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The World in Medicine
April 9, 2003

"Atypical" Pneumonia Alert

JAMA. 2003;289(14):1774. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1774-a

Researchers from the University of Brussels, Gosselies, Belgium and colleagues have discovered a strategy that Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, the parasite that causes sleeping sickness, uses to overcome natural human defenses against infection (Nature. 2003;222:83-87).

Human serum contains a molecule called trypanosome lytic factor that can prevent infection. Some strains of the parasite make a shortened version of a cell surface molecule called serum resistance-associated protein (SRA) that allows them to evade this defense, but the identity of the lytic factor and the exact molecular mechanism of this evasion were unknown.

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