PMID: 9504336Mar 21, 1998

Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: the status of Pneumocystis biochemistry

International Journal for Parasitology
E S Kaneshiro


Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia remains a prevalent opportunistic disease among immunocompromised individuals. Although aggressive prophylaxis has decreased the number of acute P. carinii pneumonia cases, many patients cannot tolerate the available drugs, and experience recurrence of the infection, which can be fatal. It is now generally agreed that the organism should be placed with the fungi, but the identification of extant fungal species representing its closest kins, remains debated. Most recent data indicate that P. carinii represents a diverse group of organisms. Since the lack of methods for the continuous subcultivation of this organism hampered P. carinii research, molecular cloning and nucleotide sequencing approaches led the way for understanding the biochemical nature of this pathogen. However, within the last 5 years, the development of improved protocols for isolating and purifying viable organisms from infected mammalian host lungs has enabled direct biochemical and metabolism studies on the organism. The protein moiety of the major high mol. wt surface antigen, represented by numerous isoforms, is encoded by different genes. These proteins are post-transcriptionally modified by carbohydrates and lipids. The orga...Continue Reading


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