A specialized pathway affecting virulence glycoconjugates of Leishmania

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Science  29 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5232, pp. 1869-1872
DOI: 10.1126/science.7569927


For virulence and transmission, the protozoan parasite Leishmania must assemble a complex glycolipid on the cell surface, the lipophosphoglycan (LPG). Functional complementation identified the gene LPG2, which encodes an integral Golgi membrane protein implicated in intracellular compartmentalization of LPG biosynthesis. Ipg2- mutants lack only characteristic disaccharide-phosphate repeats, normally present on both LPG and other surface or secreted molecules considered critical for infectivity. In contrast, a related yeast gene, VAN2/VRG4, is essential and required for general Golgi function. These results suggest that LPG2 participates in a specialized virulence pathway, which may offer an attractive target for chemotherapy.