Wednesday 7 January 2015

Trypanosome Lego

Trypanosomes and Leishmania are the two tropical parasites that I do most of my research on. These cells seem to have a lot of modularity in controlling their shape, and have quite a lot of flexibility in reshuffling where particular structures (made up of many organelles) sit within the cell.

The base of the flagellum, the whip-like tail which the cell uses to swim, is also the site where the cell takes up material from its environment (essentially its mouth) and is linked with the Golgi apparatus (an important organelle in protein processing) and the mitochondrion (the powerhouse of the cell) and links to the mitochondrial DNA. It turns out reducing the level of just one protein in the cell can cause this entire complex structure to shift its position.

Cells are not quite as flexible as Lego, but it is still impressive that a single protein can have such a large effect on the organisation of a cell.

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing! I want this Lego too!!!! Where can we buy it?
    Luisa (


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