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Nat Rev Immunol. 2014 Feb;14(2):109-21. doi: 10.1038/nri3598.

Innate immunity to Toxoplasma gondii infection.

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Department of Immunology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75390-9093, USA.


Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite of global importance. In the laboratory setting, T. gondii is frequently used as a model pathogen to study mechanisms of T helper 1 (TH1) cell-mediated immunity to intracellular infections. However, recent discoveries have shown that innate type 1 immune responses that involve interferon-γ (IFNγ)-producing natural killer (NK) cells and neutrophils, rather than IFNγ-producing T cells, predetermine host resistance to T. gondii. This Review summarizes the Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent mechanisms that are responsible for parasite recognition and for the induction of IFNγ production by NK cells, as well as the emerging data about the TLR-independent mechanisms that lead to the IFNγ-mediated elimination of T. gondii.

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