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Trends Parasitol. 2011 Oct;27(10):450-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Cyst and encystment in protozoan parasites: optimal targets for new life-cycle interrupting strategies?

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  • 1Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, AP 70228, México D.F. 04510, México.


Certain protozoan parasites use survival strategies to reside outside the host such as the formation of cysts. This dormant and resistant stage results from the complex process of encystment that involves diverse molecular and cellular modifications. The stimuli and changes associated with cyst biogenesis are a matter of ongoing studies in human and animal protozoan parasites such as amoeba and Giardia species because blocking every step in the encystment pathway should, in theory, interrupt their life cycles. The present review thoroughly examines this essential process in those protozoan parasites and discusses the possibility of using that information to develop new kinds of anti-parasite specific and life cycle-interrupting drugs, aimed at holding back the dissemination of these infections.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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