Antigenic variation in Trypanosoma brucei: facts, challenges and mysteries

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2004 Aug;7(4):369-74. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2004.05.001.


Antigenic variation allows African trypanosomes to develop chronic infections in mammalian hosts. This process results from the alternative occurrence of transcriptional switching and DNA recombination targeted to a telomeric locus that contains the gene of the variant antigen and is subjected to mono-allelic expression control. So far, the identification of mechanisms and factors involved still resists technological developments and genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigenic Variation*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics*
  • Variant Surface Glycoproteins, Trypanosoma / genetics*


  • Variant Surface Glycoproteins, Trypanosoma