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Protozoan parasites and cell death

A key component of the life history of metazoans is the ability of their cells to undergo cell death programmes characterised by a sequence of morphological and biochemical changes. Parasites and pathogens can induce or inhibit these programmes in ways that may determine the outcome of disease. Evidence that programmed cell death also occurs in unicellular organisms, including parasitic protozoans, is rapidly growing. Although they display the same morphological markers as metazoans, molecular mechanisms and functions clearly differ. It is thus timely to consider our current understanding of life or death decisions in both protozoans and the host cells they inhabit.

Reviews have been compiled by members of the COST Action BM0802, Life or Death of Protozoan Parasites

This thematic series is supported by COST.

Collection published: 9 November 2010

View all collections published in Parasites & Vectors

  1. Review

    Are protozoan metacaspases potential parasite killers?

    Mechanisms concerning life or death decisions in protozoan parasites are still imperfectly understood. Comparison with higher eukaryotes has led to the hypothesis that caspase-like enzymes could be involved in...

    Benoît Meslin, Habib Zalila, Nicolas Fasel, Stephane Picot and Anne-Lise Bienvenu

    Parasites & Vectors 2011 4:26

    Published on: 28 February 2011

  2. Review

    Impact of protozoan cell death on parasite-host interactions and pathogenesis

    PCD in protozoan parasites has emerged as a fascinating field of parasite biology. This not only relates to the underlying mechanisms and their evolutionary implications but also to the impact on the parasite-...

    Carsten GK Lüder, Jenny Campos-Salinas, Elena Gonzalez-Rey and Ger van Zandbergen

    Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:116

    Published on: 2 December 2010

  3. Review

    Targeting essential pathways in trypanosomatids gives insights into protozoan mechanisms of cell death

    Apoptosis is a normal component of the development and health of multicellular organisms. However, apoptosis is now considered a prerogative of unicellular organisms, including the trypanosomatids of the genera T...

    Despina Smirlis, Michael Duszenko, Antonio Jiménez Ruiz, Effie Scoulica, Patrick Bastien, Nicolas Fasel and Ketty Soteriadou

    Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:107

    Published on: 17 November 2010

  4. Review

    Apoptosis induced by parasitic diseases

    Fatalities caused by parasitic infections often occur as a result of tissue injury that results from a form of host-cell death known as apoptosis. However, instead of being pathogenic, parasite-induced apoptos...

    Anne-Lise Bienvenu, Elena Gonzalez-Rey and Stephane Picot

    Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:106

    Published on: 17 November 2010

  5. Review

    Apoptotic markers in protozoan parasites

    The execution of the apoptotic death program in metazoans is characterized by a sequence of morphological and biochemical changes that include cell shrinkage, presentation of phosphatidylserine at the cell sur...

    Antonio Jiménez-Ruiz, Juan Fernando Alzate, Ewan Thomas MacLeod, Carsten Günter Kurt Lüder, Nicolas Fasel and Hilary Hurd

    Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:104

    Published on: 9 November 2010