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Immunol Cell Biol. 1995 Feb;73(1):73-80.

Infection of human and murine macrophages with Leishmania major is associated with early parasite heat shock protein synthesis but fails to induce a host cell stress response.

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Allergy Unit, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.


Heat shock/stress proteins (HSP) represent the most conserved proteins expressed in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. These constitutive and inducible proteins function as molecular chaperones and are part of virulence factors. They participate in self/non-self discrimination and may protect phagocytes from the toxic effects of the reactive oxygen species generated by these cells during bacterial phagocytosis and infection. In this study, we investigated the early stress response of host cells [either human alveolar macrophages (AM) or murine peritoneal macrophages (PM)] during infection by an obligate intracellular parasite (Leishmania major), which lives within phagolysosomes. Immunoblotting with specific antibodies demonstrated that L. major had no effect on host stress protein synthesis, but synthesized high levels of its own stress proteins within AM and PM. The lack of induction of a host cell stress response may relate to the failure of L. major to activate the respiratory burst in these cells, whereas the upshift of L. major HSP within macrophages is part of an adaptive response of the parasite to the host.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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