Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience
Nelson Hall - Busch Campus
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Molecular cell biology of telomerase. proteinase and proteinase inhibitors
Our work on lysosomal proteinases has led us to study Leishmania mexicana, a parasitic protozoan that lives in the lysosome of the mammalian macrophage. During cell differentiation there is a change from motile to sessile forms of this protozoan, and we have concentrated on the leishmania cytoskeleton. Based on sequence comparison. the leishmania tubulin is similar to that of plants. Based on this information. we have found herbicides that can selectively inhibit leishmania growth, but have no effect on mammalian cells. Thus, antitubulin compounds may be potential anti-leishmania agents.
Our experience in leishmania has led to a project on oyster parasitic protozoans. The oyster industry in New Jersey has been almost totally destroyed by a parasitic protozoan, Haplosporidium nelsoni. We are planning to develop a DNA probe specific for the parasite.