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Cell Microbiol. 2001 Jan;3(1):13-20.

Overexpression of cysteine proteinase 2 in Entamoeba histolytica or Entamoeba dispar increases amoeba-induced monolayer destruction in vitro but does not augment amoebic liver abscess formation in gerbils.

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Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.


To study the role of cysteine proteinases in the pathogenicity of Entamoeba histolytica, we have attempted to overexpress the three main cysteine proteinases (EhCP1, EhCP2, EhCP5) of this parasite in trophozoites of E. histolytica as well as in non-pathogenic Entamoeba dispar by episomal transfection. Although each of the corresponding coding sequences were cloned in identical expression plasmids, we were unable to overexpress EhCP1 and EhCP5, respectively, but could substantially induce expression of EhCP2 in both amoeba species by sevenfold, leading to a threefold increase in total cysteine proteinase activity. Overexpression of EhCP2 did not influence expression of other cysteine proteinases and could be attributed to an increase of a single 35 kDa activity band in substrate gel electrophoresis. In contrast to previous findings, which indicated that amoeba cysteine proteinases are involved in erythrophagocytosis and liver abscess formation, cells overexpressing EhCP2 showed no difference in erythrophagocytosis or liver abscess formation compared with respective controls. However, overexpression of EhCP2 in both amoeba species resulted in a marked increase of in vitro monolayer destruction.

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