Monday, 5 September 2016

The website for one of my new major research projects is now live!

TrypTag is a project to tag every gene in the trypanosome genome with a fluorescent marker to see where it goes in the cell.

Do you have no idea what I'm talking about? Read on to see what all that jargon means!

Trypanosomes are one of the parasites my research involves. They are single cell parasites that live in the blood, and they cause the diseases sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in livestock across Africa. All in all, not very nice.

Like all cells, trypanosomes are made up of protein machinery. Each protein is encoded by a gene in genome. A first step in finding a protein's function is finding where it goes in the cell. If you can map it to a particular structure then you have a good idea it's going to function there too.

To find where a protein goes in a cell we genetically modify the cell, sticking a fluorescent marker to the protein so we can see where it goes using a microscope. This is the process of tagging.

We are going to tag every protein gene in the genome, around 8000 genes, and build a complete map of the protein composition of the cell.

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