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The knockdown of each component of the cysteine proteinase-adhesin complex of Entamoeba histolytica (EhCPADH) affects the expression of the other complex element as well as the in vitro and in vivo virulence



Entamoeba histolytica is the protozoan parasite causative of human amoebiasis, disease responsible for 40 000–100 000 deaths annually. The cysteine proteinase-adhesin complex of this parasite (EhCPADH) is a heterodimeric protein formed by a cysteine protease (EhCP112) and an adhesin (EhADH) that plays an important role in the cytopathic mechanism of this parasite. The coding genes for EhCP112 and EhADH are adjacent in the E. histolytica genome, suggesting that their expression may be co-regulated, but this hypothesis has not yet been confirmed. Here, we performed the knockdown of EhCP112 and EhADH using gene-specific short-hairpin RNAs (shRNA), and the effect of these knockdowns on the expression of both complex components as well as on the in vitro and in vivo virulence was analysed. Results showed that the knockdown of one of the EhCPADH components produced a simultaneous downregulation of the other protein. Accordingly, a concomitant reduction in the overall expression of the complex was observed. The downregulation of each component also produced a significant decrease in the in vitro and in vivo virulence of trophozoites. These results demonstrated that the expression of EhCP112 and EhADH is co-regulated and confirmed that the EhCPADH complex plays an important role in E. histolytica virulence.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Departamento de Infectómica y Patogénesis Molecular, CINVESTAV-IPN. A.P. 14-740, México, D.F. 07000, México. E-mail:


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