Intracellular protozoan parasites are a great threat to animal and human health. To successfully disseminate through an organism these parasites must be able to enter and exit host cells efficiently and rapidly. The inhibition of invasion or egress of obligate intracellular parasites is regarded as a goal for drug development since these processes are essential for their survival and likely to require proteins unique to the parasites. Thus, a more comprehensive knowledge of invasion and egress proteins will aid in the development of drugs and vaccines against these intracellular pathogens. In recent years, the study of a particular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, has yielded valuable information on how invasion and egress are achieved by some protozoan parasites. Besides being a good model system for the study of parasite biology, Toxoplasma is an important human pathogen capable of causing devastating disease in both immunocompromised individuals and developing fetuses. The lack of effective, inexpensive and tolerable drugs against Toxoplasma makes the development of new therapies an imperative. The following review describes how the identification and in depth study, using proteomics, forward genetics and pharmacology of the Toxoplasma proteins involved in entering and exiting human cells provide an important starting point in identifying targets for drug discovery.
Keywords: Toxoplasma, Invasion, Egress, Proteases, AMA1
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