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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1996 Dec 20;83(2):131-9.

Hemoglobin catabolism and iron utilization by malaria parasites.

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Department of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California 94143, USA.


Erythrocytic malaria parasites transport large quantities of erythrocyte cytoplasm to an acidic food vacuole, where hemoglobin is degraded. Globin is hydrolysed to free amino acids, which are subsequently incorporated into parasite proteins. Potentially toxic heme moieties are polymerized to hemozoin and also probably provide necessary parasite iron. Our understanding of the precise mechanisms of hemoglobin processing is incomplete. However, it is clear that hemoglobin catabolism and related events in the malarial food vacuole are the likely targets of both important antimalarial drugs and of promising new compounds. Thus, a more precise characterization of the metabolism of hemoglobin and iron by malaria parasites should expedite the development of new modes of antimalarial chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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