Journal article

The mother of all parasites

Noriko Okamoto, Geoffreg I McFadden

FUTURE MICROBIOLOGY | FUTURE MEDICINE LTD | Published : 2008

Abstract

Malaria and related apicomplexan parasites contain a relict plastid (apicoplast) that is a promising drug target. The apicoplast has been argued to derive from either an engulfed red or green alga. The discovery of the first photosynthetic apicomplexan, dubbed Chromera velia, with a fully functional plastid resolves the debate, clearly showing that the relict plastid is derived from a modified red alga. Intriguingly, C. velia is a coral symbiont and thus reminiscent of the closely related dinoflagellate symbionts (zooxanthellae) vital to corals and many other invertebrates. Symbiosis and parasitism are thus wide-spread in both the dinoflagellates and apicomplexans, suggesting that modern par..

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University of Melbourne Researchers