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Dec 19, 2022

Turning Cells Into “Zombies”: Scientists Identify the Secret That Allowed a Parasite To Infect 30% of Humans

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A large portion of people on the planet is infected with the parasite Toxoplasma. Now, a study headed by scientists at Stockholm University demonstrates how this tiny parasite spreads so successfully throughout the body, for example to the brain. The parasite infects immune cells and hijacks their identity. The research was recently published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

The various roles of immune cells in the body are very strictly regulated in order to combat infections. How Toxoplasma infects so many people and animal species and spreads so quickly has long been a mystery to scientists.

“We have now discovered a protein that the parasite uses to reprogram the immune system”, says Arne ten Hoeve, a researcher at the Department of Molecular Biosciences, Wenner-Gren Institute at Stockholm University.

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