Entamoeba histolytica is the protozoan parasite that causes human amoebiasis. It is one of the leading parasitic disease burdens in tropical regions and developing countries, with spread to developed countries through migrants from and travellers to endemic regions.
Understanding E. histolytica’s invasion mechanisms requires an understanding of how it interacts with external cell components and how it engulfs and kills cells (phagocytosis). Recent research suggests that optimal phagocytosis requires signalling events from the cell surface to the nucleus via the cytoplasm, and the induction of several factors that are transported to the plasma membrane. Current research in other protozoans suggests the presence of proteins with nuclear localization signals, nuclear export signals and Ran proteins; however, there is limited literature on their functionality and their functional similarity to higher eukaryotes.
Based on learnings from the development of antivirals, nuclear transport elements in E. histolytica may present viable, specific, therapeutic targets.
In this review, we aim to summarize our limited knowledge of the eukaryotic nuclear transport mechanisms that are conserved and may function in E. histolytica.