A fatty-acid synthesis mechanism specialized for parasitism

Soo Hee Lee, Jennifer L. Stephens, Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Most cells use either a type I or type II synthase to make fatty acids. Trypanosoma brucei, the sleeping sickness parasite, provides the first example of a third mechanism for this process. Trypanosomes use microsomal elongases to synthesize fatty acids de novo, whereas other cells use elongases to make long-chain fatty acids even longer. The modular nature of the pathway allows synthesis of different fatty-acid end products, which have important roles in trypanosome biology. Indeed, this newly discovered mechanism seems ideally suited for the parasitic lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases


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