Malaria: Drugs, Disease and Post-genomic Biology

Volume 295 of the series Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology pp 275-291

Hemoglobin Degradation

  • D. E. GoldbergAffiliated withHoward Hughes Medical Institute. Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology, Washington University

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Hemoglobin degradation by Plasmodium is a massive catabolic process within the parasite food vacuole that is important for the organism’s survival in its host erythrocyte. A proteolytic pathway is responsible for generating amino acids from hemoglobin. Each of the enzymes involved has its own peculiarities to be exploited for development of antimalarial agents that will starve the parasite or result in build-up of toxic intermediates. There are a number of unanswered questions concerning the cell biology, biochemistry and metabolic roles of this crucial pathway.