In Search of Atropos’ Scissors: Severing the Life-Thread of Plasmodium
Protozoa of the genus Plasmodium are interesting models to study the mode of cell death of unicellular organisms. It is well known that the malaria-causing parasites can be killed in vitro and that they also die in vivo. The central question is how does cell death occur in Plasmodium? To date, the hypothesis that some stages of malaria parasites are able to undergo a form of programmed cell death is supported by available data, but there is no evidence showing that certain proteins are required for the observed processes. Here we present the current knowledge on Plasmodium metacaspases, because these putative proteases are the most promising candidates that might be essential for the execution of a programmed cell death in malaria parasites.
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