Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toxoplasmosis Infection Trick Revealed By Scientists

Date:
May 12, 2007
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Scientists have provided new insight into how the parasite which causes toxoplasmosis invades human cells. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease, primarily carried by cats. It is transmitted to humans by eating undercooked meat or through contact with cat faeces.

Scientists have provided new insight into how the parasite which causes toxoplasmosis invades human cells. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease, primarily carried by cats. It is transmitted to humans by eating undercooked meat or through contact with cat faeces.

It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, whose foetuses can be infected via the placenta, and those with a weakened immune system, such as people infected with HIV. In severe cases, toxoplasmosis can cause damage to the brain and eyes, and even death.

Now researchers from London and Geneva have determined, for the first time, the atomic structure of a key protein which is released onto the surface of the parasite just before it invades host cells in the human body. They found that the protein known as TgMIC1 binds to certain sugars on the surface of the host cell, assisting the parasite to stick to, and then enter the human cell.

Using a novel carbohydrate microarray the team were able to identify the precise sugars to which the parasite protein binds. Following this the team used a combination of NMR spectroscopy and cellular studies to characterise the behaviour and interactions of the parasite protein and host cell sugars. This means that the team have a more detailed picture than ever before of exactly how the parasite recognises and attacks host cells in the body.

Professor Steve Matthews from Imperial College London’s Division of Molecular Biosciences, one of the paper’s authors, explains the significance of the research, saying: “Understanding the fundamental, atomic-level detail of how diseases like toxoplasmosis pick out and invade host cells in the human body is vital if we want to fight these diseases effectively.

“Now that we understand that it’s a key interaction between a protein on the parasite’s surface and sugars on the human cell which lead to the cell’s invasion, there is potential to develop therapeutics that are targeted at disrupting this mechanism, therefore thwarting infection.”

Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, is one of the world’s most common parasites. Around a quarter to half of the world’s population is thought to be infected, and around 1% of people in the UK catch toxoplasmosis each year. In the majority of cases, those affected don’t have any symptoms. But for those with weakened immune systems, and unborn babies, toxoplasmosis can cause very serious health problems.

Reference: ‘Atomic resolution insight into host cell recognition by Toxoplasma gondii’, The EMBO Journal, 10 May 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Toxoplasmosis Infection Trick Revealed By Scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510110538.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2007, May 12). Toxoplasmosis Infection Trick Revealed By Scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510110538.htm
Imperial College London. "Toxoplasmosis Infection Trick Revealed By Scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510110538.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins