Trends Parasitol. 2012 Jul 18. [Epub ahead of print]
Autophagy in Apicomplexa: a life sustaining death mechanism?
Sinai AP, Roepe PD.
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40526, USA.
Programmed cell death (PCD) pathways remain understudied in parasitic protozoa in spite of the fact that they provide potential targets for the development of new therapy. The best understood PCD pathway in higher eukaryotes is apoptosis although emerging evidence also points to autophagy as a mediator of death in certain physiological contexts. Bioinformatic analyses coupled with biochemical and cell biological studies suggest that parasitic protozoa possess the capacity for PCD including a primordial form of apoptosis. Recent work in Toxoplasma and emerging data from Plasmodium suggest that autophagy-related processes may serve as an additional death promoting pathway in Apicomplexa. Detailed mechanistic studies into the molecular basis for PCD in parasitic protozoa represent a fertile area for investigation and drug development.
PMID: 22819059 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]