bims-toxgon Biomed News
on Toxoplasma gondii metabolism
Issue of 2023‒09‒10
six papers selected by
Lakesh Kumar, BITS Pilani

  1. J Cell Sci. 2023 Sep 01. pii: jcs261270. [Epub ahead of print]136(17):
      Motility is essential for apicomplexan parasites to infect their hosts. In a three-dimensional (3D) environment, the apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii moves along a helical path. The cortical microtubules, which are ultra-stable and spirally arranged, have been considered to be a structure that guides the long-distance movement of the parasite. Here, we address the role of the cortical microtubules in parasite motility, invasion and egress by utilizing a previously generated mutant (dubbed 'TKO') in which these microtubules are destabilized in mature parasites. We found that the cortical microtubules in ∼80% of the non-dividing (i.e. daughter-free) TKO parasites are much shorter than normal. The extent of depolymerization was further exacerbated upon commencement of daughter formation or cold treatment, but parasite replication was not affected. In a 3D Matrigel matrix, the TKO mutant moved directionally over long distances, but along trajectories that were significantly more linear (i.e. less helical) than those of wild-type parasites. Interestingly, this change in trajectory did not impact either movement speed in the matrix or the speed and behavior of the parasite during entry into and egress from the host cell.
    Keywords:  Apicomplexa; Cortical microtubules; Invasion; Motility; Toxoplasma
  2. mBio. 2023 Sep 07. e0183623
      The recrudescence of Toxoplasma cysts is the cause of clinical disease in the immunocompromised. Although Toxoplasma has been a useful parasite model for decades because it is relatively easy to genetically modify and culture, attempts to generate and study the recrudescence of tissue cysts have come up short with cell culture-adapted strains generating low numbers of tissue cysts in vivo. Taking advantage of a new ex vivo model of Toxoplasma recrudescence that uses a Type II ME49 strain unadapted to cell culture, we determined the cell biology, gene expression, and host cell dependency that define bradyzoite-cyst reactivation. Bradyzoite infection of fibroblasts and astrocytes produced sequential tachyzoite growth stages with pre-programmed kinetics; thus, an initial fast-growing stage was followed by a slow-growing replicating form. In vivo infections demonstrated that only fast growth tachyzoites, and not parasites post-growth shift, led to successful parasite dissemination to the brain and peripheral organs. In astrocytes, cells that reside in the central nervous system (CNS), bradyzoites initiated an additional recrudescent pathway involving brady-brady replication, which is a pathway not observed in fibroblasts. To investigate the molecular basis of growth and cell-dependent reactivation pathways, single-cell mRNA sequencing was performed on recrudescing parasites, revealing distinct gene signatures of these parasite populations and confirming multifunctionality of the original ex vivo bradyzoite population. This revised model of Toxoplasma recrudescence uncovers previously unknown complexity in the clinically important bradyzoite stage of the parasite, which opens the door to further study these novel developmental features of the Toxoplasma intermediate life cycle. IMPORTANCE The classical depiction of the Toxoplasma lifecycle is bradyzoite excystation conversion to tachyzoites, cell lysis, and immune control, followed by the reestablishment of bradyzoites and cysts. In contrast, we show that tachyzoite growth slows independent of the host immune response at a predictable time point following excystation. Furthermore, we demonstrate a host cell-dependent pathway of continuous amplification of the cyst-forming bradyzoite population. The developmental plasticity of the excysted bradyzoites further underlines the critical role the cyst plays in the flexibility of the lifecycle of this ubiquitous parasite. This revised model of Toxoplasma recrudescence uncovers previously unknown complexity in the clinically important bradyzoite stage of the parasite, which opens the door to further study these novel developmental features of the Toxoplasma intermediate life cycle.
