Toxoplasma gondii is a common parasite of animals and humans and can cause serious opportunistic infections. However, the majority of infections are asymptomatic, possibly because the organism has co-evolved with its many vertebrate hosts and has developed multiple strategies to persist asymptomatically for the lifetime of the host. Over the past two decades, infection studies in the mouse, combined with forward-genetics approaches aimed at unravelling the molecular basis of infection, have revealed that T. gondii virulence is mediated, in part, by secretion of effector proteins into the host cell during invasion. Here, we review recent advances that illustrate how these virulence factors disarm innate immunity and promote survival of the parasite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-778
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


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