Biological Roles of Peptidases in Trypanosomatids

Alane Beatriz Vermelho*, Marta Helena Branquinha1, Claudia M. D’Ávila-Levy2, André Luis Souza dos Santos1, Edilma Paraguai de Souza Dias1, Ana Cristina Nogueira de Melo1
1 nstituto de Microbiologia Prof. Paulo de Góes (IMPPG), Centro de Ciências da Saúde (CCS), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Bloco I, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2 Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia Celular (DBBM), Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Mangui-nhos, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

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© 2010 Vermelho et 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.

Correspondence: * Address correspondence to this author at the Departamento de Microbiolo-gia, 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, Brazil; CEP: 21941-902; Tel: (021) 25626743; Fax: (021) 25608344; E-mail:


In this review, we report the recent developments in the characterization of peptidases and their possible biological functions in the Trypanosomatidae family. The focus will be on peptidases from Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania spp., African trypanosomes and plant and insect trypanosomatids. There are numerous events in parasite development where the involvement of peptidases has been established, and they will be approached in the present review. Also in this review we will discuss the central roles have been proposed for peptidases in diverse processes such as virulence, host cell interaction and invasion, catabolism of host proteins, differentiation, cell cycle progression and both stimulation and evasion of host immune responses.

Keywords: Peptidases, Trypanosomatids, Cruzipain, Cysteine peptidases, Serina peptidases, Metallopeptidases.