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Characterization of polymer release from the flagellar pocket of Leishmania mexicana promastigotes

Characterization of polymer release from the flagellar pocket of Leishmania mexicana promastigotes

Journal of Cell Biology 125(2): 321-331

Trypanosomatids contain a unique compartment, the flagellar pocket, formed by an invagination of the plasma membrane at the base of the flagellum, which is considered to be the sole cellular site for endocytosis and exocytosis of macromolecules. The culture supernatant of Leishmania mexicana promastigotes, the insect stage of this protozoan parasite, contains two types of polymers: a filamentous acid phosphatase (sAP) composed of a 100-kD phosphoglycoprotein with non-covalently associated proteo high molecular weight phosphoglycan (proteo-HMWPG) and fibrous material termed network consisting of complex phosphoglycans. Secretion of both polymers is investigated using mAbs and a combination of light and electron microscopic techniques. Long filaments of sAP are detectable in the lumen of the flagellar pocket. Both sAP filaments and network material emerge from the ostium of the flagellar pocket. While sAP filaments detach from the cells, the fibrous network frequently remains associated with the anterior end of the parasites and can be found in the center of cell aggregates. The related species L. major forms similar networks. Since polymeric structures cannot be detected in intracellular compartments, it is proposed that monomeric or, possibly, oligomeric subunits synthesized in the cells are secreted into the flagellar pocket. Polymer formation from subunits is suggested to occur in the lumen of the pocket before release into the culture medium or, naturally, into the gut of infected sandflies.

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Accession: 002775871

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PMID: 8163549

DOI: 10.2307/1616321

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