RESEARCH ARTICLE


Contributions of Ultrastructural Studies to the Cell Biology of Trypanosmatids: Targets for Anti-Parasitic Drugs



Camila Marques Adade C. Almeida, Thaïs Souto-Padrón*
Laboratório de Ultraestrutura e Biologia Celular, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bloco I, Av. Carlos Chagas Filho 373, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


© 2010 Adade and Souto-Padrón;

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 Laboratório de Ultraestrutura e Biologia Celular, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidadec Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bloco I, Av. Carlos Chagas Filho 373, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Tel: 55-21-2562-6738; Fax: 55-21-2560-8344; E-mail: souto.padron@micro.ufrj.br


Abstract

Protozoan parasites cause disease in humans worldwide, and many fall into the genera Trypanosoma and Leishmania; these parasites are responsible for African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease and the different forms of Leishmaniasis. Strategies for the development of new drugs against these protozoans have been based on their cell biology and biochemistry complemented by the use of electron microscopy. Trypanosoma and Leishmania have special organelles that are involved in metabolic pathways, which are very distinct from those in mammalian cells; these organelles are potential drug targets. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy can identify not only the target organelles but also alterations to the cell surface and ultrastructural changes that characterize distinct forms of programmed cell death.

Keywords: Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania, African trypanosomes, Chemotherapy, Ultrastructure.