Saturday, December 08, 2007

Kiss and spit: the dual roles of Toxoplasma rhoptries

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007 Dec 3 [Epub ahead of print]

Kiss and spit: the dual roles of Toxoplasma rhoptries

Boothroyd JC, Dubremetz JF

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5124, USA.

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled, eukaryotic parasite that can only reproduce inside a host cell. Upon entry, this Apicomplexan parasite co-opts host functions for its own purposes. An unusual set of apical organelles, named rhoptries, contain some of the machinery that is used by T. gondii both for invasion and to commandeer host functions. Of particular interest are a group of injected protein kinases that are among the most variable of all the T. gondii proteins. At least one of these kinases has a major effect on host-gene expression, including the modulation of key regulators of the immune response. Here, we discuss these recent findings and use them to propose a model in which an expansion of host range is a major force that drives rhoptry-protein evolution.

PMID: 18059289 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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