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Cell death in protists without mitochondria

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christophe Noel


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Some protozoans, such as Trichomonad species, do not possess mitochondria. Most of the time, they harbor another type of membrane-bounded organelle, called hydrogenosome from its capacity to produce H(2). This is the case for the human parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Some other parasites, such as the protist Giardia lamblia, do not harbor any of these organelles. From this observation arises naturally a naive question: How do cells die when the mitochondrion, the cornerstone of apoptotic process, is absent? Data strongly suggest that the mitochondrion and the hydrogenosome arose from a common ancestral endosymbiont. But hydrogenosomes do not appear to directly substitute for mitochondria in apoptotic functions. Thus, it appears judicious to examine more closely the genome of unicellular cells, which do not harbor mitochondria, and search for new molecules that could participate in the apoptotic process in these microorganisms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Noel C; Chose O; Sarde CO; Gerbod D; Jimenez JC; Brenner C; Capron M; Viscogliosi E; Roseto A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Year: 2003

Volume: 1010

Issue: 1

Pages: 121-125

ISSN (print): 0077-8923

ISSN (electronic): 1749-6632

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1196/annals.1299.021


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