Enhanced metabolism of Leishmania donovani amastigotes at acid pH: an adaptation for intracellular growth

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Science  13 Sep 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4718, pp. 1099-1101
DOI: 10.1126/science.4035350


Amastigotes (tissue forms) of Leishmania donovani isolated from infected hamster spleens carried out several physiological activities (respiration, catabolism of energy substrates, and incorporation of precursors into macromolecules) optimally at pH 4.0 to 5.5. All metabolic activities that were examined decreased sharply above the optimal pH. Promastigotes (culture forms), on the other hand, carried out the same metabolic activities optimally at or near neutral pH. This adaptation to an acid environment may account in part for the unusual ability of amastigotes to survive and multiply within the acidic environment of the phagolysosomes in vivo.

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