M.G. dos Santos, S.M. Muxel, R.A. Zampieri, T. Günther Pomorski, and L.M. Floeter-Winter (2013).
Transbilayer dynamics of phospholipids in the plasma membrane of the Leishmania genus.
PLoS ONE 8(1): e55604.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055604

Protozoans of the Leishmania genus are the etiological agents of a wide spectrum of diseases commonly known as leishmaniases. Lipid organization of the plasma membrane of the parasite may mimic the lipid organization of mammalian apoptotic cells and play a role in phagocytosis and parasite survival in the mammal host. Here, we analyzed the phospholipid dynamics in the plasma membrane of both the L. (Leishmania) and the L. (Viannia) subgenera. We found that the activity and substrate specificity of the inward translocation machinery varied between Leishmania species. The differences in activity of inward phospholipid transport correlated with the different sensitivities of the various species towards the alkyl-phospholipid analogue miltefosine. Furthermore, all species exhibited a phospholipid scramblase activity in their plasma membranes upon stimulation with calcium ionophores. However, binding of annexin V to the parasite surface was only detected for a subpopulation of parasites during the stationary growth phase and only marginally enhanced by scramblase activation.