Faculty Profile: Christopher de Graffenried

Christopher de Graffenried
Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Bio Med Molecular, Microbiology & Immunology
Work: +1 401-863-9585
We study the replication of the cytoskeleton in T. brucei, the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) in humans. We have shown that the Polo-like kinase homolog in T. brucei (TbPLK) is essential for the inheritance of the parasite's single flagellum, which is necessary for motility and viability. We focus on understanding how TbPLK affects flagellar inheritance by regulating the duplication and segregation of a suite of cytoskeletal organelles that position the flagellum.

Biography

My laboratory studies the replication of the cytoskeleton in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) in humans. We have recently shown that the single Polo-like kinase homolog in T. brucei (TbPLK) is essential for the proper inheritance of the parasite single flagellum, which is necessary for motility and viability. Our current work focuses on developing a molecular understanding of how TbPLK affects flagellar inheritance by regulating the duplication and segregation of a suite of cytoskeletal organelles that position the flagellum.

Selected Publications

  • Lozano-Nunez A, Ikeda KN, Sauer T, de Graffenried CL. An analogue-sensitive approach identifies basal body rotation and flagellum attachment zone elongation as key functions of PLK in Trypanosoma brucei. Mol. Biol. Cell. 2013 May;24(9):1321-33. PMCID: PMC3639044 (2013)
  • de Graffenried CL, Anrather D, Raussendorf Von F, Warren G. Polo-like kinase phosphorylation of bilobe-resident TbCentrin2 facilitates flagellar inheritance in Trypanosoma brucei. Mol. Biol. Cell. 2013 Jun 13;24(12):1947-63. PMCID: PMC3681699 (2013)
  • Ikeda KN, de Graffenried CL. Polo-like kinase is necessary for flagellum inheritance in Trypanosoma brucei. J. Cell. Sci. 2012 Aug 28;125(13):3173-84. (2012)
  • de Graffenried CL, Ho HH, Warren G. Polo-like kinase is required for Golgi and bilobe biogenesis in Trypanosoma brucei. J. Cell Biol. 2008 May 5;181(3):431-8. PMCID: PMC2364693 (2008)