The obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii secretes a vast variety of effector molecules from organelles known as rhoptries (ROPs) and dense granules (GRAs). ROP proteins are released into the cytosol of the host cell where they are directed to the cell nucleus or to the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) membrane. ROPs secrete proteins that enable host cell penetration and vacuole formation by the parasites, as well as hijacking host-immune responses. After invading host cells, T. gondii multiplies within a PV that is maintained by the parasite proteins secreted from GRAs. Most GRA proteins remain within the PV, but some are known to access the host cytosol across the PV membrane, and a few are able to traffic into the host-cell nucleus. These effectors bind to host cell proteins and affect host cell signaling pathways to favor the parasite. Studies on host-pathogen interactions have identified many infection-altered host signal transductions. Notably, the relationship between individual parasite effector molecules and the specific targeting of host-signaling pathways is being elucidated through the advent of forward and reverse genetic strategies. Understanding the complex nature of the host-pathogen interactions underlying how the host-signaling pathway is manipulated by parasite effectors may lead to new molecular biological knowledge and novel therapeutic methods for toxoplasmosis. In this review, we discuss how T. gondii modulates cell signaling pathways in the host to favor its survival.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.