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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 28, 2016

The first successful report of the in vitro life cycle of Chinese Leishmania: the in vitro conversion of Leishmania amastigotes has been raised to 94% by testing 216 culture medium compound

Jiao Li, Zhi-Wan Zheng, Gayathri Natarajan, Qi-Wei Chen, Da-Li Chen and Jian-Ping Chen
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Chinese Leishmania isolate MHOM/CN/90/SC10H2 (L. H2), which was obtained from the spinal cords of patients from the Sichuan province of China, is an uncharacterized, pathogenic species closely related to Leishmania tarentolae. The in vitro transformation rate of L. H2 promastigotes into amastigotes has not been studied. This study is the first to successfully define the in vitro life cycle of L. H2 by investigating the percent conversion of L.H2 promastigotes to amastigotes in vitro under 216 different culture conditions. The highest proportion of L. H2 amastigotes observed (94%) was significantly higher than that previously reported. After conversion, the axenic amastigotes remained viable as verified by the levels of stage-specific genes (Gp46, A2 and β-tubulin) detected by RT-PCR. Meanwhile, morphological and protein characterizations of these axenic amastigotes were carried out in order to confirm the successful conversion. Specific antibodies were only able to detect 46 kDa, 52 kDa and 75 kDa proteins in samples isolated from axenic amastigotes. Afterward, these converted axenic amastigotes were transformed into the promastigote form by altering the culture condition. These converted axenic promastigotes still have the ability to infect macrophages, and their morphology changed back to the amastigote form following infection. These findings will assist further investigations into the biological characteristics of the host-parasite relationship and the process of pathogenesis.

  1. Competing interests: We have no competing interests.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81171607, J1103604) and the National Project of Important Infectious Diseases of China (2008-ZX10004-011).


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Received: 2016-3-25
Revised: 2016-8-19
Accepted: 2016-10-17
Published Online: 2016-12-28
Published in Print: 2017-3-1

© 2017 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS

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