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The role of Cryptosporidium parvum-derived phospholipase in intestinal epithelial cell invasion


In the Cryptosporidium parvum-infected intestinal epithelial cell, the parasite occupies an unusual extracytoplasmic location at the luminal surface, but how the invading zoites interact with the host cell to achieve this niche is poorly understood. This study examined the role of secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2), a known virulence factor for several pathogenic microorganisms, in establishing C. parvum intracellularly. Initially, it was established that there was sPLA2 activity in homogenates of C. parvum oocysts. C. parvum reproduction in two human enterocyte cell lines was significantly reduced by a specific PLA inhibitor, p-bromophenacylbromide, and by sheep anti-sPLA2 antibodies developed against PLA2 of bee (Apis mellifera) venom. Treatment of either C. parvum sporozoites or enterocytes with sPLA2 derived from cobra (Naja naja) venom before initiation of infection increased the numbers of intracellular parasites. Thus, C. parvum PLA2 may play an important part in establishing the parasite within the enterocyte.

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R.C.G.P. is supported by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship and V.M. by a Wellcome Trust project grant. We wish to thank our colleague Dr. L. Mayer for providing the isolate of H. pylori.

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Correspondence to R. C. G. Pollok.

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Pollok, R.C.G., McDonald, V., Kelly, P. et al. The role of Cryptosporidium parvum-derived phospholipase in intestinal epithelial cell invasion. Parasitol Res 90, 181–186 (2003).

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  • Host Cell
  • Parasite Development
  • Parasitophorous Vacuole
  • Host Cell Membrane
  • Important Virulence Factor