A review: Competence, compromise, and concomitance-reaction of the host cell to Toxoplasma gondii infection and development

J Parasitol. 2011 Aug;97(4):620-8. doi: 10.1645/GE-2712.1. Epub 2011 Feb 11.


Toxoplasma gondii is an important zoonotic parasite with a worldwide distribution. It infects about one-third of the world's population, causing serious illness in immunosuppressed individuals, fetuses, and infants. Toxoplasma gondii biology within the host cell includes several important phases: (1) active invasion and establishment of a nonfusogenic parasitophorous vacuole in the host cell, (2) extensive modification of the parasitophorous vacuolar membrane for nutrient acquisition, (3) intracellular proliferation by endodyogeny, (4) egress and invasion of new host cells, and (5) stage conversion from tachyzoite to bradyzoite and establishment of chronic infection. During these processes, T. gondii regulates the host cell by modulating morphological, physiological, immunological, genetic, and cellular biological aspects of the host cell. Overall, the infection/development predispositions of T. gondii -host cell interactions overtakes the infection resistance aspects. Upon invasion and development, host cells are modulated to keep a delicate balance between facilitating and eliminating the infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cytoskeleton / parasitology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / parasitology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Mitochondria / parasitology
  • Phagocytes / parasitology
  • Toxoplasma / immunology
  • Toxoplasma / physiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / immunology
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / pathology
  • Vacuoles / immunology
  • Vacuoles / parasitology
  • Vacuoles / physiology