for Tsetse flies
Trypanosomes are the causative agents of various diseases in animals. Only a few of these parasites are capable of infecting humans. In Africa, these are the causative agents of sleeping sickness. Closely related trypanosomes that cause animal diseases are widespread in Africa.
In advance of this project, we found DNA traces of animal pathogenic trypanosomes, Trypanosoma congolense, in humans in Cameroon. These could be the first signs that the parasites are adapting to humans and may be on their way to becoming human pathogenic.
The aim of this project is to investigate whether such an adaptation is taking place, how far the parasite has already adapted, or whether people in the affected villages are more susceptible to this parasite. At the same time, two other areas, one in Chad and one in Ghana, will be investigated to see if there are similar traces there.
Weber, J.S., Ngomtcho, S.C.H., Shaida, S.S. et al. Genetic diversity of trypanosome species in tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) in Nigeria. Parasites Vectors 12, 481 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3718-y; https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-019-3718-y
S. C. H. Ngomtcho, J. S Weber, E. N. Bum, T. T. Gbem, S. Kelm and M. D. Achukwi (2017) Molecular screening of tsetse flies and cattle reveal different Trypanosoma species including T. grayi and T. theileri in northern Cameroon. Parasites and Vectors, 10, 631 doi:10.1186/s13071-017-2540-7; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29287598/
M. Waespy, T. T. Gbem, L. Elenschneider, A.-P., C. J. Day, L. Hartley-Tassell, N. Bovin, J. Tiralongo, T. Haselhorst, S. Kelm (2015) Carbohydrate recognition specificity of trans-sialidase lectin domain from Trypanosoma congolense. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 9, doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004120; https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0004120
Sustainable Development Goals
The African trypanosomiasis project relates to Sustainable Development Goals 2 (No Hunger) and 3 (Health and Well-Being) and aims to transfer from research to society by directly engaging with the community.
Cooperations and Sponsoring
The Department of Biology and Chemistry, in particular Prof. Sørge Kelm from the University of Bremen, has many years of experience in coordinating cooperative research projects with partners in sub-Saharan Africa, both in research and capacity building. One focus of his projects is the role of nutrition in non-communicable diseases on the continent.