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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jul;33(2):327-37.

Antisense inhibition of expression of the light subunit (35 kDa) of the Gal/GalNac lectin complex inhibits Entamoeba histolytica virulence.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


One of the under-represented genes identified by cDNA representational difference analysis (RDA) between avirulent Entamoeba histolytica strain Rahman and virulent strain HM-1:IMSS was the amoebic light (35 kDa) subunit of the Gal/GalNac lectin complex. This lectin complex, which mediates the adhesion of the parasite to the target cell, also contains a heavy (170 kDa) subunit, which has the carbohydrate-binding domain. Stable transfectants of the virulent strain in which the expression of the 35 kDa subunit was inhibited by antisense RNA were not significantly affected in their adhesion activity to mammalian or bacterial cells but were strongly inhibited in their cytopathic activity, cytotoxic activity and in their ability to induce the formation of liver lesions in hamsters. These findings suggest that the 35 kDa subunit may have a specific function in the pathogenic pathway and provides a new insight into the role of this component of the Gal/GalNac lectin complex in amoebic virulence.

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