Parasites have evolved a plethora of mechanisms to ensure their propagation and evade antagonistic host responses. The intracellular protozoan parasite Theileria is the only eukaryote known to induce uncontrolled host cell proliferation. Survival of Theileria-transformed leukocytes depends strictly on constitutive nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activity. We found that this was mediated by recruitment of the muttisubunit IKB kinase (IKK) into large, activated foci on the parasite surface. IKK signatosome assembly was specific for the transforming schizont stage of the parasite and was down-regulated upon differentiation into the nontransforming merozoite stage. Our findings provide insights into IKK activation and how pathogens subvert host-cell signaling pathways.
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