Parasit Vectors. 2014 May 29;7(1):248. [Epub ahead of print]
Starvation of low-density lipoprotein-derived cholesterol induces bradyzoite conversion in Toxoplasma gondii
BACKGROUND:Lacking enzymes for sterol synthesis, the intracellular protozoan Toxoplasma gondii scavenges cholesterol from host cells to multiply. T. gondii has a complex life cycle consisting of two asexual stages; the proliferative stage (tachyzoite), and the latent stage characterized by tissue cysts (bradyzoite). In vitro, bradyzoite development can be induced by mimicking host immune response stressors through treatment with IFN-gamma, heat shock, nitric oxide, and high pH. However, the extent to which host nutrients contribute to stage conversion in T. gondii is unknown. In this study, we examined the impact of host cholesterol levels on stage conversion in this parasite.
METHODS:Growth of T. gondii tachyzoites (ME49 strain) was investigated in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells using various concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), oleic acid, or glucose. Squalestatin, which is an inhibitor of squalene synthase and is, therefore, an inhibitor of sterol synthesis, was used to treat the CHO cells. Tachyzoite to bradyzoite conversion rates were analyzed by indirect fluorescent antibody tests.
RESULTS:Parasite growth was significantly enhanced by addition of exogenous LDL, whereas no such enhancement occurred with oleic acids or glucose. In ME49, growth inhibition from squalestatin treatment was not obvious. Although growth of the RH strain was unaffected by squalestatin in the presence of lipoprotein, in its absence growth of this strain was suppressed. The frequency of BAG1-positive vacuoles in ME49 increased under lipoprotein-free conditions. However, addition of exogenous LDL did not increase tachyzoite to bradyzoite conversion in this strain. Furthermore, treatment with squalestatin did not enhance stage conversion.
CONCLUSION:Our results suggest that LDL-derived cholesterol levels play a crucial role in bradyzoite conversion in T. gondii.
- [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]