Optical trapping and motility of trypanosomes in microfluidic environments

by Eric Stellamanns (Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen)

Thursday, April 14, 2011 from to (Europe/Berlin)
at Bldg. 25f/456
Trypanosomes are unicellular human bloodstream parasites and the causative agent of the so called African sleeping sickness. They are spread by the bite of the tsetse fly and represent a threat to an estimated number of 60 million people in 36 sub Saharan countries. Motility is of paramount importance to cell survival and hence pathogenicity of the parasite. Using optical tweezing methods in microfluidic cell culture environments we are able to analyze cellular motility to a great detail and measure the forces they generate. We find that trypanosome propagation forces are dependent on cell cycle and growth of the flagellum. Furthermore we describe that motility has a broad spectrum not only over the population but also on the single cell level.