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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2014;68:493-520. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091313-103550. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Regulation of virulence of Entamoeba histolytica.

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Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908; email: ,


Entamoeba histolytica is the third-leading cause of parasitic mortality globally. E. histolytica infection generally does not cause symptoms, but the parasite has potent pathogenic potential. The origins, benefits, and triggers of amoebic virulence are complex. Amoebic pathogenesis entails depletion of the host mucosal barrier, adherence to the colonic lumen, cytotoxicity, and invasion of the colonic epithelium. Parasite damage results in colitis and, in some cases, disseminated disease. Both host and parasite genotypes influence the development of disease, as do the regulatory responses they govern at the host-pathogen interface. Host environmental factors determine parasite transmission and shape the colonic microenvironment E. histolytica infects. Here we highlight research that illuminates novel links between host, parasite, and environmental factors in the regulation of E. histolytica virulence.


carbohydrate utilization; microbiota; mucus; pathobiota; virulence

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