Abstract by Scott Herrod

Personal Infomation

Presenter's Name

Scott Herrod

Degree Level


Abstract Infomation


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty Advisor

Kenneth Christensen


Monitoring AMPK Levels in Response to Low Glucose Conditions in Trypanosoma Brucei


Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness, differentiates in order to survive in
different biological environments by significantly changing its metabolism. A recent report indicates that
low glucose triggers differentiation when the parasite moves between the mammalian host and its insect
vector. In other eukaryotic organisms AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master metabolic
regulator, becomes active in low glucose conditions. To monitor whether this also occurs in T. brucei, we
are adapting a previously reported AMPK activation fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
biosensor to monitor AMPK in T. brucei. In HEK293T cells, the biosensor AMPKAR-EV responds to
glucose starvation or 10 mM 2-deoxyglucose (2-DOG). We are working toward expressing the sensor in
parasites. In parallel, we have found that AMPK is activated under low glucose conditions by western
blot, suggesting it may act as a cellular glucose sensor and may be a therapeutic target.