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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 1749-1761
Review Article

Protein Disulfide Isomerase and Host-Pathogen Interaction

1Department of Parasitology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Cardiovascular Division, British Heart Foundation Centre, King's College London, 125 Coldharbour Lane, London SE5 9NU, UK
3Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
4Department of Parasitology, School of Medicine of Jundiaí, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
5School of Medicine and Tropical Medicine Institute, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
6Vascular Biology Laboratory, Heart Institute (InCor), São Paulo, Brazil

Received 3 June 2011; Accepted 7 September 2011

Academic Editor: Mauro Perretti

Copyright © 2011 Beatriz S. Stolf 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.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by immunological cells is known to cause damage to pathogens. Increasing evidence accumulated in the last decade has shown, however, that ROS (and redox signals) functionally regulate different cellular pathways in the host-pathogen interaction. These especially affect (i) pathogen entry through protein redox switches and redox modification (i.e., intra- and interdisulfide and cysteine oxidation) and (ii) phagocytic ROS production via Nox family NADPH oxidase enzyme and the control of phagolysosome function with key implications for antigen processing. The protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) family of redox chaperones is closely involved in both processes and is also implicated in protein unfolding and trafficking across the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and towards the cytosol, a thiol-based redox locus for antigen processing. Here, we summarise examples of the cellular association of host PDI with different pathogens and explore the possible roles of pathogen PDIs in infection. A better understanding of these complex regulatory steps will provide insightful information on the redox role and coevolutional biological process, and assist the development of more specific therapeutic strategies in pathogen-mediated infections.