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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Theileria parva: taking control of host cell proliferation and survival mechanisms.

The intracellular parasite Theileria parva infects and transforms bovine T-cells, inducing their uncontrolled proliferation and spread in non-lymphoid as well as lymphoid tissues. This parasite-induced transformation is the predominant factor contributing to the pathogenesis of a lymphoproliferative disease, called East Coast fever. T. parva-transformed cells become independent of antigenic stimulation or exogenous growth factors. A dissection of the signalling pathways that are activated in T. parva-infected cells shows that the parasite bypasses signalling pathways that normally emanate from the T-cell antigen receptor to induce continuous proliferation. This review concentrates on the influence of the parasite on the state of activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), NF-kappaB and phosphoinositide-3-kinase ( PI3-K) pathways in the host cell. Of the MAPKs, JNK, but not ERK or p38, is active, inducing constitutive activation of the transcription factors AP-1 and ATF-2. A crucial step in the transformation process is the persistent activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB, which protects T. parva-transformed cells from spontaneous apoptosis accompanying the transformation process. Inhibitor studies also suggest an important role for the lipid kinase, PI-3K, in the continuous proliferation of T. parva-transformed lymphocytes.[1]


  1. Theileria parva: taking control of host cell proliferation and survival mechanisms. Dobbelaere, D.A., Fernandez, P.C., Heussler, V.T. Cell. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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