PhD Oral Defence of Najmeh Nikpour, Parasitology
One of the most intriguing features of Trypanosoma brucei, a unicellular protozoan parasite, is its unique way of energy production in different life cycle stages. In the mammalian host, trypanosomes generate energy by glycolysis in glycosomes whereas in the insect vector they generate energy by oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. In mitochondria, mRNAs undergo a unique post-transcriptional editing process by guide RNA-dependent insertion and deletion of uridine nucleotides that requires a multi-protein complex, the editosome. The edited mRNAs translate into the essential protein subunits of the respiratory chain. Interestingly, RNA editing is differentially regulated between the mammalian and insect life cycle stages of the parasite, resulting in differential mechanisms of ATP generation. However, it is unknown how the developmental regulation of editing occurs. My Ph.D. project tested the hypothesis that differential editing may reflect the differential function and/or composition of the components of the editosome and its associated complexes in the different life cycle stages of the parasite.
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