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      Proteases from Entamoeba spp. and Pathogenic Free-Living Amoebae as Virulence Factors

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          Abstract

          The standard reference for pathogenic and nonpathogenic amoebae is the human parasite Entamoeba histolytica; a direct correlation between virulence and protease expression has been demonstrated for this amoeba. Traditionally, proteases are considered virulence factors, including those that produce cytopathic effects in the host or that have been implicated in manipulating the immune response. Here, we expand the scope to other amoebae, including less-pathogenic Entamoeba species and highly pathogenic free-living amoebae. In this paper, proteases that affect mucin, extracellular matrix, immune system components, and diverse tissues and cells are included, based on studies in amoebic cultures and animal models. We also include proteases used by amoebae to degrade iron-containing proteins because iron scavenger capacity is currently considered a virulence factor for pathogens. In addition, proteases that have a role in adhesion and encystation, which are essential for establishing and transmitting infection, are discussed. The study of proteases and their specific inhibitors is relevant to the search for new therapeutic targets and to increase the power of drugs used to treat the diseases caused by these complex microorganisms.

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          Amoebiasis.

          Amoebiasis is the second leading cause of death from parasitic disease worldwide. The causative protozoan parasite, Entamoeba histolytica, is a potent pathogen. Secreting proteinases that dissolve host tissues, killing host cells on contact, and engulfing red blood cells, E histolytica trophozoites invade the intestinal mucosa, causing amoebic colitis. In some cases amoebas breach the mucosal barrier and travel through the portal circulation to the liver, where they cause abscesses consisting of a few E histolytica trophozoites surrounding dead and dying hepatocytes and liquefied cellular debris. Amoebic liver abscesses grow inexorably and, at one time, were almost always fatal, but now even large abscesses can be cured by one dose of antibiotic. Evidence that what we thought was a single species based on morphology is, in fact, two genetically distinct species--now termed Entamoeba histolytica (the pathogen) and Entamoeba dispar (a commensal)--has turned conventional wisdom about the epidemiology and diagnosis of amoebiasis upside down. New models of disease have linked E histolytica induction of intestinal inflammation and hepatocyte programmed cell death to the pathogenesis of amoebic colitis and amoebic liver abscess.
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            The genome of the protist parasite Entamoeba histolytica.

            Entamoeba histolytica is an intestinal parasite and the causative agent of amoebiasis, which is a significant source of morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Here we present the genome of E. histolytica, which reveals a variety of metabolic adaptations shared with two other amitochondrial protist pathogens: Giardia lamblia and Trichomonas vaginalis. These adaptations include reduction or elimination of most mitochondrial metabolic pathways and the use of oxidative stress enzymes generally associated with anaerobic prokaryotes. Phylogenomic analysis identifies evidence for lateral gene transfer of bacterial genes into the E. histolytica genome, the effects of which centre on expanding aspects of E. histolytica's metabolic repertoire. The presence of these genes and the potential for novel metabolic pathways in E. histolytica may allow for the development of new chemotherapeutic agents. The genome encodes a large number of novel receptor kinases and contains expansions of a variety of gene families, including those associated with virulence. Additional genome features include an abundance of tandemly repeated transfer-RNA-containing arrays, which may have a structural function in the genome. Analysis of the genome provides new insights into the workings and genome evolution of a major human pathogen.
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              The ferritins: molecular properties, iron storage function and cellular regulation.

              The iron storage protein, ferritin, plays a key role in iron metabolism. Its ability to sequester the element gives ferritin the dual functions of iron detoxification and iron reserve. The importance of these functions is emphasised by ferritin's ubiquitous distribution among living species. Ferritin's three-dimensional structure is highly conserved. All ferritins have 24 protein subunits arranged in 432 symmetry to give a hollow shell with an 80 A diameter cavity capable of storing up to 4500 Fe(III) atoms as an inorganic complex. Subunits are folded as 4-helix bundles each having a fifth short helix at roughly 60 degrees to the bundle axis. Structural features of ferritins from humans, horse, bullfrog and bacteria are described: all have essentially the same architecture in spite of large variations in primary structure (amino acid sequence identities can be as low as 14%) and the presence in some bacterial ferritins of haem groups. Ferritin molecules isolated from vertebrates are composed of two types of subunit (H and L), whereas those from plants and bacteria contain only H-type chains, where 'H-type' is associated with the presence of centres catalysing the oxidation of two Fe(II) atoms. The similarity between the dinuclear iron centres of ferritin H-chains and those of ribonucleotide reductase and other proteins suggests a possible wider evolutionary linkage. A great deal of research effort is now concentrated on two aspects of ferritin: its functional mechanisms and its regulation. These form the major part of the review. Steps in iron storage within ferritin molecules consist of Fe(II) oxidation, Fe(III) migration and the nucleation and growth of the iron core mineral. H-chains are important for Fe(II) oxidation and L-chains assist in core formation. Iron mobilisation, relevant to ferritin's role as iron reserve, is also discussed. Translational regulation of mammalian ferritin synthesis in response to iron and the apparent links between iron and citrate metabolism through a single molecule with dual function are described. The molecule, when binding a [4Fe-4S] cluster, is a functioning (cytoplasmic) aconitase. When cellular iron is low, loss of the [4Fe-4S] cluster allows the molecule to bind to the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of the ferritin m-RNA and thus to repress translation. In this form it is known as the iron regulatory protein (IRP) and the stem-loop RNA structure to which it binds is the iron regulatory element (IRE). IREs are found in the 3'-UTR of the transferrin receptor and in the 5'-UTR of erythroid aminolaevulinic acid synthase, enabling tight co-ordination between cellular iron uptake and the synthesis of ferritin and haem. Degradation of ferritin could potentially lead to an increase in toxicity due to uncontrolled release of iron. Degradation within membrane-encapsulated "secondary lysosomes' may avoid this problem and this seems to be the origin of another form of storage iron known as haemosiderin. However, in certain pathological states, massive deposits of "haemosiderin' are found which do not arise directly from ferritin breakdown. Understanding the numerous inter-relationships between the various intracellular iron complexes presents a major challenge.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Trop Med
                J Trop Med
                JTM
                Journal of Tropical Medicine
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                1687-9686
                1687-9694
                2013
                7 February 2013
                : 2013
                : 890603
                Affiliations
                Departamento de Biología Celular, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Avenida Instituto Politécnico Nacional 2508, 07360 México, DF, Mexico
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Carlos E. P. Corbett

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6188-4220
                Article
                10.1155/2013/890603
                3582061
                23476670
                3c0b06b8-7635-41be-87b6-8d187663410d
                Copyright © 2013 Jesús Serrano-Luna et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 25 September 2012
                : 28 November 2012
                Categories
                Review Article

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Infectious disease & Microbiology

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