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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jan;1824(1):177-85. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

Proteases as regulators of pathogenesis: examples from the Apicomplexa.

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  • 1Departments of Pathology and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University, Standford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

The diverse functional roles that proteases play in basic biological processes make them essential for virtually all organisms. Not surprisingly, proteolysis is also a critical process required for many aspects of pathogenesis. In particular, obligate intracellular parasites must precisely coordinate proteolytic events during their highly regulated life cycle inside multiple host cell environments. Advances in chemical, proteomic and genetic tools that can be applied to parasite biology have led to an increased understanding of the complex events centrally regulated by proteases. In this review, we outline recent advances in our knowledge of specific proteolytic enzymes in two medically relevant apicomplexan parasites: Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii. Efforts over the last decade have begun to provide a map of key proteotolyic events that are essential for both parasite survival and propagation inside host cells. These advances in our molecular understanding of proteolytic events involved in parasite pathogenesis provide a foundation for the validation of new networks and enzyme targets that could be exploited for therapeutic purposes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteolysis 50 years after the discovery of lysosome.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21683169
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3232290
Free PMC Article
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