A new twist on how parasites invade host cells

July 02, 2018

Toxoplasmosis is a widespread infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which multiplies within a host and irreversible tissue damage. Humans primarily become infected by eating undercooked meat and poorly washed fruits and vegetables. After infecting the digestive system, the parasite enters deep tissue in the nervous system, among other places, and remains there to develop, nearly undetected.

To do so, T. gondii implements an ingenious invasive strategy. Scientists at the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB) (CNRS/INSERM/Université Grenoble Alpes) have successfully reconstructed the steps taken by the parasite to gain entry to a host cell. T. gondii injects a protein complex into the host cell membrane to form a door through which it passes in a matter of seconds. It then performs a twisting motion to close the door behind itself. This rotational force also allows it to seal itself into a vacuole, a small sac that acts as a nest, where it continues to develop at the host's expense.

The study, pioneering in its field, unveils a stage in the invasion process that likely constitutes one of the first "signals" to Toxoplasma gondii that it can begin the intracellular phase of its cycle. The team is now focusing on understanding in detail the mechanical properties of this door that opens and closes cell membranes.
-end-


CNRS

Related Parasite Articles from Brightsurf:

Finding the Achilles' heel of a killer parasite
Two studies led by UT Southwestern researchers shed light on the biology and potential vulnerabilities of schistosomes -- parasitic flatworms that cause the little-known tropical disease schistosomiasis.

Your brain parasite isn't making you sick -- here's why
The new discovery could have important implications for brain infections, neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune disorders.

Malaria parasite ticks to its own internal clock
Researchers have long known that all of the millions of malaria parasites within an infected person's body move through their cell cycle at the same time.

Malaria runs like clockwork; so does the parasite that causes the disease
A new study uncovers evidence that an intrinsic oscillator drives the blood stage cycle of the malaria parasite, P. falciparum, suggesting parasites have evolved mechanisms to precisely maintain periodicity.

Discovery of malaria parasite's clock could pave way to new treatments
The parasite that causes malaria has its own internal clock, explaining the disease's rhythmic fevers and opening new pathways for therapeutics.

New research shows how the malaria parasite grows and multiplies
Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding how the parasite that causes malaria is able to multiply at such an alarming rate, which could be a vital clue in discovering how it has evolved, and how it can be stopped.

Malaria parasite lives on the edge
The parasite that causes malaria expresses genes that code for the proteins it will need in later life stages, but uses two separate schemes to prevent these proteins from actually being made until they are needed.

Parasite paralysis: A new way to fight schistosomiasis?
Scientists have isolated a natural chemical that acts as a potent kryptonite against parasitic worms that burrow through human skin and cause devastating health problems.

Novel compound interrupts malaria parasite's lifecycle
Compound inhibits key enzymes, interrupting the parasite's lifecycle in human organisms and preventing transmission to vector insects.

Sweet success of parasite survival could also be its downfall
University of York scientists are part of an international team which has discovered how a parasite responsible for spreading a serious tropical disease protects itself from starvation once inside its human host.

Read More: Parasite News and Parasite Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.