Monday, December 18, 2006

Patatin-like protein protects Toxo from degradation in macrophages

Mol Microbiol. 2006 Dec 11; [Epub ahead of print]

A patatin-like protein protects Toxoplasma gondii from degradation in activated macrophages.

Mordue DG, Scott-Weathers CF, Tobin CM, Knoll LJ.

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is able to suppress nitric oxide production in activated macrophages. A screen of over 6000 T. gondii insertional mutants identified two clones, which were consistently unable to suppress nitric oxide production from activated macrophages. One strain, called 89B7, grew at the same rate as wild-type parasites in naive macrophages, but unlike wild type, the mutant was degraded in activated macrophages. This degradation was marked by a reduction in the number of parasites within vacuoles over time, the loss of GRA4 and SAG1 protein staining by immunofluorescence assay, and the vesiculation and breakdown of the internal parasite ultrastructure by electron microscopy. The mutagenesis plasmid in the 89B7 clone disrupts the promoter of a 3.4 kb mRNA that encodes a predicted 68 kDa protein with a cleavable signal peptide and a patatin-like phospholipase domain. Genetic complementation with the genomic locus of this patatin-like protein restores the parasites ability to suppress nitric oxide and replicate in activated macrophages. A haemagglutinin-tagged version of this patatin-like protein shows punctate localization into atypical T. gondii structures within the parasite. This is the first study that defines a specific gene product that is needed for parasite survival in activated but not naive macrophages.

PMID: 17166175 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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