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In the class Kinetoplastida, we find an order of parasitic protozoans classified as Trypanosomatids. Three major pathogens form part of this order, Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei, and Leishmania, which are responsible for disease and fatalities in millions of humans worldwide, especially in non-industrialized countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions. In order to develop new drugs and treatments, the physiology of these pathogenic protozoans has been studied in detail, specifically the significance of membrane transporters in host parasites interactions. Aquaporins and Aquaglyceroporins (AQPs) are a part of the major intrinsic proteins (MIPs) super-family. AQPs are characterized for their ability to facilitate the diffusion of water (aquaporin), glycerol (aquaglyceroporin), and other small-uncharged solutes. Furthermore, AQPs have been shown to allow the ubiquitous passage of some metalloids, such as trivalent arsenic and antimony. These trivalent metalloids are the active ingredient of a number of chemotherapeutic agents used against certain cancers and protozoan parasitic infections. Recently, the importance of the AQPs not only in osmotic adaptations but also as a factor in drug resistance of the trypanosomatid parasites has been reported. In this review, we will describe the physiological functions of aquaporins and their effect in drug response across the different trypanosomatids.
Mandal, G.; Orta, J.F.; Sharma, M.; Mukhopadhyay, R. Trypanosomatid Aquaporins: Roles in Physiology and Drug Response. Diseases 2014, 2, 3-23.
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