The obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma develops within a parasitophorous vacuole (PV) uniquely adapted for its survival in mammalian cells. Post-invasion events extensively modify the PV, resulting in interactions with host cell structures. Recent studies emphasized that Toxoplasma is able to co-opt host gene expression, suggesting that host transcriptional activities are required for parasite infection. By using an experimental enucleation model, we investigated the potential need for Toxoplasma to modify its PV by modulating gene expression in the cell wherein it resides. Unexpectedly, cytoplasts can be actively invaded by Toxoplasma and sustain its replication inside a vacuole until egress and transmission to neighbouring cells. Although randomly distributed in the cytoplast, the PV associates with host centrosomes and the Golgi, is surrounded by host microtubules, and recruits host endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Parasites are proficient in diverting exogenous nutrients from the endocytic network of cytoplasts. In enucleated cells invaded by an avirulent strain of T. gondii, the PV can normally transform into cysts. These observations suggest that new host nuclear functions are not proximately required for the post-invasion events underlying the remodelling of the host cell in which the parasites are confined, and therefore for the generation of infectious parasites in vitro.
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