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Int J Parasitol. 2005 Jul;35(8):883-94.

Identification and purification of actin from the subpellicular network of Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del IPN. Av. Instituto Politécnico Nacional No 2508. Col. Sn Pedro Zacatenco, Del. Gustavo A. Madero., México.


Toxoplasma gondii infects cells through dynamic events dependent on actin. Although the presence of cortical actin has been widely suggested, visualisation and localisation of actin filaments has not been reported. The subpellicular cytoskeleton network is a recently described structure possibly involved in the dynamic events. Using non-ionic detergent extractions, the cortical cytoskeleton network was enriched and used for the isolation and identification of actin. Actin was detected by Western blots in extracts of cytoskeleton networks, and it was localised by gold staining in the network and in both the apical end and the posterior polar ring. Actin was isolated from subpellicular cytoskeleton extracts by binding to DNase I, and it polymerised in vitro as filaments that were gold-decorated by a monoclonal anti-actin antibody. Filaments bound the subfragment 1 of heavy meromyosin, although with atypical arrangements in comparison with the arrowheads observed in muscle actin filaments. Treatment with cytochalasin D and colchicine altered the structural organisation of the subpellicular network indicating the participation of actin filaments and microtubules in the maintenance of its structure. Actin filaments and microtubules, in the subpellicular network, participate reciprocally in the maintaining of the parasite's shape and the gliding motility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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