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Malaria is still one of the most threatening diseases worldwide. The high drug resistance rates of malarial parasites make its eradication difficult and furthermore necessitate the development of new antimalarial drugs. Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for severe malaria and therefore of special interest with regard to drug development. Plasmodium parasites are highly dependent on glucose and very sensitive to oxidative stress; two observations that drew interest to the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) with its key enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). A central position of the PPP for malaria parasites is supported by the fact that human G6PD deficiency protects to a certain degree from malaria infections. Plasmodium parasites and the human host possess a complete PPP, both of which seem to be important for the parasites. Interestingly, there are major differences between parasite and human G6PD, making the enzyme of Plasmodium a promising target for antimalarial drug design. This review gives an overview of the current state of research on glucose-6-phosphate metabolism in P. falciparum and its impact on malaria infections. Moreover, the unique characteristics of the enzyme G6PD in P. falciparum are discussed, upon which its current status as promising target for drug development is based. © 2012 IUBMB IUBMB Life, 2012.
Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Interdisciplinary Research Center, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
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Name: IUBMB life
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A genus of protozoa that comprise the malaria parasites of mammals. Four species infect humans (although occasional infections with primate malarias may occur). These are PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM; PLASMODIUM MALARIAE; PLASMODIUM OVALE, and PLASMODIUM VIVAX. Species causing infection in vertebrates other than man include: PLASMODIUM BERGHEI; PLASMODIUM CHABAUDI; P. vinckei, and PLASMODIUM YOELII in rodents; P. brasilianum, PLASMODIUM CYNOMOLGI; and PLASMODIUM KNOWLESI in monkeys; and PLASMODIUM GALLINACEUM in chickens.
A surface protein found on Plasmodium species which induces a T-cell response. The antigen is polymorphic, sharing amino acid sequence homology among PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM; PLASMODIUM CHABAUDI; PLASMODIUM VIVAX; and PLASMODIUM YOELII.
A species of protozoa that is the causal agent of falciparum malaria (MALARIA, FALCIPARUM). It is most prevalent in the tropics and subtropics.
An ester of glucose with phosphoric acid, made in the course of glucose metabolism by mammalian and other cells. It is a normal constituent of resting muscle and probably is in constant equilibrium with fructose-6-phosphate. (Stedman, 26th ed)
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