Entamoeba histolytica is a diarrheal pathogen with the ability to cause profound host tissue damage. This organism possesses contact-dependent cell killing activity, which is likely to be a major contributor to tissue damage. E. histolytica trophozoites were recently shown to ingest fragments of living human cells. It was demonstrated that this process, termed amoebic trogocytosis, contributes to cell killing. Recent advances in ex vivo and 3-D cell culture approaches have shed light on mechanisms for tissue destruction by E. histolytica, allowing amoebic trogocytosis to be placed in the context of additional host and pathogen mediators of tissue damage. In addition to its relevance to pathogenesis of amoebiasis, an appreciation is emerging that intercellular nibbling occurs in many organisms, from protozoa to mammals.
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