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Aminopeptidases N are metalloproteases of the M1 family that have been reported in numerous apicomplexan parasites, including Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Eimeria. While investigating the potency of aminopeptidases as therapeutic targets against coccidiosis, one of the most important avian diseases caused by the genus Eimeria, we identified and characterized Eimeria tenella aminopeptidase N1 (EtAPN1). Its inhibition by bestatin and amastatin, as well as its reactivation by divalent ions, is typical of zinc-dependent metalloproteases. EtAPN1 shared a similar sequence, three-dimensional structure, and substrate specificity and similar kinetic parameters with A-M1 from Plasmodium falciparum (PfA-M1), a validated target in the treatment of malaria. EtAPN1 is synthesized as a 120-kDa precursor and cleaved into 96-, 68-, and 38-kDa forms during sporulation. Further, immunolocalization assays revealed that, similar to PfA-M1, EtAPN1 is present during the intracellular life cycle stages in both the parasite cytoplasm and the parasite nucleus. The present results support the hypothesis of a conserved role between the two aminopeptidases, and we suggest that EtAPN1 might be a valuable target for anticoccidiosis drugs. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Simon Gras, Anna Byzia, Florence B Gilbert, Sheena McGowan, Marcin Drag, Anne Silvestre, Alisson Niepceron, Fabien Lecaille, Gilles Lalmanach, Fabien Brossier. Aminopeptidase N1 (EtAPN1), an M1 metalloprotease of the apicomplexan parasite Eimeria tenella, participates in parasite development. Eukaryotic cell. 2014 Jul;13(7):884-95

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PMID: 24839124

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