Protozoan Parasite Auxotrophies and Metabolic Dependencies

  • Elodie Gazanion
  • Baptiste VergnesEmail author
Part of the Experientia Supplementum book series (EXS, volume 109)


Diseases caused by protozoan parasites have a major impact on world health. These early branching eukaryotes cause significant morbidity and mortality in humans and livestock. During evolution, protozoan parasites have evolved toward complex life cycles in multiple host organisms with different nutritional resources. The conservation of functional metabolic pathways required for these successive environments is therefore a prerequisite for parasitic lifestyle. Nevertheless, parasitism drives genome evolution toward gene loss and metabolic dependencies (including strict auxotrophy), especially for obligatory intracellular parasites. In this chapter, we will compare and contrast how protozoan parasites have perfected this metabolic adaptation by focusing on specific auxotrophic pathways and scavenging strategies used by clinically relevant apicomplexan and trypanosomatid parasites to access host’s nutritional resources. We will further see how these metabolic dependencies have in turn been exploited for therapeutic purposes against these human pathogens.


Auxotrophy Purines Polyamines Vitamins Folates NAD+ Heme 


Funding Statement

This work was supported by the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) institutional funding. E.G. is a recipient of the FRM (Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale) postdoctoral fellowship (ARF2015093409).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MIVEGEC, IRD, CNRS, University of MontpellierMontpellierFrance

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