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Parasite Immunol. 2015 Mar;37(3):127-40. doi: 10.1111/pim.12166.

Secreted effectors in Toxoplasma gondii and related species: determinants of host range and pathogenesis?

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Department of Biological Sciences, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Recent years have witnessed the discovery of a number of secreted proteins in Toxoplasma gondii that play important roles in host-pathogen interactions and parasite virulence, particularly in the mouse model. However, the role that these proteins play in driving the unique features of T. gondii compared to some of its nearest apicomplexan relatives (Hammondia hammondi and Neospora caninum) is unknown. These unique features include distinct dissemination characteristics in vivo and a vast host range. In this review we comprehensively survey what is known about disease outcome, the host response and host range for T. gondii, H. hammondi, and N. caninum. We then review what is presently known about recently identified secreted virulence effectors in these three genetically related, but phenotypically distinct, species. Finally we exploit the existence of genome sequences for these three organisms and discuss what is known about the presence, and functionality, of key T. gondii effectors in these three species.


comparative genomics; host range expansion; virulence

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