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A key characteristic of eukaryotic cells is the presence of organelles with discrete boundaries and functions. Such subcellular compartmentalization into organelles necessitates platforms for communication and material exchange between each other which often involves vesicular trafficking and associated processes. Another way is via the close apposition between organellar membranes, called membrane contact sites (MCSs). Apart from lipid transfer, MCSs have been implicated to mediate in various cellular processes including ion transport, apoptosis, and organelle dynamics. In mammalian and yeast cells, contact sites have been reported between the membranes of the following: the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the plasma membrane (PM), ER and the Golgi apparatus, ER and endosomes (i.e., vacuoles, lysosomes), ER and lipid droplets (LD), the mitochondria and vacuoles, the nucleus and vacuoles, and the mitochondria and lipid droplets, whereas knowledge of MCSs in non-model organisms such as protozoan parasites is extremely limited. Growing evidence suggests that MCSs play more general and conserved roles in cell physiology. In this mini review, we summarize and discuss representative MCSs in divergent parasitic protozoa, and highlight the universality, diversity, and the contribution of MCSs to parasitism. Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Herbert J Santos, Tomoyoshi Nozaki. Interorganellar communication and membrane contact sites in protozoan parasites. Parasitology international. 2021 Apr 29;83:102372

PMID: 33933652

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