Apicomplexan parasites have an assortment of unique apical secretory organelles (rhoptries and micronemes), which have crucial functions in host infection. Here, we show that a Toxoplasma gondii sortilin-like receptor (TgSORTLR) is required for the subcellular localization and formation of apical secretory organelles. TgSORTLR is a transmembrane protein that resides within Golgi-endosomal related compartments. The lumenal domain specifically interacts with rhoptry and microneme proteins, while the cytoplasmic tail of TgSORTLR recruits cytosolic sorting machinery involved in anterograde and retrograde protein transport. Ectopic expression of the N-terminal TgSORTLR lumenal domain results in dominant negative effects with the mislocalization of both endogenous TgSORTLR as well as rhoptry and microneme proteins. Conditional ablation of TgSORTLR disrupts rhoptry and microneme biogenesis, inhibits parasite motility, and blocks both invasion into and egress from host cells. Thus, the sortilin-like receptor is essential for protein trafficking and the biogenesis of key secretory organelles in Toxoplasma.
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