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The small GTPase EhRabB of Entamoeba histolytica is differentially expressed during phagocytosis


It has been described that the pathogenicity of Entamoeba histolytica is influenced by environmental conditions and that transcription profile changes occur during invasion, suggesting that gene expression may be involved in the virulence of this parasite. However, the molecular mechanisms that are implicated in the control of gene expression in this microorganism are poorly understood. Here, we showed that the expression of the EhRabB protein, a small GTPase involved in phagocytosis, is modified through the interaction with red blood cells. By ELISA, Western blot, and immunofluorescence assays, we observed that the expression of EhRabB diminished after 5 min of the interaction of trophozoites with red blood cells, but protein level was recovered at subsequent times. In the EhRabB amino acid sequence, we found two lysine residues that could be target for ubiquitin modification and trigger the degradation of this GTPase at early times of phagocytosis. The analysis of the expression of the EhrabB mRNA showed that the interaction of trophozoites with red blood cells produces a drastic diminishing in its half-life. In addition, promoter assays using the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene and electrophoretic mobility shift assays experiments showed that the URE1 motif located in the promoter region of EhrabB is involved in the expression regulation of this gene during phagocytosis. Moreover, the immunolocalization of the URE1-binding protein during phagocytosis indicated that the transcription of the EhrabB gene is determined, at least in part, by the translocation of this transcription factor to nuclei. These results suggested that the expression of particular genes of this parasite is controlled at several stages.

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This work was supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT, Mexico). We thank Iván J. Galván for his invaluable technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Mario A. Rodríguez.

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Hernandes-Alejandro, M., Calixto-Gálvez, M., López-Reyes, I. et al. The small GTPase EhRabB of Entamoeba histolytica is differentially expressed during phagocytosis. Parasitol Res 112, 1631–1640 (2013).

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  • Amebiasis
  • Entamoeba Histolytica
  • Chloramphenicol Acetyltransferase
  • Isopeptide Bond
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay Experiment