Microsporidia: A Review of 150 Years of Research



C. Franzen *
Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin I, Universität Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauß Allee 11,93042 Regensburg, Germany.


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© 2008 C. Franzen;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin I, Universität Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauß Allee 11, 93042 Regensburg, Germany; Tel: ++49-(0)941-944-7169; Fax: ++49-(0)941-944-7169; E-mail: Caspar.Franzen@Klinik.Uni-Regensburg.de


Abstract

Microsporidiology is a field of science with a rather long history beginning in the middle of the 19th century when a microsporidian infection of the silkworm devastated the European silkworm industry. Several other microsporidia, mainly in insects and fish, were later described, but these organisms seemed to be mere curiosities for several years. However, when it became clear that microsporidia were causing economically important diseases in insects and fish and more recently, in mammals and even in humans with immunodeficiency, microsporidia have become a favourite subject for biologists studying intracellular parasitism and molecular phylogeny. This review summarizes 150 years of microsporidian research and traces the role of the microsporidia and of microsporidiology in biology and medicine.