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Trends Parasitol. 2003 Apr;19(4):182-7.

Clan CD cysteine peptidases of parasitic protozoa.

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Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology, The Anderson College, University of Glasgow, G11 6NU, Glasgow, UK. <>


Parasitic protozoa contain an abundance of cysteine peptidases that are crucial for a range of important biological processes. The most studied cysteine peptidases of parasitic protozoa belong to the group of papain-like enzymes known as clan CA. However, several more recently identified cysteine peptidases differ fundamentally from the clan CA enzymes and have been included together in clan CD. Enzymes of this clan have now been identified in parasitic protozoa. Many have important roles and also differ significantly from known mammalian counterparts. The main characteristics of clan CD enzymes are outlined here, in particular glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI):protein transamidase, metacaspase and separase, and their differences from the clan CA enzymes are described.

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