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Department of Veterinary Sciences|College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Chaoqun Yao
Assistant Professor
Veterinary Sciences, Parasitologist
  • Contact Information
    College of Ag - Lab 6016/6017
    Phone: (307) 766-9959
  • CV

Chaoqun Yao, Ph.D.


  • M.D. , Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, China
  • PhD, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Research Interests:

Include molecular pathogenesis and host-parasite interaction of intracellular pathogens of medical/veterinary importance. Specifically two eukaryotic parasites Trichinella spp. and Leishmania spp are used.  Trichinellosis is a worldwide zoonosis that leads to death in severe cases, and huge economic losses in many regions.  We cloned and purified four dominant excretory-secretory antigens from two USA-endemic Trichinella species.  These recombinant proteins specifically react with the sera of Trichinella-infected animals, and provide lab animals with partial protection against Trichinella infections.  We further demonstrate nuclear antigens of Trichinella-origin are colocalized with host chromatins, and contribute to the nuclear hypertrophy and other phenotypic changes of the infected cells.

Leishmania infection leads to a broad spectrum of manifestations due to the differences in Leishmania species and host immunity.  They range from self-healing cutaneous, disfiguring mucocutaneous to life-threatening visceral leishmaniasis.  A Brazilian strain of L. chagasi/infantum, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis in South America is used in our lab.  Eleven major surface protease (MSP) proteins were detected in the virulent stationary-phase promastigotes using two dimensional electrophoresis and peptide mass fingerprinting, in contrast to only four in the avirulent logarithmic-phase cells.  By a combination of immunoelectron microscopy and surface biotinylation, one third of the total MSP was consistently localized intracellularly.  This pool of internal MSP can be stimulated to be released by conditions mimicking the basement membrane of mammalian skin, where sand-fly vectors inoculate infectious metacyclic promastigotes.  In contrast, release of the surface-localized MSP is enhanced by a sterol-disturbing reagent methyl-β-cyclodextrin in a dose-dependant manner.  Collectively, these data demonstrate various MSP proteins play distinct roles in Leishmania pathogenesis.


PATB 4500/5500 - Veterinary Parasitology
PATB 4360/5360 - Medical Parasitology
PATB 4320 - Problems in Parasitology
HM 6521/HM 6534 - Microbiology and Infectious Disease (WWAMI)

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