In Trypanosoma brucei, uptake of host transferrin is mediated by a heterodimeric, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored receptor derived from the 2 expression site–associated genes 6 and 7 (ESAG6 and ESAG7). By using specific antibodies, it is shown here that T. evansi, a trypanosome species transmitted mechanically by biting flies, also expresses a transferrin receptor composed of ESAG6 and ESAG7. The cellular uptake of transferrin in T. evansi is completely inhibited with anti-T. brucei (ESAG6/7 heterodimer) antibodies. The demonstration of a functional ESAG6/7 transferrin receptor in T. evansi supports further its close relationship to T. brucei.

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