Dresden 2017 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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BP: Fachverband Biologische Physik

BP 60: Physics of Parasites - Joint Focus Session (BP/DY) organized by Holger Stark

BP 60.3: Vortrag

Freitag, 24. März 2017, 10:30–11:00, SCH A251

Deadly microswimmers - how trypanosomes move in blood and navigate in the tsetse flySarah Schuster, Tim Krüger, and •Markus Engstler — Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

Trypanosomes are flagellate microswimmers and causative agents of deadly human diseases. The parasites swim freely in the blood and tissue fluids of their mammalian hosts, where they employ hydrodynamic drag to escape immune destruction. We found that different trypanosomes species reveal distinct motion patterns, which allows adaptations to diverse infection niches. Cell motility is essential for trypanosome survival, not only in the mammal, but also in the transmitting insect, the blood sucking tsetse fly. Within the tsetse, the parasites pass through different microenvironments and undergo several developmental transitions. This involves crossing various barriers and confined surroundings, concurrent with major morphological changes. This lecture introduces the trypanosome microswimmer system and focuses on the tsetse fly stages. Light sheet fluorescence microscopy is presented as a powerful tool for the 3D analysis of geometries within the tsetse fly's digestive tract. High spatio-temporal resolution microscopic analyses reveal how the different forms of trypanosomes exploit obstacles and borders for navigation in a complex environment. Transitions between solitary swimming and swarming mark the 30 days long journey of the trypanosomes through the fly. The parasites' behaviours range from self-avoidance to collective motion. We suggest that the trypanosome system is well suited for addressing some fundamental questions related to active motion in the world of low Reynolds numbers.

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