Identification of Novel O-Linked Glycosylated Toxoplasma Proteins by Vicia Villosa Lectin Chromatography

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 7;11(3):e0150561. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150561. eCollection 2016.


Toxoplasma gondii maintains its intracellular life cycle using an extraordinary arsenal of parasite-specific organelles including the inner membrane complex (IMC), rhoptries, micronemes, and dense granules. While these unique compartments play critical roles in pathogenesis, many of their protein constituents have yet to be identified. We exploited the Vicia villosa lectin (VVL) to identify new glycosylated proteins that are present in these organelles. Purification of VVL-binding proteins by lectin affinity chromatography yielded a number of novel proteins that were subjected to further study, resulting in the identification of proteins from the dense granules, micronemes, rhoptries and IMC. We then chose to focus on three proteins identified by this approach, the SAG1 repeat containing protein SRS44, the rhoptry neck protein RON11 as well as a novel IMC protein we named IMC25. To assess function, we disrupted their genes by homologous recombination or CRISPR/Cas9. The knockouts were all successful, demonstrating that these proteins are not essential for invasion or intracellular survival. We also show that IMC25 undergoes substantial proteolytic processing that separates the C-terminal domain from the predicted glycosylation site. Together, we have demonstrated that lectin affinity chromatography is an efficient method of identifying new glycosylated parasite-specific proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylgalactosamine / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chromatography*
  • Glycosylation
  • Plant Lectins / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis
  • Protozoan Proteins / chemistry*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Toxoplasma* / cytology
  • Vacuoles / metabolism


  • Plant Lectins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Vicia lectins
  • Acetylgalactosamine