Lipid metabolism in Trypanosoma cruzi: A review

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2020 Nov;240:111324. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2020.111324. Epub 2020 Sep 20.


The cellular membranes of Trypanosoma cruzi, like all eukaryotes, contain varying amounts of phospholipids, sphingolipids, neutral lipids and sterols. A multitude of pathways exist for the de novo synthesis of these lipid families but Trypanosoma cruzi has also become adapted to scavenge some of these lipids from the host. Completion of the TriTryp genomes has led to the identification of many putative genes involved in lipid synthesis, revealing some interesting differences to higher eukaryotes. Although many enzymes involved in lipid synthesis have yet to be characterised, completed experiments have shown the indispensability of some lipid metabolic pathways. Furthermore, the bioactive lipids of Trypanosoma cruzi and their effects on the host are becoming increasingly studied. Further studies on lipid metabolism in Trypanosoma cruzi will no doubt reveal some attractive targets for therapeutic intervention as well as reveal the interplay between parasite lipids, host response and pathogenesis.

Keywords: Biosynthesis; Eicosanoids; Fatty acids; Lipid metabolism; Lipids; Phospholipids; Sphingolipids; Trypanosoma cruzi.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chagas Disease / parasitology*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Sphingolipids / chemistry
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism
  • Steroids / chemistry
  • Steroids / metabolism
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • Steroids