Acetate and succinate production in amoebae, helminths, diplomonads, trichomonads and trypanosomatids: common and diverse metabolic strategies used by parasitic lower eukaryotes

Parasitology. 2010 Aug;137(9):1315-31. doi: 10.1017/S0031182009991843. Epub 2009 Dec 23.


Parasites that often grow anaerobically in their hosts have adopted a fermentative strategy relying on the production of partially oxidized end products, including lactate, glycerol, ethanol, succinate and acetate. This review focuses on recent progress in understanding acetate production in protist parasites, such as amoebae, diplomonads, trichomonads, trypanosomatids and in the metazoan parasites helminths, as well as the succinate production pathway(s) present in some of them. We also describe the unconventional organisation of the tricarboxylic acid cycle associated with the fermentative strategy adopted by the procyclic trypanosomes, which may resemble the probable structure of the primordial TCA cycle in prokaryotes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism*
  • Aerobiosis / physiology
  • Amoeba / metabolism
  • Anaerobiosis / physiology
  • Animals
  • Diplomonadida / metabolism
  • Eukaryota / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Helminths / metabolism
  • Parasites / metabolism*
  • Succinic Acid / metabolism*
  • Trichomonadida / metabolism
  • Trypanosomatina / metabolism


  • Acetates
  • Succinic Acid