A group of scientists from Indiana University found out how the parasite Toxoplasma gondii affects human cells. They published the results of the study in the journal mBio.
The article notes that more than half of humanity is infected with Toxoplasma. This is usually due to drinking contaminated water or food. Moreover, the penetration of the parasite into the brain tissue can lead to severe symptoms.
Toxoplasma can be stored in the body for a long time in the form of a cyst, but it is activated when the immune system is reduced, for example, with HIV infection.
When Toxoplasma gets into immune cells, it causes them to migrate throughout the body. Also, it disables the signaling system of the host cell, which activates the IRE1 protein that promotes its movement.
In the study, researchers were infected with Toxoplasma cells, which lack this protein. As a result, it turned out that they do not move.
Previously, scientists have determined that Toxoplasma can influence a person’s personality and behavior.