Toxoplasma gondii Oocyst Infectivity Assessed Using a Sporocyst-Based Cell Culture Assay Combined with Quantitative PCR for Environmental Applications

Abstract : Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous foodborne protozoan that can infect humans at low dose and displays different prevalences among countries in the world. Ingestion of food or water contaminated with small amounts of T. gondii oocysts may result in human infection. However, there are no regulations for monitoring oocysts in food, mainly because of a lack of standardized methods to detect them. The objectives of this study were (i) to develop a reliable method, applicable in biomonitoring, for the rapid detection of infectious oocysts by cell culture of their sporocysts combined with quantitative PCR (sporocyst-CC-qPCR) and (ii) to adapt this method to blue and zebra mussels experimentally contaminated by oocysts with the objective to use these organisms as sentinels of aquatic environments. Combining mechanical treatment and bead beating leads to the release of 84% ± 14% of free sporocysts. The sporocyst-CC-qPCR detected fewer than ten infectious oocysts in water within 4 days (1 day of contact and 3 days of cell culture) compared to detection after 4 weeks by mouse bioassay. For both mussel matrices, oocysts were prepurified using a 30% Percoll gradient and treated with sodium hypochlorite before cell culture of their sporocysts. This assay was able to detect as few as ten infective oocysts. This sporocyst-based CC-qPCR appears to be a good alternative to mouse bioassay for monitoring infectious T. gondii oocysts directly in water and also using biological sentinel mussel species. This method offers a new perspective to assess the environmental risk for human health associated with this parasite.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 12:48:28 PM
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Angélique Rousseau, Sandie Escotte-Binet, Stéphanie La Carbona, Aurélien Dumètre, Sophie Chagneau, et al.. Toxoplasma gondii Oocyst Infectivity Assessed Using a Sporocyst-Based Cell Culture Assay Combined with Quantitative PCR for Environmental Applications. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2019, 85 (20), pp.e01189-19. ⟨10.1128/AEM.01189-19⟩. ⟨hal-02316520⟩

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