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PloS one

Gene expression profiling in Entamoeba histolytica identifies key components in iron uptake and metabolism.


PMID 25210888

Abstract

Entamoeba histolytica is an ameboid parasite that causes colonic dysentery and liver abscesses in humans. The parasite encounters dramatic changes in iron concentration during its invasion of the host, with relatively low levels in the intestinal lumen and then relatively high levels in the blood and liver. The liver notably contains sources of iron; therefore, the parasite's ability to use these sources might be relevant to its survival in the liver and thus the pathogenesis of liver abscesses. The objective of the present study was to identify factors involved in iron uptake, use and storage in E. histolytica. We compared the respective transcriptomes of E. histolytica trophozoites grown in normal medium (containing around 169 µM iron), low-iron medium (around 123 µM iron), iron-deficient medium (around 91 µM iron), and iron-deficient medium replenished with hemoglobin. The differentially expressed genes included those coding for the ATP-binding cassette transporters and major facilitator transporters (which share homology with bacterial siderophores and heme transporters) and genes involved in heme biosynthesis and degradation. Iron deficiency was associated with increased transcription of genes encoding a subset of cell signaling molecules, some of which have previously been linked to adaptation to the intestinal environment and virulence. The present study is the first to have assessed the transcriptome of E. histolytica grown under various iron concentrations. Our results provide insights into the pathways involved in iron uptake and metabolism in this parasite.

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