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The Plasmodium digestive (food) vacuole is an acidic proteolytic compartment central to the metabolism of the parasite. Here haemoglobin is degraded, haem is polymerized, amino acid are transported, oxygen radicals are detoxified, drugs are accumulated, acidification is maintained and free iron may be generated. Despite these crucial roles in parasite development, a number of questions about the digestive vacuole and the haemoglobin ingestion pathway remain unanswered; in consequence, a number of attractive drug targets remain to be exploited. Piero Olliaro and Daniel Goldberg here review the morphology, metabolism and pharmacological disruption of this specialized organelle.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/0169-4758(95)80042-5

Type

Journal article

Journal

Parasitology today (Personal ed.)

Publication Date

08/1995

Volume

11

Pages

294 - 297

Addresses

Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.