Stage-specific adhesion of Leishmania promastigotes to the sandfly midgut

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Science  26 Jun 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5065, pp. 1812-1815
DOI: 10.1126/science.1615326


Although leishmaniasis is transmitted to humans almost exclusively by the bite of infected phlebotomine sandflies, little is known about the molecules controlling the survival and development of Leishmania parasites in their insect vectors. Adhesion of Leishmania promastigotes to the midgut epithelial cells of the sandfly was found to be an inherent property of noninfective-stage promastigotes, which was lost during their transformation to metacyclic forms, thus permitting the selective release of infective-stage parasites for subsequent transmission by bite. Midgut attachment and release was found to be controlled by specific developmental modifications in terminally exposed saccharides on lipophosphoglycan, the major surface molecule on Leishmania promastigotes.

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