University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Immunology in Pathology > Surprise, surprise! The molecular evolutionary immunoecology of the ubiquitous protozoal pathogen, Toxoplasma gondii

Surprise, surprise! The molecular evolutionary immunoecology of the ubiquitous protozoal pathogen, Toxoplasma gondii

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sue Griffin.

Host: John Trowsdale, jt233@cam.ac.uk

Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous parasite of mammals and birds. In general it is not a serious pathogen, encysting in brain and muscle with minimal consequences for the host over a lifetime. However lack of virulence and peaceful encystment relies on its ability to manipulate the immune system; if the immune response is too weak the host dies acutely, if too strong, the parasite dies acutely. To achieve the middle way in thousands of different mammalian and avian species is quite a challenge. Recently some progress has been made in understanding this conundrum.

In mice, an essential contribution to resistance against T. gondii is provided by a family of interferon-gamma-inducible GTPases, the IRG proteins. These, and their interactions with virulence proteins of the parasite, have produced a lot of surprises and provided some new insights into how the parasite may approach the problems of being a generalist.

This talk is part of the Immunology in Pathology series.

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