Mammalian cell interaction with the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, the cause of Chagas disease, was the presentation topic of Walter Colli, Professor of Biochemistry at the Universidade de São Paulo. Work by the researcher is focused on the agent cell membrane, and it seeks to identify molecules that may be capable of promoting the host-parasite relationship. The panel took place during the symposium FAPESP Week in Washington, DC, which ended October 26th.
The project expanded upon the understanding of the parasite cell surface, which is coated with glycoproteins responsible for adhesion of the Trypanosoma to the blood cells. The challenge now is to understand how the parasite penetrates and survives in red blood cells of the host. The glycoprotein is “anchored” on the surface of the parasite and has little time to adhere to the blood cells since it only lives for about 3.5 hours. A gene sequence known as FLY contributed to the production of glycoprotein that promotes the adhesion. The next step is to identify a way to inactivate the FLY sequence to prevent the parasite from penetrating the human blood cell.
Wondwossen Gebreyes from Ohio State University presented an initiative that attempts to integrate food safety, veterinary zoonosis of interest to public health and biotechnology with the study of animal diseases that may be transmitted to humans. The model, baptized as the One Health Initiative uses zoonoses because they represent 75% of emerging infections.