Diseases caused by protozoan parasites have a dramatic impact on world health. Emerging drug resistance and a general lack of experimental understanding has created a void in the medicine cabinet used to treat these widespread infections. A novel therapeutic idea that is receiving more attention is centred on targeting the microbe's response to the multitude of environmental stresses it encounters. Protozoan pathogens have complex life cycles, often having to transition from one host to another, or survive in a cyst form in the environment until a new host arrives. The need to respond to environmental cues and stress, and endure in less than optimal conditions, is paramount to their viability and successful progression through their life cycle. This review summarizes the research on parasitic stress responses for Apicomplexa, kinetoplastids and anaerobic protozoa, with an eye towards how these processes may be exploited therapeutically.
ASJC Scopus subject areas