New insights into the role of the cytoskeleton in phagocytosis of Entamoeba histolytica

Cell Microbiol. 1999 Nov;1(3):195-203. doi: 10.1046/j.1462-5822.1999.00021.x.


Entamoeba histolytica, a human parasite, crosses the natural barriers of the intestine and, in turn, spreads into the deeper organs, resulting in amoebiasis. The motility of the parasite and its ability to lyse or phagocytose human cells facilitates passage of the amoeba through the intestinal epithelium. Little is known about the uptake of material by this parasite; nevertheless, the cytoskeleton is believed to play a role in phagocytosis. Myosin IB, an actin-binding protein, localizes to the phagocytic cup and, with time, surrounds the internalized phagosome itself. The role of unconventional myosins in phagocytosis has also been demonstrated in other cell types, suggesting that this molecular mechanism is a common denominator in phagocytic events. Here, we summarize the emerging view of the role of unconventional myosins as well as other cytoskeleton-associated proteins in pseudopod formation at early stages of phagocytosis and during the late step of this process in E. histolytica.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Translocation
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / metabolism
  • Entamoeba histolytica / pathogenicity*
  • Entamoebiasis / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Myosins / physiology
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Phagosomes / metabolism
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Myosins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins