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Building up computational models of the Trypanosoma cruzi metabolism

Grant number: 23/08204-6
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: November 06, 2023 - November 24, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Protozoology of Parasites
Principal Investigator:Ariel Mariano Silber
Grantee:Ariel Mariano Silber
Visiting researcher: Paul Michels
Visiting researcher institution: University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/12938-0 - Amino acid metabolism in Trypanosoma cruzi: a toolbox to survive in hostile environments, AP.TEM


Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, uses amino acids in addition to carbohydrates as a source of carbon and energy. The literature shows the variety of functions of these amino acids. For example, proline (the most studied in the parasite) participates in energy metabolism, osmoregulation, metacyclogenesis, cell invasion, differentiation from intracellular epimastigotes to trypomastigotes and resistance to different types of stress, in particular, oxidative stress. In 2016, in a previous visit by Prof. Paul Michels, we have started the development of a mathematical model that allows to carry out a computational analysis of several pathways in T. cruzi, focusing on a strategy of Metabolic Control Analysis of the proline pathway. This model was continued and improved as new experimental data were obtained and new computational tools were developed. Simultaneously, our laboratory developed together with Prof. Jair Siqueira (UCSD, USA) a genomic scale metabolic flow balance model, containing approximately 350 reactions for the epimastigote, amastigote and trypomastigote stages. The visit of Professor Michels in 2016 was fundamental to start this project, just as the one in 2019 was extremely relevant to its continuity. In this case, we propose a new month-long visit to improve the development of both computational models. We emphasize that the visit of Prof. Michels is of great relevance for these lines of research, which are being fundamentally developed by the PhD student Renan Wiegee Ajchian, co-supervised by the visitor. (AU)

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