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Nk Cell Memory in Long-Term Immunity to Toxoplasma Gondii.


Currently, no vaccines or drugs are capable of adequately treating Toxoplasma in livestock. An effective vaccine for T. gondii in agricultural animals should accomplish two goals:<p> 1) reduce infection induced abortions, and </p><p>2) Reduce or eliminate parasite tissue burdens in food animals to prevent food source contamination. Good vaccine design relies on a good knowledge base.</p><p> To this end, our major goal is to increase knowledge of immune system function required for optimal immunity to Toxoplasma so we can design a highly effective vaccine or treatment to improve animal health. Specifically, we will dissect the role of Natural Killer cells (NK) in adaptive immunity to T. gondii and define mechanism(s) behind this functional development. To improve agriculture animal health and prevent infection induced abortions caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. We will investigate how the Natural Killer cell plays a role in long lasting immune responses to this pathogen. We will then dissect the mechanisms by which they develop this activity. Achieving the goals will improve vaccine and therapy efficacy to treat this infection.</p>

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The methods for this project will include a mouse based model of infection with Toxoplasma gondii. We will also heavily use flow cytometry to characterize and determine what the Natural Killer cells are doing during different times of infection. We will use antibody treatments and transgenic animals to follow the fate of natural killer cells over time. All methodologies are standard immunology and cell biology techniques. Specific methods are included in the attached proposal.

Gigley, Jason
University of Wyoming
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