Abstract | Toxoplasma gondii F-actin forms an extensive filamentous network required for material exchange and parasite maturation

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Toxoplasma gondii F-actin forms an extensive filamentous network required for material exchange and parasite maturation

Abstract

Affiliation details

University of Glasgow, United Kingdom; Cancer Research United Kingdom Beatson Institute, United Kingdom; University of Vermont, United States

Apicomplexan actin is important during the parasite's life cycle. Its polymerization kinetics are unusual, permitting only short, unstable F-actin filaments. It has not been possible to study actin in vivo and so its physiological roles have remained obscure, leading to models distinct from conventional actin behaviour. Here a modified version of the commercially available actin-chromobody was tested as a novel tool for visualising F-actin dynamics in Toxoplasma gondii. Cb labels filamentous actin structures within the parasite cytosol and labels an extensive F-actin network that connects parasites within the parasitophorous vacuole and allows vesicles to be exchanged between parasites. In the absence of actin, parasites lack a residual body and inter-parasite connections and grow in an asynchronous and disorganized manner. Collectively, these data identify new roles for actin in the intracellular phase of the parasites lytic cycle and provide a robust new tool for imaging parasitic F-actin dynamics.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24119.001