We Grow Together 4

We Grow Together 4

Alice Lydia Herneisen

Whitehead Institute

The pathogen Toxoplasma gondii is an infamous parasite that infects a quarter of the global population. The images included here show the course of an infection. “We grow together 1” and “we grow together 2” show surprising examples of parasites hitchhiking with their hosts during host division.  “We grow together 3” shows the once-miniscule parasite communities now grown to the size of host cell nuclei. Near the center of the image, one ball of parasites has ruptured its sanctuary cell in search of more fertile grounds. The final image in the series, “We grow together 4”, shows a layer of heavily infected host cells in crisis. The parasites have begun exiting the cells en masse, tearing them apart in the process. Such extensive host cell lysis gives rise to the pathology of the infection.

The righthand two thirds of the image are filled with fiery-looking clusters of cells against a black background. In the middle, white structures spread in irregular blobs.

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