Replication and maintenance of the Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast genome
Members of the phylum Apicomplexa are responsible for many devastating diseases including malaria (Plasmodium spp.), toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii), babesiosis (Babesia bovis), and cyclosporiasis (Cyclospora cayetanensis). Most Apicomplexans contain a unique and essential organelle called the apicoplast. Derived from an ancient chloroplast, the apicoplast replicates and maintains a 35 kilobase (kb) circular genome. Due to its essential nature within the parasite, drugs targeted to proteins involved in DNA replication and repair of the apicoplast should be potent and specific. This review summarizes the current knowledge surrounding the replication and repair of the Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast genome and identifies several putative proteins involved in replication and repair pathways.