Toxoplasma rhoptry neck protein 4 (TgRON4) is a component of the moving junction macromolecular complex that plays a central role during invasion. TgRON4 is exposed on the cytosolic side of the host cell during invasion, but its molecular interactions remain unclear. Here, we identified host cellular β-tubulin as a binding partner of TgRON4, but not Plasmodium RON4. Coimmunoprecipitation studies in mammalian cells demonstrated that the C-terminal 15-kDa region of β-tubulin was sufficient for binding to TgRON4, and that a 17-kDa region in the proximal C-terminus of TgRON4 was required for binding to the C-terminal region of β-tubulin. Analysis of T. gondii-infected lysates from CHO cells expressing the TgRON4-binding region showed that the C-terminal region of β-tubulin interacted with TgRON4 at early invasion step. Our results provide evidence for a parasite-specific interaction between TgRON4 and the host cell cytoskeleton in parasite-infected cells.
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