Arrizabalaga Lab

The research lab of Gustavo A. Arrizabalaga, PhD, focuses on various aspects of the cellular and molecular biology of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Toxoplasma is an obligate intracellular parasite capable of infecting virtually any nucleated cell from a wide range of mammalian and avian species. Toxoplasma is one of the most widespread and successful protozoan parasites thought to infect a third of the world population. Toxoplasma’s propagation and pathogenesis depends on the coordinated regulation of the parasite’s motility machinery, physiology and secretory apparatus as well as in the ability of the parasite to adapt to environmental and physiological changes.

Active Research

The Arrizabalaga Lab focuses on two interrelated questions: How does the parasite react and adapt to ion concentration changes, including those induced by anti-parasitic drugs? And how does the parasite regulate its motility as it moves from the inside of a cell to the extracellular environment?

To tackle these questions, the Arrizabalaga research team utilizes a multidisciplinary approach, which combines molecular genetics, cell and molecular biology and physiology. Current projects involve the characterization of kinases, phosphatases, and other signaling proteins involved in the process by which the parasite exits its host cell and the characterization of autophagy related proteins in mitochondrial dynamics and parasite death.

Research Funding

1R01AI123457, 4/1/2016-3/30/2021
NIH, Role: Principal investigator (MPI with Dr. Moritz Treeck)
Dissecting the calcium dependent phosphorylation network of Toxoplasma gondii

1 R21AI125822, 7/1/2016-6/30/2018, $275,000
NIH, Role: Principal investigator (MPI with Dr. William Sullivan)
Elucidating new and old roles for autophagy-like genes in Toxoplasma gondii

Recent Publications

LaFavers, K.A, Márquez-Nogueras, K.M., Coppens, I., Moreno, SNJ, Arrizabalaga, G. A novel dense granule protein, GRA41, regulates timing of egress and calcium sensitivity in Toxoplasma gondii. Cell Microb, PMID: 28430089

Colinot, D.L., Garbuz, T., Bosland, M., Rice, S., Wang, L., Sullivan, W.J., 1Jerde, T. 1Arrizabalaga, G., 2017 Toxoplasma gondii: a novel inducer of chronic prostatic inflammation and proliferative inflammatory microglandular hyperplasia in a mouse model of prostatic inflammation. Prostate, PMID: 28497488. 1 Senior authors contributed equally

Padgett, L., 1Sullivan, W.J., 1Arrizabalaga, G., 2016, Targeting of tail-anchored membrane proteins to subcellular organelles in Toxoplasma gondii. Traffic. 2017 Mar;18(3):149-158. PMID:27991712

1 Senior authors contributed equally

Varberg, J.M., Padgett, L.R., Arrizabalaga, G., Sullivan, W.J., 2016. TgATAT-mediated α-tubulin acetylation is required for division of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. mSphere, Jan 20;1(1) 26. PMID: 27303695

Charvat, R. and Arrizabalaga, G., 2016. Oxidative stress generated during monensin treatment contributes to altered Toxoplasma gondii mitochondrial function. Nature Scientific Reports, Mar 15;6. PMID: 26976749

Gaji, R., Johnson, D., Wang, M., Hudmon, A., and Arrizabalaga, G., 2015. Phosphorylation of a Myosin motor by TgCDPK3 facilitates rapid initiation of motility during Toxoplasma gondii egress. PLoS Pathog. 1(11):e1005268. PMID: 26544049

Campodonico J., Kochhar K., Arrizabalaga G., and Sevilla-Martir J., 2015. Assessing knowledge and perceptions related to preventive methods and treatment of malaria in the local endemic area of Trujillo, Honduras. Hispanic HealthCare International Journal, 13(2):97-108

Treeck, M., Sanders, J., Gaji, R., LaFavers, K., Child, M., Arrizabalaga, G., Elias, J., Boothroyd, J., 2014. A novel role of Calcium-dependent Kinase 3 in regulating metabolism in Toxoplasma gondii in addition to ionophore induced egress. PLoS Pathogen, 10(6):e1004197. PMID: 24945436

Gaji, R., Checkley, L., Reese, M., Ferdig, M.T., and Arrizabalaga, G., 2014. Expression of the essential kinase PfCDPK1 from Plasmodium falciparum in Toxoplasma gondii facilitates the discovery of novel antimalarial drugs. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58(5):2598-607. PMID: 24550330

Garrison, E., Treeck, M., Ehret, M., Garbuz, T., Oswald, B.P., Settles, M., Boothroyd, J., Arrizabalaga, G., 2012. A forward genetic screen reveals calcium-dependent kinase 3 is critical for calcium-induced egress in Toxoplasma. Plos Pathogen, 8(11). PMDI: 23209419

Faculty Research Team

Gustavo A. Arrizabalaga, PhD

Gustavo A. Arrizabalaga, PhD

Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Chunlin Yang, PhD

Chunlin Yang, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology & Toxicology
Irene Heredero Bermejo, PhD

Irene Heredero Bermejo, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology & Toxicology

Additional Research Team Members

Other research team members in the Arrizabalaga Lab include Will Blakely (graduate student).