An extracellular redox signal triggers calcium release and impacts the asexual development of Toxoplasma gondii

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The ability of an organism to sense and respond to environmental redox fluctuations relies on a signaling network that is incompletely understood in apicomplexan parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii. The impact of changes in redox upon the development of this intracellular parasite is not known. Here, we provide a revised collection of 58 genes containing domains related to canonical antioxidant function, with their encoded proteins widely dispersed throughout different cellular compartments. We demonstrate that addition of exogenous H2O2 to human fibroblasts infected with T. gondii triggers a Ca2+ flux in the cytosol of intracellular parasites that can induce egress. In line with existing models, egress triggered by exogenous H2O2 is reliant upon both Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase 3 and diacylglycerol kinases. Finally, we show that the overexpression a glutaredoxin-roGFP2 redox sensor fusion protein in the parasitophorous vacuole severely impacts parasite replication. These data highlight the rich redox network that exists in T. gondii, evidencing a link between extracellular redox and intracellular Ca2+ signaling that can culminate in parasite egress. Our findings also indicate that the redox potential of the intracellular environment contributes to normal parasite growth. Combined, our findings highlight the important role of redox as an unexplored regulator of parasite biology.

Journal details

Volume 11
Pages 728425
Available online
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