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Cell Struct Funct. 1992 Oct;17(5):311-7.

Penetration of Toxoplasma gondii into host cells induces changes in the distribution of the mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum.

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Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ilha do Fundäo, Brasil.


Fluorescence microscopy, using dyes which specifically label mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi complex, and transmission electron microscopy, were used to analyze the changes which occur in the organization of these structures during interaction of Toxoplasma gondii with host cells. In uninfected cells the mitochondria are long filamentous structures which radiate from the nuclear region toward the cell periphery. After parasite penetration they become shorter and tend to concentrate around the parasite-containing vacuole (parasitophorous vacuole) located in the cytoplasm of the host cell. The mitochondria of extracellular parasites, but not of those located within the parasitophorous vacuole, were also stained by rhodamine 123. Labeling with DiOC6, which binds to elements of the endoplasmic reticulum, in association with transmission electron microscopy, revealed a concentration of this structure around the parasitophorous vacuole. The membrane lining this vacuole was also stained, suggesting that components of the endoplasmic reticulum are also incorporated into this membrane. The Golgi complex, as revealed by staining with NBD-ceramide and electron microscopy, maintains its perinuclear position throughout the evolution of the intracellular parasitism.

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