Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genomics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Differences in the transcriptome signatures of two genetically related Entamoeba histolytica cell lines derived from the same isolate with different pathogenic properties

Laura Biller1, Paul H Davis2, Manuela Tillack1, Jenny Matthiesen1, Hannelore Lotter1, Samuel L Stanley3, Egbert Tannich1 and Iris Bruchhaus1*

Author Affiliations

1 Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany

2 Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

3 Office of the President, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2010, 11:63  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-63

Published: 26 January 2010

Abstract

Background

The availability of two genetically very similar cell lines (A and B) derived from the laboratory isolate Entamoeba histolytica HM-1:IMSS, which differ in their virulence properties, provides a powerful tool for identifying pathogenicity factors of the causative agent of human amoebiasis. Cell line A is incapable inducing liver abscesses in gerbils, whereas interaction with cell line B leads to considerable abscess formation. Phenotypic characterization of both cell lines revealed that trophozoites from the pathogenic cell line B have a larger cell size, an increased growth rate in vitro, an increased cysteine peptidase activity and higher resistance to nitric oxide stress. To find proteins that may serve as virulence factors, the proteomes of both cell lines were previously studied, resulting in the identification of a limited number of differentially synthesized proteins. This study aims to identify additional genes, serving as virulence factors, or virulence markers.

Results

To obtain a comprehensive picture of the differences between the cell lines, we compared their transcriptomes using an oligonucleotide-based microarray and confirmed findings with quantitative real-time PCR. Out of 6242 genes represented on the array, 87 are differentially transcribed (≥two-fold) in the two cell lines. Approximately 50% code for hypothetical proteins. Interestingly, only 19 genes show a five-fold or higher differential expression. These include three rab7 GTPases, which were found with a higher abundance in the non-pathogenic cell line A. The aig1-like GTPasesare of special interest because the majority of them show higher levels of transcription in the pathogenic cell line B. Only two molecules were found to be differentially expressed between the two cell lines in both this study and our previous proteomic approach.

Conclusions

In this study we have identified a defined set of genes that are differentially transcribed between the non-pathogenic cell line A and the pathogenic cell line B of E. histolytica. The identification of transcription profiles unique for amoebic cell lines with pathogenic phenotypes may help to elucidate the transcriptional framework of E. histolytica pathogenicity and serve as a basis for identifying transcriptional markers and virulence factors.