Trypanosoma cruzi Peptidases: An Overview

Alane Beatriz Vermelho*, 1, Ana Cristina Nogueira de Melo1, Rosangela Araújo Soares1, Daniela Sales Alviano1, Edilma Paraguai Souza1, Thaïs Souto-Padrón 1, Giseli Capaci Rodrigues2, Alcino Palermo de Aguiar2, Mirian Claudia Pereira3, Antonio Ferreira-Pereira1, Maria Socorro S. Rosa1, Maria Nazareth Leal Meirelles3, Celuta Sales Alviano1
1 Departamento de Microbiologia Geral, Instituto de Microbiologia Prof Paulo de Góes (IMPPG), Centro de Ciências da Saúde (CCS), Bloco I, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Ilha do Fundão, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2 Instituto Militar de Engenharia (IME), Praça General Tibúrcio 80, Praia Vermelha, CEP 22290-270 RJ, Brazil
3 Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular, Departamento de Ultraestrutura e Biologia Celular, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, Avenida Brasil 4365, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

© 2010 Vermelhoet al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Departamento de Microbiologia Geral, Instituto de Microbiologia Prof. Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro-UFRJ /CCS, Bloco I, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro, R.J, CEP: 21941-590, Brazil; Tel: (021) 25626743; Fax: (021) 25608344; E-mail:


Peptidases are a group of enzymes which have a catalytic function that is to hydrolyze peptide bonds of proteins. The enzymes that hydrolyze peptide bonds at the amino- or carboxy- terminus are classified as exopeptidases, and those that cleave peptide bonds inside the polypeptide are endopeptidases. Endopeptidases, such as cysteine-, metalo-, serine- and threonine peptidases as well as some exopeptidases, have been characterized in Trypanosoma cruzi. Understanding the pathogenesis of T. cruzi requires the identification of functional properties of those peptidases, as they are implied in virulence, are important for host-parasite interactions and are critical for successful survival in their hosts. Here we examine the main T. cruzi peptidases, focusing on their biological roles, especially concerning the parasite-mammalian host relations.

Keywords: Peptidases, Trypanosoma cruzi.