The intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii, hijacks evolutionarily conserved host processes by delivering effector proteins into the host cell that shift gene expression in a timely fashion. We identified a parasite dense granule protein as GRA18 that once released in the host cell cytoplasm forms versatile complexes with regulatory elements of the β-catenin destruction complex. By interacting with GSK3/PP2A-B56, GRA18 drives β-catenin up-regulation and the downstream effects on host cell gene expression. In the context of macrophages infection, GRA18 induces the expression of a specific set of genes commonly associated with an anti-inflammatory response that includes those encoding chemokines CCL17 and CCL22. Overall, this study adds another original strategy by which T. gondii tachyzoites reshuffle the host cell interactome through a GSK3/β-catenin axis to selectively reprogram immune gene expression.
Keywords: Toxoplasma gondii; effector proteins; host-pathogen interactions; human; infectious disease; microbiology; mouse; parasitology; toxoplasmosis.
© 2018, He et al.