Study of the location and effect of generating an excess amount of an important cellular component (RDK2) in the etiological agent of Chagas disease

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Jessica Huckleberry
Miguel Chiurillo Siervo


Record ID: 144

Mentorship Award: Excellence in Research Mentoring

Type: Poster Presentation (in-person)

Advisor: Miguel Chiurillo Siervo

Abstract: Protein kinases (PK) are important components of all kind of cells that plays key biological processes for the life of a cell. The focus of the research in our laboratory is the microscopic parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), which is the cause of the potentially life-threatening disease named as Chagas disease. We aimed to study the role in the survival of T. cruzi of a specific PK known as RDK2, using an experimental approach, commonly referred to as reverse genetics, that enables researchers to elucidate gene function by examining observable changes in the cells caused by manipulating their DNA. By modifying the DNA of this organism, we observed that RDK2 is found in the cytosol of the cell. Additionally, we performed an experiment where we programmed the cell to make too many copies of the RDK2 protein, which caused the cell to die. We then generated a molecular system that allowed for the RDK2 gene to only be switched on when we added a certain antibiotic (Tetracycline). We observed that when we give above 0.1 mg/ml tetracycline to these cells the amount of RDK2 increases affecting the parasite vitality and proliferation. We are currently performing an analysis of how generating too much RDK2 protein can affect the ability of this parasite to infect human cells. This antibiotic “switch” system has the potential to be used in future experiments to evaluate the possibility of testing RDK2 for the design of new treatment options for Chagas disease.

Article Details

Category: Electrical, Chemical, & Cellular Worlds
Author Biography

Jessica Huckleberry, University of Cincinnati

Major(s): Biological Sciences- Biomedical