We have demonstrated that bradyzoites return to the tissue-cyst stage by a developmental pathway that is indistinguishable from that initiated by sporozoites. Mature bradyzoites, like sporozoites from oocysts, were non-proliferative as they contained uniform 1N DNA contents, and replication occurred only in parasites that de-differentiated back into tachyzoites. Moreover, tachyzoites emergent from the bradyzoite-initiated pathway underwent a spontaneous growth shift prior to the onset of tissue cyst formation in a timeframe that was identical to cultures infected with sporozoites. In sporozoite-infected cultures, a novel premitotic, near-diploid subpopulation was detected during bradyzoite differentiation that co-expressed tachyzoite and bradyzoite markers. These observations suggest that activation of a G2-related cell cycle mechanism is required during bradyzoite development, and indicates that equivalent cell cycle mechanisms may govern development in the intermediate life cycle regardless of the origin of infection.