‘Most infections do not result in prolonged illness as the immune system recognises an antigen present on the pathogen facilitating its destruction. One widespread mechanism for establishing a long term infection is antigenic variation, whereby a pathogen changes to express a series novel antigens more rapidly than host recognition and response. What is the molecular and cellular mechanism for antigenic variation? We know more about how this works in African Trypanosomes than anything else and I’ll talk about a molecular arms race that we can see occurring through investigations of the molecular interactions between mammalian hosts and trypanosomes.’
Dr Mark Carrington is a group leader in Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry, investigating the molecular cell biology of trypanosomes.