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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 439174, 7 pages
Research Article

Differential Midgut Attachment of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in the Sand Flies Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) whitmani and Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia

1Laboratory of Medical Entomology, Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou/FIOCRUZ, Avenue Augusto de Lima 1715, 30190-002 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Laboratório de Transmissores de Leishmanioses, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz/FIOCRUZ, Avenue Brasil 4365, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Department of Biochemistry, University of Kentucky Medical Center, College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536, USA

Received 19 June 2009; Accepted 31 August 2009

Academic Editor: Abhay R. Satoskar

Copyright © 2010 Rodrigo P. Soares et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The interaction between Leishmania and sand flies has been demonstrated in many Old and New World species. Besides the morphological differentiation from procyclic to infective metacyclic promastigotes, the parasite undergoes biochemical transformations in its major surface lipophosphoglycan (LPG). An upregulation of -glucose residues was previously shown in the LPG repeat units from procyclic to metacyclic phase in Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, which has not been reported in any Leishmania species. LPG has been implicated as an adhesion molecule that mediates the interaction with the midgut epithelium of the sand fly in the Subgenus Leishmania. These adaptations were explored for the first time in a species from the Subgenus Viannia, L. (V.) braziliensis with its natural vectors Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia and Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) whitmani. Using two in vitro binding techniques, phosphoglycans (PGs) derived from procyclic and metacyclic parasites were able to bind to the insect midgut and inhibit L. braziliensis attachment. Interestingly, L. braziliensis procyclic parasite attachment was 11-fold greater in the midgut of L. whitmani than in L. intermedia. The epidemiological relevance of L. whitmani as a vector of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ACL) in Brazil is discussed.