Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite: trypanosoma. In a new research published in Nature, the Molecular Parasitology lab (IBMM) publish a breakthrough discovery about the mecanism allowing some parasites to infect humans.
In 2003, En 2003, Pr Etienne Pays’ team already discovered that humans are naturally protected againts this type of pathogens owing to a serum protein called apolipoprotein L1 (apoL1), which efficiently kills the parasite by generating ionic pores in membranes of its digestive system. Through evolution, two variant trypanosomes acquired the ability to resist apoL1. These variant trypanosomes, named Trypanosoma rhodesiense and Trypanosoma gambiense, can therefore grow in human blood. It’s the mecanism which allows those parasite to resist to apoL-1 and infect humans that the researchers demonstrate today.