In this work we have used for the first time green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged cells of the human parasite Leishmania donovani to observe its development in the gut of phlebotomine sand flies. Low numbers of GFP-tagged L. donovani were more easily detected than nontagged Leishmania, suggesting that GFP-tagged Leishmania could be used to efficiently study the biology of Leishmania in their vectors, and open the possibility of using nonaxenic flies. Using this method, we found that GFP-tagged L. donovani, the ethiological agent of Old World Kala-azar, were able to establish an infection within the gut of Lutzomyia species, which are vectors of New World Leishmania. The GFP-tagged parasites divide successfully in the gut of colonized and in wild caught Lu. longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva, 1912), Lu. ovallesis (Ortiz, 1952), and Lu. youngi (Feliciangeli & Murillo, 1985). In the case of Lulongipalpis the labeled parasite exhibited a normal anterior development as the one observed in its natural vector.
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