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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. 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...

    Authors: Benoît Meslin, Habib Zalila, Nicolas Fasel, Stephane Picot and Anne-Lise Bienvenu
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2011 4:26
  2. 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...

    Authors: Despina Smirlis, Michael Duszenko, Antonio Jiménez Ruiz, Effie Scoulica, Patrick Bastien, Nicolas Fasel and Ketty Soteriadou
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:107
  3. 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...

    Authors: Anne-Lise Bienvenu, Elena Gonzalez-Rey and Stephane Picot
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:106
  4. Apoptosis is a precisely regulated process of cell death which occurs widely in multicellular organisms and is essential for normal development and immune defences. In recent years, interest has grown in the o...

    Authors: Laura C Pollitt, Nick Colegrave, Shahid M Khan, Mohammed Sajid and Sarah E Reece
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:105
  5. 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...

    Authors: Antonio Jiménez-Ruiz, Juan Fernando Alzate, Ewan Thomas MacLeod, Carsten Günter Kurt Lüder, Nicolas Fasel and Hilary Hurd
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2010 3:104