    Keywords:  Apicomplexa; Toxoplasma gondii; chronic toxoplasmosis; development; latency; tissue cyst
  3. Parasitol Res. 2023 Sep 06.
      Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite that is very common in livestock. Meat products from livestock infected with T. gondii are one of the important transmission routes of toxoplasmosis. Rapid and reliable diagnosis is a prerequisite for the prevention and control of toxoplasmosis. Neospora caninum and T. gondii are similar in morphology and life history, and there are a large number of cross antigens between them, making clinical diagnosis of toxoplasmosis more difficult. In this study, immunoprecipitation-mass spectrometry (IP-MS) was used to screen for T. gondii-specific antigens, and the specific antigen was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The specific antigen was then used to establish an indirect ELISA diagnostic method. A total of 241 specific antigens of T. gondii and 662 cross antigens between T. gondii and N. caninum were screened by IP-MS. Through bioinformatics analysis and homology comparison, seven proteins were selected for gene cloning and prokaryotic expression, and the most suitable antigen, TgGRA54, was selected to establish an indirect ELISA for T. gondii. Compared with the indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT), the positive coincidence rate of the ELISA based on rTgGRA54 was 100% (72/72) and the negative coincidence rate was 80.95% (17/21). The indirect ELISA method based on TgGRA54 recombinant protein was established to detect T. gondii antibodies in bovine sera, and the recombinant protein reacted well with T. gondii positive sera from sheep, mouse, and swine, indicating that the recombinant protein is a good diagnostic antigen for T. gondii.
    Keywords:  Diagnostic antigen; Indirect ELISA; Specific antigen; TgGRA54; Toxoplasma gondii
  4. Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Sep 06. pii: S0344-0338(23)00490-9. [Epub ahead of print]250 154790
      Toxoplasmosis is one of the highly prevalent zoonotic diseases worldwide caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). The infection with T. gondii could pass unidentified in immunocompetent individuals; however, latent cysts remain dormant in their digestive tract, but they could be shed and excreted with feces infesting the environment. However, active toxoplasmosis can create serious consequences, particularly in newborns and infected persons with compromised immunity. These complications include ocular toxoplasmosis, in which most cases cannot be treated. Additionally, it caused many stillbirths and miscarriages. Circulating miRNAs are important regulatory molecules ensuring that the normal physiological role of various organs is harmonious. Upon infection with T. gondii, the tightly regulated miRNA profile is disrupted to favor the parasite's survival and further participate in the disease pathogenesis. Interestingly, this dysregulated profile could be useful in acute and chronic disease discrimination and in providing insights into the pathomechanisms of the disease. Thus, this review sheds light on the various roles of miRNAs in signaling pathways regulation involved in the pathogenesis of T. gondii and provides insights into the application of miRNAs clinically for its diagnosis and prognosis.
    Keywords:  Communicable diseases; Diagnosis; MiRNA; Prognosis; Signaling pathways; Toxoplasma gondii
  5. PeerJ. 2023 ;11 e15961
      Histone acetylation and deacetylation affect the patterns of gene expression in cellular differentiation, playing pivotal roles in tissue development and maintenance. For example, the intrinsic histone acetyltransferase activity of transcriptional coactivator p300 is especially required for the expression of myogenic regulatory factors including Myf5 and MyoD, and consequently for skeletal myogenesis. On the other hand, histone deacetylases (HDACs) remove the acetyl group from histones, which is critical for gene repression in stem cell fate transition. Through integrative omic analyses, we found that while some HDACs were differentially expressed at the early stage of skeletal myoblast differentiation, Hdac11 gene expression was significantly enhanced by nuclear receptor signaling. In addition, p300 and MyoD control Hdac11 expression in milieu of normal and signal-enhanced myoblast differentiation. Thus, HDAC11 may be essential to differential gene expression at the onset of myoblast differentiation.
    Keywords:  Chromatin state; Gene regulation; Histone acetylation; Histone deacetylase; Myogenic differentiation
  6. Biomed Pharmacother. 2023 Aug 31. pii: S0753-3322(23)01216-7. [Epub ahead of print]166 115418
      Histone deacetylase 11 (HDAC11) is a unique member of the histone deacetylase family that plays an important role in the regulation of gene expression and protein function. In recent years, research on the role of HDAC11 in tumors has attracted increasing attention. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the subcellular localization, structure, expression, and functions of HDAC11 in tumors, as well as the regulatory mechanisms involved in its network, including ncRNA and substrates. Moreover, we focus on the progress made in targeting HDAC11 to overcome tumor therapy resistance, and the development of HDAC11 inhibitors for cancer treatment. Collectively, this review provides comprehensive insights into the potential clinical implications of HDAC11 for cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Acetylation; Cancer; Drug resistance; Function; HDAC11 inhibitors; Histone deacetylase 11; Regulatory mechanisms