Trypanosoma brucei is a primitive unicellular eukaryotic parasite that causes potentially fatal disease (African sleeping sickness) in humans and a wide range of livestock and working animals. Much of the research using this organism focuses on the identification of suitable drug targets, but it can also serve as a model system for many cellular processes.
One of these is the fatty acid synthesis pathway (FAS). This parasite uses an unusual FAS that appears to depend on the availability of lipids in its environment.
This immunofluorescence micrograph shows the green staining of a specific enzyme that is the first step in the FAS (Acetyl-CoA carboxylase) and the red staining of the cell’s mitochondri on using fluorescently labeled antibodies. The nucleus is stained blue with a fluorescent dye that is attracted to DNA. Because the location of enzyme within the T. brucei cell was previously undescribed, this micrograph could significantly contribute to the understanding of the parasite’s FAS pathway.