The protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica is the microbial agent of amoebiasis – an infection that is endemic worldwide and is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. As the disease develops, virulent E. histolytica deplete the mucus layer, interact with the intestinal epithelium, and then degrade the colonic mucosa and disrupt the extracellular matrix (ECM). Our research demonstrated that virulent parasites with an invasive phenotype display rapid, highly specific changes in their transcriptome (notably for essential factors involved in carbohydrate metabolism and the processing of glycosylated residues). Moreover, combined activation of parasite and host lytic enzymes leads to the destruction of the intestinal parenchyma. Together, these enzymes degrade the mucus layer and the ECM, and trigger the inflammatory response essential to the development of amoebiasis.