microRNAs were recently found to be regulators of the host response to infection by apicomplexan parasites. In this study, we identified two immunomodulatory microRNAs, miR-146a and miR-155, that werecoinduced in the brains of mice challenged with Toxoplasma in a strain-specific manner. These microRNAs define a characteristic fingerprint for infection by type II strains, which are the most prevalent cause of human toxoplasmosis in Europe and North America. Using forward genetics, we showed that strain-specific differences in miR-146a modulation were in part mediated by the rhoptry kinase, ROP16. Remarkably, we found that miR-146a deficiency led to better control of parasite burden in the gut and most likely of early parasite dissemination in the brain tissue, resulting in the long-term survival of mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)