Serum resistance of metacyclic stage Leishmania major promastigotes is due to release of C5b-9

S. M. Puentes, R. P. Da Silva, D. L. Sacks, C. H. Hammer, K. A. Joiner

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126 Scopus citations


The mechanism of serum resistance for infective promastigotes of Leishmania major was investigated. Prior results suggested that the mechanism of resistance was mediated at a step after C3 deposition. Equivalent amounts of C3b were deposited on serum-susceptible, noninfective promastigotes harvested from log stage cultures (LOG) and on C-resistant, infective, metacyclic promastigotes (MP) purified from stationary stage cultures. Whereas binding of C9 to LOG was stable during incubation in serum, C9 binding to MP was minimal and unstable, because molecules bound initially to MP were released with continued incubation. Failure to bind C9 was not a result of inability to activate C; the kinetics of C3, C6, and C9 consumption were similar for LOG and MP. Deposition of C5b-7 on MP was stable, indicating that the initial steps in terminal complex formation were intact. Instead, the majority of C5b-9 formed on MP was spontaneously released into the serum as SC5b-9. Residual C5b-9 on MP was released with 1 M NaCl. These data show that developmental modification of the promastigote membrane during transition from a noninfective to an infective stage blocks insertion of lytic C5b-9 into the promastigote membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4311-4316
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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