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Anton Aebischer (2011-2017)

Functional analysis of molecular components of the habitat of Leishmania spp. – the protozoan parasites causing human leishmaniases

Leishmania spp. are medically important intracellular proteozoan parasites. Using a proteomics approach we have previously comprehensively analysed parasite adaptation to its intracellular habitat in macrophages. Here we propose to analyse the mechanism and extent of host cell- membrane and protein trafficking as it is becoming altered by infection. Specifically, we will test the hypothesis that Leishmania spp. infection alters retromer-dependent membrane transport processes and parasites exploit host cell ILV/MVB formation to their advantage. We will continue to establish experimental platforms based on ES cell- and transgenic mouse-derived primary phagocytic cells that will allow harnessing the power of reverse genetics or RNAi to analyse phagosomal protein function in different cell contexts.In a broader context this work may lead to new strategies to deliver anti-leishmanial drugs or increase parasite’s sensitivity to current drug treatments because of a deeper understanding of host to parasite molecular trafficking