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Aspects of immunobiology of Trypanosoma cruzi: interaction with mammalian host cells and induction of immune response


Infection by Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of "Chagas" disease, represents a serious public health problem in Latin America. The study of T. cruzi and the disease it causes is therefore of great relevance. The objective of this project is to study, at cellular, subcellular and molecular level, some fundamental aspects of T. cruzi infection such as cell invasion and escape from parasitophorous vacuole, as well as to investigate the immunological mechanisms involved in the control of infection. The understanding of how T. cruzi infection is established and perpetuated may open prospects for its control. As a strategy to attain oyur goal, we will try new approaches such as transfection of parasites, functional analysis of T. cruzi proteins by site-directed mutagenesis of the corresponding genes, use of organisms such as Trypanosoma rengeli and Coxiella burnetii which can be very helpful for the proposed project (see specific objectives). Members of our immunohistochemistry, electron and confocal microscopy. They have been working for several years in joint research programmes in a very productive manner. Collaborations with other laboratories in Brasil and abroad will further strengthen our group towards accomplishment of the proposed project. (AU)

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