Caister Academic Press

Analysis of the Leishmania Metabolome

Malcolm J. McConville, David P. De Souza, Eleanor C. Saunders, James Pyke, Thomas Naderer, Miriam A. Ellis, Fleur M. Sernee, Julie E. Ralton and Vladimir A. Likic
from: Leishmania: After The Genome (Edited by: Peter J. Myler and Nicolas Fasel). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)


The sequencing of the L. major genome has provided unprecedented insights into the metabolic capacity of Leishmania parasites. However, we still have a relatively limited understanding of which metabolic pathways are essential for parasite survival in the sandfly and mammalian host or how species-specific differences in Leishmania metabolism contribute to differences in tissue tropism and disease patterns. The L. major genome also contains a large number of genes with no homologues in other eukaryotes. Metabolite profiling, or metabolomics, is an emerging field in functional genomics that is both complimentary to transcript and protein profiling approaches, and a powerful tool in its own right for defining metabolic processes and annotating gene function. In this review, we provide an overview of Leishmania metabolism and describe new analytical approaches that are being used to directly characterize the Leishmania metabolome. Finally, we highlight major metabolic pathways in Leishmania that appear to be essential for parasite survival and/or differentiation in the mammalian host read more ...
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