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J Protozool. 1991 Nov-Dec;38(6):205S-207S.

Ultrastructural observations on the attachment of Pneumocystis carinii in vitro.

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INSERM (U.42), Villeneuv d'Ascq, France.


Pneumocystis carinii trophozoites grow in vivo in close contact with host cells. The attachment of Pneumocystis to the lung cells seems to be a critical step in the parasite's development. Up to now, the contact of Pneumocystis with mammalian tissue culture cells was shown using light and scanning electron microscopy. The methods are not sufficient to observed in detail the parasite-feeder cell area of contact. In this work, the attachment of Pneumocystis trophozoites to feeder cells was examined in serial sections using transmission electron microscopy. When the contact of a trophozoite with a feeder cell took place, the development of filopodia penetrating deeply into invaginations of the feeder cell plasma membrane was observed. Then, the apical tips of filopodia become bulged anchoring the parasite to the feeder cell. The behaviour of Pneumocystis in feeder cell cultures is compared to that of the parasite in other in vitro or in vivo experimental models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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