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.
- DAHP synthase
- apicomplexan parasites