Thursday, April 09, 2015

α2u-globulins mediate manipulation of host attractiveness in Toxoplasma gondii-Rattus novergicus association

2015 Mar 13. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.33. [Epub ahead of print]
Uninfected female rats (Rattus novergicus) exhibit greater attraction to the males infected with protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This phenomenon is contrary to the aversion towards infected males observed in multitude of other host-parasite associations. In this report, we describe a proximate mechanism for this anomaly. We demonstrate that T. gondii infection enhances hepatic production and urinary excretion of α2u-globulins in rats. We further demonstrate that α2u-globulins are sufficient to recapitulate male sexual attractiveness akin to effects of the infection. This manipulation possibly results in greater horizontal transmission of this parasite between the infected male and the uninfected female. It supports the notion that in some evolutionary niches parasites can alter host sexual signaling, likely leading to an increased rate of sexual transmission.
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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