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J Parasitol. 1999 Apr;85(2):167-73.

Biosynthesis and catabolism of mannitol is developmentally regulated in the protozoan parasite Eimeria tenella.

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Department of Parasite Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Merck Research Laboratories, Merck and Co., Inc., Rahway, New Jersey 07065-0900, USA.


The mannitol cycle is a metabolic branch of the glycolytic pathway found in Eimeria tenella. In this paper, we describe the biosynthesis and consumption of mannitol during parasite development. Low micromolar levels of mannitol were detected in all of the asexual stages and mannitol production increased sharply during the sexual phase of the life cycle. Unsporulated oocysts had high mannitol content (300 mM or 25% of the oocyst mass). Mannitol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase (M1PDH), the first committed step of the mannitol cycle, was also elevated in sexual stages and this coincides with mannitol levels. Approximately 90% of the mannitol present in unsporulated oocysts was consumed in the first 15 hr of sporulation, and levels continued to drop until the sporulation process was complete at approximately 35 hr. Thus, mannitol appears to be the "fuel" for sporulation during the vegetative stage of the parasite life cycle. Evaluation of oocyst extracts from 6 additional Eimeria species for mannitol content and the presence of M1PDH indicated that the mannitol cycle was broadly present in this genus. This finding combined with the lack of mannitol metabolism in higher eukaryotes makes this pathway an attractive chemotherapeutic target.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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