Overcoating of Toxoplasma parasitophorous vacuoles with host cell vimentin type intermediate filaments

J Eukaryot Microbiol. Jan-Feb 1994;41(1):65-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1994.tb05936.x.


The interaction between the Toxoplasma parasitophorous vacuole and vimentin-type intermediate filaments in Vero cells was investigated via immunofluorescence microscopy. A significant rearrangement of host cell vimentin around the Toxoplasma parasitophorous vacuoles occurs throughout the course of infection. Host cell vimentin associates with the parasitophorous vacuoles within an hour after invasion. This vimentin overcoating of the vacuole is initiated at the host cell nuclear surface. During parasite multiplication, vimentin retains a closely defined association with the cytosolic surface of the parasitophorous vacuole. In addition, the vimentin intermediate filaments originating from the host cell nuclear surface are progressively rearranged around the enlarging parasitophorous compartment. During infections, the order of vimentin cytoskeleton is normal throughout the cell and appears redefined only at the vicinity of the parasitophorous vacuole. Depolymerization of the intermediate filaments was achieved with the phosphatase inhibitors okadaic acid and calyculin A. Disruption of the intermediate filament networks resulted in displacement of the parasitophorous vacuoles from the host cell nuclear surface. The data indicate that host cell vimentin binds to the Toxoplasma parasitophorous vacuoles and that the host intermediate filament network serves to dock the parasite compartment to the host cell nuclear surface.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Intermediate Filaments / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Toxoplasma / growth & development
  • Toxoplasma / physiology*
  • Vacuoles / physiology*
  • Vero Cells
  • Vimentin / metabolism*


  • Vimentin