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The parasite Trichinella and its control of host muscle Trichinella is a very important intracellular parasite James Pagent first discovered Trichinella in humans in 1875 during a medical study There are five species of Trichinella Medically the most important is Trichinella spiralis It is found worldwide and has the ability to infect a wide range of mammalian hosts Unlike many other species of intracellular parasites such as Leishmania and Plasmodium Trichinella does not kill the host cell Instead it actively induces a series of modifications within the invaded cell ensuring the survival of both host and parasite Male and female Trichinella tend to live in the intestinal epithelium of mammals Many L1 larvae are produced These penetrate the intestinal wall and are transported via the bloodstream to striated muscle Here they enter the cytoplasm and obtain nutrients via intracytoplasmic nutrition Upon entering a muscle cell the L1 larvae encounter a rigid arrangement of actin and myosin filaments The parasite rearranges the cell contents in a co-ordinated manner and in doing so transforms the muscle cell into a highly specialised nurse cell The nurse cell acts in the same way as a placenta secreting nutrients to the larva and exporting wastes The parasites initiate a form of population control by secreting a variety of antigens early in the developmental process These antigens whilst inducing a high level of protection also restrict the numbers of developing larvae within a given area without inhibiting the development and survival of established parasites Transformation of the invaded muscle cell into a nurse cell typically takes 20 days and involves a number of morphological and biochemical reorganisations The parasite induces the formation of smooth membranes and mitochondrial aggregates as a substitute for muscle-specific structures including myofilaments This is followed by the enlargement of nuclei which subsequently migrate to the centre of the cell An additional change is the increased number of ribosomes ER and
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