Date: 11 Oct 2013

A2 and Other Visceralizing Proteins of Leishmania: Role in Pathogenesis and Application for Vaccine Development

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Abstract

Visceral leishmaniasis is a re-emergent disease and a significant cause of morbidity worldwide. Amongst the more than 20 Leishmania species, Leishmania donovani, Leishmania infantum and more rarely Leishmania amazonensis are associated with visceral leishmaniasis. A major question in leishmaniasis research is how these species migrate to and infect visceral organs whereas other species such as Leishmania major and Leishmania braziliensis remain in the skin, causing tegumentary leishmaniasis. Here we present the more recent advances and approaches towards the identification of species-specific visceralizing factors of Leishmania, such as the A2 protein, leading to a better understanding of parasite biology. We also discuss their potential use for the development of a vaccine for visceral leishmaniasis.