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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 479146, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/479146
Review Article

Possible Roles of Ectophosphatases in Host-Parasite Interactions

1Instituto de Bioquímica Médica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bloco H, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia de Biologia Estrutural e Bioimagem (INCTBEB), CCS, Bloco H, Cidade Universitária, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Instituto de Microbiologia Professor Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bloco H, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 22 November 2010; Revised 7 February 2011; Accepted 1 March 2011

Academic Editor: Barbara Papadopoulou

Copyright © 2011 Marta T. Gomes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The interaction and survival of pathogens in hostile environments and in confrontation with host immune responses are important mechanisms for the establishment of infection. Ectophosphatases are enzymes localized at the plasma membrane of cells, and their active sites face the external medium rather than the cytoplasm. Once activated, these enzymes are able to hydrolyze phosphorylated substrates in the extracellular milieu. Several studies demonstrated the presence of surface-located ecto-phosphatases in a vast number of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Little is known about the role of ecto-phosphatases in host-pathogen interactions. The present paper provides an overview of recent findings related to the virulence induced by these surface molecules in protozoa and fungi.