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Natural hybrid of Leishmania infantum/L. donovani: development in Phlebotomus tobbi, P. perniciosus and Lutzomyia longipalpis and comparison with non-hybrid strains differing in tissue tropism

, : Natural hybrid of Leishmania infantum/L. donovani: development in Phlebotomus tobbi, P. perniciosus and Lutzomyia longipalpis and comparison with non-hybrid strains differing in tissue tropism. Parasites & Vectors 8(): 605-605

Infection caused by parasites from L. donovani complex can manifest as a serious visceral disease or a self-healing milder cutaneous form. The different tropism and pathology in humans is caused by the interaction between parasites, host and vector determinants but the mechanisms are not well understood. In Cukurova region in Turkey we previously identified a major focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. donovani/infantum hybrids (CUK strain) and isolated this parasite from the locally abundant sand fly, Phlebotomus tobbi. Here, we present the first experimental study with P. tobbi. We tested the susceptibility of this species to various Leishmania under laboratory conditions, characterized glycoproteins in the P. tobbi midgut putatively involved in parasite-vector interaction and compared the development of the CUK strain in the sand fly with one other dermotropic and three viscerotropic strains belonging to the L. donovani complex. Females of laboratory reared P. tobbi, P. perniciosus and Lutzomyia longipalpis were infected using membrane feeding on rabbit blood containing promastigotes of various Leishmania species with different tropisms. The individual guts were checked microscopically for presence and localization of Leishmania parasites; the number of parasites was assessed more precisely by qPCR. In addition, glycosylation of midgut proteins of P. tobbi was studied by lectin blotting of midgut lysate with lectins specific for terminal sugars of N-type and O-type glycans. High infection rates, heavy parasite loads and late-stage infection with colonization of the stomodeal valve were observed in P. tobbi infected by Leishmania major or L. infantum CUK hybrid. In parallel, lectin blotting revealed the presence of O-glycosylated proteins in the P. tobbi midgut. In P. perniciosus and L. longipalpis all five Leishmania strains tested developed well. In both vectors, significantly higher parasite numbers were detected by qPCR for dermotropic L. donovani from Cyprus, however, in all other parameters studied, including localization of infection and colonization of stomodeal valve, dermotropic and viscerotropic strains were not significantly different. We showed high susceptibility of P. tobbi to various Leishmania spp. This, together with the presence of O-glycosylated midgut proteins in their midguts demonstrate that P. tobbi is a permissive vector. Two dermotropic and three viscerotropic strains from the L. donovani complex developed late-stage infections in natural L. infantum vectors, P. perniciosus and L. longipalpis and none of the parameters studied seem to be linked with different tropism of parasites in the vertebrate host.


PMID: 26608249

DOI: 10.1186/s13071-015-1217-3

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