Enteric bacteria boost defences against oxidative stress in Entamoeba histolytica

Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 13;8(1):9042. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27086-w.


Oxidative stress is one of the strongest toxic factors in nature: it can harm or even kill cells. Cellular means of subverting the toxicity of oxidative stress are important for the success of infectious diseases. Many types of bacterium inhabit the intestine, where they can encounter pathogens. During oxidative stress, we analyzed the interplay between an intestinal parasite (the pathogenic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica - the agent of amoebiasis) and enteric bacteria (microbiome residents, pathogens and probiotics). We found that live enteric bacteria protected E. histolytica against oxidative stress. By high-throughput RNA sequencing, two amoebic regulatory modes were observed with enteric bacteria but not with probiotics. The first controls essential elements of homeostasis, and the second the levels of factors required for amoeba survival. Characteristic genes of both modes have been acquired by the amoebic genome through lateral transfer from the bacterial kingdom (e.g. glycolytic enzymes and leucine-rich proteins). Members of the leucine-rich are homologous to proteins from anti-bacterial innate immune such as Toll-like receptors. The factors identified here suggest that despite its old age in evolutionary terms, the protozoan E. histolytica displays key characteristics of higher eukaryotes' innate immune systems indicating that components of innate immunity existed in the common ancestor of plants and animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Entamoeba histolytica / genetics
  • Entamoeba histolytica / immunology*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / physiology
  • Enterobacteriaceae / immunology*
  • Enterobacteriaceae / physiology
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / parasitology
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / immunology
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcriptome / immunology


  • Protozoan Proteins