Trypanosomes cause medically and economically severe diseases such as Sleeping Sickness and Chagas' Disease in humans and Nagana in cattle. They are also inherently interesting scientifically, being single-cell eukaryotes under constant, strong diversifying selection. The publication of the genome sequences of two key trypanosomes, Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi, in 2005 has provided an exciting new resource to improve our understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of these important parasites and aid the development of new drugs and vaccines. The genome sequences, allied with useful genetic tools and easy molecular manipulation, will consolidate T. brucei as a eukaryotic model organism. As a model, it has the added advantage that studies in this area are directly applicable to understanding and prevention of disease. Research in this area has never been more exciting.
In this book international experts review the contribution of trypanosome research to our understanding of eukaryote biology. Chapters are written from a molecular and genomic perspective and contain speculative models upon which to base future research efforts. Topics include: The genome of T. brucei, reverse and forward genetics, genetic exchange between trypanosomes, chromosome structure and dynamics, DNA replication, recombination and repair, transcription, post-transcriptional control of gene expression, cell structure, cell division and cell cycle, intracellular transport systems, cell surface architecture, antigenic variation, and comparative genomics of metabolism. The book provides an important resource summarising our current knowledge of trypanosome molecular and cellular biology.