Intracellular Fate of Vacuoles Containing Toxoplasma gondii Is Determined at the Time of Formation and Depends on the Mechanism of Entry

Dana G. Mordue, L. David Sibley

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We have characterized the intracellular fate of Toxoplasma in bone marrow-derived macrophages following two disparate modes of uptake: phagocytosis vs active invasion. The fate of parasite-containing vacuoles was followed by immunofluorescence localization of endogenous endocytic markers to track phagocytic processing in pulse-infected cells. During uptake of both opsonized and dead parasites, host cell plasma membrane MHC class II molecules and FcR were internalized into the phagosome and then gradually lost. Maturation of phagosomes containing Toxoplasma was a rapid, dynamic process of sequential fusion with early endosomes, late endosomes, and lysosomes that was complete within 15 min. Toxoplasma-containing phagosomes were transiently positive for transferrin receptor between 0 and 2.5 min, then contained the cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor between 2.5 and 7.5 min, and finally matured to lysosome-like compartments containing lysosomal membrane glycoprotein 1 and the proton pump, but lacking cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor. Toxoplasma-containing phagosomes also sequentially acquired host proteins that regulate endocytic fusion including rab5, N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor, and rab7. In marked contrast, MHC class II molecules and FcR were excluded from the parasitophorous vacuole formed by active parasite invasion. The parasitophorous vacuole also failed to acquire any host compartmental markers or fusion proteins analyzed. Our results indicate that Toxoplasma evades endocytic processing due to an absence of host regulatory proteins necessary to drive endocytic fusion, and that this divergence from normal maturation occurs during the formation of the primary vacuole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4452-4459
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1997

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