The mechanisms by which Babesia bovis causes severe disease in susceptible cattle are not well understood, however, it is clear that alterations to the structure and function of infected RBCs, secondary to the export of currently uncharacterised parasite-encoded proteins play a critical role. Using a rational bioinformatic analysis of the genome sequence of B. bovis, we have identified a subset of parasite proteins that we predict will be exported from the parasite into the host RBC and play a major role in host cell modification. In addition, the subset of B. bovis exported proteins share an orthologue in B. bigemina and evaluation of these proteins provides an opportunity to use the same vaccine candidates to control both B. bovis and B. bigemina. The overall aim of this project is to characterise these novel exported proteins by determining their localisation within P RBCs and ultimately elucidating their function and evaluation as vaccine targets in cattle. A combination of bioinformatic, molecular, cellular and proteomic approaches will be employed in order to shed some light on the mechanisms by which these parasites induce dramatic changes to the infected RBC. A complete analysis of the parasites’ ‘exportome’ will result in a better understanding of the pathogenesis of babesiosis and facilitate the identification of new vaccine targets to combat bovine babesiosis.
Babesiosis, pathogenesis, molecular and cellular biology, red blood cells, parasitology, vaccines
Biomedicine Discovery Institute (School of Biomedical Sciences) » Microbiology
Masters by research
Top-up scholarship funding available