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Entamoeba histolytica activates host cell caspases during contact-dependent cell killing.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, MR4 Bldg. Room 2115, Lane Road, Charlottesville, VA 22908-1340, USA.


Entamoeba histolytica is a human intestinal parasite that causes amoebic colitis as well as liver abscesses. Host tissues are damaged through a three-step process involving adherence, contact-dependent cytolysis, and phagocytosis. These three processes all contribute to the pathogenicity of this parasite. Adherence is provided by the Gal/GalNAc adherence lectin. Host cells are lysed in a contact-dependent fashion. There is evidence that suggests that this contact-dependent killing involves the induction of the host cell's apoptotic machinery. Phagocytosis can then occur, consistent with metazoan apoptotic clearance.

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