosstalk between the trypanosome and its insect host acting as a vector. This enables the parasite to undergo successive rounds of differentiation, proliferation and migration, culminating in the infection of a new mammalian host.

The savannah tsetse fly Glossina morsitans
The savannah tsetse fly Glossina morsitans

Our group is studying various aspects of the parasite cyclical development in the tsetse fly, including carbohydrate metabolism, motility and flagellum sensing, with the perspectives of blocking parasite development  by paratransgenic approaches in the tsetse fly vector.

Mesocyclic trypanosome in the posterior midgut of a tsetse fly
Mesocyclic trypanosome (green flagellum) in the posterior midgut of a tsetse fly (actin network in red and DNA in blue)

Today, we are mostly focusing on the early steps of infection in the mammalian host after the infective bite in order to unravel the differentiation, proliferation and migration events occuring during the disease onset, with the purposes of developping new approaches for diagnosis and treatment.

Trypanosoma brucei procyclic form from tsetse midgut observed by SEM
Trypanosoma brucei procyclic form from tsetse midgut

 


FOCUS

Skin-dwelling trypanosomes: the missing link towards elimination?

Left: Trypanosomes (Trypanosoma brucei brucei, fluorescent green) in the dermis of a mouse with no parasites in the bloodstream, 29 days after infection. Right: A trypanosome (Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, the purple cell indicated by a black arrow) in the dermis of an asymptomatic individual living in an endemic area in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Our group, working in collaboration with scientists from the University of Kinshasa, the University of Glasgow and the IRD, have demonstrated the presence of a large quantity of trypanosomes – the parasites responsible for sleeping sickness – in the skin of individuals with no symptoms. This discovery should refocus the screening strategy for this disease, which was previously based on the detection of  parasites in the bloodstream, and raises the possibility of eliminating the disease in West Africa.

Capewell et al. eLife 2016 – ANR projects EnTrypa and TrypaDerm


 

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Phone: +33 (0)1 40 61 38 33 Email: rotureau@pasteur.fr Address: 25 Rue du Docteur Roux 75015, Paris France