Branching network of proteinaceous filaments within the parasitophorous vacuole of Encephalitozoon cuniculi and Encephalitozoon hellem

Kaya Ghosh, Eddie Nieves, Patrick Keeling, Jean Francois Pombert, Philipp P. Henrich, Ann Cali, Louis M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The microsporidia are a diverse phylum of obligate intracellular parasites that infect all major animal groups and have been recognized as emerging human pathogens for which few chemotherapeutic options currently exist. These organisms infect every tissue and organ system, causing significant pathology, especially in immune-compromised populations. The microsporidian spore employs a unique infection strategy in which its contents are delivered into a host cell via the polar tube, an organelle that lies coiled within the resting spore but erupts with a force sufficient to pierce the plasma membrane of its host cell. Using biochemical and molecular approaches, we have previously identified components of the polar tube and spore wall of the Encephalitozoonidae. In this study, we employed a shotgun proteomic strategy to identify novel structural components of these organelles in Encephalitozoon cuniculi. As a result, a new component of the E. cuniculi developing spore wall was identified. Surprisingly, using the same approach, a heretofore undescribed filamentous network within the lumen of the parasitophorous vacuole was discovered. This network was also present in the parasitophorous vacuole of Encephalitozoon hellem. Thus, in addition to further elucidating the molecular composition of seminal organelles and revealing novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets, proteomic analysis-driven approaches exploring the spore may also uncover unknown facets of microsporidian biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1374-1385
Number of pages12
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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