Signaling pathways involved in environmental sensing in Trypanosoma cruzi
Trypanosoma cruzi is a unicellular parasite and the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. The parasite has a digenetic life cycle alternating between mammalian and insect hosts, where it faces a variety of environmental conditions to which it must adapt in order to survive. The adaptation to these changes is mediated by signaling pathways that coordinate the cellular responses to the new environmental settings. Major environmental changes include temperature, nutrient availability, ionic composition, pH, osmolarity, oxidative stress, contact with host cells and tissues, host immune response, and intracellular life. Some of the signaling pathways and second messengers potentially involved in the response to these changes have been elucidated in recent years and will be the subject of this review.