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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2003 Aug;6(4):359-64.

Calcium regulation in protozoan parasites.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Department of Pathobiology and Center for Zoonoses Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61802, USA.


The calcium ion (Ca(2+)) is used as a major signaling molecule in a diverse range of eukaryotic cells including several human parasitic protozoa, such as Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei, Leishmania spp, Plasmodium spp, Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia and Trichomonas vaginalis. Ca(2+) is critical for invasion of intracellular parasites, and its cytosolic concentration is regulated by the concerted operation of several transporters present in the plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and acidocalcisomes. Recent findings have shed light on the function of these transporters, the roles that they play in cellular metabolism and their potential use for targeting them for new therapies.

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