Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Particularities of Mitochondrial Structure in Parasitic Protozoa (Apicomplexa and Kinetoplastida)

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Particularities of Mitochondrial Structure in Parasitic Protozoa (Apicomplexa and Kinetoplastida)

de Souza W, Attias M, Rodrigues JC.

Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS-Bloco G, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brasil; Diretoria de Programas, Instituto Nacional de Metrologia e Qualidade Industrial-INMETRO.

Without mitochondria, eukaryotic cells would depend entirely on anaerobic glycolysis for ATP generation. This also holds true for Protists, both free-living and parasitic. Parasitic Protists include agents of human and animal diseases that have a huge impact on world populations. In the phylum Apicomplexa, several species of Plasmodium cause malaria, whereas Toxoplasma gondii is a cosmopolite parasite found on all continents. Flagellates of the order Kinetoplastida include the genera Leishmania and Trypanosoma causative agents of human leishmaniasis and (depending on the species) African trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease. Although clearly distinct in many aspects, the members of these two groups bear a single and usually well developed mitochondrion. The single mitochondrion of Apicomplexa has a dense matrix and many cristae with a circular profile. The organelle is even more peculiar in the order kinetoplastida, exhibiting a condensed network of DNA at a specific position, always close to the flagellar basal body. This arrangement is known as Kinetoplast and the name of the Order derived from it. Kinetoplastids also bear glycosomes, peroxisomes that concentrate enzymes of the glycolytic cycle. Mitochondrial volume and activity is maximum when glycosomal is low and vice versa. In both Apicomplexa and Trypanosomatids, mitochondria show particularities that are absent in other eukaryotic organisms. These peculiar features make them an attractive target for therapeutic drugs for the diseases they cause.

PMID: 19379828 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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