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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1998 Jun 1;93(2):251-62.

Mild acid stress as a differentiation trigger in Trypanosoma brucei.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Free University of Brussels, Rhode St Genèse, Belgium.


In vitro differentiation of Trypanosoma brucei from the bloodstream to the procyclic form is efficiently induced by the combination of cold shock from 37 to 27 degrees C and the addition of citrate/cis-aconitate (CCA) to the incubation medium. Here it is reported that exposure of pleomorphic bloodstream trypanosomes to mild acidic conditions (pH 5.5 for 2 h at 37 degrees C) not only accelerated the process of morphological transformation from long slender and intermediate to short stumpy bloodstream forms but also allowed their subsequent differentiation into procyclic forms even in the absence of CCA. This process appeared to involve the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (GPI-PLC), since null GPI-PLC mutants (PLC-) appeared to be largely refractory to acid stress-induced differentiation. However, an effective response was restored upon reintegration of the GPI-PLC gene in the genome (PLC+).

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