Paper on genetic analysis of Cryptosporidium nucleotide metabolism out in PNAS
Our new paper 'Genetic ablation of purine salvage in Cryptosporidium parvum reveals nucleotide uptake from the host cell' came out in PNAS yesterday. Great work by everybody! Nucleotides are the activated building blocks for DNA and RNA as well as the major form of energy in all living organisms. Cells need to synthesize nucleotides to grow. Interference with this synthesis is thus widely used to treat infections and cancers. Here we discover through genetic experimentation that the parasite Cryptosporidium surprisingly does not require purine nucleotide synthesis. This may reflect the presence of a second novel purine salvage pathway. Alternatively, we propose that the parasite has evolved to import purine nucleotides, making purine salvage dispensable. Nucleotide import may also allow Cryptosporidium to steal energy from host cells. This finding has far-reaching consequences for the development of treatments for this important cause of diarrheal disease.