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Exp Parasitol. 1993 May;76(3):232-41.

Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites: a surface-associated cysteine protease.

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Departamento de Biologia Celular Centro de Investigación de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Mexico DF.


The purpose of this work was to define cell surface proteases on Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites. Molecular sizes of 2-mercaptoethanol-activated proteases were determined in several ameba cell fractions. Inhibited proteases were resolved in SDS-polyacrylamide gels and then defined by their ability to digest bovine albumin during electrophoretic migration of ameba bands through a stacking gel containing albumin. This second gel revealed nine gaps of digestion along the horizontal albumin line corresponding to proteases with molecular weights of 195, 175, 150, 124, 102, 70, 45, 36, and 28 kDa. The 70-kDa protease proved to be the most active in plasma membrane, in whole membrane fractions, and in total extracts of ameba. This protease appears to be an integral membrane component as it was reconstituted in an artificial membrane system in its active form, as well as because it was present on the surface of glutaraldehyde-fixed amebas. These results demonstrate that amebic trophozoites contain on their surface a very active protease, which may play a role in the digestion of host components.

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