Intracellular pathogens can replicate efficiently only after they manipulate and modify their host cells to create an environment conducive to replication. While diverse cellular pathways are targeted by different pathogens, metabolism, membrane and cytoskeletal architecture formation, and cell death are the three primary cellular processes that are modified by infections. Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan that infects ~30% of the world’s population and causes severe and lifethreatening disease in developing fetuses, in immune-comprised patients, and in certain otherwise healthy individuals who are primarily found in South America. The high prevalence of Toxoplasma in humans is in large part a result of its ability to modulate these three host cell processes. Here, we highlight recent work defining the mechanisms by which Toxoplasma interacts with these processes. In addition, we hypothesize why some processes are modified not only in the infected host cell but also in neighboring uninfected cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology