Cryptosporidium parvum preferentially infects epithelial cells lining the intestinal mucosa of mammalian hosts. Parasite development and propagation occurs within a unique intracellular but extracytoplasmic parasitophorous vacuole at the apical surface of infected cells. Parasite-induced host cell signaling events and subsequent cytoskeletal remodeling were investigated by using cultured bovine fallopian tube epithelial (BFTE) cells inoculated with C. parvum sporozoites. Indirect-immunofluorescence microscopy detected host tyrosine phosphorylation within 30 s of inoculation. At >30 min postinoculation, actin aggregates were detected at the site of parasite attachment by fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated phalloidin staining as well as by indirect immunolabeling with monoclonal anti-actin. The actin-binding protein villin was also detected in focal aggregates at the site of attachment. Host cytoskeletal rearrangement persisted for the duration of the parasitophorous vacuole and contributed to the formation of long, branched microvilli clustered around the cryptosporidial vacuole. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin significantly inhibited (P < 0.05) C. parvum infection when BFTE cells were pretreated for 60 min at 37°C prior to inoculation. Similarly, treatment of BFTE cells with the protein kinase inhibitors genistein and staurosporine and the cytoskeletally acting compounds 1-(5-iodonaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)-1H-hexahydro-1,4-diazapine, cytochalasin D, and 2,3-butanedione monoxime significantly inhibited (P < 0.05) in vitro infection at 24 h postinoculation. These findings demonstrate a prominent role for phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity during the early C. parvum infection process and suggest that manipulation of host signaling pathways results in actin rearrangement at the site of sporozoite attachment
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