Oxford Prof Listens to Sleeping Sickness Bacteria w/ Micro-Ear
A team lead by Dr. Richard Berry at the University of Oxford intends to listen to flagella- the tiny motor that many bacteria such as E. Coli use to move themselves around.
The African trypanosome, Trypansoma brucei, is a parasite which causes the disease “sleeping sickness” or African trypanosomiasis and affects up to 500,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa. It is hoped that by listening to this kind of flagellar motor with the micro-ear it will be possible to learn how drugs disrupt cells and devise medicines that could prevent the bacteria.
The procyclic form of African trypanosomes move together as a group when grown on a semisolid surface, according to new research from US scientists published in the journal PLoS Pathogens. This “social motility” is mediated by their flagellum and is a surprising new feature in trypanosome biology.
A team from three UK institutions are building the device, which they hope will become standard lab equipment.Institutions involved include the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford as well as the National Institute of Medical Research at Mill Hill.