Recerca - El nostre equip

He obtained his PhD degree studying the lipopolysaccharide of Klebsiella pneumoniae, associated with hospital outbreaks and severe community-acquired infections. During his postdoctoral training, funded by Marie Curie and EMBO Fellowships, in the School of Life Sciences (University of Dundee, Scotland), he studied the glycobiology of protozoan parasites that cause neglected tropical diseases. He focused in Trypanosoma brucei that produces African sleeping sickness, with the aim to uncover novel parasitic processes amenable for therapeutic intervention.

He moved to ISGlobal, obtaining in 2010 a Ramón y Cajal contract to study the glycobiology of the malaria parasite. His laboratory research expertise is in the areas of biochemistry and glycobiology, functional genomics of carbohydrate-active enzymes and molecular parasitology.

Lines of Research

Parasite life cycles are very complex, exploiting sequentially various host species to complete the different stages involved in parasitic survival and development. The interactions with their different hosts are critical for the completion of each life stage. These interactions are often based on carbohydrate recognition. Thereby, glycans are crucial for parasite virulence and survival and the study of the glycobiology of these organisms offers unique opportunities to devise novel strategies to tackle parasitic-caused diseases. Furthermore, due to their common location in the cell surface, the study of glycans constitute a fertile ground for the discovery of molecules with vaccine and diagnostic potential.

Currently, our specific aims are:

  • The in-depth description of the glycosylation processes (and their function) of key P. falciparum proteins
  • The genetic and chemical validation of new drug targets in the malaria parasite
  • The significance of the anti-alpha-gal immune response in malaria (and other parasitic diseases)

Main Publications

  • Cova M, López-Gutiérrez B, Artigas-Jerónimo S, González-Díaz A, Bandini G, Maere S, Carretero-Paulet L, Izquierdo L. The Apicomplexa-specific glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase gene family encodes a key enzyme for glycoconjugate synthesis with potential as therapeutic target. Scientific reports. 2018 Mar 5;8(1):4005. PMID: 29507322
  • López-Gutiérrez B, Dinglasan RR, Izquierdo L. Sugar nucleotide quantification by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry reveals a distinct profile in Plasmodium falciparum sexual stage parasites. Biochemical Journal. 2017 Mar 15;474(6):897-905. PMID: 28104756
  • Sanz S, López-Gutiérrez B, Bandini G, Damerow S, Absalon S, Dinglasan RR, Samuelson J, Izquierdo L. The disruption of GDP-fucose de novo biosynthesis suggests the presence of a novel fucose-containing glycoconjugate in Plasmodium asexual blood stages. Scientific reports. 2016 Nov 16;6:37230. PMID: 27849032
  • Cova M, Rodrigues JA, Smith TK, Izquierdo L. Sugar activation and glycosylation in Plasmodium. Malaria journal. 2015 Dec;14(1):427. PMID: 26520586
  • Rodrigues JA, Acosta-Serrano A, Aebi M, Ferguson MA, Routier FH, Schiller I, Soares S, Spencer D, Titz A, Wilson IB, Izquierdo L. Parasite glycobiology: a bittersweet symphony. PLoS pathogens. 2015 Nov 12;11(11):e1005169. PMID: 26562305

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