Tag Archive for Toxoplasma gondii

Is cat poop dangerous?

By CNN Staff

July 9, 2013 — Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)

  • Some cat poop contains the parasite Toxoplasma gondii
  • New studies suggest it can affect memory, cognitive function in people who are not ill
  • Doctors: Guard kids’ sandboxes and play areas and wear gloves when gardening

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Microbes manipulate your mind

Bacteria in your gut may be influencing your thoughts and moods, raising the possibility that probiotics could be used to treat psychiatric illnesses.

“The thought of parasites preying on your body or brain very likely sends shivers down your spine. Perhaps you imagine insectoid creatures bursting from stomachs or a malevolent force controlling your actions. These visions are not just the night terrors of science-fiction writers—the natural world is replete with such examples.”

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Study Turns Parasite Invasion Theory On Its Head

From: Wellcome Trust. “Study turns parasite invasion theory on its head.” ScienceDaily, 23 Dec. 2012. Web. 26 Dec. 2012.

Current thinking on how the Toxoplasma gondii parasite invades its host is incorrect, according to a study published today in Nature Methods describing a new technique to knock out genes. The findings could have implications for other parasites from the same family, including malaria, and suggest that drugs that are currently being developed to block this invasion pathway may be unsuccessful.


“We found that we can remove each of these genes individually and the parasite can still penetrate the host cell, showing for the first time that they are not essential for host cell invasion as was previously thought,” said Dr Markus Meissner, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow who led the study. “This means that the parasite must have other invasion strategies at its disposal that need to be investigated.”


“One of the genes we looked at is the equivalent of a malaria gene that is a major candidate for vaccine development. Our findings would suggest that such a vaccine may not be successful at preventing malaria infection and we need to revisit our understanding of how this family of parasites invades host cells,” added Dr Meissner.

For further reading follow this link or go to the Journal: Nicole Andenmatten, Saskia Egarter, Allison J Jackson, Nicolas Jullien, Jean-Paul Herman, Markus Meissner. Conditional genome engineering in Toxoplasma gondii uncovers alternative invasion mechanisms. Nature Methods, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2301