Chapter

Cysteine Proteases of Pathogenic Organisms

Volume 712 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 49-61

Cathepsin Proteases in Toxoplasma gondii

  • Zhicheng DouAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan School of Medicine
  • , Vern B. CarruthersAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan School of Medicine

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Abstract

Cysteine proteases are important for the growth and survival of apicomplexan parasites that infect humans. The apicomplexan Toxoplasma gondii expresses five members of the C1 family of cysteine proteases, including one cathepsin L-like (TgCPL), one cathepsin B-like (TgCPB) and three cathepsin C-like (TgCPC1, 2 and 3) proteases. Recent genetic, biochemical and structural studies reveal that cathepsins function in microneme and rhoptry protein maturation, host cell invasion, replication and nutrient acquisition. here, we review the key features and roles of T. gondii cathepsins and discuss the therapeutic potential for specific inhibitor development.