Antonio Barragan group

Our current research on parasitic infections integrates immunology with molecular parasitology to understand how obligate intracellular parasites evade and direct host immune systems to their own advantage.

The research aims to define the pathogenic mechanisms utilized by the opportunistic human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii and related apicomplexan parasites (malaria, cryptosporidium) to promote colonization and transmission of infection.

The precise mechanisms leading to systemic dissemination of parasites (acute infection) and life-long persistence (chronic infection) in the human host remain poorly understood. We have recently discovered that intracellular T. gondii hijack dendritic cells by inducing a hyper-migratory phenotype that potentiates dissemination while avoiding clearance. Findings on the migratory pathways of Toxoplasma contributed to the identification of a novel family of parasite-derived serine-threonine kinases with a strong association to virulence.

The processes of systemic dissemination and persistence are studied using various imaging modalities, including in vivo biophotonic imaging in animal models. Understanding the immune evasion strategies utilized by Toxoplasma may provide key elements of pathogenesis and on the rationale for designing future treatments and vaccines.

Keywords: Parasitology, host-pathogen interactions, dendritic cells, biophotonic imaging

Members

Photo: Bosse Johansson.

Antonio Barragan, Group Leader, Principal Investigator. Phone: +46-8-4572524
Romanico Arrighi, PhD, Postdoc
Jessica Weidner, PhD, Postdoc
Jonas Fuks, PhD-student
Polya Rosin, PhD-student
Maria Hernandez, PhD-student
Sachie Kanatani, PhD-student

Projects

  • Novel receptors on dendritic cells implicated in the hypermigratory phenotype that potentiates parasite dissemination (R. Arrighi, J. Fuks)
  • Parasite-derived effector molecules that promote a hypermigratory phenotype in infected dendritic cells (J Weidner, P. Rosin)
  • Extension of the Trojan horse concept: implications for the dissemination of parasites (P. Rosin, J. Weidner)
  • Following infections and immune responses in real-time by biophotonic imaging (R. Arrighi)
  • Mechanisms of parasite transmission across the placenta (J Weidner, E Collantes)
  • Effect of carbon nanoparticles on chronic and acute infections (in collaboration with EU Nanommune network)

Selected publications

GABAergic signaling is linked to a hypermigratory phenotype in dendritic cells infected by Toxoplasma gondii.
Fuks J, Arrighi R, Weidner J, Kumar Mendu S, Jin Z, Wallin R, et al
PLoS Pathog. 2012 ;8(12):e1003051

Investigations and actions taken during 2011 due to the first finding of Echinococcus multilocularis in Sweden.
Wahlström H, Lindberg A, Lindh J, Wallensten A, Lindqvist R, Plym-Forshell L, et al
Euro Surveill. 2012 ;17(28):

Unexpectedly low seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in South Africa.

Kistiah K, Frean J, Winiecka-Krusnell J, Barragan A.

Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 2012 Jun 20;79(2):E1.

Pulmonary exposure to single-walled carbon nanotubes does not affect the early immune response against Toxoplasma gondii.
Swedin L, Arrighi R, Andersson-Willman B, Murray A, Chen Y, Karlsson M, et al
Part Fibre Toxicol 2012 ;9():16

Infected dendritic cells facilitate systemic dissemination and transplacental passage of the obligate intracellular parasite Neospora caninum in mice.
Collantes-Fernandez E, Arrighi R, Alvarez-García G, Weidner J, Regidor-Cerrillo J, Boothroyd J, et al
PLoS ONE 2012 ;7(3):e32123

Infected dendritic cells facilitate systemic dissemination and transplacental passage of the obligate intracellular parasite Neospora caninum in mice. 

Collantes-Fernandez E, Arrighi RB, Alvarez-García G, Weidner JM, Regidor-Cerrillo J, Boothroyd JC, Ortega-Mora LM, Barragan A. 

PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32123. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032123. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Migratory activation of primary cortical microglia upon infection with Toxoplasma gondii.
Dellacasa-Lindberg I, Fuks J, Arrighi R, Lambert H, Wallin R, Chambers B, et al
Infect. Immun. 2011 Aug;79(8):3046-52

Migratory responses of leukocytes infected with Toxoplasma gondii.
Lambert H, Dellacasa-Lindberg I, Barragan A
Microbes Infect. 2011 Jan;13(1):96-102

Genotypic characterization of Acanthamoeba spp. causing ocular infections in Swedish patients: identification of the T15 genotype in a case of protracted keratitis.
Sharifi N, Botero-Kleiven S, Ohman D, Barragan A, Winiecka-Krusnell J
Scand. J. Infect. Dis. 2010 Oct;42(10):781-6

The Toxoplasma gondii-shuttling function of dendritic cells is linked to the parasite genotype.
Lambert H, Vutova P, Adams W, Loré K, Barragan A
Infect. Immun. 2009 Apr;77(4):1679-88

Transmission of Toxoplasma gondii from infected dendritic cells to natural killer cells.
Persson C, Lambert H, Vutova P, Dellacasa-Lindberg I, Nederby J, Yagita H, et al
Infect. Immun. 2009 Mar;77(3):970-6

Death receptor ligation or exposure to perforin trigger rapid egress of the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
Persson E, Agnarson A, Lambert H, Hitziger N, Yagita H, Chambers B, et al
J. Immunol. 2007 Dec;179(12):8357-65

Localized recrudescence of Toxoplasma infections in the central nervous system of immunocompromised mice assessed by in vivo bioluminescence imaging.
Dellacasa-Lindberg I, Hitziger N, Barragan A
Microbes Infect. 2007 Sep;9(11):1291-8

Localized recrudescence of Toxoplasma infections in the central nervous system of immunocompromised mice assessed by in vivo bioluminescence imaging.
Dellacasa-Lindberg I, Hitziger N, Barragan A
Microbes Infect. 2007 Sep;9(11):1291-8

A secreted serine-threonine kinase determines virulence in the eukaryotic pathogen Toxoplasma gondii.
Taylor S, Barragan A, Su C, Fux B, Fentress S, Tang K, et al
Science 2006 Dec;314(5806):1776-80

Induction of dendritic cell migration upon Toxoplasma gondii infection potentiates parasite dissemination.
Lambert H, Hitziger N, Dellacasa I, Svensson M, Barragan A
Cell. Microbiol. 2006 Oct;8(10):1611-23

Dissemination of Toxoplasma gondii to immunoprivileged organs and role of Toll/interleukin-1 receptor signalling for host resistance assessed by in vivo bioluminescence imaging.
Hitziger N, Dellacasa I, Albiger B, Barragan A
Cell. Microbiol. 2005 Jun;7(6):837-48

Transepithelial migration of Toxoplasma gondii involves an interaction of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) with the parasite adhesin MIC2.
Barragan A, Brossier F, Sibley L
Cell. Microbiol. 2005 Apr;7(4):561-8

Heparan sulfate on endothelial cells mediates the binding of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes via the DBL1alpha domain of PfEMP1.
Vogt A, Barragan A, Chen Q, Kironde F, Spillmann D, Wahlgren M
Blood 2003 Mar;101(6):2405-11

Heparan sulfate on endothelial cells mediates the binding of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes via the DBL1alpha domain of PfEMP1.
Vogt A, Barragan A, Chen Q, Kironde F, Spillmann D, Wahlgren M
Blood 2003 Mar;101(6):2405-11

Transepithelial migration of Toxoplasma gondii is linked to parasite motility and virulence.
Barragan A, Sibley L
J. Exp. Med. 2002 Jun;195(12):1625-33

Open positions

We always want to get in touch with talented potential co-workers. If you are interested in doing research within our group, as a degree project or as a researcher, please contact the group leader Antonio Barragan.

Infectious Disease Medicine