Chapter 29 : The Parasite Point of View: Insights and Questions on the Cell Biology of and Parasite-Phagocyte Interactions

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This chapter mainly deals with the cell biology of three kinetoplastid parasites: , the species, and . The chapter discusses some well-studied and some less well-studied aspects of parasite cell biology important for interaction with the host mammalian cell. It suggests that there are lacunae in our knowledge of the intrinsic life cycle and parasite cell biology underpinning the pathology of Chaga's diseases. The etiological agent of Chaga's disease, , is transmitted by various members of the family of insects. The intracellular forms of parasites such as and are often referred to as the ‘‘aflagellate amastigote form." With the advent of the electron microscope it became clear that in the case of and the axoneme in the amastigote form is not enclosed by cytoplasm. The flagellar pocket is a key feature of both free-living and pathogenic kinetoplastid protozoa. The plasma membrane of the organisms is characterized by a subpellicular corset of microtubules that defines the shape and form of the parasite. The trypanosomatid parasites exhibit the common feature of polycistronic transcription and -splicing. parasites exhibit an intriguing array of glycoconjugate surface molecules, including membrane-bound lipophosphoglycan (LPG) and proteophosphoglycan as well as secreted phosphoglycan, proteophosphoglycan and acid phosphatase. has developed such a predifferentiated, nonproliferative form of parasite—the metacyclic promastigote—which is the cell type that initiates the initial phagocyte infection.

Citation: Gull K. 2009. The Parasite Point of View: Insights and Questions on the Cell Biology of and Parasite-Phagocyte Interactions, p 453-462. In Russell D, Gordon S (ed), Phagocyte-Pathogen Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816650.ch29
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Image of FIGURE 1

Illustration of the structure of the three main forms of the kinetoplastid parasites. In each case, the nucleus is represented by the black circle, the kinetoplast is represented by the black oblong, and the flagellum emerges into the flagellar pocket.

Citation: Gull K. 2009. The Parasite Point of View: Insights and Questions on the Cell Biology of and Parasite-Phagocyte Interactions, p 453-462. In Russell D, Gordon S (ed), Phagocyte-Pathogen Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816650.ch29
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