Transmission of cutaneous leishmaniasis by sand flies is enhanced by regurgitation of fPPG

Matthew E. Rogers, Thomas Ilg, Andrei V. Nikolaev, Michael A. J. Ferguson, Paul A. Bates

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    202 Citations (Scopus)


    Sand flies are the exclusive vectors of the protozoan parasite Leishmania1, but the mechanism of transmission by fly bite has not been determined nor incorporated into experimental models of infection. In sand flies with mature Leishmania infections the anterior midgut is blocked by a gel of parasite origin, the promastigote secretory gel2, 3. Here we analyse the inocula from Leishmania mexicana-infected Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies. Analysis revealed the size of the infectious dose, the underlying mechanism of parasite delivery by regurgitation, and the novel contribution made to infection by filamentous proteophosphoglycan (fPPG), a component of promastigote secretory gel found to accompany the parasites during transmission. Collectively these results have important implications for understanding the relationship between the parasite and its vector, the pathology of cutaneous leishmaniasis in humans and also the development of effective vaccines and drugs. These findings emphasize that to fully understand transmission of vector-borne diseases the interaction between the parasite, its vector and the mammalian host must be considered together.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)463-467
    Number of pages5
    Issue number6998
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Leishmaniasis
    • Protozoan parasites
    • Sand flies


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