Energy metabolism of trypanosomatids: adaptation to available carbon sources

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2006 Sep;149(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2006.03.017. Epub 2006 Apr 25.


Some development stages of the trypanosomatid protozoan parasites are well adapted to in vitro culture. They can be maintained in rich medium containing large excess of glucose and amino acids, which they use as carbon sources for ATP production. Under these growth conditions, carbon sources are converted into partially oxidized end products by so-called aerobic fermentation. Surprisingly, some species, such as the Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and Crithidia insect stages, prefer consuming glucose to amino acids, although their natural habitat is L-proline-rich. This review focuses on recent progress in understanding glucose and l-proline metabolism of insect stages, how these metabolic processes are regulated, and the rationale of the aerobic fermentation strategies developed by these parasites.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • RNA Interference
  • Trypanosomatina / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Carbon
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glucose