1932

Abstract

Apicomplexan parasites constitute more than 6,000 species infecting a wide range of hosts. These include important pathogens such as those causing malaria and toxoplasmosis. Their evolutionary emergence coincided with the dawn of animals. Mitochondrial genomes of apicomplexan parasites have undergone dramatic reduction in their coding capacity, with genes for only three proteins and ribosomal RNA genes present in scrambled fragments originating from both strands. Different branches of the apicomplexans have undergone rearrangements of these genes, with having massive variations in gene arrangements spread over multiple copies. The vast evolutionary distance between the parasite and the host mitochondria has been exploited for the development of antiparasitic drugs, especially those used to treat malaria, wherein inhibition of the parasite mitochondrial respiratory chain is selectively targeted with little toxicity to the host mitochondria. We describe additional unique characteristics of the parasite mitochondria that are being investigated and provide greater insights into these deep-branching eukaryotic pathogens.

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2023-09-15
2024-06-15
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