Peroxiredoxins are an important class of antioxidant enzymes found from Archaea to humans, which reduce and thereby detoxify peroxides and peroxynitrites. The major thiol-containing surface antigen of the invasive ameba, Entamoeba histolytica, is a peroxiredoxin and is likely to be important during the transition from the anaerobic environment of the large intestine to human tissues. The closely related species, Entamoeba dispar, is incapable of invasion and more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide, yet also has a peroxiredoxin. We cloned and expressed the two active recombinant enzymes and found that their activity was similar by a fluorometric stopped-flow assay, giving a Km of <10 microM for hydrogen peroxide. Three monoclonal antibodies produced to recombinant E. histolytica peroxiredoxin cross-reacted with Entamoeba dispar.E. histolytica contains as much as 50 times more peroxiredoxin than E. dispar as demonstrated by a sensitive capture ELISA. In addition, the peroxiredoxin is present largely on the outer surface of the cell, in contrast to E. dispar. This unusual peroxiredoxin localizes to the site of parasite-host cell contact where it can effectively counteract oxidants generated by host cells, thus facilitating invasion.