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Pathogen-Host Interactions: Antigenic Variation v. Somatic Adaptations

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Attention for Chapter 2: A Host–Pathogen Interaction Reduced to First Principles: Antigenic Variation in T. brucei
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  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (51st percentile)

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3 tweeters


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28 Mendeley
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Chapter title
A Host–Pathogen Interaction Reduced to First Principles: Antigenic Variation in T. brucei
Chapter number 2
Book title
Pathogen-Host Interactions: Antigenic Variation v. Somatic Adaptations
Published in
Results and problems in cell differentiation, January 2015
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-20819-0_2
Pubmed ID
Book ISBNs
978-3-31-920818-3, 978-3-31-920819-0

Hovel-Miner, Galadriel, Mugnier, Monica, Papavasiliou, F Nina, Pinger, Jason, Schulz, Danae, Galadriel Hovel-Miner, Monica Mugnier, F. Nina Papavasiliou, Jason Pinger, Danae Schulz


Antigenic variation is a common microbial survival strategy, powered by diversity in expressed surface antigens across the pathogen population over the course of infection. Even so, among pathogens, African trypanosomes have the most comprehensive system of antigenic variation described. African trypanosomes (Trypanosoma brucei spp.) are unicellular parasites native to sub-Saharan Africa, and the causative agents of sleeping sickness in humans and of n'agana in livestock. They cycle between two habitats: a specific species of fly (Glossina spp. or, colloquially, the tsetse) and the bloodstream of their mammalian hosts, by assuming a succession of proliferative and quiescent developmental forms, which vary widely in cell architecture and function. Key to each of the developmental forms that arise during these transitions is the composition of the surface coat that covers the plasma membrane.The trypanosome surface coat is extremely dense, covered by millions of repeats of developmentally specified proteins: procyclin gene products cover the organism while it resides in the tsetse and metacyclic gene products cover it while in the fly salivary glands, ready to make the transition to the mammalian bloodstream. But by far the most interesting coat is the Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG) coat that covers the organism in its infectious form (during which it must survive free living in the mammalian bloodstream). This coat is highly antigenic and elicits robust VSG-specific antibodies that mediate efficient opsonization and complement mediated lysis of the parasites carrying the coat against which the response was made. Meanwhile, a small proportion of the parasite population switches coats, which stimulates a new antibody response to the prevalent (new) VSG species and this process repeats until immune system failure. The disease is fatal unless treated, and treatment at the later stages is extremely toxic.Because the organism is free living in the blood, the VSG:antibody surface represents the interface between pathogen and host, and defines the interaction of the parasite with the immune response. This interaction (cycles of VSG switching, antibody generation, and parasite deletion) results in stereotypical peaks and troughs of parasitemia that were first recognized more than 100 years ago. Essentially, the mechanism of antigenic variation in T. brucei results from a need, at the population level, to maintain an extensive repertoire, to evade the antibody response. In this chapter, we will examine what is currently known about the VSG repertoire, its depth, and the mechanisms that diversify it both at the molecular (DNA) and at the phenotypic (surface displayed) level, as well as how it could interact with antibodies raised specifically against it in the host.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 3 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 28 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 28 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 8 29%
Researcher 6 21%
Student > Bachelor 4 14%
Student > Master 3 11%
Unspecified 2 7%
Other 3 11%
Unknown 2 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 9 32%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 18%
Immunology and Microbiology 4 14%
Unspecified 2 7%
Medicine and Dentistry 2 7%
Other 2 7%
Unknown 4 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 10 November 2015.
All research outputs
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Outputs from Results and problems in cell differentiation
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Results and problems in cell differentiation
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Altmetric has tracked 6,554,440 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 56th percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 65 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 1.7. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 56% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 210,229 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 51% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 2 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one.