Insights into unique physiological features of neutral lipids in Apicomplexa: From storage to potential mediation in parasite metabolic activities

Isabelle Coppens, Ole Vielemeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The fast intracellular multiplication of apicomplexan parasites including Toxoplasma and Plasmodium, requires large amounts of lipids necessary for the membrane biogenesis of new progenies. Hence, the study of lipids is fundamental in order to understand the biology and pathogenesis of these deadly organisms. Much has been reported on the importance of polar lipids, e.g. phospholipids in Plasmodium. Comparatively, little attention has been paid to the metabolism of neutral lipids, including sterols, steryl esters and acylglycerols. In eukaryotic cells, free sterols are membrane components whereas steryl esters and acylglycerols are stored in cytosolic lipid inclusions. The first part of this review describes the recent advances in neutral lipid synthesis and storage in Toxoplasma and Plasmodium. New potential pharmacological targets in the pathways producing neutral lipids are outlined. In addition to lipid bodies, Apicomplexa contain unique secretory organelles involved in parasite invasion named rhoptries. These compartments appear to sequester most of the cholesterol found in the exocytic pathway. The second part of the review focuses on rhoptry cholesterol and its potential roles in the biogenesis, structural organisation and function of these unique organelles among eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-615
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

Keywords

  • Cholesterol
  • Cholesteryl esters
  • Lipid bodies
  • Multivesicular bodies
  • Plasmodium
  • Rhoptries
  • Toxoplasma
  • Triacylglycerol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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