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Cell signaling and the cytoskeleton in Giardia lamblia

Alex Paredez
University of Washington, Department of Biology
Seminar date:
Monday, October 2, 2017 - 11:45
HCK 132

The cytoskeleton is the structural framework that supports cellular form and function. More than a static structure, the cytoskeleton is a true nanomachine used for mechanical tasks across the biological scale, from organelles to organisms. The protozoan Giardia lamblia, is an intriguing single-celled parasite that depends on its cytoskeleton to latch onto the host intestine and maintain parasitism. Either due to its ancient origins or the selective pressure of its life as a parasite, Giardia lacks many cytoskeletal proteins once thought to be conserved in all eukaryotes. My laboratory focuses on exploring Giardia’s unique biology and uncovering the divergent molecular mechanisms Giardia employs to regulate its cytoskeleton. Importantly, unique cytoskeletal regulators could be leveraged for therapeutic development to treat the 20% of infections which are resistant to the current front line treatment (metronidazole). I will present our recent work on Giardia’s unique mechanism of cell division, work on a set of divergent kinases we have validated as drug targets, and the role of Giardia’s sole Rho family GTPase as a regulator of the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking.

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