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Parasit Vectors. 2011 Feb 28;4:26. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-4-26.

Are protozoan metacaspases potential parasite killers?

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  • 1Malaria Research Unit, University Lyon 1, 8 Avenue Rockefeller, 69373 Lyon cedex 08, France.


Mechanisms concerning life or death decisions in protozoan parasites are still imperfectly understood. Comparison with higher eukaryotes has led to the hypothesis that caspase-like enzymes could be involved in death pathways. This hypothesis was reinforced by the description of caspase-related sequences in the genome of several parasites, including Plasmodium, Trypanosoma and Leishmania. Although several teams are working to decipher the exact role of metacaspases in protozoan parasites, partial, conflicting or negative results have been obtained with respect to the relationship between protozoan metacaspases and cell death. The aim of this paper is to review current knowledge of protozoan parasite metacaspases within a drug targeting perspective.

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