Dr. Huan Huang conducts the studies on Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), a parasite which causes Chagas disease. The researches include molecular biology of the parasite, pathogenesis of Chagas disease and the genetic techniques in this organism. His laboratory studies protein kinases and kinase signaling pathways in T. cruzi, identifying and characterizing components in cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and Mitogen activated protein kinase pathways in T. cruzi. These findings have established a solid basis for further research in this pathogen and the knowledge can be used for drug development. Recently, his group advanced molecular genetics in T. cruzi by designing a modified pTREX vector which uses an N-terminal fusion of a ligand-controlled destabilization domain (ddFKBP) to a gene/protein of interest. This vector system allows rapid and reversible protein expression and efficient functional analysis of proteins in different T. cruzi life cycle stages. In addition, his group is creating transgenic T. cruzi for the study of disease mechanism and for vaccine strains. The inducible suicide vector systems in T. cruzi have been established recently using the degradation domain based on the Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (ecDHFR) linked with toxic or detrimental proteins. These vector systems can be introduced into this organism to create attenuated live parasites which can be induced to undergo a self-destruction process. The technique may lead to a breakthrough in T. cruzi vaccine design.
Bao Y, Weiss LM, Braunstein VL, Huang, H. (2008) The role of protein kinase A in Trypanosoma cruzi . Infection and Immunity 76:4757-63(Spotlighted)
Bao Y, Weiss LM, Hashimoto M, Nara T, and Huang H (2009) Protein kinase A regulatory subunit interacts with P- type ATPases in Trypanosoma cruzi Am J Trop Med Hyg. 80(6):941-3.
Bao Y, Weiss LM, Ma YF, Kahn S, and Huang H.(2010) Protein kinase A catalytic subunit interacts and phosphorylates members of trans-sialidase super-family in Trypanosoma cruzi. Microbes and Infection 202(7):1104-13.
Bao Y, Weiss LM , Ma YF, Lisanti MP, Tanowitz HB, Das BC, Zheng R and Huang H.(2010) Molecular cloning and characterization of Mitogen-activated protein kinase 2 in Trypanosoma cruzi. Cell Cycle 2010 Jul 15;9(14):2888-96. Epub 2010 Jul 13.
Huang H (2011) Signal transduction in Trypanosoma cruzi (review) Advance in Parasitology. 2011; 75:325-44.
Taylor MC, Huang H, Kelly JM (2011) Genetic Techniques in Trypanosoma cruzi (review) Advance In Parasitology, 75:231-50.
Ma YF, Weiss LM, Huang H (2012). A method for rapid regulation of protein expression in Trypanosoma cruzi. Int J Parasitol. 42:33-37.
Ma YF, Weiss LM, Huang H (2015). Inducible suicide vector systems for Trypanosoma cruzi. Microbes and Infection 17: 440-450.
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