Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine

 



Review Article

Parasite–host cell interactions in toxoplasmosis: new avenues for intervention?


Isabelle Coppens a1 and Keith A. Joiner a1c1
a1 Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 808 LCI, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8022, USA.

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that is uniquely adapted for penetrating and surviving within a wide range of host cells. This parasite invades mammalian cells by an active actin-dependent mechanism, and after entry establishes a vacuole with the assistance of products secreted by the parasite's apical organelles. Simultaneously, Toxoplasma sets about gaining access to cellular nutrients by forming pores in the vacuolar membrane. In this manner it enjoys a rich and comfortable lifestyle at the host cell's expense. Understanding the Toxoplasma–host interaction may reveal unusual mechanisms for exploiting host cell pathways and diverting host organelle functions. These novel modifications could also be potential targets for new drugs.


Key Words: Toxoplasma gondii; intracellular protozoan; parasitophorous vacuole; nutrition; host cell manipulation.

Correspondence:
c1 Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 808 LCI, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8022, USA. Tel: +1 203 785 4140; Fax: +1 203 785 3864; E-mail: keith.joiner@yale.edu