Four intracellular Toxoplasma gondii parasites are shown undergoing cellular division by an internal budding process known as endodyogeny. Staining with a T. gondii surface antigen provided heart-shaped images (shot on Valentine’s Day). The definitive host of these parasites is the cat, but they infect many warm-blooded animals, including humans. While toxoplasmosis is typically a minor disease, T. gondii can cause severe central nervous system disorders of immunocompromised individuals—such as those with AIDS, organ transplants, and lymphoma—as well as birth defects in congenitally infected neonates. Eating undercooked meat and ingesting food or water contaminated with cat feces are the most common routes of infection for humans.
Taken from Cell Picture Show: By Peter Bradley, University of California, Los Angeles