Microbial peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerases (ppIases): virulence factors and potential alternative drug targets
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Initially discovered in the context of immunomodulation, peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerases (PPIases) were soon identified as enzymes catalyzing the rate-limiting protein folding step at peptidyl bonds preceding proline residues. Intense searches revealed that PPIases are a superfamily of proteins consisting of three structurally distinguishable families with representatives in every described species of prokaryote and eukaryote and, recently, even in some giant viruses. Despite the clear-cut enzymatic activity and ubiquitous distribution of PPIases, reports on solely PPIase-dependent biological roles remain scarce. Nevertheless, they have been found to be involved in a plethora of biological processes, such as gene expression, signal transduction, protein secretion, development, and tissue regeneration, underscoring their general importance. Hence, it is not surprising that PPIases have also been identified as virulence-associated proteins. The extent of contribution to virulence is highly variable and dependent on the pleiotropic roles of a single PPIase in the respective pathogen. The main objective of this review is to discuss this variety in virulence-related bacterial and protozoan PPIases as well as the involvement of host PPIases in infectious processes. Moreover, a special focus is given to Legionella pneumophila macrophage infectivity potentiator (Mip) and Mip-like PPIases of other pathogens, as the best-characterized virulence-related representatives of this family. Finally, the potential of PPIases as alternative drug targets and first tangible results are highlighted.