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Mol Microbiol. 1993 Nov;10(3):445-56.

Immunophilins: structure-function relationship and possible role in microbial pathogenicity.

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Institut für Molekulare Infektionsbiologie, Würzburg, Germany.


Immunophilins are housekeeping proteins present in a wide variety of organisms. Members of two protein superfamilies, cyclophilins (Cyps) and FK506-binding proteins (FKBPs) belong to this class of immunophilins. Despite the fact that the amino acid sequences of Cyp and FKBPs do not exhibit noticeable homology to each other, proteins of both classes are able to ligate immunosuppressive peptide derivatives. Cyps form complexes with the cyclic undercapeptide cyclosporin A and FKBPs are able to bind FK506 as well as rapamycin, both of which have a pipecolyl bond within their structure. In a ligand-bound form, immunophilins interfere with signal transduction in T cells. In addition, immunophilins have peptidyl prolyl cis-trans isomerase (PPlase) activity and are able to accelerate the rate of conformational events in proline-containing polypeptides. Microorganisms produce proteins that exhibit extensive sequence homologies to cyclophilins and FKBPs of higher organisms and which have considerable PPlase catalytic activity. While cyclophilins seem to be present in most if not all microbial species investigated, FKBPs are produced by yeasts as well as by a number of pathogenic bacteria, such as Legionella pneumophila, Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria meningitidis. The Mip protein of L. pneumophila is a virulence factor that plays an essential role in the ability of the bacteria to survive and multiply in phagocytic cells. Some results are summarized on the structure and putative functions of immunophilins and place special emphasis on the contribution of these polypeptides to the virulence of pathogenic microorganisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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