About this Research Topic
The Apicomplexa comprise a large phylum of parasitic protozoa of medical and veterinary importance, causing deadly diseases such as malaria, cryptosporidiosis, neosporosis and toxoplasmosis, among others. While all the parasites in this phylum are obligate intracellular, they transition through multiple life forms allowing them to adapt to different host niches such as different cell and tissue types, nutritional environments and temperature changes. Many parasites in the phylum require definitive hosts for sexual admixing and may require vectorial transmission to complete their life cycles, while others are able to survive entirely within the same host.
Apicomplexa switch from intra- to extracellular environments, encysted slow-dividing forms, inaccessible to the immune system, to fast-dividing forms exposed to immunity, motile to non-motile, accompanied both by morphological and metabolic changes. A relatively small gene repertoire provides the parasites with the flexibility required for survival, persistence, and transmission, byways of complex and redundant systems. Our understanding of the molecular basis of stage transition regulation has only recently begun to emerge providing new avenues for intervention. In this Research Topic, we welcome articles related to molecular aspects of stage conversion in Apicomplexans.
Keywords: Apicomplexa, Stage transition, Genetics
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