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Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 21;6:35852. doi: 10.1038/srep35852.

Extensive transcriptome analysis correlates the plasticity of Entamoeba histolytica pathogenesis to rapid phenotype changes depending on the environment.

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Institut Pasteur, Cell Biology of Parasitism Unit, F-75015 Paris, France.
Inserm, U786, F-75015 Paris, France.
Institut Pasteur, Transcriptome and EpiGenome, BioMics, Center for Innovation and Technological Research, F-75015, Paris, France.
Institut Pasteur, Hub Bioinformatique et Biostatistique - Centre de Bioinformatique, Biostatistique et Biologie Intégrative (C3BI, USR 3756 IP CNRS) - F-75015 Paris, France.
Universidad Autonoma de la Ciudad de Mexico, Genomics Sciences Program, Mexico City, Mexico.


Amoebiasis is a human infectious disease due to the amoeba parasite Entamoeba histolytica. The disease appears in only 20% of the infections. Diversity in phenotypes may occur within the same infectious strain in the gut; for instance, parasites can be commensal (in the intestinal lumen) or pathogenic (inside the tissue). The degree of pathogenesis of clinical isolates varies greatly. These findings raise the hypothesis that genetic derivation may account for amoebic diverse phenotypes. The main goal of this study was to analyse gene expression changes of a single virulent amoebic strain in different environmental contexts where it exhibit different degrees of virulence, namely isolated from humans and maintained through animal liver passages, in contact with the human colon and short or prolonged in vitro culture. The study reveals major transcriptome changes in virulent parasites upon contact with human colon explants, including genes related to sugar metabolism, cytoskeleton rearrangement, stress responses and DNA repair. Furthermore, in long-term cultured parasites, drastic changes in gene expression for proteins with functions for proteasome and tRNA activities were found. Globally we conclude that rapid changes in gene expression rather than genetic derivation can sustain the invasive phenotype of a single virulent isolate of E. histolytica.

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