Treatment of tachyzoites of Toxoplasma gondii with the calcium ionophore A23187 induced dramatic ultrastructural changes that were observed by light and electron microscopy. Light microscopy showed a higher percentage (22%) of tachyzoites with the conoid extruded when compared to control parasites. Electron microscopy confirmed the conoid extrusion by both transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Freeze-fracture replicas showed that the plasma membrane adjacent to cytoplasmic dense granules appeared devoid of intramembranous particles. Membrane-limited vesicles and filopodium-like structures at the cell surface were observed in treated cells. 3-D reconstruction from serial sections confirmed the data and showed a heterogeneity in dense granule shape not reported in control cells.
(c)2002 Elsevier Science (USA).