Glucose and related hexoses play central roles in the biochemistry and metabolism of single-cell parasites such as Leishmania, Trypanosoma, and Plasmodium that are the causative agents of leishmaniasis, African sleeping sickness, and malaria. Glucose transporters and the genes that encode them have been identified in each of these parasites and their functional properties have been scrutinized. These transporters are related in sequence and structure to mammalian facilitative glucose transporters of the SLC2 family, but they are nonetheless quite divergent in sequence. Hexose transporters have been shown to be essential for the viability of the infectious stage of each of these parasites and thus may represent targets for development of novel anti-parasitic drugs. The study of these transporters also illuminates many aspects of the basic biology of Leishmania, trypanosomes, and malaria parasites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology