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Moonlighting enzymes in parasitic protozoa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2010

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK
School of Health and Medicine, Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
School of Health and Medicine, Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
*Corresponding author: School of Health and Medicine, Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK. Tel: 01524-593922; Fax: 01524-593192. E-mail:


Enzymes moonlight in a non-enzymatic capacity in a diverse variety of cellular processes. The discovery of these non-enzymatic functions is generally unexpected, and moonlighting enzymes are known in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Importantly, this unexpected multi-functionality indicates that caution might be needed on some occasions in interpreting phenotypes that result from the deletion or gene-silencing of some enzymes, including some of the best known enzymes from classic intermediary metabolism. Here, we provide an overview of enzyme moonlighting in parasitic protists. Unequivocal and putative examples of moonlighting are discussed, together with the possibility that the unusual biological characteristics of some parasites either limit opportunities for moonlighting to arise or perhaps contribute to the evolution of novel proteins with clear metabolic ancestry.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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