Apicomplexan energy metabolism: carbon source promiscuity and the quiescence hyperbole


The nature of energy metabolism in apicomplexan parasites has been closely investigated in the recent years. Studies in Plasmodium spp. and Toxoplasma gondii in particular have revealed that these parasites are able to employ enzymes in non-traditional ways, while utilizing multiple anaplerotic routes into a canonical tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle to satisfy their energy requirements. Importantly, some life stages of these parasites previously considered to be metabolically quiescent are, in fact, active and able to adapt their carbon source utilization to survive. We compare energy metabolism across the life cycle of malaria parasites and consider how this varies in other apicomplexans and related organisms, while discussing how this can be exploited for therapeutic intervention in these diseases.

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