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Mol Microbiol. 2002 May;44(3):721-33.

Genetic analysis of tachyzoite to bradyzoite differentiation mutants in Toxoplasma gondii reveals a hierarchy of gene induction.

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1
D305 Fairchild Building, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5124, USA.

Abstract

Developmental switching in Toxoplasma gondii, from the virulent tachyzoite to the relatively quiescent bradyzoite stage, is responsible for disease propagation and reactivation. We have generated tachyzoite to bradyzoite differentiation (Tbd-) mutants in T. gondii and used these in combination with a cDNA microarray to identify developmental pathways in bradyzoite formation. Four independently generated Tbd- mutants were analysed and had defects in bradyzoite development in response to multiple bradyzoite-inducing conditions, a stable phenotype after in vivo passages and a markedly reduced brain cyst burden in a murine model of chronic infection. Transcriptional profiles of mutant and wild-type parasites, growing under bradyzoite conditions, revealed a hierarchy of developmentally regulated genes, including many bradyzoite-induced genes whose transcripts were reduced in all mutants. A set of non-developmentally regulated genes whose transcripts were less abundant in Tbd- mutants were also identified. These may represent genes that mediate downstream effects and/or whose expression is dependent on the same transcription factors as the bradyzoite-induced set. Using these data, we have generated a model of transcription regulation during bradyzoite development in T. gondii. Our approach shows the utility of this system as a model to study developmental biology in single-celled eukaryotes including protozoa and fungi.

PMID:
11994153
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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