Proteomic analysis of fractionated toxoplasma oocysts reveals clues to their environmental resistance

Heather Fritz, Paul W. Bowyer, Matthew Bogyo, Patricia A Conrad, John C. Boothroyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that is unique in its ability to infect a broad range of birds and mammals, including humans, leading to an extremely high worldwide prevalence and distribution. This work focuses on the environmentally resistant oocyst, which is the product of sexual replication in felids and an important source of human infection. Due to the difficulty in producing and working with oocysts, relatively little is known about how this stage is able to resist extreme environmental stresses and how they initiate a new infection, once ingested. To fill this gap, the proteome of the wall and sporocyst/sporozoite fractions of mature, sporulated oocysts were characterized using one-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by LC-MS/MS on trypsin-digested peptides. A combined total of 1021 non-redundant T. gondii proteins were identified in the sporocyst/sporozoite fraction and 226 were identified in the oocyst wall fraction. Significantly, 172 of the identified proteins have not previously been identified in Toxoplasma proteomic studies. Among these are several of interest for their likely role in conferring environmental resistance including a family of small, tyrosine-rich proteins present in the oocyst wall fractions and late embryogenesis abundant domain-containing (LEA) proteins in the cytosolic fractions. The latter are known from other systems to be key to enabling survival against desiccation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere29955
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 18 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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