Abstract by Christopher Biggs
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Optimized ratiometric glucose biosensor in Trypanosoma brucei
Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei) is a single-celled protozoa parasite belonging to the class kinetoplastida. T. brucei causes African Sleeping Sickness infecting about 20 thousand people each year and threatening over 65 million. T. brucei has unique organelles (glycosomes) that localize glycolysis which is the sole energy source of T. brucei in the human bloodstream. Here we describe a series of T. brucei-expressing fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors to track glucose. Using flow cytometry, cytosolic glucose levels were observed in response to a series of drugs or environmental stressors. Monitoring metabolite levels in the cytosol and glycosomes provides insights to signaling and metabolic pathways of T. brucei as a way to develop potential therapeutic targets.