Antigenic variation in surface proteins of Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas' disease)

Heather E Elfman, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Chagas' disease, a devastating illness in the Western Hemisphere, is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Transmission is via bloodsucking insect vectors, congenitally, or through blood transfusion and/or organ transplantation. A significant percentage of heart-related illnesses and deaths each year are attributable to the number of persons with Chagas' disease. Currently, there is no FDA-approved routine screening of the U.S. blood supply being conducted by blood banks. The only current commercial assays available for detection of Trypanosoma cruzi are based on South American isolates, which may differ antigenically from those found in the US. In this study, the assay used intact parasites as antigen in an ELISA-type assay. Therefore, serological differences presumably reflected variations in surface antigens. The basis of differential antibody binding to these antigens is unknown. In this study, biochemical characterization and genetic polymorphism analysis will be performed on three defined surface proteins of T. cruzi epimastigotes.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Elfman, Heather E, "Antigenic variation in surface proteins of Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas' disease)" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1444052.