Transporters of Trypanosoma brucei -phylogeny, physiology, pharmacology

Schmidt, Remo S.; Pereira de Macêdo, Juan; Steinmann, Michael Eduard; González Salgado, Amaia; Bütikofer, Peter; Sigel, Erwin; Rentsch, Doris; Mäser, Pascal (2018). Transporters of Trypanosoma brucei -phylogeny, physiology, pharmacology. FEBS journal, 285(6), pp. 1012-1023. Wiley 10.1111/febs.14302

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Trypanosoma brucei comprise the causative agents of sleeping sickness, T. b. gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense, as well as the livestock-pathogenic T. b. brucei. The parasites are transmitted by the tsetse fly and occur exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa. T. brucei are not only lethal pathogens but have also become model organisms for molecular parasitology. We focus here on membrane transport proteins of T. brucei, their contribution to homeostasis and metabolism in the context of a parasitic lifestyle, and their pharmacological role as potential drug targets or routes of drug entry. Transporters and channels in the plasma membrane are attractive drug targets as they are accessible from the outside. Alternatively, they can be exploited to selectively deliver harmful substances into the trypanosome's interior. Both approaches require the targeted transporter to be essential: in the first case to kill the trypanosome, in the second case to prevent drug resistance due to loss of the transporter. By combining functional and phylogenetic analyses, we were mining the T. brucei predicted proteome for transporters of pharmacological significance. Here, we review recent progress in the identification of transporters of lipid precursors, amino acid permeases and ion channels in T. brucei.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Cell Biology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Molecular Plant Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Schmidt, Remo, Pereira de Macêdo, Juan, Steinmann, Michael Eduard, González Salgado, Amaia, Bütikofer, Peter, Sigel, Erwin, Rentsch, Doris, Mäser, Pascal


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

31 Jan 2018 16:29

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:09

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

amino acid transport; human African trypanosomiasis; ion channel; lipid synthesis




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