Carlos E. Estraño

Associate Professor

UofM Central Campus, Life Sciences 409B
Office Hours
By appointment
Dr. Carlos Estrano

About Dr. Estraño

Dr. Estrano joined the Department in 2003. During my postdocs I worked on gene expression regulation and protein trafficking in two major parasites: Trypanosoma brucei causative agent of Sleeping Sickness in the African and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. After joining the University of Memphis I continue my research in promoter regulation in P. falciparum. My current focus is studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the intestinal disturbances in Giardia lamblia infections. The intestinal disease giardiasis is one of the most common parasitic infections worldwide affecting approximately 2.5 million humans every year, and has been included in the list of WHO Neglected diseases since 2004. Giardiasis in humans is caused by Giardia lamblia belonging to the Genus Giardia a group of binucleate, flagellated protozoan parasites which lack common eukaryotic structures such as peroxisomes, a traditional Golgi apparatus and typical mitochondria. In addition, I am also studying the bases for symptoms variability and severity associated with this infection. Moreover, using an overexpression system my laboratory is cloning and expressing human mitochondria and parasite genes in the Giardia to understand the mechanism of mitosomal, a mitochondrial remnant, protein import system. I am currently an Associate professor teaching Molecular Biology of Parasites and Vectors in the spring semester with a lecture and Lab component. This course familiarizes students with the diversity of tropical parasites that affect humans and animals of human interest. This is a 4000/6000 level course. In the fall semester I teach a graduate course, Molecular mechanisms of protein sorting and targeting. This course focus on current theories of protein trafficking. I review the different signal and machinery for correct targeting of proteins. Virology, a 4000/6000 course, is also offer in the fall semester. In this course I focus primarily in the diversity of human viruses, differences between DNA and RNA viruses, structure, mechanism of infection and pathogenesis.


B.S. degree in Cellular Biology, Universidad Central of Venezuela; PhD in Molecular Biology, the Universidad Autonoma of Madrid, Spain; Postdoctoral associate at Yale University; Visiting Scientist and postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University Chicago, IL 2000-2003

Research Interests

  • Cross-regulation of cellular function at the host-Giardia interface
  • Protein trafficking and import to the Giardia's mitosome.
  • Mechanims of signal transduction and protein regulation in Giardia lamblia

Recent Publications

  • Nyindodo-Ogari L, Schwartzbach SD, Estraño CE. 2014. "Giardia mitosomal protein import machinery differentially recognizes mitochondrial targeting signals". Infect Disord Drug Targets. 14;14(1):23-9.
  • Fisher BS, Estraño CE, Cole JA. 2013. "Modeling long-term host cell-Giardia lamblia interactions in an in vitro co-culture system". PLoS One. 2013 Dec 3;8(12):e81104.
  • López-Estraño C. 2010. "Comparative analysis of stage specific gene regulation of apicomplexan parasites: Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii".Editorial. Infect Disord Drug.
  • Gopalakrishnan AM, López-Estraño C. 2010. "Comparative analysis of stage specific gene regulation of apicomplexan parasites: Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii. Infect Disord Drug Targets. 2010 Aug;10(4):303-11. Review.
  • Gopalakrishnan AM, López-Estraño C. 2010. "Role of cis-regulatory elements on the ring-specific hrp3 promoter in the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Parasitol Res. Mar;106(4):833-45.
  • Gopalakrishnan AM, Nyindodo LA, Ross Fergus M, López-Estraño C.2009 "Plasmodium falciparum: Preinitiation complex occupancy of active and inactive promoters during erythrocytic stage. Exp Parasitol. 2009 Jan;121(1):46-54
  • Adris P, Lopez-Estraño C, Chung KT. "The metabolic activation of 2-aminofluorine, 4-aminobiphenyl, and benzidine by cytochrome P-450-107S1 of Pseudomonas aeruginosa". Toxicol In Vitro. 2007 Dec;21(8):1663-71.
  • López-Estraño C, Gopalakrishnan AM, Semblat JP, Fergus MR, Mazier D, Haldar K. 2007. "An enhancer-like region regulates hrp3 promoter stage-specific gene expression in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum". Biochim Biophys Acta. 1769(7-8):506-13.
  • López-Estraño C, Semblat JP, Gopalakrishnan AM, Turner L, Mazier D, Haldar K. 2007. "Plasmodium falciparum: hrp3 promoter region is associated with stage-specificity and episomal recombination".Exp Parasitol. 2007 Jul;116(3):327-33.
  • Hiller NL, Bhattacharjee S, van Ooij C, Liolios K, Harrison T, Lopez-Estraño C, Haldar K. 2004. "A host-targeting signal in virulence proteins reveals a secretome in malarial infection". Science. 10;306(5703):1934-7.