Functional analysis of the role of Toxoplasma gondii nucleoside triphosphate hydrolases I and II in acute mouse virulence and immune suppression

Philipp Olias, L. David Sibley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bioluminescent reporter assays have been widely used to study the effect of Toxoplasma gondii on host gene expression. In the present study, we extend these studies by engineering novel reporter cell lines containing a gamma-activated sequence (GAS) element driving firefly luciferase (FLUC). In RAW264.7 macrophages, T. gondii type I strain (GT1) infection blocked interferon gamma (IFN-γ)-induced FLUC activity to a significantly greater extent than infection by type II (ME49) and type III (CTG) strains. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of progeny from a prior genetic cross identified a genomic region on chromosome XII that correlated with the observed strain-dependent phenotype. This QTL region contains two isoforms of the T. gondii enzyme nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase (NTPase) that were the prime candidates for mediating the observed strain-specific effect. Using reverse genetic analysis we show that deletion of NTPase I from a type I strain (RH) background restored the higher luciferase levels seen in the type II (ME49) strain. Rather than an effect on IFN-γ-dependent transcription, our data suggest that NTPase I was responsible for the strain-dependent difference in FLUC activity due to hydrolysis of ATP. We further show that NTPases I and II were not essential for tachyzoite growth in vitro or virulence in mice. Our study reveals that although T. gondii NTPases are not essential for immune evasion, they can affect ATP-dependent reporters. Importantly, this limitation was overcome using an ATP-independent Gaussia luciferase, which provides a more appropriate reporter for use with T. gondii infection studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1994-2001
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and immunity
Volume84
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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