University of Vermont

CDPK2A and CDPK1 form a signaling module upstream of Toxoplasma motility


In apicomplexan parasites, the transition between parasite replication and dissemination is regulated by fluctuations in cytosolic calcium concentrations, effectuated by calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs). We examined the role of CDPK2A in the lytic cycle of Toxoplasma, analyzing its role in the regulation of cellular processes associated with parasite motility. We used chemical-genetic approaches and conditional depletion to determine that CDPK2A contributes to the initiation of parasite motility through microneme discharge. We demonstrate that the N-terminal extension of CDPK2A is necessary for the protein’s function. Conditional depletion revealed an epistatic interaction between CDPK2A and CDPK1, suggesting that the two kinases work together to mediate motility in response to certain stimuli. This signaling module appears distinct from that of CDPK3 and PKG, which also controls egress. CDPK2A is revealed as an important regulator of the Toxoplasma kinetic phase, linked to other kinases that govern this critical transition. Our work uncovers extensive interconnectedness between the signaling pathways that govern parasite motility.T

mBio Aug 2023 epub/10.1128/mbio.01358-23