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Global iTRAQ-based proteomic profiling of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts during sporulation

Zhou, Chun-Xue; Zhu, Xing-Quan; Elsheikha, Hany M.; He, Shuai; Li, Qian; Zhou, Dong-Hui; Suo, Xun


Chun-Xue Zhou

Xing-Quan Zhu

Shuai He

Qian Li

Dong-Hui Zhou

Xun Suo


Toxoplasma gondii is a medically and economically important protozoan parasite. However, the molecular mechanisms of its sporulation remain largely unknown. Here, we applied iTRAQ coupled with 2D LC–MS/MS proteomic analysis to investigate the proteomic expression profile of T. gondii oocysts during sporulation. Of the 2095 non-redundant proteins identified, 587 were identified as differentially expressed proteins (DEPs). Based on Gene Ontology enrichment and KEGG pathway analyses the majority of these DEPs were found related to the metabolism of amino acids, carbon and energy. Protein interaction network analysis generated by STRING identifiedATP-citrate lyase (ACL), GMP synthase, IMP dehydrogenase (IMPDH), poly (ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG), and bifunctional dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) as the top five hubs. We also identified 25 parasite virulence factors that were expressed at relatively high levels in sporulated oocysts compared to non-sporulated oocysts, which might contribute to the infectivity of mature oocysts. Considering the importance of oocysts in the dissemination of toxoplasmosis these findings may help in the search of protein targets with a key role in infectiousness and ecological success of oocysts, creating new opportunities for the development of better means for disease prevention.
Biological significance: The development of newpreventative interventions against T. gondii infection relies on an improved understanding of the proteome and chemical pathways of this parasite. To identify proteins required for the development of environmentally resistant and infective T. gondii oocysts, we compared the proteome of non-sporulated (immature) oocysts with the proteome of sporulated (mature, infective) oocysts. iTRAQ 2DLC-MS/MS analysis revealed proteomic changes that distinguish non-sporulated from sporulated oocysts. Many of the differentially expressed proteins were involved in metabolic pathways and 25 virulence factors were identified upregulated in the sporulated oocysts. This work provides the first quantitative characterization of the proteomic variations that occur in T. gondii oocyst stage during sporulation.


Zhou, C., Zhu, X., Elsheikha, H. M., He, S., Li, Q., Zhou, D., & Suo, X. (2016). Global iTRAQ-based proteomic profiling of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts during sporulation. Journal of Proteomics, 148, 12-19.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 11, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 12, 2016
Publication Date Oct 4, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2017
Journal Journal of Proteomics
Print ISSN 1874-3919
Electronic ISSN 1874-3919
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 148
Pages 12-19
Keywords Toxoplasma gondii, Oocyst, Sporulation, iTRAQ, Proteomics
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