Author(s): Byers J, Eichinger D
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Abstract Treatment of higher eukaryotic cells with short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate causes decreased levels of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and hyperacetylation of histones, and thereby affects gene expression, cell growth and differentiation. Entamoeba parasites encounter high levels of SCFA in the host colon, and in vitro these compounds allow trophozoite stage parasites to multiply but prevent their differentiation into infectious cysts. The Entamoeba invadens IP-1 histone H4 protein has an unusual number of lysines in its N-terminus, and these become hyperacetylated in trophozoites exposed to the HDAC inhibitors trichostatin A (TSA) or HC-toxin, but not in trophozoites exposed to butyrate. We have now found that several other commonly studied isolates of Entamoeba parasites also have an extended set of histone H4 acetylation sites that become hyperacetylated in response to TSA, but hypoacetylated in response to butyrate, suggesting an unusual sensitivity of this parasite's histone modifying enzymes to SCFA. Butyrate was found to enter trophozoites in a pH-dependent manner consistent with diffusive entry of the un-ionised form of the fatty acid into the amoebae. Transit of the Entamoeba organism through areas of the host intestine with distinct pH and SCFA concentrations would therefore result in very different levels of SCFA within the parasite. Entamoeba appears to have acquired unique alterations of its histone acetylation mechanism that may allow for its growth in the presence of varying amounts of the bacterial fermentation products.
This article was published in Int J Parasitol
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy