Toxoplasma gondii mitogen-activated protein kinases are associated with inflammasome activation in infected mice

Microbes Infect. 2016 Nov;18(11):696-700. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Jul 27.


Toxoplasma gondii can activate the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat-containing proteins NLRP1/3 inflammasomes, which mediate host resistance to the infection. Here we showed that deletion of mitogen-activated protein kinases MAPK1 and MAPK2 of type I parasite decreases acute virulence in mice, characterized by low levels of interleukin (IL)-18, NLRP1/3, ASC, and caspase-1, and high levels of IL-10 and interferon (IFN)-β transcripts. Additionally, the mutants increased phosphorylation of STAT1, and decreased phosphorylation of STAT3. These findings suggest that MAPKs are associated with inflammasome activation in T. gondii-infected mice, which may contribute to new insight into the pathogenesis of T. gondii infection.

Keywords: IFN-β; IL-18; Inflammasome; Mitogen-activated protein kinase; Toxoplasma gondii.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Toxoplasma / enzymology*
  • Toxoplasma / genetics
  • Toxoplasma / pathogenicity
  • Virulence


  • Inflammasomes
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases