Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Microbiol., 03 July 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00179

Toxoplasma gondii inhibits mast cell degranulation by suppressing phospholipase Cγ-mediated Ca2+ mobilization

  • 1Baker Laboratory, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Toxoplasma gondii is well-known to subvert normal immune responses, however, mechanisms are incompletely understood. In particular, its capacity to alter receptor-activated Ca2+-mediated signaling processes has not been well-characterized. In initial experiments, we found evidence that T. gondii infection inhibits Ca2+ responses to fMetLeuPhe in murine macrophages. To further characterize the mechanism of inhibition of Ca2+ mobilization by T. gondii, we used the well-studied RBL mast cell model to probe the capacity of T. gondii to modulate IgE receptor-activated signaling within the first hour of infection. Ca2+ mobilization that occurs via IgE/FcεRI signaling leads to granule exocytosis in mast cells. We found that T. gondii inhibits antigen-stimulated degranulation in infected cells in a strain-independent manner. Under these conditions, we found that cytoplasmic Ca2+ mobilization, particularly antigen-mediated Ca2+ release from intracellular stores, is significantly reduced. Furthermore, stimulation-dependent activation of Syk kinase leading to tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of phospholipase Cγ is inhibited by infection. Therefore, we conclude that inhibitory effects of infection are likely due to parasite-mediated inhibition of the tyrosine kinase signaling cascade that results in reduced hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. Interestingly, inhibition of IgE/FcεRI signaling persists when tachyzoite invasion is arrested via cytochalasin D treatment, suggesting inhibition is mediated by a parasite-derived factor secreted into the cells during the invasion process. Our study provides direct evidence that immune subversion by T. gondii is initiated concurrently with invasion.

Keywords: IgE, FcεRI, Syk kinase

Citation: Smith NL, Abi Abdallah DS, Butcher BA, Denkers EY, Baird B and Holowka D (2013) Toxoplasma gondii inhibits mast cell degranulation by suppressing phospholipase Cγ-mediated Ca2+ mobilization. Front. Microbiol. 4:179. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00179

Received: 07 May 2013; Paper pending published: 29 May 2013;
Accepted: 14 June 2013; Published online: 04 July 2013.

Edited by:

Abhay Satoskar, The Ohio State University, USA

Reviewed by:

Juan Anguita, CIC bioGUNE, Spain
Elizabeth Hong-Geller, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA

Copyright © 2013 Smith, Abi Abdallah, Butcher, Denkers, Baird and Holowka. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: David Holowka, Baker Laboratory, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-1301, USA e-mail: dah24@cornell.edu

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