Heme and blood-feeding parasites: Friends or foes?

Shu Qin Toh, Amber Glanfield, Geoffrey N. Gobert, Malcolm K. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Hemoparasites, like malaria and schistosomes, are constantly faced with the challenges of storing and detoxifying large quantities of heme, released from their catabolism of host erythrocytes. Heme is an essential prosthetic group that forms the reactive core of numerous hemoproteins with diverse biological functions. However, due to its reactive nature, it is also a potentially toxic molecule. Thus, the acquisition and detoxification of heme is likely to be paramount for the survival and establishment of parasitism. Understanding the underlying mechanism involved in this interaction could possibly provide potential novel targets for drug and vaccine development, and disease treatment. However, there remains a wide gap in our understanding of these mechanisms. This review summarizes the biological importance of heme for hemoparasite, and the adaptations utilized in its sequestration and detoxification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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