Upon their internalization by macrophages, Leishmania promastigotes inhibit phagolysosome biogenesis. The main factor responsible for this inhibition is the promastigote surface glycolipid lipophosphoglycan (LPG). This glycolipid has a profound impact on the phagosome, causing periphagosomal accumulation of F-actin and disruption of phagosomal lipid microdomains. Functionally, this LPG-mediated inhibition of phagosome maturation is characterized by an impaired assembly of the NADPH oxidase and the exclusion of the vesicular proton-ATPase from phagosomes. In this chapter, we review the current knowledge concerning the nature of the intra-macrophage compartment in which Leishmania donovani promastigotes establish infection. We also describe how LPG enables this parasite to remodel the parasitophorous vacuole.
Keywords: Leishmania, macrophage, phagosome, virulence, lipophosphoglycan
Citation: Moradin N and Descoteaux A (2012) Leishmania promastigotes: building a safe niche within macrophages. Front. Cell. Inf. Microbio. 2:121. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2012.00121
Received: 05 July 2012; Paper pending published: 09 August 2012;
Accepted: 04 September 2012; Published online: 19 September 2012.
Edited by:Stephen M. Beverley, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
Copyright © 2012 Moradin and Descoteaux. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Albert Descoteaux, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut Armand-Frappier, 531 boulevard des Prairies, Laval, QC H7V 1B7, Canada. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org