Calcium and Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II as targets for helminth parasite control

Biochem Soc Trans. 2018 Dec 17;46(6):1743-1751. doi: 10.1042/BST20180480. Epub 2018 Nov 12.


In eukaryotes, effective calcium homeostasis is critical for many key biological processes. There is an added level of complexity in parasites, particularly multicellular helminth worms, which modulate calcium levels while inhabiting the host microenvironment. Parasites ensure efficient calcium homeostasis through gene products, such as the calmodulin-dependent kinases (CaMK), the main focus of this review. The importance of CaMK is becoming increasingly apparent from recent functional studies of helminth and protozoan parasites. Investigations on the molecular regulation of calcium and the role of CaMK are important for both supplementing current drug regimens and finding new antiparasitic compounds. Whereas calcium regulators, including CaMK, are well characterised in mammalian systems, knowledge of their functional properties in parasites is increasing but is still in its infancy.

Keywords: calcium regulation; calcium signalling; helminths; schistosomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Calmodulin / metabolism*
  • Helminths / pathogenicity*
  • Humans


  • Calmodulin
  • Calcium