Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 553–557 | Cite as

Galactose/N-acetylgalactosamine lectin: The coordinator of host cell killing

  • Douglas R. Boettner
  • Christopher Huston
  • William A. Petri


Entamoeba histolytica is an enteric parasite that can kill host cells via a contact-dependent mechanism. This killing involves the amoebic surface protein referred to as the Gal/GalNAc lectin. The Gal/GalNAc lectin binds galactose and N-acetylgalactosamine allowing the adherence of amoebas to host cells. Involvement of the lectin in the pathogenesis ofE. histolytica infection will be reviewed in this paper. The lectin has been shown to have very specific and substantial effects on adherence, cytotoxicity, and encystation. There is also possible involvement of the lectin in phagocytosis and caspase activation in host cells.


Entamoeba histolytica Gal/GalNAc lectin host cell killing 

Abbreviations used


carbohydrate recognition domain




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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas R. Boettner
    • 1
  • Christopher Huston
    • 1
    • 2
  • William A. Petri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Infectious DiseaseUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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