Friday, March 10, 2017

Genomics of apicomplexan parasites

2017 Feb 22:1-20. doi: 10.1080/10409238.2017.1290043. [Epub ahead of print]

The increasing prevalence of infections involving intracellular apicomplexan parasites such as Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, and Cryptosporidium (the causative agents of malaria, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis, respectively) represent a significant global healthcare burden. Despite their significance, few treatments are available; a situation that is likely to deteriorate with the emergence of new resistant strains of parasites. To lay the foundation for programs of drug discovery and vaccine development, genome sequences for many of these organisms have been generated, together with large-scale expression and proteomic datasets. Comparative analyses of these datasets are beginning to identify the molecular innovations supporting both conserved processes mediating fundamental roles in parasite survival and persistence, as well as lineage-specific adaptations associated with divergent life-cycle strategies. The challenge is how best to exploit these data to derive insights into parasite virulence and identify those genes representing the most amenable targets. In this review, we outline genomic datasets currently available for apicomplexans and discuss biological insights that have emerged as a consequence of their analysis. Of particular interest are systems-based resources, focusing on areas of metabolism and host invasion that are opening up opportunities for discovering new therapeutic targets.


Metabolism; apicomplexan genomics; genomics of apicomplexan parasites; host cell modulation; host invasion; parasite genomics; systems-based approaches

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