Parasitology Laboratory

 

 Editor de Conteúdo

 
​​Lab Supervisor

Ronaldo Zucatelli Mendonça – ronaldo.mendonca@butantan.gov.br

Lab Researchers

​Isabel Maria V G de Carvalho Mello – isabel.mello@butantan.gov.br
​Eliana Nakano – 
eliana.nakano@butantan.gov.br
​Lincoln Suesdek da Rocha – lincoln.suesdek@butantan.gov.br
Solange de Lima Netto – solange.netto@butantan.gov.br​

general objective of the unit

To develop basic and applied Parasitology research and the training of human resources that are able to meet demands. Three research groups act in the Parasitology Laboratory. The Malacology group carries out studies in the areas of gastropod biology, genetics and embryology, developing research on the parasite-host relationship in schistosomiasis.

The Entomology group performs studies on species of urticating Lepidoptera with an emphasis on Lonomia obliqua. The group is also responsible for obtaining the antigen for the production of Antilonomic serum, which has the capacity to revert hemorrhagic disturbances in humans caused by this caterpillar. The Entomology group also develops research on population genetics with disease vectors of the family Culicidae and on taxonomy and biology of Solifugae (Arachnida).

Traditionally, the Acarology group's main research areas were the traditional and molecular taxonomy, biology and ecology of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). It also performs biochemical studies of glands and substances produced by ticks, and cultures of embryonic cells of some species.

 

research areas

Mollusks of various species have been studied in terms of their biological, genetic and taxonomic aspects. With the objective to contributing to the control of schistosomiasis, the studies with snails of the genus Biomphalaria stand out. The group participated in the project that analyzed the transcriptome of Schistosoma mansoni and is currently involved in the Functional Genome project of S. mansoni, which is applied to the development of vaccines that investigate the set of genes and proteins identified in the transcriptome as vaccine candidates. The group has even worked on research of bioactive substances. In this area, extracts and isolated substances of different plant species have been evaluated in terms of their schistosomicidal and molluscicidal potential. The snail vector of esquistossomose is also being used as a bio-indicator in studies of environmental pollution. In this area, tests are being standardized for the evaluation of biological effects of environmental pollutants. The toxic effects are evaluated in adult snails and embryos. The mutagenic potential is evaluated through analysis of mutations in germ cells by the dominant-lethal test, and in somatic cells by the comet assay, or single cell gel electrophoresis, which evaluates DNA damage in hemocytes. More recently, other biomarkers are being standardized; one of them is the induction of HSP70 (Heat Shock Protein) as a response to environmental contaminant exposure.

The biological cycles of stinging caterpillars of the families Megalopygidae and Saturniidae are studied for physiological and morphological knowledge of the accident-causing species. Species of the genus Lonomia awaken even more interest, mainly when it comes to the knowledge of their toxin-producing structures. Stinging caterpillar hemolymph collection, together with other areas of the institution, has been intensified for various studies.

Mosquitos of the family Culicidae ("pernilongos"), urban and periurban transmitters of illnesses, are investigated with regard to genetic aspects like population structure and genetic variability, aiming to generate knowledge that could be used in the elaboration and application of methods of controlling these vectors.

Parasitic ticks found on forest animals are studied in the laboratory mainly in terms of taxonomic and biological aspects for the maintenance of colonies that are used in different studies. For hematophagous ectoparasites, ticks, among others, deal well with their hosts' immune response, inflammation and blood coagulation. Thus, the understanding of this group's biodiversity and its relations with the hosts and environmental factors has disclosed a rich source of information for the development of important pharmaceuticals. In this context, the team's collaboration fits into biochemical studies of anticoagulant present in the saliva of ticks and studies on the culture of cell lines from embryonic tick cells that aim at auxiliary diagnostic tests of some of these illnesses that make it possible to isolate intracellular microorganisms transmitted by these ectoparasites.

 

Identification of Insects and Ticks

A public service to citizens through the identification of insects and ticks of medical importance, and guidance on preventing contact with these arthropods.