BMBS COST Action BM0802
Life or death of protozoan parasites
Protozoan parasites play a central role in the field of human and animal health causing devastating diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness. Given the rapid development of drug resistance in these organisms it is crucial that the development of novel drugs or vaccines is based on a detailed understanding of parasite/host biology and interaction. Programmed cell death (PCD), is a keystone of the life or death decision in cells of multicellular organisms and in their interactions with parasites. Evidence is rapidly growing for an important role of PCD in the life history of a range of protozoans, albeit involving molecular mechanisms and functions that may be unique to these parasites. Several European groups are at the forefront of the rapid growth of research devoted to various aspects of PCD-like processes in a range of protozoan parasites. Networking these teams will create a focus for this work and accelerate the European impetus. Interactions will lead to greater dissemination of information on PCD mechanisms, markers and evolutionary concepts. Therefore they provide the potential to develop new tools and leading to breakthroughs in the processes involved in PCD, and thus to significant progress in the development of novel treatments. Keywords: Parasite life and death decisions, PCD markers, Protozoan parasites, Molecular mechanisms of PCD, Evolution of PCD
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