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J Struct Biol. 2015 Jul;191(1):76-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 May 21.

New views of the Toxoplasma gondii parasitophorous vacuole as revealed by Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM).

Author information

1
Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Bloco G, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Instituto Nacional de Biologia Estrutural e Biomagem-INBEB, and Centro Nacional de Biologia Estrutural e Biomagem-CENABIO, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Qualidade e Tecnologia-INMETRO, Duque de Caxias, RJ, Brazil.
2
Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Bloco G, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Instituto Nacional de Biologia Estrutural e Biomagem-INBEB, and Centro Nacional de Biologia Estrutural e Biomagem-CENABIO, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. Electronic address: mattias@biof.ufrj.br.

Abstract

The Helium Ion Microscope (HIM) is a new technology that uses a highly focused helium ion beam to scan and interact with the sample, which is not coated. The images have resolution and depth of field superior to field emission scanning electron microscopes. In this paper, we used HIM to study LLC-MK2 cells infected with Toxoplasma gondii. These samples were chemically fixed and, after critical point drying, were scraped with adhesive tape to expose the inner structure of the cell and parasitophorous vacuoles. We confirmed some of the previous findings made by field emission-scanning electron microscopy and showed that the surface of the parasite is rich in structures suggestive of secretion, that the nanotubules of the intravacuolar network (IVN) are not always straight, and that bifurcations are less frequent than previously thought. Fusion of the tubules with the parasite membrane or the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) was also infrequent. Tiny adhesive links were observed for the first time connecting the IVN tubules. The PVM showed openings of various sizes that even allowed the observation of endoplasmic reticulum membranes in the cytoplasm of the host cell. These findings are discussed in relation to current knowledge on the cell biology of T. gondii.

KEYWORDS:

Intravacuolar network; Parasitophorous vacuole; Scanning electron microscopy; Toxoplasma; Ultrastructure

PMID:
26004092
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsb.2015.05.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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