Nutrient acquisition by intracellular apicomplexan parasites: staying in for dinner

Int J Parasitol. 2001 Oct;31(12):1321-30. doi: 10.1016/s0020-7519(01)00258-2.


The intracellular forms of the apicomplexan parasites Plasmodium, Toxoplasma and Eimeria reside within a parasitophorous vacuole. The nutrients required by these intracellular parasites to support their high rate of growth and replication originate from the host cell which, in turn, takes up such compounds from the extracellular milieu. Solutes moving from the external medium to the interior of the parasite, are confronted by a series of three membranes --the host cell membrane, the parasitophorous vacuole membrane and the parasite plasma membrane. Each constitutes a potential permeability barrier which must be either crossed or bypassed. It is the mechanisms by which this occurs that are the subject of this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apicomplexa / metabolism
  • Apicomplexa / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Eimeria / growth & development
  • Eimeria / metabolism
  • Eimeria / physiology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Movement
  • Plasmodium / growth & development
  • Plasmodium / metabolism
  • Plasmodium / physiology
  • Protozoan Infections / parasitology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Toxoplasma / growth & development
  • Toxoplasma / metabolism
  • Toxoplasma / physiology
  • Vacuoles / parasitology*


  • Protozoan Proteins