Editors: Marcelo Santos da Silva, Maria Isabel N. Cano

Molecular and Cellular Biology of Pathogenic Trypanosomatids

Volume 1

eBook: US $99 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $245
Printed Copy: US $195
Library License: US $396
ISSN: 2542-4211 (Print)
ISSN: 2542-422X (Online)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-406-0 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-405-3 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2017
DOI: 10.2174/97816810840531170101

Introduction

Every year millions of people living in tropical areas across the globe, are affected by trypanosomatids – the parasites causing Chagas disease, African trypanosomiasis, and leishmaniasis. According to WHO, these diseases are termed as neglected tropical diseases against which there are no effective vaccines and the few available treatments have many side effects, besides posing the risk of emerging drug resistant parasite strains. All these factors represent a significant challenge which imposes a considerable economic burden to public health systems. Many research initiatives have emerged in recent years with the aim to undercover parasitic molecular and cellular biology, parasite-host interactions, mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, molecular mechanisms of drug resistance, all essential for the development of novel anti-parasite treatments and eradication strategies.

This volume highlights discoveries in the field of trypanosomatid molecular and cellular biology. Topics covered include cell organization during development, genome organization and maintenance, control of gene expression, nuclear and kinetoplast DNA replication, mechanisms of DNA damage repair, virulence factors and immune evasion, new methods for molecular diagnosis, new therapeutic tools and recombinant vaccine biology.

This monograph will be of interest to undergraduates (premedical and biologists), graduates (masters and Ph.D. students) the parasitology research community and researchers working in related fields.

Preface

Among the pathogenic trypanosomatids are the etiological agents of leishmaniasis, African trypanosomiasis and Chaga’s disease, protozoa parasites belonging respectively, to the genus Leishmania and Trypanosoma. The diseases are high prevalent in tropical areas of the globe and according to WHO cause thousands of new cases and deaths every year. It is worth noting though that international migration made Chaga’s disease and leishmaniasis becoming an issue also in many developing countries in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, and Japan. Although the number of new cases and deaths from Chaga’s disease had decreased in the last decade, the millions of chronically infected persons who are at risk for developing cardiovascular and/or digestive pathology make Chaga’s disease one of the leading causes of cardiovascular morbidity and premature death in Latin America. Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, is endemic in sub-Saharan countries and is caused by T. brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense. The number of HAT cases has been decreasing in the last years due to very active control efforts although according to a recent WHO report, country or regional averages may be misleading since the burden of the disease falls very heavily on some areas. HAT patients require lots of care and disease diagnosis and treatment can be costly and time-consuming. However, in many Africa countries diagnostics and HAT drugs are provided free of charge. Leishmaniasis in its turn is still considered a dangerous menace, principally to the poor, with about 12 million people currently infected. Depending on the species leishmaniasis can be expressed in different clinical forms, with the cutaneous form being the most common, causing self-limiting skin ulcer or a highly disfiguring scar, to the disfiguring and mutilating mucocutaneous form, and the visceral form is the most severe and fatal if not treated. All these diseases are still challenges to overcome since the absence of effective vaccines, and the toxicity of current anti-parasite drugs, in addition to the emergence of drug-resistant parasite strains and HIV co-infections are non-transposable barriers to disease control. Thus, many research initiatives have been direct to understand parasite biology and its interactions with different hosts, as well as the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, of drug resistance and genome organization and maintenance, with the aim of the development of more efficient diagnostic tools and non-toxic and effective drugs and vaccines.

In this eBook, experts review and explore current knowledge about the molecular and cellular biology of trypanosomatids, highlighting the most important and actual discoveries in each research field. Topics covered include cell organization during development; genome organization and maintenance; control of gene expression; nuclear and kinetoplast DNA replication; mechanisms of DNA damage repair; virulence factors and immune evasion; new methods for molecular diagnosis; new therapeutic tools and recombinant vaccine biology.

We believe that the eBook content will be of keen interest to undergraduates, graduate students and principally to the Parasitology community and researchers working in related fields.

We would like to thank the contributing authors of this book for their time, expertise, and for making this eBook novel, educational, and informative and Professor Walter Colli for written the Forward.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Shehzad Naqvi, the Senior Manager Publications from Bentham Science Publishers for his continuous help.

Dr. Marcelo Santos da Silva
Instituto Butantan
São Paulo
Brazil

Dr. Maria Isabel N. Cano
Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP)
Botucatu, São Paulo
Brazil

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