Entamoeba histolytica cell movement: a central role for self-generated chemokines and chemorepellents

Mehreen Zaki, N Andrew, Robert Insall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


Entamoeba histolytica cells, the cause of amoebic dysentery, are highly motile, and this motility is an essential feature of the pathogenesis and morbidity of amoebiasis. However, the control of E. histolytica motility within the gut and during invasion is poorly understood. We have used an improved chemotaxis assay to identify the key extracellular signals mediating Entamoeba chemotaxis. The dominant responses we observe are caused by factors generated by E. histolytica cells themselves. Medium that has been conditioned by E. histolytica growth causes both chemokinesis and negative chemotaxis. The speed of random movement is more than doubled in conditioned compared with fresh medium, and cells move efficiently away from conditioned medium by negative chemotaxis. Ethanol, the product of Entamoeba glucose metabolism, is the principal component of the chemokinetic response. The closely related but nonpathogenic Entamoeba dispar shows no change in motility in response to conditioned medium implying that these responses are central to E. histolytica pathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18751-6
Number of pages6
JournalNational Academy of Sciences. Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2006


  • negative chemotaxis
  • invasion
  • pathogenesis


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