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The parasite Entamoeba histolytica may survive in the human intestine for years without causing symptoms. For unknown reasons, the amoebae at some point start invading the intestinal wall and blood vessels causing bleeding ulcers and abscesses, respectively, if they end up in organs.
To better understand this process, we use several animal models and compare an E. histolytica clone that causes large abscesses with a clone shown to be much less virulent. We found many genes differently activated in aggressive and harmless amoebae. One of them, much stronger expressed in aggressive ones, codes for a protein with an unknown function. Thus, this protein appears to contribute to the ability of amoebae to cause abscesses and may be a new target for drug development.
Martin Meyer, Helena Fehling, Jenny Matthiesen, Stephan Lorenzen, Kathrin Schuldt, Hannah Bernin, Mareen Zaruba, Corinna Lender, Egbert Tannich, Hanna Lotter, Iris Bruchhaus and external cooperation partners (see publication)