Evolution of Antigenic Variation in African Trypanosomes

  • John C. Boothroyd
  • Thomas P. Beals
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 11)


The african trypanosomes are responsible for several important diseases of humans and animals. One of the ways in which these parasitic protozoa successfully compete with the immune system of their mammalian hosts is through a phenomenon known as antigenic variation (reviewed in Donelson and Rice-Ficht, 1985; Pays, 1985; Boothroyd, 1985). This describes their ability to alter the antigenic composition of the surface coat which completely envelops the parasites while in the bloodstream of the host. On any one trypanosome, at any one time, this coat is essentially homogeneous, being comprised of a single glycoprotein species, known as the variant surface glycoprotein or VSG (Cross, 1975; Vickerman and Luckins, 1969).


Surface Coat Trypanosoma Brucei Variant Surface Glycoprotein Individual Family Member African Trypanosome 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Boothroyd
    • 1
  • Thomas P. Beals
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical MicrobiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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