Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and frabin mediate Cryptosporidium parvum cellular invasion via activation of Cdc42

J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 23;279(30):31671-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M401592200. Epub 2004 May 7.


Cryptosporidium parvum invades target epithelia via a mechanism that involves host cell actin reorganization. We previously demonstrated that C. parvum activates the Cdc42/neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein network in host cells resulting in actin remodeling at the host cell-parasite interface, thus facilitating C. parvum cellular invasion. Here, we tested the role of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and frabin, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor specific for Cdc42 in the activation of Cdc42 during C. parvum infection of biliary epithelial cells. We found that C. parvum infection of cultured human biliary epithelial cells induced the accumulation of PI3K at the host cell-parasite interface and resulted in the activation of PI3K in infected cells. Frabin also was recruited to the host cell-parasite interface, a process inhibited by two PI3K inhibitors, wortmannin and LY294002. The cellular expression of either a dominant negative mutant of PI3K (PI3K-Deltap85) or functionally deficient mutants of frabin inhibited C. parvum-induced Cdc42 accumulation at the host cell-parasite interface. Moreover, LY294002 abolished C. parvum-induced Cdc42 activation in infected cells. Inhibition of PI3K by cellular overexpression of PI3K-Deltap85 or by wortmannin or LY294002, as well as inhibition of frabin by various functionally deficient mutants, decreased C. parvum-induced actin accumulation and inhibited C. parvum cellular invasion. In contrast, the overexpression of the p85 subunit of PI3K promoted C. parvum invasion. Our data suggest that an important component of the complex process of C. parvum invasion of target epithelia results from the ability of the organism to trigger host cell PI3K/frabin signaling to activate the Cdc42 pathway, resulting in host cell actin remodeling at the host cell-parasite interface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Androstadienes / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bile Ducts / metabolism
  • Bile Ducts / parasitology
  • Cell Line
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Cryptosporidiosis / metabolism
  • Cryptosporidiosis / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidium parvum / pathogenicity*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / parasitology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microfilament Proteins / deficiency
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Wortmannin
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Androstadienes
  • Chromones
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Morpholines
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein
  • Wortmannin