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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2001 May;114(2):143-50.

The mucin-like glycoprotein super-family of Trypanosoma cruzi: structure and biological roles.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Trypanosoma cruzi expresses at its surface large amounts of mucin-like glycoproteins. The T. cruzi mucins (TcMUC), a group of highly glycosylated GPI-anchored proteins rich in Thr, Ser, and Pro residues, are expressed in high copy numbers in both insect and mammalian stages of the parasite. These molecules are encoded by a multigene family and contain a unique type of glycosylation consisting of several sialylated O-glycans linked to the protein backbone via N-acetylglucosamine residues. The TcMUC are important because of their role in host cell invasion and the ability to induce secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide in activated macrophages. The TcMUC are also significant in being the major substrate for the cell surface trans-sialidase. In this review, we summarize the recent knowledge on the molecular structure and function of this family of T. cruzi glycoproteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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