Like other unicellular parasites, Trypanosoma brucei depend on the import of amino acids for their metabolism. Therefore amino acid transporters represent suitable drug targets but also potential drug delivery systems. The project aims at:
- Characterizing amino acid transport systems by analysing their functional properties (substrate selectivity, affinity), and
- Evaluating their role for parasite growth, development and pathogenicity
The increased knowledge on biochemical and functional properties will facilitate the identification of amino acid transporters that are promising candidates for drug delivery or represent potential drug targets.
Research is part of the Sinergia project “Functional genomics of nutrient transporters in T. brucei: From physiology to pharmacology” that involves different groups at the University of Bern and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel (Switzerland). Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation.
In collaboration with Prof. Dan Zilberstein (Technion, Haifa, Israel) we are contributing to understanding amino acid transport in Leishmania.