Cryptosporidium parvum is an obligate intracellular parasite with a highly reduced mitochondrion that lacks the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the ability to generate ATP, making the parasite reliant on glycolysis. Genetic ablation experiments demonstrated that neither of the two putative glucose transporters CpGT1 and CpGT2 were essential for growth. Surprisingly, hexokinase was also dispensable for parasite growth while the downstream enzyme aldolase was required, suggesting the parasite has an alternative way of obtaining phosphorylated hexose. Complementation studies in E. coli support a role for direct transport of glucose-6-phosphate from the host cell by the parasite transporters CpGT1 and CpGT2, thus bypassing a requirement for hexokinase. Additionally, the parasite obtains phosphorylated glucose from amylopectin stores that are released by the action of the essential enzyme glycogen phosphorylase. Collectively, these findings reveal that C. parvum relies on multiple pathways to obtain phosphorylated glucose both for glycolysis and to restore carbohydrate reserves.

Original languageEnglish
Article number380
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


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