Investigating the molecular machinery that controls autophagy during Leishmania spp. differentiation.

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Biology


Autophagy (self-eating) is the process by which cells clear unwanted material. The autophagic pathway is upregulated at times of stress (e.g. starvation) and cellular differentiation. Autophagy involves formation of a phagophore, a membranous structure that engulfs cellular components and delivers them to the lysosome for degradation. This project will investigate whether a Tlg2:Vps45 interaction that regulates autophagy in yeast is conserved in Leishmania spp. parasites and necessary for lifecycle differentiation to human-infectious forms. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of these processes will pave the way for development of therapeutic strategies to combat Leishmaniasis. Advanced training will be provided in cell biology techniques including nucleic acid manipulations, Leishmania spp. genetics, Cat3 cell culture, parasite infectivity and differentiation assays, Western/Northern blots, quantitative PCR, in silico analyses and live cell fluorescence microscopy.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
1949555 Studentship BB/M011151/1 30/09/2017 31/01/2022 Kirstin Anne Spence