Extracellular functions of glycolytic enzymes of parasites: unpredicted use of ancient proteins

Amaranta Gómez-Arreaza, Hector Acosta, Wilfredo Quiñones, Juan Luis Concepción, Paul A. M. Michels, Luisana Avilán

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In addition of their usual intracellular localization where they are involved in catalyzing reactions of carbohydrate and energy metabolism by glycolysis, multiple studies have shown that glycolytic enzymes of many organisms, but notably pathogens, can also be present extracellularly. In the case of parasitic protists and helminths, they can be found either secreted or attached to the surface of the parasites. At these extracellular localizations, these enzymes have been shown to perform additional, very different so-called "moonlighting" functions, such as acting as ligands for a variety of components of the host. Due to this recognition, different extracellular glycolytic enzymes participate in various important parasite-host interactions such as adherence and invasion of parasites, modulation of the host's immune and haemostatic systems, promotion of angiogenesis, and acquisition of specific nutrients by the parasites. Accordingly, extracellular glycolytic enzymes are important for the invasion of the parasites and their establishment in the host, and in determining their virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2014


  • Animals
  • Enzymes/metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Exosomes/metabolism
  • Extracellular Space/enzymology
  • Glycolysis
  • Helminth Proteins/metabolism
  • Hemostasis
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Immune System/metabolism
  • Vaccination


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