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Christine Clayton

Christine Clayton

African Trypanosomes are unicellular eucaryotic parasites. They cause sleeping sickness in man. Current estimates are that about 300,000 people are infected, and the disease is invariably fatal if untreated. Very few drugs are available to treat the disease, and drug resistance is developing. They also infect cattle, thus further contributing to malnutrition and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The parasite is transmitted by tsetse flies.

To develop new treatments for trypanoso- miasis, and for other equally fatal diseases caused by related parasites, we need more information about their basic biochemistry. We have established new molecular genetic methods which allow us to determine which genes (and protein products) are necessary for parasite survival. We can also determine how much of a given protein is required for parasite growth. One focus is the energy metabolism of the parasite, which is unusually compartmentalised in an organelle. Another interest is the unique mechanisms of gene regulation, which enable trypanosomes to survive and multiply both in the blood of a mammal and the gut of a tsetse fly.

Selected Publications

Clayton, C.E. (2002) Developmental regulation without transcriptional control? From fly to man and back again EMBO Journal 21, 1881-1888

Estévez, A.M., Lehner, B., Sanderson, C.M., Ruppert, T. and Clayton, C. (2003) The roles of inter-subunit interactions in exosome stability. J. Biol. Chem.278, 34943-34951

Haile, S. Estévez, A.M. and Clayton, C. (2003) A role for the exosome in the initiation of degradation of unstable mRNAs RNA 9, 1491-1501

Quijada, L., Guerra-Giraldez, C., Drozdz, M., Hartmann, C., Ding, M., and Clayton, C.E. (2002) Expression of the human RNA-binding protein HuR in Trypanosoma brucei induces differentiation-related changes in the abundance of developmentally-regulated mRNAs. Nucleic Acids Res. 30, 4414-4424

Guerra-Giraldez, C., Quijada, L., Clayton, C.E. (2002) Compartmentation of enzymes in a microbody, the glycosome, is essential in Trypanosoma brucei. J. Cell Sci. 115, 2651.

Voncken, F., van Hellemond, J.J., Pfisterer, I., Maier, A., Hillmer, S. and Clayton, C. (2003) Depletion of GIM5 causes cellular fragility, a decreased glycosome number and reduced levels of ether-linked phospholipids in trypanosomes. J. Biol. Chem. 278, 35299-35310.


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