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Int J Parasitol. 2000 Apr 10;30(4):401-10.

The genome of Entamoeba histolytica.

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  • 1School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi, India.


Estimation of genome size of Entamoeba histolytica by different methods has failed to give comparable values due to the inherent complexities of the organism, such as the uncertain level of ploidy, presence of multinucleated cells and a poorly demarcated cell division cycle. The genome of E. histolytica has a low G+C content (22.4%), and is composed of both linear chromosomes and a number of circular plasmid-like molecules. The rRNA genes are located exclusively on some of the circular DNAs. Karyotype analysis by pulsed field gel electrophoresis suggests the presence of 14 conserved linkage groups and an extensive size variation between homologous chromosomes from different isolates. Several repeat families have been identified, some of which have been shown to be present in all the electrophoretically separated chromosomes. The typical nucleosomal structure has not been demonstrated, though most of the histone genes have been identified. Most Entamoeba genes lack introns, have short 3' and 5' untranslated regions, and are tightly packed. Promoter analysis revealed the presence of three conserved motifs and several upstream regulatory elements. Unlike typical eukaryotes, the transcription of protein coding genes is alpha-amanitin resistant. Expressed Sequence Tag analysis has identified a group of highly abundant polyadenylated RNAs which are unlikely to be translated. The Expressed Sequence Tag approach has also helped identify several important genes which encode proteins that may be involved in different biochemical pathways, signal transduction mechanisms and organellar functions.

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