The aim of this review is to gather the current knowledge of Trypanosoma cruzi's virulence factors described to date in an integrative way, relating these with the parasite's life cycle and trying to elucidate their importance in each process. Several aspects relevant for the parasite's survival, such as invasion, resistance to oxidative damage, escape from the phagolysosomal vacuole and differentiation, among others, will be discussed. However, there is still a lot to learn about what virulence really means in T. cruzi and which parasite molecules are absolutely required to make T. cruzi one of the most successful pathogens to invade, survive and persist in a mammalian host.
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