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J Protozool. 1989 Nov-Dec;36(6):538-43.

Action of the major protease from Entamoeba histolytica on proteins of the extracellular matrix.

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University of Osnabrück, Department of Biology/Chemistry, Federal Republic of Germany.


The action of the major protease from the parasitic protozoon Entamoeba histolytica, a cysteine protease of Mr 27,000-29,000, on some important proteins of the extracellular matrix has been studied. The isolated protease degraded the extracellular matrix proteins from human tissue collagen type IV and V as well as laminin and fibronectin with different velocities and specificities under native conditions. Whereas the degradation of fibronectin and laminin proceeded rapidly, yielding distinct fragment patterns, the breakdown of the collagen types happened more slowly and incompletely. The digestion of the denatured isolated alpha 2-chain of bovine collagen type I was very fast and unspecific requiring only 1/10 of the enzyme activities as compared with the other substrates mentioned above. Nearly 85% of the overall proteolytic activity of a soluble fraction of E. histolytica was strongly inhibited by antibodies against the purified histolytic protease as well as by cystatin from chicken egg white, a specific protein inhibitor of cysteine proteases. We conclude that the histolytic protease represents by far the highest portion of soluble proteolytic activity in E. histolytica which is sufficient to destroy the extracellular matrix of the host.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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