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Parasitol Int. 2008 Dec;57(4):417-23. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2008.04.013. Epub 2008 May 15.

Degradation of human secretory IgA1 and IgA2 by Entamoeba histolytica surface-associated proteolytic activity.

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  • 1Instituto de Investigacion en Biologia Experimental, Facultad de Quimica, Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico.


The protozoan Entamoeba histolytica is the etiological agent of amebiasis, an infection with high prevalence worldwide. The host-ameba relationship outcome depends on parasite and host factors, and among these is secretory IgA. These antibodies reduce mucosal colonization by pathogens and neutralize a variety of toxins and enzymes. The functionality of secretory IgA depends on its integrity. Some bacteria produce IgA proteases that cleave mainly the IgA1 subclass; live E. histolytica trophozoites, and other ameba fractions are also able to degrade human IgA. The aim of this study was to determine if serum and secretory IgA, its subclasses and secretory component, are degraded by cysteine proteases, which are present and active on the surface of glutaraldehyde-fixed amebas. It was observed that secretory IgA1, IgA2, free and IgA-bound secretory component were degraded by E. histolytica surface-associated cysteine proteinases. Secretory IgA2, although it was degraded, conserved its ability to agglutinate live amebas better than IgA1. Therefore, while specificity of known ameba cysteine proteases is cathepsin B-like and is different from bacterial IgA proteases, IgA2 was functionally more resistant than IgA1 to ameba surface-associated cysteine protease degradation, similar to the greater resistance of IgA2 to bacterial IgA-specific proteases.

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