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Glycoconj J. 1997 Nov;14(7):879-82.

Glycosidases in mucin-dwelling protozoans.

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School of Biological and Health Sciences, University of Westminster, London, UK.


A range of protozoans were tested for the presence of glycosidases using p-nitrophenyl sugars as substrates. Some of the organisms were mucin dwellers whereas others were blood borne parasites. It had been hypothesized that glycosidase production would be significantly higher in the mucin dwellers. The results obtained demonstrated that the urogenital protozoans Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas vaginalis produced a vast range of glycosidases which included those required for mucin breakdown. The gut dwelling protozoans Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica both produced beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase. G.lamblia also had detectable beta N-acetylgalactosaminidase activity, and small amounts of beta mannosidase were found in the extracts from E. histolytica. In contrast, little or no glycosidase activity was detected under the same experimental conditions in Leishmania donovani, Trypanosoma brucei or T. cruzi. The mucin dwelling protozoans all produce beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase but only the Trichomonads produced the range of enzymes required for complete breakdown of mucin. This seems to suggest that mucin breakdown is not a characteristic of all mucin dwelling protozoans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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