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Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2012 Dec;13(8):767-75.

The role of cysteine proteinases and their inhibitors in the host-pathogen cross talk.

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Department of Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology, ›Jozef Stefan‹ Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Proteinases and their inhibitors play essential functional roles in basic biological processes in both hosts and pathogens. Endo/lysosomal cathepsins participate in immune response in pathogen recognition and elimination. They are essential for both antigen processing and presentation (host adaptive immune response) and activation of endosomal Toll like receptors (innate immune response). Pathogens can produce proteases and also natural inhibitors to subvert the host immune response. Several pathogens are sensed through the intracellular pathogen recognition receptors, but only some of them use the host proteolytic system to escape into the cytosol. In this review, I provide an update on the most recent developments regarding the role of proteinases and their inhibitors in the initiation and regulation of immune responses.

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