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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Jan 17;1553(1-2):123-39.

Role of complex II in anaerobic respiration of the parasite mitochondria from Ascaris suum and Plasmodium falciparum.

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Department of Biomedical Chemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, 113-0033, Tokyo, Japan.


Parasites have developed a variety of physiological functions necessary for existence within the specialized environment of the host. Regarding energy metabolism, which is an essential factor for survival, parasites adapt to low oxygen tension in host mammals using metabolic systems that are very different from that of the host. The majority of parasites do not use the oxygen available within the host, but employ systems other than oxidative phosphorylation for ATP synthesis. In addition, all parasites have a life cycle. In many cases, the parasite employs aerobic metabolism during their free-living stage outside the host. In such systems, parasite mitochondria play diverse roles. In particular, marked changes in the morphology and components of the mitochondria during the life cycle are very interesting elements of biological processes such as developmental control and environmental adaptation. Recent research has shown that the mitochondrial complex II plays an important role in the anaerobic energy metabolism of parasites inhabiting hosts, by acting as quinol-fumarate reductase.

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