Evolving differentiation in African trypanosomes

Quintana, J. F. , Zoltner, M. and Field, M. C. (2021) Evolving differentiation in African trypanosomes. Trends in Parasitology, 37(4), pp. 296-303. (doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2020.11.003) (PMID:33309505)

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Differentiation is a central aspect of the parasite life cycle and encompasses adaptation to both host and environment. If we accept that evolution cannot anticipate an organism’s needs as it enters a new environment, how do parasite differentiation pathways arise? The transition between vertebrate and insect stage African trypanosomes is probably one of the better studied and involves a cell-cycle arrested or ‘stumpy’ form that activates metabolic pathways advantageous to the parasite in the insect host. However, a range of stimuli and stress conditions can trigger similar changes, leading to formation of stumpy-like cellular states. We propose that the origin and optimisation of this differentiation program represents repurposing of a generic stress response to gain considerable gain-of-fitness associated with parasite transmission.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Work in our laboratory is supported by the Wellcome Trust (204697/Z/16/Z to M.C.F.). J.Q.F. is supported by a Wellcome Trust award (209511/Z/17/Z to Annette MacLeod).
Keywords:Trypanosoma brucei, adaptive mechanisms, environmental sensing, evolution of differentiation, life history theory.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Quintana, Dr Juan
Authors: Quintana, J. F., Zoltner, M., and Field, M. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Trends in Parasitology
Publisher:Elsevier (Cell Press)
ISSN (Online):1471-5007
Published Online:11 December 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Trends in Parasitology 37(4): 296-303
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
301099The skin as a reservoir for trypanosomes: the key to transmission and disease pathologyAnnette MacLeodWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)209511/Z/17/ZInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine