Home Up Sand fly Life Cycle & Habitats Sand fly-parasite Sand fly Genome



Sand fly -Leishmania interactions


The Leishmania parasite has a life cycle that alternates between an intracellular amastigote form found in mammalian macrophages, and a number of flagellated promastigote forms, which are confined to the gut of the Phlebotomine sandfly.

    Leishmania parasites in the midgut of the sand fly

This transmission electron micrograph shows the Leishmania promastigotes adjacent to the microvillar surface in the midgut region of the sand fly.




There are 4 critical phases of development of the parasite in the insect vector:

1) Transformation of amastigotes to promastigote forms and rapid growth of the parasite during blood meal digestion. 

2) Migration out from the digested blood meal encased in the peritrophic matrix. 

3) Binding of the parasite to the midgut epithelium and subsequent anterior migration of the parasites. 

4) Transformation to the mammalian-infective form of the parasite (metacyclic promastigotes) and transfer during a subsequent feed.



2008  This site maintained by Rod Dillon, last updated 17-Dec-2008