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Exp Parasitol. 2005 Jan;109(1):27-32. Epub 2004 Dec 9.

Entamoeba invadens: cysteine protease inhibitors block excystation and metacystic development.

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  • 1Department of Tropical Medicine, Jikei University School of Medicine, 3-25-8 Nishi-shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan. makioka@jikei.ac.jp


We examined the effects of six cysteine protease inhibitors on the excystation and metacystic development of Entamoeba invadens. Excystation, which was assessed by counting the number of metacystic amoebae after the induction of excystation, was inhibited by the cysteine protease inhibitors Z-Phe-Ala-DMK and E-64d in a concentration-dependent manner during incubation compared to the controls. Neither inhibitor had a significant effect on cyst viability; thus, their inhibitory effects were not due to the toxic effect on cysts. Metacystic development, when determined by the number of nuclei in amoeba, was also inhibited by these protease inhibitors, because the percentage of 4-nucleate amoebae was higher than in the controls on Day 3 of incubation. Although other cysteine protease inhibitors, Z-Phe-Phe-DMK, E-64, ALLM, and cathepsin inhibitor III, had a weak or little effect on the excystation, they inhibited cysteine protease activity in the lysates of E. invadens cysts. Broad bands with gelatinase activity of metacystic amoebae, as well as cysts and trophozoites, were detected in the gelatin substrate gel electrophores and were inhibited by Z-Phe-Ala-DMK. There was a difference in the protease composition between cysts and trophozoites, and the protease composition of metacystic amoebae changed from cyst-type to trophozoite-type during development. These results strongly suggest that cysteine proteases contribute to the excystation and metacystic development of E. invadens, which leads to successful infection.

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