Signalling of Trichomonas vaginalis for amoeboid transformation and adhesin synthesis follows cytoadherence

Rossana Arroyo, Arturo González‐Robles, Adolfo Martínez‐Palomo, J. F. Alderete

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106 Scopus citations


The cytoadherence of Trichomonas vaginalis, the sexually transmitted flagellated protozoan, to vaginal epithelial cells (VECs) is the key to infection. Electron microscopy revealed that in vitro‐grown parasites having typical globular shape transformed rapidly after contact with VECs into thin, flat, amoeboid cells, maximizing the area of adhesion to the surface of VECs. Amoebic trichomonads formed filopodia and pseudopodia, which interdigitated at distinct sites on the plasma membrane of target cells. In contrast, the amoeboid transformation did not occur for T. vaginalis interacting with He La cells, the previously used in vitro host model cell. Initial parasitism of VECs by a single organism was followed by establishment of a monolayer of trichomonads on the host cell. Finally, parasites adhering to either VECs or HeLa cells were induced to synthesize greater amounts of the four previously described adhesins. Therefore, distinct signals after contact with either epithelial cell type leads to the morphological transformation and/or induction of adhesin synthesis by T. vaginalis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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