They’ve got some serious moves Trypanosoma brucei. These parasites are the culprits behind sleeping sickness, a disease native to Africa that if left untreated is fatal. The parasites infect tsetse flies, which go on to bite humans and so the infection is passed on. While in the tsetse fly the parasite develops and matures as it navigates its way through the different organs of the fly. Now using high resolution microscopy researchers reveal a more detailed picture of where and how the parasites (yellow) journey through the fly organs (grey). They discovered that the parasites underwent a range of different movements to successfully traverse through the fly, from moving solo and swimming alongside perceived boundaries to moving about in synchronised swarms. More digging using these high resolution tools may provide further clues to how the parasite develops and survives, with the ultimate goal of learning how to better combat it.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.