Novel transmembrane receptor involved in phagosome transport of lysozymes and β-hexosaminidase in the enteric protozoan Entamoeba histolytica

PLoS Pathog. 2012 Feb;8(2):e1002539. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002539. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


Lysozymes and hexosaminidases are ubiquitous hydrolases in bacteria and eukaryotes. In phagocytic lower eukaryotes and professional phagocytes from higher eukaryotes, they are involved in the degradation of ingested bacteria in phagosomes. In Entamoeba histolytica, which is the intestinal protozoan parasite that causes amoebiasis, phagocytosis plays a pivotal role in the nutrient acquisition and the evasion from the host defense systems. While the content of phagosomes and biochemical and physiological roles of the major phagosomal proteins have been established in E. histolytica, the mechanisms of trafficking of these phagosomal proteins, in general, remain largely unknown. In this study, we identified and characterized for the first time the putative receptor/carrier involved in the transport of the above-mentioned hydrolases to phagosomes. We have shown that the receptor, designated as cysteine protease binding protein family 8 (CPBF8), is localized in lysosomes and mediates transport of lysozymes and β-hexosaminidase α-subunit to phagosomes when the amoeba ingests mammalian cells or Gram-positive bacillus Clostridium perfringens. We have also shown that the binding of CPBF8 to the cargos is mediated by the serine-rich domain, more specifically three serine residues of the domain, which likely contains trifluoroacetic acid-sensitive O-phosphodiester-linked glycan modifications, of CPBF8. We further showed that the repression of CPBF8 by gene silencing reduced the lysozyme and β-hexosaminidase activity in phagosomes and delayed the degradation of C. perfringens. Repression of CPBF8 also resulted in decrease in the cytopathy against the mammalian cells, suggesting that CPBF8 may also be involved in, besides the degradation of ingested bacteria, the pathogenesis against the mammalian hosts. This work represents the first case of the identification of a transport receptor of hydrolytic enzymes responsible for the degradation of microorganisms in phagosomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Entamoeba histolytica / chemistry
  • Entamoeba histolytica / genetics
  • Entamoeba histolytica / metabolism*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / physiology
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Phagosomes / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Protozoan Proteins / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / isolation & purification
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases