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Int J Parasitol. 2001 Jan;31(1):1-8.

Cell: sporozoite interactions and invasion by apicomplexan parasites of the genus Eimeria.

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USDA, ARS, Livestock and Poultry Science Institute, Parasite Biology and Epidemiology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


The site specificity that avian Eimeria sporozoites and, to a more limited degree, other apicomplexan parasites exhibit for invasion in vivo suggests that specific interactions between the sporozoites and the target host cells may mediate the invasion process. Although sporozoite motility and structural and secreted antigens appear to provide the mechanisms for propelling the sporozoite into the host cell,there is a growing body of evidence that the host cell provides characteristics by which the sporozoites recognise and interact with the host cell as a prelude to invasion. Molecules on the surface of cells in the intestinal epithelium, that act as receptor or recognition sites for sporozoite invasion, may be included among these characteristics. The existence of receptor molecules for invasion by apicomplexan parasites was suggested by in vitro studies in which parasite invasion was inhibited in cultured cells that were treated with a variety of substances designed to selectively alter the host cell membrane. These substance included cationic compounds or molecules, enzymes that cleave specific linkages, protease inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, etc. More specific evidence for the presence of receptors was provided by the binding of parasite antigens to specific host cell surface molecules. Analyses of host cells have implicated 22, 31, and 37 kDa antigens, surface membrane glycoconjugates,conserved epitopes of host cells and sporozoites, etc., but no treatment that perturbs these putative receptors has completely inhibited invasion of the cells by parasites. Regardless of the mechanism,sporozoites of the avian Eimeria also invade the same specific sites in foreign host birds that they invade in the natural host. Thus, site specificity for invasion may be a response to characteristics of the intestine that are shared by a number of hosts rather than to a unique trait of the natural host. Protective immunity elicited against avian Eimeria species is not manifested in a total blockade of parasite invasion. In fact, the effect of immunity on invasion differs according to the eliciting species and depends upon the area of the intestine that is invaded. Immunity produced against caecal species of avian Eimeria, for example Eimeria tenella and Eimeria adenoeides, inhibits subsequent invasion by homologous or heterologous challenge species, regardless of the area of the intestine that the challenge species invade. Conversely, in birds immunised with upper intestinal species, Eimeria acervulina and Eimeria meleagrimitis, invasion by challenge species is not decreased and often is significantly increased.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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