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.
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.