IFN-γ stimulated murine and human neurons mount anti-parasitic defenses against the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii

Sambamurthy Chandrasekaran, Joshua A. Kochanowsky, Emily F. Merritt, Joseph S. Lagas, Ayesha Swannigan, Anita A. Koshy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dogma holds that Toxoplasma gondii persists in neurons because neurons cannot clear intracellular parasites, even with IFN-γ stimulation. As several recent studies questioned this idea, here we use primary murine neuronal cultures from wild type and transgenic mice in combination with IFN-γ stimulation and parental and transgenic parasites to reassess IFN-γ dependent neuronal clearance of intracellular parasites. We find that neurons respond to IFN-γ and that a subset of neurons clear intracellular parasites via immunity regulated GTPases. Whole neuron reconstructions from mice infected with parasites that trigger neuron GFP expression only after full invasion reveal that ~50% of these T. gondii-invaded neurons no longer harbor parasites. Finally, IFN-γ stimulated human pluripotent stem cell derived neurons show an ~50% decrease in parasite infection rate when compared to unstimulated cultures. This work highlights the capability of human and murine neurons to mount cytokine-dependent anti-T. gondii defense mechanisms in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4605
JournalNature communications
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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