Our laboratory studies the interaction of host cells with intracellular pathogens, with a major focus on the apicomplexan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. We are interested both in understanding the adaptations employed by the parasite to manipulate its intracellular environment, and also in exploiting these interactions as tools for the investigation of important issues in mammalian cell biology. One area of focus is the modification of host mTOR-dependent functions by T. gondii. These functions include the regulation of protein synthesis and cell cycle progression (dependent on mTOR complex-1) and the control of cytoskeletal organization and migration (dependent on mTOR complex-2). We have linked several effects of T. gondii on these functions to mTOR pathways, and a goal of our current research is to elucidate mechanisms by which the parasite controls these signals. Additional areas of focus include parasite regulation of host cell autophagy and apoptosis.
Wang, Y., Weiss, L. M. and Orlofsky, A. (2010) “Coordinate control of host centrosome position, organelle distribution and migratory response by Toxoplasma gondii via host mTORC2”, J. Biol. Chem. published online March 17, 2010.
Tomita, T., Yamada, T., Weiss, L.M. and Orlofsky, A. (2009) “Externally induced egress is the major fate of Toxoplasma gondii during acute infection”, J. Immunol. 183: 6667 – 6680.
Wang, Y.,Weiss, L. M. and Orlofsky, A. (2009) “Intracellular parasitism with Toxoplasma gondii stimulates mammalian-target-of-rapamycin-dependent host cell growth despite impaired signalling to S6K1 and 4E-BP1”, Cell. Microbiol. 11: 983-1000, 2009.
Wang, Y.,Weiss, L. M. and Orlofsky, A. (2009) “Host Cell Autophagy Is Induced by Toxoplasma gondii and Contributes to Parasite Growth”, J. Biol. Chem., 284: 1694-1701.
Orlofsky, A. (2009) "Toxoplasma - induced autophagy: a window into nutritional futile cycles in mammalian cells?" Autophagy, 5: 404-406.
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