Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shining a light on trypanosome reproduction

Date:
February 28, 2011
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Compelling visual evidence of sexual reproduction in African trypanosomes, single-celled parasites that cause major human and animal diseases, has been found.

Professor Wendy Gibson and colleagues used fluorescently-tagged proteins to make trypanosomes light up like tiny light bulbs.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bristol

Compelling visual evidence of sexual reproduction in African trypanosomes, single-celled parasites that cause major human and animal diseases, has been found by researchers from the University of Bristol.

The research could eventually lead to new approaches for controlling sleeping sickness in humans and wasting diseases in livestock which are caused by trypanosomes carried by the bloodsucking tsetse fly.

Biologists believe that sexual reproduction evolved very early and is now ubiquitous in organisms with complex cell structure (the eukaryotes, essentially all living organisms except bacteria). However, real evidence is lacking for a large section of the evolutionary tree.

Trypanosomes represent an early and very distant branch of the eukaryote tree of life and until now it was unclear whether they do indeed reproduce sexually.

Offspring that result from sexual reproduction inherit half their genetic material from each parent. At the core of this process is meiosis, the cellular division that shuffles the parental genes and deals them out in new combinations to the offspring. In organisms which cause diseases, sexual reproduction can spread genes which make them more virulent, or resistant to drugs used for treatment, as well as creating completely new strains with combinations of genes not previously encountered.

Some time ago it was shown that genetic shuffling could occur when two different trypanosome strains were mixed in the tsetse fly, but it was far from clear that this was true sexual reproduction. Direct visualization of the process was difficult because it happened inside the insect.

To get round this problem, Professor Wendy Gibson and colleagues used fluorescently-tagged proteins to make trypanosomes light up like tiny light bulbs [see image]. The tagged proteins only function during meiosis in other well-studied eukaryotes such as yeast.

Professor Gibson said: "It seems that meiosis in trypanosomes has eluded observers because it occurs hidden inside the insect carrying the parasite -- a difficult and technically challenging system to work with. These new results will further our understanding of events at the very beginning of eukaryote evolution, and of the way that new strains of disease-causing microbes emerge."

The study, carried out by researchers from Bristol's Schools of Biological Sciences and Veterinary Sciences in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, is published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Peacock, V. Ferris, R. Sharma, J. Sunter, M. Bailey, M. Carrington, W. Gibson. Identification of the meiotic life cycle stage of Trypanosoma brucei in the tsetse fly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1019423108

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Shining a light on trypanosome reproduction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217125121.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2011, February 28). Shining a light on trypanosome reproduction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217125121.htm
University of Bristol. "Shining a light on trypanosome reproduction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217125121.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
USDA Cracks Down On Imports From Foreign Puppy Mills

USDA Cracks Down On Imports From Foreign Puppy Mills

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New USDA measures to regulate dog imports aim to crack down on buying dogs from overseas puppy mills. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bone Marrow Drug Regrows Hair In Some Alopecia Patients

Bone Marrow Drug Regrows Hair In Some Alopecia Patients

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) Researchers performed an experiment using an FDA-approved drug known as ruxolitinib. They found it to be successful in the majority of patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins