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Parasitol Today. 1997 May;13(5):178-83.


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Department of Molecular Biology, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine Bernhard-Nocht.-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.


The enormous cytolytic potential of Entamoeba histolytica appeals to parasitologists and immunologists because it kills target cells in a contact-dependent reaction resembling that of cytotoxic lymphocytes. In this review, Matthias Leippe summarizes what is currently known about a family of pore-forming peptides termed 'amoebapores', to which the cytolytic effect has been attributed, and describes the structural and functional properties of these potent factors, as well as their structure-activity relationships. Finally, a comparison is made with effector molecules of the mammalian defensive system.

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