Saturday, December 29, 2007

N-linked glycosylation of proteins in the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2007 Nov 9 [Epub ahead of print]

N-linked glycosylation of proteins in the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii

Luk FC, Johnson TM, Beckers CJ

Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7090, USA.

Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite of animal cells. Infection of humans is common and may result in devastating disease, especially in immunocompromised individuals. Despite previous reports that N-glycosylation of proteins may be a rare post-translational modification in this and related organisms, we demonstrate that it is actually quite prevalent in Toxoplasma. N-Glycosylation is completely inhibited by treatment of parasites with tunicamycin, but this does not appear to exert its major effect on the parasites until they have egressed from their host cells. Although the tunicamycin-treated parasites appear structurally normal at this time they are not motile and mostly incapable of invading new host cells. The few tunicamycin-treated parasites that do invade are severely affected in their ability to replicate and accumulate with a distended endoplasmic reticulum, deformed nuclei, and without recognizable late secretory organelles. We provide experimental evidence that indicate that Toxoplasma N-glycans differ structurally from those in other eukaryotes.

PMID: 18096254 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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