Toxoplasma gondii – an intracellular, parasitic protozoan that causes the disease toxoplasmosis – has reportedly infected many humans. The parasite makes significant alteration in astrocytes (some of the brain's most critical cells), which seemingly causes subtle behavioral changes in humans. Interestingly, these behavioral changes vary based on gender. Now a research team led by Dr. William Sullivan, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and of microbiology and immunology, IU School of Medicine, has identified the mechanism the parasite uses to modify brain cells termed as ‘aceltylation.’ Dr. Sullivan’s team evaluated the proteins in astrocytes and found 529 sites on 324 proteins where compounds called acetyl groups got added, and created a map called an "acetylome." The understanding of the acetylation process and the creation of acetylome will provide deeper insights into the parasite’s behavior.
Read more in Science Daily.