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Enzyme Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 873230, 12 pages
Review Article

Role of Heme and Heme-Proteins in Trypanosomatid Essential Metabolic Pathways

Departamento de Química Biológica and Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario (IBR, CONICET-UNR), Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Suipacha 531, S2002LRK Rosario, Argentina

Received 21 December 2010; Accepted 7 February 2011

Academic Editor: Claudio Alejandro Pereira

Copyright © 2011 Karina E. J. Tripodi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Around the world, trypanosomatids are known for being etiological agents of several highly disabling and often fatal diseases like Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi), leishmaniasis (Leishmania spp.), and African trypanosomiasis (Trypanosoma brucei). Throughout their life cycle, they must cope with diverse environmental conditions, and the mechanisms involved in these processes are crucial for their survival. In this review, we describe the role of heme in several essential metabolic pathways of these protozoans. Notwithstanding trypanosomatids lack of the complete heme biosynthetic pathway, we focus our discussion in the metabolic role played for important heme-proteins, like cytochromes. Although several genes for different types of cytochromes, involved in mitochondrial respiration, polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, and sterol biosynthesis, are annotated at the Tritryp Genome Project, the encoded proteins have not yet been deeply studied. We pointed our attention into relevant aspects of these protein functions that are amenable to be considered for rational design of trypanocidal agents.