Analysis of the role of the variant-specific surface glycoprotein (VSG) as a cytokine binding protein of African Trypanosomes.

Project Details


Trypanosoma brucei is an extracellular protozoan parasite that causes great suffering to both men and cattle. The fight against the disease caused by this parasite is hampered by the fact that trypanosomes are capable of defending themselves against a host immune response using a mechanism of antigenic variation of their surface glycoprotein coat. Furthermore, during evolution trypanosomes have evolved in such way that they have become capable of modulating the host immune response and are capable of using host immune regulatory molecules in favour of their own growth regulation. This project aims at elucidating this host mediated growth regulation, and will focus more particular at the mechanisms involved in the trypanolysis mediated by two host cytokine, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukine-2 (IL-2). During this project it will be analysed which parasite components are involved in binding and uptake of these cytokines. In parallel, it will be investigated which parasite component is capable of binding CCF-1, a newly discovered trypanolytic molecule with high functional homology to TNF, isolated in our laboratory from the ceolomic fluid of the earthworm Eisenia Foetida. Apart from the identification of cytokine-binding molecules on the trypanosome surface, special attention will be given to the analysis of the cellular mechanism involved in cytokine mediated trypanolysis. As such, the combined results from these investigations might open the possibility for the design of a useful therapeutic anti-trypanosome compound.
Effective start/end date1/01/9931/12/99


  • parasitology
  • pathology
  • chemotherapy

Flemish discipline codes

  • Basic sciences
  • Biological sciences