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Establishing expression systems for the biophysical analysis of integral membrane proteins of pathogenic kinetoplastids

Grant number: 19/14983-2
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: October 05, 2020 - October 15, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Protozoology of Parasites
Principal Investigator:Ariel Mariano Silber
Grantee:Ariel Mariano Silber
Visiting researcher: Paul William Denny
Visiting researcher institution: Durham University (DU), England
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/06034-2 - The biological role of amino acids and their metabolites in Trypanosoma cruzi, AP.TEM

Abstract

Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease are insect vector borne diseases caused by microscopic protozoan parasites. Whilst recent progress against many NTDs has been promising, with an increasing number of cases in an ever wider geographical area, coupled with a limited number of drugs and rising antimicrobial resistance, the battle against both diseases has been described as a losing one. In this environment new drugs as urgently required, and these demand new validated drug targets. Development of these targets towards drug discovery requires assay systems, and functional and biophysical studies (e.g. crystallography). Despite the progress in the study of different kind of proteins, it is noteworthy that the development of information is unbalanced against membrane proteins. More than 97% (>126,000) of these structures are soluble proteins which are relatively easy to express, purify, functionally characterise and crystallize. However, more than 1 in 4 of eukaryotic proteins are lipid-bound, transmembrane (TM) macromolecules. In the context of a partnership between USP and Durham we are initiating a systematic analysis of membrane integral proteins of both, Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma cruzi to express them in conditions of making a biophysical characterization for obtaining information to analyse their perspectives for developing new targets. The goal of this proposal is to establish in São Paulo common protocols for the expression of such membrane-associated proteins. In addition, we plan to expand the impact of the visit by offering a post-graduation short intensive course, and at least three seminars in research Institutions in the State of São Paulo. (AU)