Midgut infection rates of Trypanosoma congolense in Glossina palpalis palpalis and of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense in Glossina pallidipes are potentiated by the addition of D+ glucosamine to the infective feed, but not to the levels of super-infection reported for G. m. morsitans. G. p. palpalis and G.pallidipes are shown to possess two trypanocidal molecules: a glucosyl lectin which can be inhibited by D+ glucosamine and a galactosyl molecule inhibited by D+ galactose. Addition of both D+ glucosamine and D+ galactose to the teneral infective feed promotes super-infection of the midguts of G.p.palpalis. The glucosyl lectin is specific for rabbit erythrocytes and is present in guts of fed G.m.morsitans and G.p.palpalis, titres of lectin activity do not increase substantially after the second bloodmeal. The galactosyl specific molecule does not show any erythrocyte specificity, although haemolytic activity is observed only in G.p.palpalis and not in G.m.morsitans. The presence of two trypanocidal molecules in some species of tsetse may account for the innate refractoriness of these flies to trypanosome infection.
As D+ glucosamine also inhibits the killing of procyclic trypanosomes taken as an infective feed, it is suggested that the midgut lectin is normally responsible for the agglutination of trypanosomes in the fly midgut by binding to the pro-cyclic surface coat, prior to establishment in the ecto-peritrophic space.
Welburn, S.C.; Maudlin, I.; Molyneux, D.H. Midgut lectin activity and sugar specificity in teneral and fed tsetse. Medical and Veterinary Entomology (1994) 8 (1) 81-87. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.1994.tb00391.x]