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Exp Parasitol. 2006 Sep;114(1):57-61. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Entamoeba histolytica: differences in phagosome acidification and degradation between attenuated and virulent strains.

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  • 1Department of Parasitology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma 371-851, Japan.


Phagocytosis is the important virulent determinant of the enteric protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica. We compared the kinetics of phagosome maturation of attenuated and highly-virulent strains of E. histolytica using video microscopy. Phagosomes of attenuated strains were acidified rapidly within 2 min after phagosome formation (at the rate of 0.96 pH/min), persisted at pH 4.46+/-0.13, and degraded ingested GFP-Leishmania very efficiently (90-94% GFP fluorescence was lost in 30 min), while phagosomes of highly-virulent strains were acidified slowly (0.69 pH/min), persisted at 5.11+/-0.23, and degraded GFP less efficiently (60-71% decrease). These results suggest that efficiency of phagosome maturation is most probably inversely correlated with apparent virulence.

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