Abstract / Description of output
Monocytes are among the major myeloid cells that respond to Toxoplasma, a ubiquitous foodborne that infects ≥1 billion people worldwide, in human peripheral blood. As such, a molecular understanding of human monocyte-Toxoplasma interactions can expedite the development of novel human toxoplasmosis control strategies. Current molecular studies on monocyte-Toxoplasma interactions are based on average cell or parasite responses across bulk cell populations. Although informative, population-level averages of monocyte responses to Toxoplasma have sometimes produced contradictory results, such as whether CCL2 or IL12 define effective monocyte response to the parasite. Here, we used single-cell dual RNA sequencing (scDual-Seq) to comprehensively define, for the first time, the monocyte and parasite transcriptional responses that underpin human monocyte-Toxoplasma encounters at the single cell level. We report extreme transcriptional variability between individual monocytes. Furthermore, we report that Toxoplasma-exposed and unexposed monocytes are transcriptionally distinguished by a reactive subset of CD14++CD16-monocytes. Functional cytokine assays on sorted monocyte populations show that the infection distinguishing monocytes secrete high levels of chemokines, such as CCL2 and CXCL5. These findings uncover the Toxoplasma-induced monocyte transcriptional heterogeneity and shed new light on the cell populations that largely define cytokine and chemokine secretion in human monocytes exposed to Toxoplasma.