Metabolic Crosstalk Between Host and Parasitic Pathogens

Exp Suppl. 2018;109:421-458. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-74932-7_12.


A complex network that embraces parasite-host intrinsic factors and the microenvironment regulated the interaction between a parasite and its host. Nutritional pressures exerted by both elements of this duet thus dictate this host-parasite niche. To survive and proliferate inside a host and a harsh nutritional environment, the parasites modulate different nutrient sensing pathways to subvert host metabolic pathways. Such mechanism is able to change the flux of distinct nutrients/metabolites diverting them to be used by the parasites. Apart from this nutritional strategy, the scavenging of nutrients, particularly host fatty acids, constitutes a critical mechanism to fulfil parasite nutritional requirements, ultimately defining the host metabolic landscape. The host metabolic alterations that result from host-parasite metabolic coupling can certainly be considered important targets to improve diagnosis and also for the development of future therapies. Metabolism is in fact considered a key element within this complex interaction, its modulation being crucial to dictate the final infection outcome.

Keywords: Host metabolic landscape; Host metabolic pathways; Host–parasite interaction; Nutrient sensing pathways; Scavenging of nutrients.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Parasites / metabolism*