Secreted effectors modulating immune responses to toxoplasma gondii

Tadakimi Tomita, Rebekah B. Guevara, Lamisha M. Shah, Andrews Y. Afrifa, Louis M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that chronically infects a third of humans. It can cause life-threatening encephalitis in immune-compromised individuals. Congenital infection also results in blindness and intellectual disabilities. In the intracellular milieu, parasites encounter various immunological effectors that have been shaped to limit parasite infection. Parasites not only have to suppress these anti-parasitic inflammatory responses but also ensure the host organism’s survival until their subsequent transmission. Recent advancements in T. gondii research have revealed a plethora of parasite-secreted proteins that suppress as well as activate immune responses. This mini-review will comprehensively examine each secreted immunomodulatory effector based on the location of their actions. The first section is focused on secreted effectors that localize to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane, the interface between the parasites and the host cytoplasm. Murine hosts are equipped with potent IFNγ-induced immune-related GTPases, and various parasite effectors subvert these to prevent parasite elimination. The second section examines several cytoplasmic and ER effectors, including a recently described function for matrix antigen 1 (MAG1) as a secreted effector. The third section covers the repertoire of nuclear effectors that hijack transcription factors and epigenetic repressors that alter gene expression. The last section focuses on the translocation of dense-granule effectors and effectors in the setting of T. gondii tissue cysts (the bradyzoite parasitophorous vacuole).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number988
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Dense granule proteins
  • Immune modulation
  • Innate immunity
  • Secreted effector
  • Toxoplasma gondii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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