Early and late molecular and morphologic changes that occur during the in vitro transformation of Trypanosoma cruzi metacyclic trypomastigotes to amastigotes
DE LIMA,ANA R
The amastigogenesis primary of T. cruzi occurs naturally when metacyclic trypomastigotes transform into amastigotes within the cells of the mammalian host. The in vitro study of the macromolecular changes that occur over several days during the transformation process should provide significant indications of how the parasite adapts to the mammalian host environment. We show here that metacyclic trypomastigotes pre-incubated at 37° C in a protein-rich medium reach a high degree of transformation to amastigotes when re-incubated in the fresh medium. Giemsa-stained smears show that during the pre-incubation phase, the metacyclic trypomastigotes undergo lengthening at the posterior end and a thinning out of the entire body. SDS-PAGE analysis of polypeptides and glycopeptides or Western blot with stage-specific antisera analyses indicate that the in vitro primary amastigogenesis is associated with abrupt changes in protein, glycoprotein, and stage-specific antigens that occur simultaneously during the first 24 hours of pre-incubation. Since the differentiating system consists of a rich media at 37° C, temperature and medium constitution must trigger a macromolecular differentiation to amastigotes that precedes the morphological transformation by several days. This transformation is associated with the rearrangement of stage-specific antigens and takes place when the culture medium is changed.