Targeting lipid biosynthesis and salvage in apicomplexan parasites for improved chemotherapies

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58 Scopus citations


Apicomplexa are some of the most widespread and poorly controlled pathogens in the world. The metabolism of lipids in these parasites, which include Plasmodium spp., Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium spp., is essential for the production of infectious progeny and pathogen persistence in their mammalian hosts. Metabolic maps of apicomplexan lipid syntheses reveal auxotrophies for many lipid species, which force these parasites to meet their high demand for lipids through networks of both synthesis and scavenging. Here, I review the unique lipid biosynthetic enzymes and lipid transporter systems of Apicomplexa, focusing on isoprenoids, sphingolipids and cholesterol, and highlight promising chemotherapeutic targets in the lipid synthetic and salvage pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-835
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases


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