Invasion and intracellular survival by protozoan parasites

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Abstract

Intracellular parasitism has arisen only a few times during the long ancestry of protozoan parasites including in diverse groups such as microsporidians, kinetoplastids, and apicomplexans. Strategies used to gain entry differ widely from injection (e.g. microsporidians), active penetration of the host cell (e.g. Toxoplasma), recruitment of lysosomes to a plasma membrane wound (e.g. Trypanosoma cruzi), to host cell-mediated phagocytosis (e.g. Leishmania). The resulting range of intracellular niches is equally diverse ranging from cytosolic (e.g. T. cruzi) to residing within a non-fusigenic vacuole (e.g. Toxoplasma, Encephalitozoon) or a modified phagolysosome (e.g. Leishmania). These lifestyle choices influence access to nutrients, interaction with host cell signaling pathways, and detection by pathogen recognition systems. As such, intracellular life requires a repertoire of adaptations to assure entry-exit from the cell, as well as to thwart innate immune mechanisms and prevent clearance. Elucidating these pathways at the cellular and molecular level may identify key steps that can be targeted to reduce parasite survival or augment immunologic responses and thereby prevent disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-91
Number of pages20
JournalImmunological Reviews
Volume240
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Cell invasion
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Motility
  • Protein secretion
  • Protozoan parasites
  • Signaling

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