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Int J Parasitol. 2010 Jun;40(7):833-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.12.007. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

Members of the Entamoeba histolytica transmembrane kinase family play non-redundant roles in growth and phagocytosis.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908-1340, USA.


Entamoeba histolytica contains a large and novel family of transmembrane kinases (TMKs). The expression patterns of the E. histolytica TMKs in individual trophozoites and the roles of the TMKs for sensing and responding to extracellular cues were incompletely characterised. Here we provide evidence that single cells express multiple TMKs and that TMK39 and TMK54 likely serve non-redundant cellular functions. Laser-capture microdissection was used in conjunction with microarray analysis to demonstrate that single trophozoites express more than one TMK gene. Anti-peptide antibodies were raised against unique regions in the extracellular domains of TMK39, TMK54 and PaTMK, and TMK expression was analysed at the protein level. Flow cytometric assays revealed that populations of trophozoites homogeneously expressed TMK39, TMK54 and PaTMK, while confocal microscopy identified different patterns of cell surface expression for TMK39 and TMK54. The functions of TMK39 and TMK54 were probed by the inducible expression of dominant-negative mutants. While TMK39 co-localised with ingested beads and expression of truncated TMK39 interfered with trophozoite phagocytosis of apoptotic lymphocytes, expression of a truncated TMK54 inhibited growth of amoebae and altered the surface expression of the heavy subunit of the E. histolytica Gal/GalNAc lectin. Overall, our data indicates that multiple members of the novel E. histolytica TMK family are utilised for non-redundant functions by the parasite.

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