Nicola G. Jones

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BACKGROUND In a mammalian host, the cell surface of African trypanosomes is protected by a monolayer of a single variant surface glycoprotein (VSG). The VSG is central to antigenic variation; one VSG gene is expressed at any one time and there is a low frequency stochastic switch to expression of a different VSG gene. The genome of Trypanosoma brucei(More)
BACKGROUND Trypanosomes are coated with a variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) that is so densely packed that it physically protects underlying proteins from effectors of the host immune system. Periodically cells expressing a distinct VSG arise in a population and thereby evade immunity. The main structural feature of VSGs are two long alpha-helices that(More)
We have discovered a new mechanism of monoallelic gene expression that links antigenic variation, cell cycle, and development in the model parasite Trypanosoma brucei. African trypanosomes possess hundreds of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) genes, but only one is expressed from a telomeric expression site (ES) at any given time. We found that the(More)
The bloodstream developmental forms of pathogenic African trypanosomes are uniquely susceptible to killing by small hydrophobic peptides. Trypanocidal activity is conferred by peptide hydrophobicity and charge distribution and results from increased rigidity of the plasma membrane. Structural analysis of lipid-associated peptide suggests a mechanism of(More)
The protein density in biological membranes can be extraordinarily high, but the impact of molecular crowding on the diffusion of membrane proteins has not been studied systematically in a natural system. The diversity of the membrane proteome of most cells may preclude systematic studies. African trypanosomes, however, feature a uniform surface coat that(More)
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