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Image of the Day: Parasite Stopped in Its Tracks

Suppression of a signaling pathway in Toxoplasma gondii prevents the parasite from replicating in host cells.

Sep 26, 2018
Iris Kulbatski

ABOVE: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have discovered a way to halt the invasion of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite into cells.
WALTER AND ELIZA HALL INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIA

Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia have discovered a novel approach to preventing Toxoplasma gondii infection from taking hold. By disabling protein kinase A (PKA), which normally activates parasite replication, the team initiated a mechanism of T. gondii egress from host cells. Unable to replicate, the parasite cannot flourish.

Commonly found in raw meat and cat feces, T. gondii causes a disease called toxoplasmosis, which presents with fever and muscle aches, and poses a risk to pregnant women in particular.  The research, published this month (September 12) in PLOS Biology, provides potential targets for a vaccine against the pathogen.

A.D. Uboldi et al., “Protein kinase A negatively regulates Ca2+ signalling in Toxoplasma gondii,” PLOS Biologydoi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2005642, 2018.

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