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Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum induce different host cell responses at proteome-wide phosphorylation events; a step forward for uncovering the biological differences between these closely related parasites

Al-Bajalan, Mariwan M. M., Xia, Dong, Armstrong, Stuart, Randle, Nadine, Wastling, Jonathan M.
Parasitology research 2017 v.116 no.10 pp. 2707-2719
Neospora caninum, Protozoa, Toxoplasma gondii, cattle, definitive hosts, dogs, genome, gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, host range, host-parasite relationships, intermediate hosts, parasites, phosphorylation, phosphotransferases (kinases), proteins, proteome, signal transduction, transcriptome, virulence
Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum are closely related intracellular protozoan parasites and tissue cyst-forming Coccidia of the phylum Apicomplexa. There are remarkable similarities between the morphology, genomes and transcriptomes of both parasites. Toxoplasma is zoonotic, with a wide host range and is mainly transmitted horizontally between its definitive host, the cat, and its intermediate hosts. Neospora causes disease within a narrow host range and with reduced virulence potential to the hosts. The dog is the definitive host of Neospora and its epidemiology in cattle mainly depends on vertical transmission. What causes these biological differences is not well understood. Since these parasites secrete an array of secretory proteins, including kinases, during infection to manipulate host cell responses. Host-parasite interactions due to phosphorylation of host cell proteins by T. gondii kinases enhance virulence and maintenance of infection. In this study, proteome-wide phosphorylation events of host cell proteins were investigated in response to infection with T. gondii and N. caninum using phosphoproteomic analyses, followed by pathway analysis on host signalling pathways. A few interesting differences in host responses at both the qualitative and quantitative levels were identified between the two infections; about one third of the phosphoproteomes, approximately 21% of the phospho-motifs and several pathways such as glycolysis/gluconeogenesis and mTOR pathways of the host cell were found differentially enriched between infection with these parasites. Identifying the differences in host-parasite interactions represents a promising step forward for uncovering the biological dissimilarities between both parasites.