The initial 7 steps of the glycolytic pathway from glucose to 3-phosphoglycerate are localized in the glycosomes in Leishmania, including step 6, catalyzed by the enzyme glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). In L. donovani and L. mexicana, there exists a second GAPDH enzyme present in the cytosol that is absent in L. braziliensis and that has become a pseudogene in L. major. To investigate the role of the cytosolic GAPDH (cGAPDH), an L. donovani cGAPDH-null mutant was generated, and conversely, the functional L. donovani cGAPDH was introduced into L. major and the resulting engineered parasites were characterized. The L. donovani cGAPDH-null mutant was able to proliferate at the same rate as the wild-type parasite in glucose-deficient medium. However, in the presence of glucose, the L. donovani cGAPDH-null mutant consumed less glucose and proliferated more slowly than the wild-type parasite and displayed reduced infectivity in visceral organs of experimentally infected mice. This demonstrates that cGAPDH is functional in L. donovani and is required for survival in visceral organs. Restoration of cGAPDH activity in L. major, in contrast, had an adverse effect on L. major proliferation in glucose-containing medium, providing a possible explanation of why it has evolved into a pseudogene in L. major. This study indicates that there is a difference in glucose metabolism between L. donovani and L. major, and this may represent an important factor in the ability of L. donovani to cause visceral disease.