Calcium-Calmodulin-Calcineurin Signaling: A Globally Conserved Virulence Cascade in Eukaryotic Microbial Pathogens.
Calcium is an abundant intracellular ion, and calcium homeostasis plays crucial roles in several cellular processes. The calcineurin signaling cascade is one of the major pathways governed by intracellular calcium. Calcineurin, a conserved protein from yeast to humans, is a calcium-calmodulin-dependent serine-threonine-specific phosphatase that orchestrates cellular stress responses. In eukaryotic microbial pathogens, calcineurin controls essential virulence pathways, such as the ability to grow at host temperature, morphogenesis to enable invasive hyphal growth, drug tolerance and resistance, cell wall integrity, and sexual development. Therefore, the calcineurin cascade is an attractive target in drug development against eukaryotic pathogens. In the present review, we summarize and discuss the current knowledge on the roles of calcineurin in eukaryotic microbial pathogens, focusing on fungi and parasitic protists.
Park, H-S; Lee, SC; Cardenas, ME; Heitman, J
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