How do R loops contribute to antigenic variation in the infectious parasite Typanosoma brucei?

University of Glasgow

Past award

Student: Lauren Galloway : University of Glasgow

Year Award Started: 2017

Trypanosoma brucei infects humans and lives in the bloodstream, where it is exposed to the immune system. To avoid detection, T. brucei has evolved a mechanism called antigenic variation where it continually changes the composition of protective protein coat on its surface. The immune system cannot keep up with the coat changes, allowing the parasites to go undiscovered. To change protein, a new protein-coding gene is physically recombined into a DNA region where it can be used. R loops are a specialised nucleic acid structures known to cause such recombination. Our project aims to find out if R loops cause the recombination in T. brucei that causes protein coats changes.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


Dr Richard McCulloch
Institute of Infection, Inflammation and Immunity