Ecto-nucleotidases and Ecto-phosphatases from Leishmania and Trypanosoma Parasites.

Sub-cellular biochemistry

PubMedID: 24264248

Freitas-Mesquita AL, Meyer-Fernandes JR. Ecto-nucleotidases and Ecto-phosphatases from Leishmania and Trypanosoma Parasites. Subcell Biochem. 2013;74217-252.
Ecto-enzymes can be defined as membrane-bound proteins that have their active site facing the extracellular millieu. In trypanosomatids, the physiological roles of these enzymes remain to be completed elucidated; however, many important events have already been related to them, such as the survival of parasites during their complex life cycle and the successful establishment of host infection. This chapter focuses on two remarkable classes of ecto-enzymes: ecto-nucleotidases and ecto-phosphatases, summarizing their occurrence and possible physiological roles in Leishmania and Trypanosoma genera. Ecto-nucleotidases are characterized by their ability to hydrolyze extracellular nucleotides, playing an important role in purinergic signaling. By the action of these ecto-enzymes, parasites are capable of modulating the host immune system, which leads to a successful parasite infection. Furthermore, ecto-nucleotidases are also involved in the purine salvage pathway, acting in the generation of nucleosides that are able to cross plasma membrane via specialized transporters. Another important ecto-enzyme present in a vast number of pathogenic organisms is the ecto-phosphatase. These enzymes are able to hydrolyze extracellular phosphorylated substrates, releasing free inorganic phosphate that can be internalized by the cell, crossing the plasma membrane through a Pi-transporter. Ecto-phosphatases are also involved in the invasion and survival of parasite in the host cells. Several alternative functions have been suggested for these enzymes in parasites, such as participation in their proliferation, differentiation, nutrition and protection. In this context, the present chapter provides an overview of recent discoveries related to the occurrence of ecto-nucleotidase and ecto-phosphatase activities in Leishmania and Trypanosoma parasites.