Immunofluorescent localization of myosin at the anterior pole of the coccidian, Toxoplasma gondii

J Protozool. 1983 Nov;30(4):657-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1983.tb05339.x.


Indirect immunofluorescence using anti-myosin rabbit sera showed myosin localized in a characteristic pattern at the anterior pole of Toxoplasma gondii. This polar fluorescent staining was abolished by pre-absorption of the anti-sera with myosin extracted from avian muscle. Both intracellular and extracellular T. gondii showed similar patterns when formaldehyde-fixed, but neither showed polar fluorescence when acetone was used as the sole fixative. Immunofluorescent staining of live T. gondii revealed no polar fluorescence, suggesting that myosin is not present on the outer parasite membrane. Anti-myosin serum did not prevent host cell invasion and plaque formation in the presence of human complement. Inhibition of contractile proteins with cytochalasin D inhibited T. gondii motility and infectivity in a plaque formation assay. The pattern of polar fluorescence described here resembles the IgM-associated polar staining frequently detected in human sera, but we believe it is a different phenomenon because human sera that showed such staining retained their activity after pre-absorption with avian myosin. The unusual localization of myosin at the anterior pole of T. gondii tachyzoites may play a role in the function of anterior organelles, which are thought to facilitate the invasion of host cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochalasin D
  • Cytochalasins / pharmacology
  • Fibroblasts / parasitology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera / pharmacology
  • Movement / drug effects
  • Myosins / analysis*
  • Myosins / immunology
  • Myosins / physiology
  • Toxoplasma / analysis*
  • Toxoplasma / physiology


  • Cytochalasins
  • Immune Sera
  • Cytochalasin D
  • Myosins