Surprising variety in energy metabolism within Trypanosomatidae

Aloysius G.M. Tielens*, Jaap J. van Hellemond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

102 Citations (Scopus)


The metabolism of Trypanosomatidae differs significantly between distinct species and can even be completely different between various life-cycle stages of the same species. It has been proposed that differences in energy metabolism are related to differences in nutrient supply in the environments of the various trypanosomatids. However, the literature shows that availability of substrates does not dictate the type of energy metabolism of trypanosomatids, as Trypanosoma theileri, Trypanosoma lewisi and African trypanosomes all live in the bloodstream of their mammalian host, but have surprisingly large differences in metabolism. Furthermore, in trypanosomatids no obvious relationship exists between energy metabolism and phylogeny or mode of transmission. We provide an overview of the metabolic capacities in the energy metabolism of distinct trypanosomatids, and suggest that these can be divided into four different metabolic categories of increasing complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-490
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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