Phospholipid Analysis in Trypanosoma cruzi

Melissa Rashonda Harris, University of Texas at El Paso


Chagas disease, caused by the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi is one of the most endemic and deadly infectious diseases. T.cruzi is distributed throughout most of South and Central America, where it infects 12 to 19 million people, with an annual incidence of 561,000. Another 35 million are exposed to infection, 2 to 3 million people have clinical symptoms of chronic Chagas disease, and about 45,000 of these may die every year due to cardiac failure. In addition to the growing number of incidences in other countries the disease is an emerging infectious disease in the U.S due to the migration of populations infected with the parasite. The only drug treatment that is currently available is highly toxic and provides only little efficacy in the chronic phase of the disease. Chemotherapy is becoming increasingly of interest to researchers in providing a therapeutic effect in the chronic phase of T.cruzi. Some biochemical pathways have been identified as potential chemotherapeutic targets. ^ Parasitic protozoa such as T. cruzi are surrounded by membrane structures that have a different lipid and protein composition relative to membranes of the host. Phospholipids are major membrane components and, play a major role in the invasion of the parasite in the host-cell invasion and protection against the host cell immune system. Our long term goal is to discover new and specific molecular targets involved in the parasite phospholipids metabolism that could be explored for the development of more effective chemotherapies against T.cruzi. ^ The overall goal of this proposal is to develop a lipidomic analysis method that will enable a high output identification of phospholipids present in the various life cycle stages of T. cruzi. By identifying the phospholipids in the different stages of the life cycle of T.cruzi this will enable researchers to target phospholipids involved in the host-cell invasion and pathogenesis.^

Subject Area

Biology, General|Chemistry, Biochemistry

Recommended Citation

Harris, Melissa Rashonda, "Phospholipid Analysis in Trypanosoma cruzi" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1503726.