The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy

Mechanism of trifluoromethionine resistance in Entamoeba histolytica.

PMID 21676903


To determine the mechanism of trifluoromethionine resistance in Entamoeba histolytica and evaluate the impact of acquired drug resistance on virulence. Trifluoromethionine-resistant amoebae were selected in vitro and examined for cross-resistance to antiamoebic drugs, stability of resistance, methionine γ-lyase (MGL) activity, cell adhesion and virulence. Targeted gene silencing was performed to confirm the role of EhMGL. Trophozoites with a resistance index of 154 were obtained. The cells were susceptible to chloroquine, metronidazole, paromomycin and tinidazole, but remained resistant to trifluoromethionine in the absence of drug pressure. A complete lack of EhMGL activity accompanied by increased adhesion and decreased cytolysis were also observed. Silencing of the EhMGL genes resulted in trifluoromethionine resistance. This study provides the first demonstration of trifluoromethionine resistance in a parasitic protozoon. Repression of gene expression of drug targets represents a novel mechanism of resistance in E. histolytica. The information obtained from this work should help further development of trifluoromethionine derivatives that have lower chances of inducing resistance.