Evidence that the vectorial competence of phlebotomine sand flies for different species of Leishmania is controlled by structural polymorphisms in the surface lipophosphoglycan

Paulo F.P. Pimenta, Elvira M.B. Saraiva, Edgar Rowton, Govind B. Modi, Levi A. Garraway, Stephen M. Beverley, Salvatore J. Turco, David L. Sacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phlebotomine vectors can in some instances transmit only certain species of Leishmania. Comparison of a large number of vector/parasite pairs revealed that species-specific differences in vectorial competence were in every case directly correlated with the ability of promastigotes to attach to the sand- fly midgut, the variable outcomes of which were controlled by structural polymorphisms in the surface liphophosphoglycan (LPG) of the parasite. The ability of Phlebotomus papaiasi to transmit only Leishmania major could be attributed to the unique, highly substituted nature of L. major LPG that provides for multiple terminally exposed β-linked galactose residues for binding. While the relatively unsubstituted LPGs of other Leishmania species were unable to mediate promastigote attachment to P. papatasi, they could mediate binding to midguts of Phlebotomus argentipes, which was found to be a potentially competent vector for every Leishmania species examined. The data suggest that at least some phlebotomine vectors differ with respect to the parasite recognition sites which they express and that midgut adhesion is a sufficiently critical component of vectorial competence as to provide the evolutionary drive for LPG structural polymorphisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9155-9159
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume91
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 13 1994

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