[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lactoferrin (LF) is a cationic iron-binding glycoprotein found in mucosal secretions and fluids of mammals such as those from respiratory, vaginal, digestive and intestinal tract, tears and saliva and is particularly abundant in colostrum and milk. LF is also produced by the secondary granules of neutrophils and secreted by these cells in blood and sites of infection. This glycoprotein of about 80 kDa is a component of the innate immune system devoted to capture ferric iron in order to be unavailable for pathogens growth when they try to colonize and invade a host. LF is truly a multifunctional molecule since is immunomodulator, anti-carcinogenic and microbicidal. The iron-free form of LF (apoLF) is active against numerous infective species of bacteria, fungi, virus, and protozoa. LF is digested by the gastric enzyme pepsin, producing N-terminal peptides named Lactoferricins (LFcins), which often are more potent antimicrobials than the native protein. Milk-derived bovine LF as well as the recombinant human and bovine LF has been utilized to treat microbial infections in animal models and in trials with patients,
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The standard reference for pathogenic and nonpathogenic amoebae is the human parasite ; a direct correlation between virulence and protease expression has been demonstrated for this amoeba. Traditionally, proteases are considered virulence factors, including those that produce cytopathic effects in the host or that have been implicated in manipulating the immune response. Here, we expand the scope to other amoebae, including less-pathogenic species and highly pathogenic free-living amoebae. In this paper, proteases that affect mucin, extracellular matrix, immune system components, and diverse tissues and cells are included, based on studies in amoebic cultures and animal models. We also include proteases used by amoebae to degrade iron-containing proteins because iron scavenger capacity is currently considered a virulence factor for pathogens. In addition, proteases that have a role in adhesion and encystation, which are essential for establishing and transmitting infection, are discussed. The study of proteases and their specific inhibitors is relevant to the search for new therapeutic targets and to increase the power of drugs used to treat the diseases caused by these complex microorganisms.
Journal of Tropical Medicine 01/2013; 2013:890603.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Iron is an essential nutrient for the survival of pathogens inside a host. As a general strategy against microbes, mammals have evolved complex iron-withholding systems for efficiently decreasing the iron accessible to invaders. Pathogens that inhabit the respiratory, intestinal and genitourinary tracts encounter an iron-deficient environment on the mucosal surface, where ferric iron is chelated by lactoferrin, an extracellular glycoprotein of the innate immune system. However, parasitic protozoa have developed several mechanisms to obtain iron from host holo-lactoferrin. Tritrichomonas fetus, Trichomonas vaginalis, Toxoplasma gondii and Entamoeba histolytica express lactoferrin-binding proteins and use holo-lactoferrin as an iron source for growth in vitro; in some species, these binding proteins are immunogenic and, therefore, may serve as potential vaccine targets. Another mechanism to acquire lactoferrin iron has been reported in Leishmania spp. promastigotes, which use a surface reductase to recognize and reduce ferric iron to the accessible ferrous form. Cysteine proteases that cleave lactoferrin have been reported in E. histolytica. This review summarizes the available information on how parasites uptake and use the iron from lactoferrin to survive in hostile host environments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasitic protozoa are among the most important pathogens worldwide. Diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, amoebiasis, giardiasis, trichomoniasis, and trypanosomiasis affect millions of people. Humans are constantly threatened by infections caused by these pathogens. Parasites engage a plethora of surface and secreted molecules to attach to and enter mammalian cells. The secretion of lytic enzymes by parasites into host organs mediates critical interactions because of the invasion and destruction of interstitial tissues, enabling parasite migration to other sites within the hosts. Extracellular matrix is a complex, cross-linked structure that holds cells together in an organized assembly and that forms the basement membrane lining (basal lamina). The extracellular matrix represents a major barrier to parasites. Therefore, the evolution of mechanisms for connective-tissue degradation may be of great importance for parasite survival. Recent advances have been achieved in our understanding of the biochemistry and molecular biology of proteases from parasitic protozoa. The focus of this paper is to discuss the role of protozoan parasitic proteases in the degradation of host ECM proteins and the participation of these molecules as virulence factors. We divide the paper into two sections, extracellular and intracellular protozoa.
Journal of Parasitology Research 01/2012; 2012:748206.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Iron is essential for nearly all organisms; in mammals, it is part of proteins such as haemoglobin, and it is captured by transferrin and lactoferrin. Transferrin is present in serum, and lactoferrin is secreted by the mucosa and by neutrophils at infection sites, as a host iron-withholding response, sequestering iron away from invading microorganisms. Additionally, all cells contain ferritin, which sequesters iron when its intracellular levels are increased, detoxifying and preventing damage. Liver ferritin contains 50% of iron corporal reserves. During evolution, pathogens have evolved diverse strategies to obtain iron from their hosts in order to survive. The protozoan Entamoeba histolytica invades the intestinal mucosa, causing dysentery, and the trophozoites often travel to the liver producing hepatic abscesses; thus, intestine and liver proteins could be important iron supplies for E. histolytica. We found that E. histolytica trophozoites can grow in both ferrous and ferric iron, and that they can use haemoglobin, holo-transferrin, holo-lactoferrin, and ferritin as in vitro iron sources. These proteins supported the amoeba growth throughout consecutive passages, similarly to ferric citrate. By confocal microscopy and immunoblotting, iron-binding proteins were observed specifically bound to the amoeba surface, and they were endocytosed, trafficked through the endosomal/lysosomal route, and degraded by neutral and acidic cysteine-proteases. Transferrin and ferritin were mainly internalized through clathrin-coated vesicles, and holo-lactoferrin was mainly internalized by caveola-like structures. In contrast, apo-lactoferrin bound to membrane lipids and cholesterol, inducing cell death. The results suggest that in vivo trophozoites secrete products that can destroy enterocytes, erythrocytes, and hepatocytes, releasing transferrin, haemoglobin, ferritin, and other iron-containing proteins, which, together with lactoferrin derived from neutrophils and acinar cells, could be used as abundant iron supplies by amoebas.
Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 07/2009; 9(6):1038-50. · 3.22 Impact Factor