Incubation in vitro of viable Leishmania enriettii with antibodies from infected or immune guinea pigs and a fluorescein-labeled antiguinea pig Ig conjugate induced aggregation of surface antigens to form a "cap" over the anterior pole of the amastigote and over both the anterior and posterior poles of the promastigote form of the parasite. Cap formation occurred only with optimum quantities of guinea pig antibodies and was inhibited by low temperature and the metabolic inhibitors, sodium azide and iodoacetamide. The aggregated antigens were rapidly lost from the surface of the parasite but reappeared after 3 h of incubation at 23°C. This phenomenon of ligand-induced membrane antigen movement is apparently similar to that described in mammalian cells, and may represent the first stage of the interaction between host antibodies and the surface membrane of protozoal parasites.

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