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Morphology of Trypanosoma gambiense | Diagram

The basic morphology of Trypanosoma gambiense is that of a single-celled organism, known as a protozoan. It has a characteristic elongated, cigar-shaped body, with a distinct anterior and posterior end. The body is surrounded by a plasma membrane, which encloses the cytoplasm and organelles. In this article, we will learn the morphology of Trypanosoma gambiense

Morphology of Trypanosoma gambiense


Morphology of Trypanosoma gambiense

Fig: Morphology of Trypanosoma gambiense

1. Shape and Size

      • Trypanosoma gambiense is unicellular, microscopic, elongated, leaf-like, flattened, and tapering at both sides.
      • Its length is about 10-40µ and its width is about 2.5-10µ.
      • The anterior end is pointed and the posterior end is blunt.
      • It is a polymorphic species and occurs in two developmental forms, the trypanosome form, and the crithidial form.
      • In the bloodstream of man, the trypanosome form may be long slender or short stumpy, or intermediate between the two.
      • In the tsetse fly, the trypanosome form is long and slender in the midgut, and short and stumpy in the salivary gland.
      • The crithidial form is represented only in the salivary glands of the tsetse fly.

2. Pellicle

      • The whole body is surrounded externally by pellicle.
      • The pellicle is a thin and elastic covering.
      • It is supported by the fine fibrils, called microtubules.
      • Microtubules may help to maintain the shape of the organism while it swims in the blood plasma.

3. Flagellum

      • Trypanosoma gambiense is uniflagellate as it has a single flagellum.
      • The flagellum arises from the posterior part of the body.
      • It runs forward, attached along the entire length of the body, and becomes free at the anterior end of the body.
      • When the trypanosome moves in blood, the undulating waves pass from the tip to the base of the flagellum.

4. Undulating Membrane

      • When the flagellum beats, the pellicle, to which it is attached, is pulled up into a membranous fold called the undulating membrane.
      • It may be an adaptation for locomotion in fluid like blood.

5. Cytoplasm

      • The cytoplasm is enclosed within the pellicle. 
      • The cytoplasm is not differentiated into ectoplasm and endoplasm.
      • An elongated mitochondrion with tubular cristae is present in the cytoplasm.
      • Just near the basal body of the flagellum (at the posterior end of the body), the mitochondrion forms a disk-like structure called the parabasal body or kinetoplast.
      • The kinetoplast includes a double-stranded DNA helix.
      • A Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, and ribosome are present in the cytoplasm.
      • The cytoplasm also contains numerous greenish granules called voluntin granules. These are supposed to be stored food particles.
      • Various small vacuoles are also seen in the cytoplasm, some with hydrolytic enzymes.

6. Nucleus

      • The nucleus is present within the cytoplasm.
      • The nucleus is large, oval, and vesicular.
      • The nuclear membrane is a double-unit membrane and bears pores.
      • The nucleolus is present at the center of the nucleus and surrounded by a clear space.
      • Numerous chromosomes are present within the nucleoplasm.

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  1. “Modern Textbook of Zoology Invertebrates” written by R. L. Kotpal.
  2. CDC – African Trypanosomiasis – Biology

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