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Novel method for high-throughput identification of T. gondii effector proteins that target host cell transcription

An innovative method to revolutionize the understanding of disease and immune evasion mechanisms
Graphical Abstract. Credit: Cell Host & Microbe (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2023.09.003

Toxoplasma infects a large part of the human population and animals. While most infections are harmless, the parasite poses a severe threat to the immunocompromised and during pregnancy. Toxoplasma is predicted to secrete over 200 proteins into the host cell, and most of these proteins' functions are unknown.

A recent study, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, allows researchers to describe a function for each protein in changing host cell transcription in in a single experiment. Applying the new method, Dual Perturb-Seq, to Toxoplasma gondii, the research team identified and characterized novel effector proteins secreted by the parasite into the human host cells to change their behavior.

One of the major findings of this study is the identification of an effector, TgSOS1, which is required for changing a key host immune signaling pathway. This discovery highlights the parasite's pivotal role in reprograming transcription during infection and establishing persistent infection.

Moritz Treeck, corresponding author of the paper, expressed enthusiasm about the study's potential impact. "The dual perturb-see method not only provides a deeper understanding of host-microbe transcriptional interactions but also offers a versatile tool for investigating a wide range of pathogens. This breakthrough brings us one step closer to unraveling the complexities of infection and developing more effective strategies to combat ."

In the following steps, the research team will expand the experiments to cells of other species to understand how the parasite can infect any warm-blooded animal and make it one of the most successful on Earth.

More information: Simon Butterworth et al, High-throughput identification of Toxoplasma gondii effector proteins that target host cell transcription, Cell Host & Microbe (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2023.09.003

Journal information: Cell Host & Microbe

Provided by Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência

Citation: Novel method for high-throughput identification of T. gondii effector proteins that target host cell transcription (2023, October 11) retrieved 26 February 2024 from
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