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Cell Host Microbe. 2009 Jun 18;5(6):612-22. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2009.05.017.

Calcium-dependent signaling and kinases in apicomplexan parasites.

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  • 1The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.


Calcium controls many critical events in the complex life cycles of apicomplexan parasites including protein secretion, motility, and development. Calcium levels are normally tightly regulated and rapid release of calcium into the cytosol activates a family of calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs), which are normally characteristic of plants. CDPKs present in apicomplexans have acquired a number of unique domain structures likely reflecting their diverse functions. Calcium regulation in parasites is closely linked to signaling by cyclic nucleotides and their associated kinases. This Review summarizes the pivotal roles that calcium- and cyclic nucleotide-dependent kinases play in unique aspects of parasite biology.

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