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J Biol Chem. 2013 Feb 8;288(6):4462-74. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.423467. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Regulation of H2O2 stress-responsive genes through a novel transcription factor in the protozoan pathogen Entamoeba histolytica.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Outcome of infection depends upon complex interactions between the invading pathogen and the host. As part of the host's innate immune response, the release of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species by phagocytes represents a major obstacle to the establishment of infection. The ability of the human parasite Entamoeba histolytica to survive reactive oxygen and nitrogen species is central to its pathogenic potential and contributes to disease outcome. In order to define the transcriptional network associated with oxidative stress, we utilized the MEME and MAST programs to analyze the promoter regions of 57 amoebic genes that had increased expression specifically in response to H(2)O(2) exposure. We functionally characterized an H(2)O(2)-regulatory motif (HRM) ((1)AAACCTCAATGAAGA(15)), which was enriched in these promoters and specifically bound amoebic nuclear protein(s). Assays with promoter-luciferase fusions established the importance of key residues and that the HRM motif directly impacted the ability of H(2)O(2)-responsive promoters to drive gene expression. DNA affinity chromatography and mass spectrometry identified EHI_108720 as an HRM DNA-binding protein. Overexpression and down-regulation of EHI_108720 demonstrated the specificity of EHI_108720 protein binding to the HRM, and overexpression increased basal expression from an H(2)O(2)-responsive wild-type promoter but not from its mutant counterpart. Thus, EHI_108720, or HRM-binding protein, represents a new stress-responsive transcription factor in E. histolytica that controls a transcriptional regulatory network associated with oxidative stress. Overexpression of EHI_108720 increased parasite virulence. Insight into how E. histolytica responds to oxidative stress increases our understanding of how this important human pathogen establishes invasive disease.

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