Abstract by Jongsu Choi
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Mechanism of glucose transport in Trypanosoma brucei
Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is a kinetoplastid parasite transmitted via the tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa. Once transitioned in the mammalian host, T. brucei converts its sole source of energy production to the peroxisome like-organelle called glycosome that harbors all the essential glycolytic enzymes. With glucose being a crucial component for the survival of T. brucei, understanding of the glucose transport pathway is important in revealing its unique biology and potential therapeutic targets. Trypanosome hexose transporters (THTs) are the accepted glucose transporters in T. brucei, and they have been shown to recognize various sugar substrates. However, evidence that THTs are responsible for the majority of glucose uptake in trypanosomes is lacking. Here we report THTs’ role in glucose uptake in T. brucei using RNAi knockdown and uptake of a fluorescent glucose analog. Furthermore, we show results that suggest a completely new mechanism of glucose uptake in T. brucei.