Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 40, Number 2, March-April 2009
Adaptative strategies of vector-borne pathogens to vectorial transmission
Number of page(s) 10
Published online 21 April 2009
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2009) 40:38
How to cite this article: Vet. Res. (2009) 40:38
DOI: 10.1051/vetres/2009021


Perpetuation of Leishmania: some novel insight into elegant developmental programs

Geneviève Milon

Institut Pasteur, Département de Parasitologie et Mycologie, Unité Immunophysiologie et Parasitisme Intracellulaire, 25 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

Received 9 October 2008; accepted 16 April 2009; published online 21 April 2009

Abstract - Leishmania spp. are polarized single-celled eukaryotic parasites, the perpetuation of which relies on two other organisms they “use” as hosts. One of the Leishmania host organisms is a blood-feeding female sand fly, the second host being a mammal that acts as a blood source for the female sand fly. Leishmania-hosting sand flies transmit the metacyclic promastigote developmental stage to the mammal skin. While many mammals are known to act as sand fly blood sources, only some of these mammals are/ will be “used” as Leishmania hosts. This host status means that skin as well as skin-distant tissues and cell lineages (mononuclear phagocytes and fibroblasts) of these mammals are rapidly and continuously remodelled as niches where Leishmania will deploy its developmental programs: it is noteworthy that without the deployment of the developmental program underlying Leishmania transmission from the mammal to the blood-searching and blood-feeding sand flies, the perpetuation of Leishmania will be suspended. While post genomic approaches are providing insight about some features of Leishmania major, Leishmania infantum/chagasi and Leishmania braziliensis, such approaches are not yet available for the natural hosts (wild rodents, wild sand flies) these Leishmania species “use” as hosts.

Key words: parasitism / tissue and cell remodeling / parasite transmission

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2009