Amastigogenesis occurs first when metacyclic trypomastigotes from triatomine urine differentiate into amastigotes inside mammalian host cells and a secondary process when tissue-derived trypomastigotes invade new cells and differentiate newly to amastigotes. Using scanning electron microscopy, we compared the morphological patterns manifested by trypomastigotes and metacyclic forms of Trypanosoma cruzi
during their axenic-transformation to amastigotes in acidic medium at 37°C. We show here that in culture MEMTAU medium, secondary and primary axenic amastigogenesis display different morphologies. As already described, we also observed a high differentiation rate of trypomastigotes into amastigotes. Conversely, the transformation rate of in vitro-induced-metacyclic trypomastigotes to amastigotes was significantly slower and displayed distinct patterns of transformation that seem environment-dependent. Morphological comparisons of extracelullar and intracellular amastigotes showed marked similarities, albeit some differences were also detected. SDS-PAGE analyses of protein and glycoprotein from primary and axenic extracelullar amastigotes showed similarities in glycopeptide profiles, but variations between their proteins demonstrated differences in their respective macromolecular constitutions. The data indicate that primary and axenic secondary amastigogenesis of T. cruzi
may be the result of different developmental processes and suggest that the respective intracellular mechanisms driving amastigogenesis may not be the same.