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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2006 Jun;147(2):163-76. Epub 2006 Mar 7.

Impact of intestinal colonization and invasion on the Entamoeba histolytica transcriptome.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908-1340, USA. cg2p@virginia.edu


A genome-wide transcriptional analysis of Entamoeba histolytica was performed on trophozoites isolated from the colon of six infected mice and from in vitro culture. An Affymetrix platform gene expression array was designed for this analysis that included probe sets for 9435 open reading frames (ORFs) and 9066 5' and 3' flanking regions. Transcripts were detected for > 80% of all ORFs. A total of 523 transcripts (5.2% of all E. histolytica genes) were significantly changed in amebae isolated from the intestine on Days 1 and 29 after infection: 326 and 109 solely on Days 1 and 29, and 88 on both days. Quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR confirmed these changes in 11/12 genes tested using mRNA isolated from an additional six mice. Adaptation to the intestinal environment was accompanied by increases in a subset of cell signaling genes including transmembrane kinases, ras and rho family GTPases, and calcium binding proteins. Significant decreases in mRNA abundance for genes involved in glycolysis and concomitant increases in lipases were consistent with a change in energy metabolism. Defense against bacteria present in the intestine (but lacking from in vitro culture) was suggested by alterations in mRNA levels of genes similar to the AIG1 plant antibacterial proteins. Decreases in oxygen detoxification pathways were observed as expected in the anaerobic colonic lumen. Of the known virulence factors the most remarkable changes were a 20-35-fold increase in a cysteine proteinase four-like gene, and a 2-3-fold decrease in two members of the Gal/GalNAc lectin light subunit family. Control of the observed changes in mRNA abundance in the intestine might potentially rest with four related proteins with DNA binding domains that were down-regulated 6-16-fold in the intestinal environment. In conclusion, the first genome-wide analysis of the transcriptome of E. histolytica demonstrated that the vast majority of genes are transcribed in trophozoites, and that in the host intestine trophozoites altered the expression of mRNAs for genes implicated in metabolism, oxygen defense, cell signaling, virulence, antibacterial activity, and DNA binding.

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