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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2009 May;165(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2009.01.003. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Molecular machinery of signal transduction and cell cycle regulation in Plasmodium.

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Departamento de Fisiologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The regulation of the Plasmodium cell cycle is not understood. Although the Plasmodium falciparum genome is completely sequenced, about 60% of the predicted proteins share little or no sequence similarity with other eukaryotes. This feature impairs the identification of important proteins participating in the regulation of the cell cycle. There are several open questions that concern cell cycle progression in malaria parasites, including the mechanism by which multiple nuclear divisions is controlled and how the cell cycle is managed in all phases of their complex life cycle. Cell cycle synchrony of the parasite population within the host, as well as the circadian rhythm of proliferation, are striking features of some Plasmodium species, the molecular basis of which remains to be elucidated. In this review we discuss the role of indole-related molecules as signals that modulate the cell cycle in Plasmodium and other eukaryotes, and we also consider the possible role of kinases in the signal transduction and in the responses it triggers.

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