Toxoplasmosis: Propagation of Parasite in Host Cell Stopped
Published:12 May2022    Source:Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Toxoplasmosis is one of the most widespread zoonoses worldwide. It is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from cats to humans. People can also become infected by consuming raw or undercooked meat. Infection is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause fetal deformities.

The cause of the disease is the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Inside the host cell, it forms a little bubble-like compartment called a parasitophorous vacuole, which facilitates nutrient exchange and synchronized cell division. The resulting daughter cells are connected with each other inside the vacuole via a network, somewhat akin to an umbilical cord. Up to 64 daughter cells can form in the compartment. As soon as the offspring are mature, a regulation mechanism prompts the dissolution of the vacuole and the structures that have formed inside it. This is the moment at which the daughter cells become mobile and invade new host cells.