Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Urine is an easily obtained clinical sample that has been widely applied for diagnostic purposes. However, changes in the urinary proteome during T. gondii infection have never been investigated.
Twenty four-hour urine samples were obtained from BALB/c mice with acute infection [11 days post infection (DPI)], mice with chronic infection (35 DPI) and healthy controls, and were analyzed using a label-free liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis.
We identified a total of 13,414 peptides on 1802 proteins, of which 169 and 47 proteins were significantly differentially expressed at acute and chronic infection phases, respectively. Clustering analysis revealed obvious differences in proteome profiles among all groups. Gene ontology analysis showed that a large number of differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) detected in acute infection were associated with biological binding activity and single-organism processes. KEGG pathway enrichment analysis showed that the majority of these DEPs were involved in disease-related and metabolic pathways.
Our findings revealed global reprogramming of the urine proteome following T.gondii infection, and data obtained in this study will enhance our understanding of the host responses to T. gondii infection and lead to the identification of new diagnostic biomarkers.