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