Importance of trypanosome motility during the early infection in the mammalian host

A postdoctoral position, funded by the Laboratory of Excellence Integrative Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases (LabEx IBEID:, is available in the "Trypanosome Cell Biology" research unit directed by Philippe Bastin at the Institut Pasteur in Paris under the supervision of Brice Rotureau.


Importance of trypanosome motility during the early infection in the mammalian host


Human African Trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness is a neglected tropical disease caused by the flagellated protist Trypanosoma brucei. Nagana is a similar disease in cattle due to closely related trypanosome species. The injection of these extra-cellular parasites by the bite of the tsetse fly induces a local inflammatory response. Trypanosomes then apparently transit via the lymphatic system before invading the bloodstream where they proliferate and cause the typical symptoms of the disease. However, very little is known about the early steps of infection, especially the mechanisms of trypanosome differentiation, proliferation and passage to the bloodstream.

The principal aim of this project is to establish the importance of the trypanosome flagellum that has been proposed to be a key virulence factor. In this context, the early steps of T. brucei development upon natural transmission of a fluorescent strain by a tsetse fly bite will be monitored using state-of-the-art intravital imaging technologies.

Functional investigations with conditional knockout parasites will be performed to discover the role of flagellum motility in migration towards specific tissues and avoidance of host immune cells by using mutants deprived of flagellar motors. Overall, these studies will result in the first integrated view of the early steps of trypanosome infection and will be crucial to improve early diagnosis and treatment of this disease that is always fatal in the absence of treatment.


Candidate requirements: Candidates with at least a PhD in Biological Science, especially in Parasitology or Cell Biology are encouraged to postulate. Highly motivated and autonomous candidates are wanted. Skills in medical entomology and in vivo imaging would be appreciated.


To apply: Applicants should send their CV, a motivation letter and 3 references in the same pdf file to Brice Rotureau ( Trypanosome Cell Biology Unit, Institut Pasteur, 25 rue du Dr Roux, 75015 Paris.

Mis à jour le 08/11/2013