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Exp Parasitol. 1986 Dec;62(3):329-35.

Trypanosoma cruzi: differentiation after interaction of epimastigotes and Triatoma infestans intestinal homogenate.


Incubation of Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes with Triatoma infestans intestinal homogenate leads to differentiation to the metacyclic trypomastigote. Features of this interaction are presented. The morphogenetic mechanism was triggered almost at once; for the minimum interaction period assayed (15 min), the degree of differentiation achieved in Grace medium by Day 6 was 70.0 +/- 9.0%. Longer interaction periods failed to improve differentiation. The morphogenesis became irreversible at 4 hr after interaction. Epimastigotes incubated for 4 hr with T. infestans intestinal homogenate and then washed reached significant differentiation, while those washed before this time failed to do so. Treatment of epimastigotes with albumin improved the experimental conditions thereby hastening morphogenesis, the same percentage of metacyclics occurring in only 4 days. The factors capable of triggering differentiation were adsorbed by T. cruzi epimastigotes, as expected, but also by Leishmania mexicana and, to a lesser degree, by sheep red blood cells. Once the morphogenetic mechanism had been triggered following interaction of epimastigotes with intestinal homogenate for 15 min, metacyclic forms developed when parasites were transferred to Grace but not to other media. Treatment of epimastigotes with trypsin abolished their capacity to differentiate, which was completely reversed following a 5 hr incubation in LIT medium.

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