Antibody clearance as virulence factor in African sleeping sickness

The goal of the project is to explore antibody clearance as a virulence factor in the course of natural trypanosome infections, and how this is related to trypanosome motility.

Advanced molecular cell biology and infection genetics are combined with live animal experiments, epidemiology and bioinformatics, and very high end imaging technologies.

Using high speed imaging techniques, and immunofluorescence, we know that trypanosome movement facilitates recycling of the cell surface through the flagellar pocket. If antibodies are attached to the cell surface, they are also internalized and metabolized; this process is thought to be linked to evasion of host immunity. 

We anticipate that this knowledge can be exploited to develop novel therapeutic approaches.


  • The German Research Foundation (DFG)

Implementation Period:

  • April 2014 -- March 2017


  • University of Wuerzburg, Germany