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3′nucleotidase/nuclease in protozoan parasites: Molecular and biochemical properties and physiological roles

Freitas-Mesquita, Anita Leocadio, Meyer-Fernandes, José Roberto
Experimental parasitology 2017 v.179 pp. 1-6
Crithidia, Leishmania, adenosine, genes, immune response, macrophages, molecular weight, neutrophils, nucleic acids, nucleotides, parasites, sequence analysis, starvation, substrate specificity
3′-nucleotidase/nuclease (3′NT/NU) is a bi-functional enzyme that is able to hydrolyze 3′-monophosphorylated nucleotides and nucleic acids. This review summarizes the major molecular and biochemical properties of this enzyme in different trypanosomatid species. Sequence analysis of the gene encoding 3′NT/NU in Leishmania and Crithidia species showed that the protein possesses five highly conserved regions that are characteristic of members of the class I nuclease family. 3′NT/NU presents a molecular weight of approximately 40 kDa, which is conserved among the studied species. Throughout the review, we discuss inhibitors and substrate specificity, relating them to the putative structure of the enzyme. Finally, we present the major biological roles performed by 3′NT/NU. The involvement of 3′NT/NU in the purine salvage pathway was confirmed by the increase of activity and expression of the enzyme when the parasites were submitted to purine starvation. The generation of extracellular adenosine is also important to the modulation of the host immune response. Interaction assays involving Leishmania parasites and macrophages indicated that 3′-nucleotidase activity increases the association index between them. Recently, it was shown that 3′NT/NU plays a role in parasite escape from neutrophil extracellular traps, one of the first mechanisms of the host immune system for preventing infection.