Nematode Aminopeptidases

Brooks, DR and Isaac, RE 2004, 'Nematode Aminopeptidases' , in: Aminopeptidases in Biology and Disease , Proteases in Biology and Disease, 2 , Springer, New York, pp. 309-329.

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The free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has proven to be an excellent model organism for studying animal development and neurobiology. Analysis of the fully sequenced genome of C. elegans predicts that there are ~19,000 genes, of which ~ 2% are proteases. The function of most of these predicted proteases is unknown, though as exemplified by pioneering studies of programmed cell death and the recognition of the key role played by one caspase (ced-3), it is possible that the C. elegans protease repertoire may allow further insights into fundamental biological processes. The aminopeptidase family of C. elegans is relatively large and the use of reverse genetics and gene deletion mutants has shown that some family members have roles in embryogenesis, the germ line and growth. Expression pattern analysis indicates that other family members are likely to have roles in neurobiology, osmoregulation and digestion. A significant proportion of C. elegans aminopeptidases lack crucial active site residues, abrogating a direct role in the hydrolysis of peptide substrates. These so-called non-peptidase homologues include nicastrin, which has been shown using C. elegans deletion mutants to have a key role in Notch signalling. The functions of some of the C. elegans aminopeptidases are most probably conserved in animal and plant parasitic nematodes. Nevertheless, given the complexity of parasite life-cycles, parasitic nematode aminopeptidases are likely to have evolved novel biological roles, the best characterised to date being immunomodulation and immunoprotection. These studies are now being exploited to allow parasite aminopeptidases to be used as a novel therapeutic strategy for inflammatory diseases and also as vaccine candidates for the control of livestock infections.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Hooper, NM and Lendeckel, U
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Biomedical Research Centre
Publisher: Springer
Refereed: Yes
Series Name: Proteases in Biology and Disease
ISBN: 9780306484650; 9781461346982; 9781441988690
Depositing User: DR Brooks
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2010 11:13
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 17:49

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