Bradley Van Paridon in Chemistry World:
A chance decision to attend a lecture led to the discovery of an elusive protein and promising drug target for parasites causing some of the world’s most notorious neglected tropical diseases – Chagas disease, sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis. As this protein had been so slippery and hard to track down some had doubted that it even existed in these parasites at all.
Trypanosomes are a group of protozoan parasites transmitted by insect bites that cause sickness, morbidity and death in humans and livestock in developing countries. They are responsible for sickening millions of people every year and cause the deaths of tens of thousands of those infected, but the diseases these parasites cause do not receive the attention others do as they mostly affect poorer people in the Global South.
For decades trypanosome researchers have searched for a protein called Pex3 within the genomes of trypanosomes.