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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2003 Aug;6(4):377-82.

Theileria-induced leukocyte transformation.

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Division of Molecular Pathology, Institute of Animal Pathology, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 122, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.


The intracellular protozoan parasites Theileria parva and T. annulata transform the cells they infect, inducing uncontrolled proliferation. This is not a trivial event as, in addition to permanently switching on the complex pathways that govern all steps of the cell cycle, the built-in apoptotic safety mechanisms that prevent 'illegitimate' cell replication also need to be inactivated. Recent experiments show that the NF-kappa B and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PtdIns-3K) pathways are important participants in the transformation process. I kappa B kinase (IKK), a pivotal kinase complex in the NF-kappa B pathway, is recruited to the parasite surface where it becomes activated. The PtdIns-3K/Akt/PKB pathway is also constitutively activated in a parasite-dependent manner, but contrary to IKK, activation is probably not triggered by direct association with the parasite.

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