Cell Death in a Kinetoplastid Parasite, the Leishmania spp.
Radhika Mathur and Chandrima Shaha
from: Leishmania: Current Biology and Control (Edited by: Subrata Adak and Rupak Datta). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2015) Pages: 79-92.
Apoptosis is a distinct form of cell death that plays an important role in various physiological processes in mammals. Earlier it was thought that apoptosis evolved with multicellular organisms; however, studies over the past years have shown that single celled organisms such as Leishmania can also undergo programmed cell death. It is now believed that apoptosis plays an important role in the life cycle of Leishmania parasites. The process enables selection of fittest cells amongst the parasites within the sandfly vector and within the mammalian cells for necessary control of parasite numbers and for the evasion of immune responses. Like mammalian cells, Leishmania parasites also show typical features of apoptotic death, like cell shrinkage, nuclear condensation and DNA damage in response to heat stress, serum deprivation and a range of antileishmanial drugs. Understanding the molecular processes involved in apoptotic death in trypanosomatids might help in defining the cell death machinery and thus provide new targets for chemotherapeutic drug development read more ...