Antigenic variation, a clonal phenotypic variation developed by microorganisms, involves the permanent switching of homologous, antigenically different cell surface molecules. In pathogenic microorganisms, antigenic variation is often described as a mechanism to evade the host immune system and therefore is responsible for the generation of chronic and/or recurrent infections. However, antigenic variation has also been involved in expanding host diversity and differential courses of the diseases. The intestinal protozoan parasite undergoes antigenic variation through the continuous exchange of approximately 200 variant-specific surface proteins. Here we review the principal issues regarding the significance of antigenic variation during infections, the particular features of the variant-specific surface proteins, and the current knowledge on the mechanisms that regulate this process, as well as the relevance of disrupting antigenic variation as a novel approach to design effective antiparasitic vaccines.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error