Genetic and biochemical analysis of development in Toxoplasma gondii

John C. Boothroyd, Michael Black, Serge Bonnefoy, Adrian Hehl, Laura J. Knoll, Ian D. Manger, Eduardo Ortega–Barria, Stanislas Tomavo

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii has recently come under intense study as a model for intracellular parasitism because it has a number of properties that facilitate experimental manipulation. Attention is now being turned towards understanding the developmental biology of this complex parasite. The differentiation between the two asexual stages, the rapidly growing tachyzoites and the more slowly dividing, encysted bradyzoites, is of particular interest. Progression from the former to the latter is influenced by the host's immune response. This paper describes current progress on a number of research fronts, all aimed at understanding the triggers that push the tachyzoite–bradyzoite equilibrium in one or other direction and the changes that occur in gene expression (and ultimately metabolism and function). Chief among the techniques used for these studies are genetics and molecular genetics. Recent progress in these areas is described.

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