1. Novel putative saposin-like proteins of Entamoeba histolytica different from amoebapores
H Bruhn, M Leippe Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Sep 3;1514(1):14-20. doi: 10.1016/s0005-2736(01)00345-5.
Amoebapores, the pore-forming proteins of Entamoeba histolytica, have been shown to play a pivotal role in the pathogenicity of the protozoan parasite. They belong to the functionally diverse family of saposin-like proteins (SAPLIPs) characterized by a conserved pattern of cysteine residues and the ability to interact with lipids. Here, we report the identification of genomic sequences encoding presumably novel SAPLIPs in E. histolytica and classify them in the structural and functional context provided by known family members. The genes of altogether 15 SAPLIPs are transcribed in the axenically cultured trophozoites as evidenced by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Interestingly, a remarkable sequence variety with a strong resemblance to that of known, functionally diverse SAPLIPs is present in this archaic, unicellular organism.
2. Solution structure of the pore-forming protein of Entamoeba histolytica
Oliver Hecht, Nico A Van Nuland, Karin Schleinkofer, Andrew J Dingley, Heike Bruhn, Matthias Leippe, Joachim Grötzinger J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 23;279(17):17834-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M312978200. Epub 2004 Feb 17.
Amoebapore A is a 77-residue protein from the protozoan parasite and human pathogen Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebapores lyse both bacteria and eukaryotic cells by pore formation and play a pivotal role in the destruction of host tissues during amoebiasis, one of the most life-threatening parasitic diseases. Amoebapore A belongs to the superfamily of saposin-like proteins that are characterized by a conserved disulfide bond pattern and a fold consisting of five helices. Membrane-permeabilizing effector molecules of mammalian lymphocytes such as porcine NK-lysin and the human granulysin share these structural attributes. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how saposin-like proteins form membrane pores. All mechanisms indicate that the surface charge distribution of these proteins is the basis of their membrane binding capacity and pore formation. Here, we have solved the structure of amoebapore A by NMR spectroscopy. We demonstrate that the specific activation step of amoebapore A depends on a pH-dependent dimerization event and is modulated by a surface-exposed histidine residue. Thus, histidine-mediated dimerization is the molecular switch for pore formation and reveals a novel activation mechanism of pore-forming toxins.
3. Molecular cloning of a member of the Fasciola hepatica saposin-like protein family
Ana M Espino, George V Hillyer J Parasitol. 2003 Jun;89(3):545-52. doi: 10.1645/GE-3113.
A 436-bp complementary DNA (cDNA) was isolated from an adult Fasciola hepatica cDNA expression library by screening with the serum from a rabbit infected with F. hepatica for 4 wk. The deduced amino acid sequence encoded by this cDNA is an 11.5-kDa polypeptide that has significant homology to F. hepatica NK-lysin protein, to several members of saposin-like or NK-lysin protein families, as well as 3 amoebapore precursors of Entamoeba histolytica. The most striking feature observed within this protein, denoted FhSAP-2, is the presence of 6 conserved cysteine residues arranged within 5 amphipathic alpha-helical domains and the presence of 7 hydrophobic residues in strictly conserved positions. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay it was found that rFhSAP-2 is highly reactive with sera from rabbits infected with F. hepatica for 2-14 wk as well as with sera from humans with chronic fascioliasis. An anti-rFhSAP-2 rabbit antiserum reacted with F. hepatica excretory-secretory antigens by Western blot, revealing a major 11.5-kDa and 2 minor 46- and 67-kDa antigenic polypeptides. This suggests that FhSAP-2 may be an antigen released from cytoplasmic storage granules present within F. hepatica parasites. rFhSAP-2 also exhibits a strong lytic activity on human erythrocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This suggests that cell lysis could be 1 of the biological functions of this protein.