Apicomplexan Biology Lab

>>>Apicomplexan Biology Lab

We focus on the study of a group of parasites, causative agents of both human and veterinary disease, collectively known as Apicomplexa. We aim to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying these parasites’s ability to multipy and disseminate. With this, we
aim to identify novel drug targets and drugs, to prevent these processes and more rapidly and effectively alleviate the diseases they cause.
Many, but not all, apicomplexans are able to cross the placental barrier causing abortion or congenital disease. We are interested in understanding the molecular basis of this capacitiy to cross such barrier, and their interactions with the host. Moreover, we are
interested in understanding which specific strains of apicomplexans are present in our country, and to which extent, in order to optimize treatments and diagnostics to what is locally relevant.
Finally, we work in collaboration with the Parasitology and Micology department of the School of Medicine to provide molecular unequivocal diagnosis of parasitic diseases. This allows us to carry out epidemiological surveys, and to better and more effectively treat individual patients.

Financed by:

Ramiro Tomasina, Pharmaceutical chemist

MSc. Student

Fabiana González
Undergraduate student in Biochemistry, Technician
  • Systematic identification of proteins with a role in regulating T. gondii’s cell division

  • Identification of novel centrosomal components in T. gondii.

  • Identification of the molecular basis of differential pathogenesis among N. caninum strains.

  • Typing of prevalent Cryptosporidium species in Uruguay – in collaboration with the Parasitology and Mycology Department, School of Medicine.

  • Incidence of T. gondii in sheep abortion rates, and T. gondii presence in wildlife with a focus in the autochthonous members of the felidae family (Leopardus geoffroyi and Leopardus wiedii) Collaborative project with the Uruguayan Wool Secretiarat and the
    Biodiversity and Genetics Department from the Clemente Estable Research Institute.

  • “Genetic Manipulation in Unicelular Parasites”
    Organized by M. Francia

  • “Molecular Diagnosis of Parasitic Diseases”. Second semester 2019 (Date TBD).
    Parasitology and Mycology Department. School of Medicine.

  • 2017-2020 – Functional characterization of the apicomplexan parasite centrosome.
    Responsible: María E. Francia. FCE-ANII

  • 2017-2019 – Molecular and functional characterization of new national and regional isolates of Neospora caninum. Exploitation of its distinctive features in the rational design of diagnostic tools and prophylaxis to combat bovine Neosporosis. Responsible: María E. Francia. PDN-ANII

  • 2018-2020 – Systematic identification and functional analysis of novel centrosomal components in Toxoplasma gondii. Responsable: Maria E. Francia. ACIP-RIIP

  • 2019-2022 – Quantification of embryonic and fetal losses in flocks of Uruguay and diagnosis of infectious agents involved. Responsible: Sergio Ferro (SUL). FCE-ANII

  • Cabrera A, Berná L, Fresia P, Silveira C, Macias Rioseco M, Pritsch O, Riet-Correa F, Giannitti F, Francia ME*, Robello C*. (2019). Characterization of Four Novel Neospora Caninum Strains Reveals Underappreciated Regional and Worldwide diversity. Submitted. *co-corresponding author

  • Berry, L., Chen, CT, Francia, M.E. et al. (2018). Toxoplasma gondii chromosomal passenger complex is essential for the organization of a functional mitotic spindle: a prerequisite for productive endodyogeny. Cell. Mol. Life Sci.

  • Morlon-Guyot J, Francia ME, Dubremetz JF, Daher W. (2017). Towards a molecular architecture of the centrosome in Toxoplasma gondii. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2017 Feb 7; 4(2):55-71.

  • Francia ME#, Dubremetz JF, Morrissette NS. (2016) Basal Body Structure and Composition in the Apicomplexans Toxoplasma and Plasmodium. Review series on Basal Bodies across Eukaryotes. Cilia. Feb 4; 5:3. #corresponding author.