The in vivo dynamics of antigenic variation in Trypanosoma brucei.

Trypanosoma brucei, a causative agent of African Sleeping Sickness, constantly changes its dense variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) coat to avoid elimination by the immune system of its mammalian host, using an extensive repertoire of dedicated genes. However, the dynamics of VSG expression in T. brucei during an infection are poorly understood. We have developed a method, based on de novo assembly of VSGs, for quantitatively examining the diversity of expressed VSGs in any population of trypanosomes and monitored VSG population dynamics in vivo. Our experiments revealed unexpected diversity within parasite populations and a mechanism for diversifying the genome-encoded VSG repertoire. The interaction between T. brucei and its host is substantially more dynamic and nuanced than previously expected.
AuthorsMonica R Mugnier, George A M Cross, F Nina Papavasiliou
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.) (Science) Vol. 347 Issue 6229 Pg. 1470-3 (Mar 27 2015) ISSN: 1095-9203 [Electronic] United States
PMID25814582 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.)
CopyrightCopyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Chemical References
  • Variant Surface Glycoproteins, Trypanosoma
  • Animals
  • Antigenic Variation
  • Host-Parasite Interactions (immunology)
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei (immunology)
  • Trypanosomiasis, African (immunology)
  • Variant Surface Glycoproteins, Trypanosoma (immunology)

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