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J Protozool. 1975 Feb;22(1):40-53.

Protein uptake and digestion in bloodstream and culture forms of Trypanosoma brucei.


The mechanisms of ferritin uptake and digestion differ in bloodstream and culture forms of Trypanosoma brucei. Ferritin enters bloodstream forms from the flagellar pocket by pinocytosis in large spiny-coated vesicles. These vesicles become continuous with straight tubular extensions of a complex, mostly tubular, collecting membrane membrane system where ferritin is concentrated. From the collecting membrane system the tracer enters large digestive vacuoles. Small spiny-coated vesicles, which never contain ferritin, are found in the Golgi region, fusing with the collecting membrane system, and around the flagellar pocket. Acid phosphatase activity is present in some small spiny-coated vesicles which may represent primary lysosomes. This enzymic activity is also found in the flagellar pocket, pinocytotic vesicles, the collecting membrane system, the Golgi (mature face), and digestive vacuoles of bloodstream forms. About 50 percent of the acid phosphatase activity of blood forms is latent. The remaining nonlatent activity is firmly cell-associated and probably represents activity in the flagellar pocket. The structures involved in ferritin uptake and digestion are larger and more active in the short stumpy than in the long slender bloodstream forms. The short stumpy forms also have more autophagic vacuoles. No pinocytotic large, spiny-coated vesicles or Golgi-derived, small spiny-coated vesicles are seen in culture forms. Ferritin leaves the flagellar pocket of these forms and enters small smooth cisternae located just beneath bulges in the pocket membrane. The tracer then passes through a cisternal collecting membrane network, where it is concentrated, and then into multivesicular bodies. In the culture forms, acid phosphatase activity is localized in the cisternal system, multivesicular bodies, the Golgi (mature face), and small vesicles in the Golgi and cisternal regions. The flagellar pocket has no acid phosphatase activity, and almost all the acitvity is latent in these forms. The culture forms do not release acid phosphatase into culture medium during 4 days growth. Uptake of ferritin by all forms is almost completely inhibited by low temperature. These differences among the long slender and short stumpy bloodstream forms and culture forms are undoubtedly adaptive and reflect different needs of the parasite in different life cycle stages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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