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PLoS Pathog. 2010 Jan 29;6(1):e1000739. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000739.

Social motility in african trypanosomes.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.

Abstract

African trypanosomes are devastating human and animal pathogens that cause significant human mortality and limit economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Studies of trypanosome biology generally consider these protozoan parasites as individual cells in suspension cultures or in animal models of infection. Here we report that the procyclic form of the African trypanosome Trypanosoma brucei engages in social behavior when cultivated on semisolid agarose surfaces. This behavior is characterized by trypanosomes assembling into multicellular communities that engage in polarized migrations across the agarose surface and cooperate to divert their movements in response to external signals. These cooperative movements are flagellum-mediated, since they do not occur in trypanin knockdown parasites that lack normal flagellum motility. We term this behavior social motility based on features shared with social motility and other types of surface-induced social behavior in bacteria. Social motility represents a novel and unexpected aspect of trypanosome biology and offers new paradigms for considering host-parasite interactions.

PMID:
20126443
PMCID:
PMC2813273
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1000739
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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