In vitro Eimeria bovis sporozoites invade a wide range of cell types, and in the case of bovine cells, they may develop to first-generation schizonts. Often, however, they subsequently leave their host cell to invade a new one, which seems contrary to the classical way of infecting a cell by forming a parasitophorous vacuole. Using a standard, “cell wound assay,” we show that E. bovis can invade bovine endothelial cells by breaching the plasma membrane and may again leave the surviving cell. Eimeria bovis sporozoites also infected VERO and HT29 cells but obviously without damaging the plasma membrane. The same held true when bovine endothelial cells were exposed to tachyzoites of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum. According to a literature report dealing with Plasmodium yoelii sporozoites, breaching the membrane of certain host cells may be a common phenomenon for coccidian sporozoites but may not be for merozoites.
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