Cell division in apicomplexan parasites

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2014 Feb;12(2):125-36. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3184. Epub 2014 Jan 2.


Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum are important human pathogens. These parasites and many of their apicomplexan relatives undergo a complex developmental process in the cells of their hosts, which includes genome replication, cell division and the assembly of new invasive stages. Apicomplexan cell cycle progression is both globally and locally regulated. Global regulation is carried out throughout the cytoplasm by diffusible factors that include cell cycle-specific kinases, cyclins and transcription factors. Local regulation acts on individual nuclei and daughter cells that are developing inside the mother cell. We propose that the centrosome is a master regulator that physically tethers cellular components and that provides spatial and temporal control of apicomplexan cell division.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apicomplexa / cytology
  • Apicomplexa / genetics
  • Apicomplexa / physiology*
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Centrosome / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Models, Biological
  • Plasmodium falciparum / cytology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / physiology
  • Protozoan Infections / parasitology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Toxoplasma / cytology
  • Toxoplasma / genetics
  • Toxoplasma / physiology
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology


  • Protozoan Proteins