Parasitic diseases affect low-income nations with health consequences that affect the economy of these countries. Research aimed at understanding their biology and identification of potential targets for drug development is of the highest priority. Inhibitors of channels formed by proteins of the gap junction family such as suramin and probenecid are currently used for treatment of parasitic diseases caused by pathogenic protozoan. Gap junction proteins are present in both vertebrates and invertebrates permitting direct and indirect cellular communication. These cellular specializations are formed by two protein families corresponding to connexins (vertebrates) and innexins (invertebrates). In addition, a third protein family composed by proteins denominated pannexins is present in vertebrates and shows primary sequence homology to innexins. Channels formed by these proteins are essential in many biological processes. Recent evidences suggest that gap junction proteins play a critical role in bacterial and viral infections. Nonetheless, little is known about the role of these channels in parasitic infections. In this chapter, we summarized the current knowledge about the role of gap junction family proteins and channels in parasitic infections.
Part of the book: Natural Remedies in the Fight Against Parasites
Chagas disease affects low-income nations with health consequences that impact the economy of those countries. Interestingly, inhibitors of channels formed by proteins of the gap junction family, such as suramin and boldine, exhibit trypanocidal activity. Gap junction proteins are integral membrane proteins present in both vertebrates and invertebrates that participate in cellular communication. These proteins form gap junction channels, which connect the cytoplasm of neighboring cells or non-junctional channels that connect the intra- and extracellular milieu. Interestingly, Trypanosoma cruzi modulates the expression of proteins of the gap junction family or modify the activity of the channels formed by these proteins in host cells. Moreover, Lucifer yellow microinjected into fibroblast was incorporated into associated trypanosomes of Trypanosoma musculi, suggesting the possibility of direct communication via gap junction channels between them. In this chapter, we summarized the current knowledge about the possible roles of gap junction family proteins in Chagas disease.
Part of the book: Biology of Trypanosoma cruzi