Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Folic Acid

  • Peter Köhler
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_1223-2

Folate derivatives are important cellular cofactors in the synthesis of nucleotides and a variety of amino acids as well as for DNA and protein methylations. Like other nonplant eukaryotes, most parasites lack the biosynthetic folate pathway. An exception is several apicomplexan species that are capable of and dependent on the de novo synthesis of folate cofactors from GTP, p-aminobenzoate, and glutamate. This route initially involves the conversion of GTP to dihydroneopterin triphosphate by GTP cyclohydrolase, an enzyme that is considerably different in plasmodia compared to the mammalian orthologue. In apicomplexans, dihydroneopterin triphosphate can then be utilized as a precursor for the biosynthesis of dihydrofolate. Conversion of this product to tetrahydrofolate occurs in both, apicomplexans and their mammalian hosts, by the action of dihydrofolate reductase but the homologous enzyme involved in this reaction can differ remarkably in its properties. In addition to the ability of...


Therapeutic Strategy Transport System Mammalian Host Dihydrofolate Reductase Selective Toxicity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for ParasitologyUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland