All Publications

  • Toxoplasma Polymorphic Effectors Determine Macrophage Polarization and Intestinal Inflammation CELL HOST & MICROBE Jensen, K. D., Wang, Y., Wojno, E. D., Shastri, A. J., Hu, K., Cornel, L., Boedec, E., Ong, Y., Chien, Y., Hunter, C. A., Boothroyd, J. C., Saeij, J. P. 2011; 9 (6): 472-483


    European and North American strains of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii belong to three distinct clonal lineages, type I, type II, and type III, which differ in virulence. Understanding the basis of Toxoplasma strain differences and how secreted effectors work to achieve chronic infection is a major goal of current research. Here we show that type I and III infected macrophages, a cell type required for host immunity to Toxoplasma, are alternatively activated, while type II infected macrophages are classically activated. The Toxoplasma rhoptry kinase ROP16, which activates STAT6, is responsible for alternative activation. The Toxoplasma dense granule protein GRA15, which activates NF-κB, promotes classical activation by type II parasites. These effectors antagonistically regulate many of the same genes, and mice infected with type II parasites expressing type I ROP16 are protected against Toxoplasma-induced ileitis. Thus, polymorphisms in determinants that modulate macrophage activation influence the ability of Toxoplasma to establish a chronic infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2011.04.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293157200006

    View details for PubMedID 21669396

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3131154

  • Toxoplasma Rhoptry Protein 16 (ROP16) Subverts Host Function by Direct Tyrosine Phosphorylation of STAT6 JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Ong, Y., Reese, M. L., Boothroyd, J. C. 2010; 285 (37): 28731-28740


    The obligate intracellular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, modulates host immunity in a variety of highly specific ways. Previous work revealed a polymorphic, injected parasite factor, ROP16, to be a key virulence determinant and regulator of host cell transcription. These properties were shown to be partially mediated by dysregulation of the host transcription factors STAT3 and STAT6, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenotype were unclear. Here, we use a Type I Toxoplasma strain deficient in ROP16 to show that ROP16 induces not only sustained activation but also an extremely rapid (within 1 min) initial activation of STAT6. Using recombinant wild-type and kinase-deficient ROP16, we demonstrate in vitro that ROP16 has intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity and is capable of directly phosphorylating the key tyrosine residue for STAT6 activation, Tyr(641). Furthermore, ROP16 co-immunoprecipitates with STAT6 from infected cells. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that STAT6 is a direct substrate for ROP16 in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M110.112359

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281594000039

    View details for PubMedID 20624917

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2937901