Iron in Toxoplasma gondii: sensing, acquisition and use of critical nutrient in an obligate parasite
Dr Clare Harding
University of Glasgow
Almost every cell needs iron to produce energy. All cells use intricate mechanisms to sense, acquire and store iron until it is needed, but pathogens face an extra hurdle as they must subvert iron from the host. I am interested in how the parasite Toxoplasma gondii senses and acquires iron from its host.
I will use genetic and biochemical techniques to study these processes to determine how the parasite responds to changes in iron concentration and investigate how this is regulated. By deleting every gene in the parasite in a pooled fashion, I will investigate how the parasite changes iron metabolism in the host and find novel parasite genes required for iron transport, storage and use.
My findings will determine how Toxoplasma uses an essential element, teaching us about parasite biology and giving us new strategies to prevent disease.