The reptilian parasite Entamoeba invadens is accepted as a model for the study of the Entamoeba encystation process. Here we describe the production and characterization of a mAb (B4F2), generated against a component of the E. invadens cyst wall. This mAb specifically recognizes a 48-kDa protein present in cytoplasmic vesicles of cells encysting for 24 h. In mature cysts (96 h), the antigen was detected on the cyst surface. By two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry analysis, the B4F2 specific antigen was identified as enolase. Levels of enolase mRNA were increased in encysting cells and the B4F2 mAb was found to inhibit cyst formation. Therefore, these results strongly suggest a new role for enolase in E. invadens encystation, and the B4F2 mAb will be useful tool to study its role in the differentiation process.
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