The African trypanosome Trypanosoma brucei has a precarious existence as an extracellular parasite of the mammalian bloodstream, where it is faced with continuous immune attack. Key to survival is a dense VSG (variant surface glycoprotein) coat, which is repeatedly switched during the course of a chronic infection. New data demonstrate a link between VSG synthesis and cell cycle progression, indicating that VSG is monitored during the trypanosome cell cycle.

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