Plasmodium falciparum: organelle-specific acquisition of lipoic acid

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Apr;41(4):748-52. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.10.028. Epub 2008 Nov 5.


Lipoic acid is an essential cofactor of multienzyme complexes that are integral to energy metabolism, amino acid degradation and folate metabolism. In recent years it has been shown that the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum possesses organelle-specific pathways that guarantee the lipoylation of their multienzyme complexes which occur in the mitochondrion (LA salvage) and in a plastid-like organelle, the apicoplast (LA biosynthesis). The unique distribution of the lipoylation machineries and the unique metabolic requirements of the parasites present a situation that is potentially exploitable for new ways to improve malaria control.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Organelles / enzymology
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / enzymology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Thioctic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Thioctic Acid / metabolism*


  • Thioctic Acid