Group Bütikofer

Research Focus:

Trypanosoma brucei is not only the causative agent of human African sleeping sickness and Nagana, a related animal disease, in sub-Saharan Africa, but has also emerged as valuable model organism to study eukaryote biology. Several processes discovered in trypanosomes have later been found to represent general biological events.

The main focus of our research is on:

  1. The identification and characterization of lipid biosynthetic pathways in T. brucei, in particular the reactions involved in the production of phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin.
  2. The characterization of membrane contact sites between the endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondrion in T. brucei.
  3. The identification and functional importance of cardiolipin-dependent proteins in T. brucei.
  4. The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in N-linked glycan transport (flipping) from the cytoplasmic to the luminal side of the endoplasmic reticulum, using T. brucei as model organism.
  5. The identification of novel phospholipid scramblases.

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