How Toxoplasma gondii gets noticed

Jan 19, 2009

Researchers provide insight into how Toxoplasma gondii, a common parasite of people and other animals, triggers an immune response in its host. The report will appear online on January 19th in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

A strong immune response spares T. gondii-infected hosts from deadly infection—an event that may also benefit the parasite, which relies on survival of the host to ensure its own transmission. But how the infected host elicits an immune response isn't completely understood. Like many other parasites, T. gondii resides within specialized vesicles inside infected host cells, but the process by which peptides from the trapped bugs are processed by infected cells and presented to killer T cells is mysterious.

Here, Romina Goldszmid and her colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda use T. gondii infections in mice to study how portions of the parasitic proteins escape the vesicle in a process known as cross-presentation. They find that the parasite gets noticed by the immune system when the membrane of the bug-containing vesicle fuses to the endoplasmic reticulum—an organelle normally involved in presenting pathogens to T cells—allowing a swap of parasitic peptides.

Source: Rockefeller University

Explore further: New strategies against rare, fatal lung syndrome

Related Stories

Molecular docking site of a bacterial toxin identified

Jun 09, 2015

Clostridium difficile is a dangerous intestinal bacterium that can cause severe diarrhoea and life-threatening intestinal infections after long-term treatment with antibiotics. The pharmacologists and toxicologists ...

Arabidopsis uses molecular decoy to trick pathogens

Jun 08, 2015

In the animal kingdom, predators use a full range of strategies, such as camouflage, speed and optical illusions, to catch their prey. Meanwhile, prey species resort to the same tactics to escape from their ...

Recommended for you

Molecular switch for a healthy metabolism discovered

2 hours ago

The protein complex mTORC1 is a central regulator of cell metabolism. In the active state, it stimulates anabolic processes and increases the production and storage of proteins and lipids. Researchers from ...

New strategies against rare, fatal lung syndrome

18 hours ago

Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) patients suffer symptoms including albinism, visual impairment, and slow blood clotting, but what makes some versions of the genetic condition fatal is that patients with some ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.