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Mol Microbiol. 2007 May;64(4):904-16.

Suicide prevention: disruption of apoptotic pathways by protozoan parasites.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.


The modulation of apoptosis has emerged as an important weapon in the pathogenic arsenal of multiple intracellular protozoan parasites. Cryptosporidium parvum, Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma cruzi, Theileria spp., Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium spp. have all been shown to inhibit the apoptotic response of their host cell. While the pathogen mediators responsible for this modulation are unknown, the parasites are interacting with multiple apoptotic regulatory systems to render their host cell refractory to apoptosis during critical phases of intracellular infection, including parasite invasion, establishment and replication. Additionally, emerging evidence suggests that the parasite life cycle stage impacts the modulation of apoptosis and possibly parasite differentiation. Dissection of the host-pathogen interactions involved in modulating apoptosis reveals a dynamic and complex interaction that recent studies are beginning to unravel.

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