Transmission and scanning EM-immunogold labeling of Leishmania major lipophosphoglycan in the sandfly Phlebotomus papatasi

T. Lang, A. Warburg, D. L. Sacks, S. L. Croft, R. P. Lane, J. M. Blackwell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Previous studies using immunostaining and light microscopy demonstrated expression of Leishmania major lipophosphoglycan (LPG) on parasites developing in the sandfly gut from 2 days post infection. By days 4 to 7 post infection, there appeared to be large amounts of parasite-free LPG deposited on/in the microvilli and epithelial cells lining the thoracic midgut, while forward migration of parasites and the morphological changes which accompany metacyclogenesis were associated with developmental modification of the LPG molecules. Studies presented here examine this process with much greater precision using electron microscopy and immunogold labeling techniques to study the different developmental forms (nectomonads, haptomonads, paramastigotes, and metacyclics) of promastigotes in the sandfly gut. Results obtained using LPG-specific monoclonal antibodies (WlC79.3, 45D3 and the metacyclic-specific 3F12) show (1) gold labeling over the cell surface, within the flagellar pocket, and extending along the entire length of the flagellum of electron-dense nectomonads observed in the abdominal and thoracic midgut regions on days 4 and 7 post infection, and of electron-lucid haptomonads in the foregut, (2) dense labeling around the flagellar tips, by which nectomonad forms bind to the midgut microvilli, but not on the microvilli themselves or within the epithelial cells lining the midgut, (3) significant metacyclic-specific (3F12) labeling on nectomonad forms in the lumen of the midgut and attached to the microvilli, and (4) dense labeling on the cell surface of electron-lucid paramastigotes in the esophagus and in the filamentous matrix surrounding paramastigote and metacyclic forms in the esophagus and pharynx. These results are discussed in the light of the proposed roles for LPG in parasite attachment to, and survival in, the sandfly gut.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)362-372
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • EM
  • immunogold
  • leishmania
  • lipophosphoglycan
  • sandfly


Dive into the research topics of 'Transmission and scanning EM-immunogold labeling of Leishmania major lipophosphoglycan in the sandfly Phlebotomus papatasi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this