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Mitochondria in malaria and related parasites: ancient, diverse and streamlined

  • Michael W. Mather
  • Akhil B. Vaidya
Article

Abstract

Parasitic organisms have emerged from nearly every corner of the eukaryotic kingdom and hence display tremendous diversity of form and function. This diversity extends to their mitochondria and mitochondrion-derived organelles. While the principles of the chemiosmotic theory apply to all these pathogens, the differences from their hosts provide opportunities for therapeutic development. In this review we discuss examples of mitochondrial systems from a deep-branching phylum, Apicomplexa. Many important human pathogens, such as malaria parasites, belong to this phylum. Unique features of their mitochondria are validated targets for drugs that are selectively toxic to the parasites.

Keywords

Mitochondrial evolution Mitochondrion-derived organelle Human parasite Apicomplexa Plasmodium Toxoplasma Cryptosporidium Mitochondrially-targeted drug 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Molecular Parasitology, Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyDrexel University College of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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