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Caractérisation d'un effecteur chez Toxoplasma gondii : découverte d'une voie alternative d'inflammation régulée par β-caténine

Abstract : Toxoplasma gondii, the obligate intracellular protozoan parasite, is one of the most successful pathogen that infects virtually all warm-blooded animals including humans. This success of the infection is likely due to its perfect ability to modulate numbers of host signaling pathways through the effector proteins, including those involved in immune responses. This modulation allows the parasite to establish a long-term chronic infection without causing severe symptom in the hosts, which facilitates its transmission to the new hosts. In this study, we identified GRA18, as a novel dense granule derived effector protein that is secreted into the cytoplasm of the host cell by the intracellular tachyzoite. GRA18 deficiency in type II strains attenuated the parasite virulence in mice model, suggesting the importance of GRA18 in the parasite pathogenesis. In order to investigate the mechanism of action of GRA18, we first performed a high-throughput two-hybrid screen of a human library in yeast that led to the identification of β-catenin, GSK3α/β, and PP2A-B56, all which are well known regulators of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. We then validate the GRA18 interactome by biochemistry approach. The overexpression of GRA18 triggers the accumulation of β-catenin in the host cell nuclei as well as the induction of known canonical β-catenin target genes indicating that GRA18 is acting as a positive regulator of β-catenin. Besides its role in cell proliferation, polarization and differentiation, β-catenin is also a well-known co-transcription factor with important function in the control of inflammation and other immune responses. Transcriptomic analysis comparing mouse bone marrow–derived macrophages infected by wild type and GRA18-dificient parasite confirmed a possible role of GRA18 towards host gene expression and likely those encoding chemokines, which is further confirmed by ELISA experiments. An attractive hypothesis is that Toxoplasma delivers GRA18 to the host cell in order to regulate Th2-related chemoattractant chemokines, which in turn, dampens host inflammatory response leaving more chance for the parasites to disseminate and to cause the long-term persistence by forming the cyst.
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Huan He. Caractérisation d'un effecteur chez Toxoplasma gondii : découverte d'une voie alternative d'inflammation régulée par β-caténine. Microbiologie et Parasitologie. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017GREAV056⟩. ⟨tel-01690811⟩

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