Pyruvate supply is critical to parasite growth

Toxoplasma gondii is a widespread intracellular pathogen infecting humans and a variety of animals. Previous studies have shown that Toxoplasma uses glucose and glutamine as the main carbon sources to support asexual reproduction, but neither nutrient is essential. Such metabolic flexibility may allow it to survive within diverse host cell types. Here, by focusing on the glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase (PYK) that converts phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) into pyruvate, we found that Toxoplasma can also utilize lactate and alanine. We show that catabolism of all indicated carbon sources converges at pyruvate, and maintaining a constant pyruvate supply is critical to parasite growth.

Pyruvate rich foods

Pyruvate forms in the body when carbohydrates and protein convert into energy. Several foods, including red apples, cheese, dark beer, and red wine, contain small amounts of pyruvate. Pyruvate provides energy to the body and is also an antioxidant. It enhances weight loss efforts and may improve exercise endurance.