A complete shikimate pathway in Toxoplasma gondii: an ancient eukaryotic innovation

S A Campbell, T A Richards, E J Mui, B U Samuel, J R Coggins, R McLeod, C W Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The shikimate pathway is essential for survival of the apicomplexan parasites Plasmodium falciparum, Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum. As it is absent in mammals it is a promising therapeutic target. Herein, we describe the genes encoding the shikimate pathway enzymes in T. gondii. The molecular arrangement and phylogeny of the proteins suggests homology with the eukaryotic fungal enzymes, including a pentafunctional AROM. Current rooting of the eukaryotic evolutionary tree infers that the fungi and apicomplexan lineages diverged deeply, suggesting that the arom is an ancient supergene present in early eukaryotes and subsequently lost or replaced in a number of lineages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2003
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


  • apicomplexa
  • toxoplasma
  • plasmodium
  • shikimate
  • arom
  • DAHP synthase
  • apicomplexan parasites
  • plasmodium-falciparum
  • synthase
  • sequence
  • enzyme
  • strategies
  • reveals
  • domains
  • protein
  • origin


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