Cryptosporidium parasites replicate within intestinal epithelial cells and are an important cause of diarrhoeal disease in young children and in patients with primary and acquired defects in T cell function. This Review of immune-mediated control of Cryptosporidium highlights advances in understanding how intestinal epithelial cells detect this infection, the induction of innate resistance and the processes required for activation of T cell responses that promote parasite control. The development of a genetic tool set to modify Cryptosporidium combined with tractable mouse models provide new opportunities to understand the principles that govern the interface between intestinal epithelial cells and the immune system that mediate resistance to enteric pathogens.
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This work was supported, in part, by the National Institutes of Health R01 AI148249. R.D.P. is supported by a Fellowship award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Postdoctoral Training award from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec–Santé.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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A form of asexual replication by which the parasite nucleus divides multiple times followed by segmentation into eight daughter parasites.
Secretory organelles located in the apical third of apicomplexan parasites that are associated with parasite motility and cell invasion.
The only drug approved for the treatment of Cryptosporidium in otherwise healthy adults and children.
- Parasitophorous vacuole
A cell compartment derived during parasite invasion from the host plasma membrane. Here, the parasite completes its replication cycle, shielded from aspects of intracellular immunity.
A club-shaped secretory organelle that apicomplexan parasites discharge into the host cell to initiate invasion and to deliver effector proteins into the infected cell.
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Pardy, R.D., Wallbank, B.A., Striepen, B. et al. Immunity to Cryptosporidium: insights into principles of enteric responses to infection. Nat Rev Immunol (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-023-00932-3