Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Immun. 1997 Nov;65(11):4598-605.

Toxoplasma gondii sporozoites form a transient parasitophorous vacuole that is impermeable and contains only a subset of dense-granule proteins.

Author information

Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717, USA.


Toxoplasma gondii sporozoites form two parasitophorous vacuoles during development within host cells, the first (PV1) during host cell invasion and the second (PV2) 18 to 24 h postinoculation. PV1 is structurally distinctive due to its large size, yet it lacks a tubulovesicular network (C. A. Speer, M. Tilley, M. Temple, J. A. Blixt, J. P. Dubey, and M. W. White, Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 75:75-86, 1995). Confirming the finding that sporozoites have a different electron-dense-granule composition, we have now found that sporozoites within oocysts lack the mRNAs encoding the 5' nucleoside triphosphate hydrolases (NTPase). NTPase first appears 12 h postinfection. Other tachyzoite dense-granule proteins, GRA1, GRA2, GRA4, GRA5, and GRA6, were detected in oocyst extracts, and antibodies against these proteins stained granules in the sporozoite cytoplasm. In contrast to tachyzoite invasion of host cells, however, sporozoites did not exocytose the dense-granule proteins GRA1, GRA2, or GRA4 during PV1 formation. Even after NTPase induction, these proteins were retained within cytoplasmic granules rather than being secreted into PV1. Only GRA5 was secreted by the sporozoite during host cell invasion, becoming associated with the membrane surrounding PV1. Microinjection of sporozoite-infected cells with fluorescent dyes showed that PV1 is impermeable to fluorescent dyes with molecular masses as small as 330 Da, indicating that PV1 lacks channels through which molecules can pass from the host cytoplasm into the vacuole. By contrast, lucifer yellow rapidly diffused into PV2, demonstrating the presence of molecular channels. These studies indicate that PV1 and PV2 are morphologically, immunologically, and functionally distinct, and that PV2 appears to be identical to the tachyzoite vacuole. The inaccessibility of PV1 to host cell nutrients may explain why parasite replication does not occur in this vacuole.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center