Entamoeba histolytica Cathepsin-Like Enzymes

Interactions with the Host Gut
  • Vanessa Kissoon-Singh
  • Leanne Mortimer
  • Kris Chadee
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 712)


Cysteine proteases of the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica are key virulence factors involved in overcoming host defences. These proteases are cathepsin-like enzymes with a cathepsin-L like structure, but cathepsin-B substrate specificity. In the host intestine, amoeba cysteine proteases cleave colonic mucins and degrade secretory immunoglobulin (Ig) A and IgG rendering them ineffective. They also act on epithelial tight junctions and degrade the extracellular matrix to promote Cell death. They are involved in the destruction of red blood cells and the evasion of neutrophils and macrophages and they activate pro-inflammatory cytokines IL- 1β and IL-18. In short, amoeba cysteine proteases manipulate and destroy host defences to facilitate nutrient acquisition, parasite colonization and/or invasion. Strategies to inhibit the activity of amoeba cysteine proteases could contribute significantly to host protection against E. histolytica.


Tight Junction Cysteine Protease Mucus Layer Entamoeba Histolytica Chloromethyl Ketone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Kissoon-Singh
    • 1
  • Leanne Mortimer
    • 1
  • Kris Chadee
    • 1
  1. 1.Gastrointestinal Research GroupUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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