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Title: Human serum resistance in Trypanosoma brucei
Author: Capewell, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 2049
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2011
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Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of both sleeping sickness in humans and the related veterinary disease, Nagana. Both diseases have a wide distribution across sub-Saharan Africa and affect some of the poorest areas of the world. T. brucei can be segregated into three morphologically identical sub-species based on host, geography and pathology. T. b. brucei is limited to domestic and wild animals throughout sub-Saharan Africa and is non-infective to humans due to trypanosome lytic factors found in human serum. T. b. gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense are human infective sub-species, named due to their relative geographic locations. T. b. gambiense is the dominant form of the disease, causing over 90% of reported cases. Study of T. b. gambiense is complicated in that there are two distinct groups. Group 1 is invariably resistant to lysis and by far the more prevalent group. Group 2 T. b. gambiense exhibit a variable resistance phenotype and are only found at a small number of Côte d’Ivoire disease foci. There are two trypanosome lytic factors in human serum (TLF-1 & 2), both containing the proteins Apolipoprotein L1 (ApoL1) and Haptogoblin-related protein (Hpr). It has been conclusively demonstrated that the lytic component of TLF is ApoL1, although Hpr is required for maximal lysis by facilitating uptake of TLF particles via the HpHbR cell surface receptor. This thesis has exposed several features of the human infectivity phenotype in both groups of T. b. gambiense, an area of research for which data has been lacking due to the difficulty of working with the organism. Fluorescence microscopy indicated that group 1 T. b. gambiense exhibit avoidance of TLF-1 particles by down-regulating HpHbR receptor expression and function. However, they are also able to resist the effects of recombinant ApoL1, suggesting an additional neutralisation or compensatory mechanism. Due to group 1 T. b. gambiense avoidance of TLF-1, TLF-2 is the more important lytic particle for this sub-species group and future research must take this into consideration. Unlike group 1, group 2 T. b. gambiense displays a variable human serum resistance phenotype that involves a neutralisation or compensatory mechanism for ApoL1, with no significant avoidance of lytic particles. Despite the high variability of the phenotype of group 2 T. b. gambiense, Quantitative Trait Analysis (QTL) using twenty-five F1 progeny from a T. b. brucei / group 2 T. b. gambiense cross indicated a strong heritable component to human serum resistance largely determined by a 30 gene locus on chromosome 8. Finally, a six multi-locus genotype population analysis of a Côte d’Ivoire T. b. gambiense focus was conducted, revealing little relationship between the two groups of T. b. gambiense in the field. The differences in the human serum resistance phenotypes and population genetics of both groups of T. b. gambiense revealed both prior and during this study make it appear likely that the two groups have evolved distinct human serum resistance strategies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QH301 Biology ; QR180 Immunology ; QH426 Genetics