Hijacking of Host Cell IKK Signalosomes by the Transforming Parasite Theileria

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Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 1033-1036
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075462

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Parasites have evolved a plethora of mechanisms to ensure their propagation and evade antagonistic host responses. The intracellular protozoan parasite Theileria is the only eukaryote known to induce uncontrolled host cell proliferation. Survival of Theileria-transformed leukocytes depends strictly on constitutive nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activity. We found that this was mediated by recruitment of the multisubunit IκB kinase (IKK) into large, activated foci on the parasite surface. IKK signalosome assembly was specific for the transforming schizont stage of the parasite and was down-regulated upon differentiation into the nontransforming merozoite stage. Our findings provide insights into IKK activation and how pathogens subvert host-cell signaling pathways.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: Berhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, D-20359 Hamburg, Germany.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed: E-mail: dirk.dobbelaere{at}

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