Author(s): Bruchhaus I, Roeder T, Lotter H, Schwerdtfeger M, Tannich E
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Abstract The majority of human infections with the intestinal protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica remain asymptomatic. In a small proportion of infections, however, E. histolytica trophozoites penetrate the intestinal mucosa and disseminate to other organs, most commonly to the liver, where they induce abscess formation. It is believed that the ability of E. histolytica trophozoites to destroy host tissues and to survive within the liver is accomplished by a strong adaptive response, which requires the specific regulation of a number of amoeba proteins. Using differential display polymerase chain reaction (DD-PCR), we compared RNA expression between E. histolytica trophozoites isolated from liver abscesses of infected gerbils and those grown under normal culture conditions. A total of 3000 cDNA-derived amplicons were compared between the two groups of amoebae, which were calculated to represent about one-third of all E. histolytica mRNA species (transcriptome). Among these, 55 were found to be specifically present or absent in abscess-derived amoebae, of which 42 were successfully cloned and sequenced. Database searches and Northern blot analyses revealed that the 42 amplicons correspond to 29 independent E. histolytica genes, of which at least seven are specifically upregulated and five are downregulated in abscess-derived amoebae. Specific expression of most of these genes was not simply the result of a heat shock response, which might be expected during abscess formation, as only five of the genes revealed an expression profile similar to that found in amoebae cultured under elevated temperatures. The two genes specifically downregulated in abscess-derived amoebae encode members of a family of so far unknown proteins, which contain repetitive stretches of sequences that are rich in lysine and glutamic acid residues. In contrast, a diverse set of genes is specifically upregulated, encoding ribosomal proteins (S30, L37A), cyclophilin, ferredoxin 2 and GTP-binding protein RAB7D, supporting the notion that liver abscess formation requires the regulation and concerted action of a variety of amoeba proteins. These proteins are associated with stress response, signal transduction, regulation of transcription and vesicular trafficking. However, transcriptome analysis will not be sufficient to identify all proteins specifically upregulated during abscess formation, as at least an increase in the expression of actin was found to be regulated at the post-transcriptional level.
This article was published in Mol Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy