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EMBO J. 1982;1(7):801-4.

An ion-channel forming protein produced by Entamoeba histolytica.


We have identified a remarkable ion-channel forming material in virulent strains of Entamoeba histolytica that may be responsible for many of the symptoms associated with amoebic dysentery. A polypeptide that we refer to as amoebapore is shed into the growth media and is also found within the amoeba in a high speed sedimentable fraction. Amoebapore has the distinctive property of spontaneously incorporating into lipid bilayers, liposomes, and cells, leading to progressive and irreversible changes in the ion conductance of the target membranes. Exposure of planar lipid bilayers to amoebapore -containing fractions under voltage clamp conditions results in an almost immediate and progressive incorporation of ion channels which continues in an irreversible manner leading to a fall in membrane impedance of up to five orders of magnitude. The ion-channel conductance is moderately cation-selective, voltage dependent, and displays a unit size of 1.6 +/- 0.2 nanoSiemens in 1 M KCl at -10 mV. In the bilayer, the amoebapore -induced conductance exhibits an in situ sensitivity to protease. Amoebapore is mainly concentrated in a fraction sedimenting at 150 000 g. It is insoluble in Triton X-100 but can be dissociated in an active state in 1% SDS. Under these conditions it has an apparent mol. wt. of 13 000 daltons.

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