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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Dec;16(6):722-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.07.005. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Iron and heme metabolism in Plasmodium falciparum and the mechanism of action of artemisinins.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science, 30 Flemington Road, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.


During the asexual blood stage of its lifecycle, the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum grows and multiplies in the hemoglobin-rich environment of the human erythrocyte. Although the parasite has evolved unique strategies to survive in this environment, its interaction with iron represents an Achilles' heel that is exploited by many antimalarial drugs. Recent work has shed new light on how the parasite deals with hemoglobin breakdown products and on the role of iron as a mediator of the action of the antimalarial drug, artemisinin.

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