Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How different strains of parasite infection affect behavior differently

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Toxoplasma gondii infects approximately 25 percent of the human population. The protozoan parasite is noted for altering the behavior of infected hosts. Researchers have found clear differences in the manipulation of host gene expression among the three clonal lineages that predominate in Europe and North America, despite the high level of genetic similarity among them.

Toxoplasma gondii infects approximately 25 percent of the human population. The protozoan parasite is noted for altering the behavior of infected hosts. Jianchun Xiao and colleagues of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine find clear differences in the manipulation of host gene expression among the three clonal lineages that predominate in Europe and North America, "despite the high level of genetic similarity among them," says Xiao. Type I infection largely affects genes related to the central nervous system, while type III mostly alters genes that modulate nucleotide metabolism. Type II infection does not alter expression of a clearly defined set of genes.

The research is published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.

Indeed, T. gondii can play its infected rodent hosts like a piano, converting rats' and mice's natural aversion to feline odors into an attraction, presumably to enable the parasite's sexual cycle. T. gondii can reproduce sexually only in cats. Investigations of effects on humans have found an increased risk of traffic accidents, and other reckless behavior, as well as links to hallucinations.

"Toxoplasma infections, at least for mice, are so variable in their severity and heavily dependent on which strain is doing the infecting," says Xiao. "Understanding the differential effects caused by these strains could enable predicting the outcome of infection and point out directions to be explored in future studies to eliminate transmissions or cure disease. If Toxoplasma is linked to schizophrenia, this could lead to new treatments of that disease as well."

"It is noteworthy that we found vasoactive intestinal peptide receptor 2 (VIPR2) was upregulated by all three Toxoplasma strains," says Xiao. VIPR2 "is linked to schizophrenia in some recent publications. Since the tropism of Toxoplasma for brain has been linked with specific behavioral changes and psychosis in humans, this finding will have some fundamental significance for understanding the correlation between Toxoplasma and psychosis."

Type II strains cause 70-80 percent of human cases reported in North America and Europe.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Xiao, L. Jones-Brando, C. C. Talbot, R. H. Yolken. Differential Effects of Three Canonical Toxoplasma Strains on Gene Expression in Human Neuroepithelial Cells. Infection and Immunity, 2010; 79 (3): 1363 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00947-10

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "How different strains of parasite infection affect behavior differently." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321203437.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2011, March 22). How different strains of parasite infection affect behavior differently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321203437.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "How different strains of parasite infection affect behavior differently." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321203437.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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