Camila Marques Adade C. Almeida, Thaïs Souto-Padrón
Laboratório de Ultraestrutura
e Biologia Celular, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade
Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bloco I, Av. Carlos Chagas Filho 373, Ilha
do Fundão, 21941-902, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
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Protozoan parasites cause disease in humans worldwide, and many fall into the genera Trypanosoma and
Leishmania; these parasites are responsible for African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease and the different forms of
Leishmaniasis. Strategies for the development of new drugs against these protozoans have been based on their cell biology
and biochemistry complemented by the use of electron microscopy. Trypanosoma and Leishmania have special organelles
that are involved in metabolic pathways, which are very distinct from those in mammalian cells; these organelles
are potential drug targets. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy can identify not only the target organelles but
also alterations to the cell surface and ultrastructural changes that characterize distinct forms of programmed cell death.