Toxoplasma gondii releases factors that potently stimulate production of interleukin-12 (IL-12) from dendritic cells (DCs). Purification of this activity showed that cyclophilin-18 (C-18) was its principal component, and antibodies generated against recombinant C-18 inhibited tachyzoite extract-induced synthesis of IL-12. Recombinant C-18 showed high affinity for and triggered cell signaling through CCR5, a chemokine receptor important in parasite-induced IL-12 production by DCs. These findings suggest that the unusual potency of T gondii in inducing IL-12 from DCs results from its synthesis of a unique chemokine mimic that signals through CCR5. The ability to generate this strong protective response may benefit parasite transmission by preventing the protozoan from overwhelming its intermediate hosts.
- CHEMOKINE RECEPTOR