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Eur J Cell Biol. 1989 Aug;49(2):303-10.

Endocytosis by African trypanosomes. II. Occurrence in different life-cycle stages and intracellular sorting.

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International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases, Nairobi, Kenya.


Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and colloidal gold-labeled proteins enter many of the endocytic organelles of bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei and T. congolense. However, the colloidal gold markers were excluded from substantial parts of the pathway that contained HRP. Morphometric studies revealed that HRP entered organelles that accounted for approximately 5% of the total cell volume while transferrin-gold entered organelles that comprised approximately 2% of the total cell volume. In addition, large colloidal gold particles were excluded from organelles that contained smaller gold particles. Antibodies, raised against the variable surface glycoprotein, when applied to thawed cryosections were found to label structures from which endocytosed colloidal gold coupled to bovine serum albumin (BSA) was excluded. Endocytosis was shown to occur in two in vitro propagated forms of trypanosomes, similar to those found in the insect vector (Glossina spp.). The mammal-infective metacyclic forms were similar to bloodstream forms in that they endocytosed HRP and colloidal gold markers but excluded colloidal gold from approximately 3% of the endocytic organelles. Estimation of the flagellar pocket volumes of bloodstream form T. brucei showed that this organelle occupied 0.5% to 1.4% of the total cell volume. The flagellar pocket volume of T. congolense varied between life-cycle stages, with a fractional volume of 4.4% for bloodstream forms, 2.3% for metacyclic forms and 1.4% for procyclic forms. Endocytosis of HRP, but not of protein-gold markers, occurred in procyclic (uncoated) forms. Endocytosis by procyclic forms has heretofore not been reported.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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