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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Jun;4(6):477-86.

The trypanolytic factor of human serum.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine (IBMM), Université Libre de Bruxelles, 12 rue des Professeurs Jeener et Brachet, B-6041 Gosselies, Belgium. epays@ulb.ac.be

Abstract

African trypanosomes (the prototype of which is Trypanosoma brucei brucei) are protozoan parasites that infect a wide range of mammals. Human blood, unlike the blood of other mammals, has efficient trypanolytic activity, and this needs to be counteracted by these parasites. Resistance to this activity has arisen in two subspecies of Trypanosoma brucei - Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and Trypanosoma brucei gambiense - allowing these parasites to infect humans, and this results in sleeping sickness in East Africa and West Africa, respectively. Study of the mechanism by which T. b. rhodesiense escapes lysis by human serum led to the identification of an ionic-pore-forming apolipoprotein - known as apolipoprotein L1 - that is associated with high-density-lipoprotein particles in human blood. In this Opinion article, we argue that apolipoprotein L1 is the factor that is responsible for the trypanolytic activity of human serum.

PMID:
16710327
DOI:
10.1038/nrmicro1428
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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