The genome of Entamoeba histolytica

Alok Bhattacharya, S. Satish, Anindya Bagchi, Sudha Bhattacharya

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32 Scopus citations


Estimation of genome size of Entamoeba histolytica by different methods has failed to give comparable values due to the inherent complexities of the organism, such as the uncertain level of ploidy, presence of multinucleated cells and a poorly demarcated cell division cycle. The genome of E. histolytica has a low G+C content (22.4%), and is composed of both linear chromosomes and a number of circular plasmid-like molecules. The rRNA genes are located exclusively on some of the circular DNAs. Karyotype analysis by pulsed field gel electrophoresis suggests the presence of 14 conserved linkage groups and an extensive size variation between homologous chromosomes from different isolates. Several repeat families have been identified, some of which have been shown to be present in all the electrophoretically separated chromosomes. The typical nucleosomal structure has not been demonstrated, though most of the histone genes have been identified. Most Entamoeba genes lack introns, have short 3' and 5' untranslated regions, and are tightly packed. Promoter analysis revealed the presence of three conserved motifs and several upstream regulatory elements. Unlike typical eukaryotes, the transcription of protein coding genes is α-amanitin resistant. Expressed Sequence Tag analysis has identified a group of highly abundant polyadenylated RNAs which are unlikely to be translated. The Expressed Sequence Tag approach has also helped identify several important genes which encode proteins that may be involved in different biochemical pathways, signal transduction mechanisms and organellar functions. Copyright (C) 2000 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SS and A Bagchi thank the UGC for Research Fellowships. This work was supported by grants from the DST and CSIR, Government of India.


  • DNA repeats
  • Entamoeba dispar
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Expressed Sequence Tag
  • Extrachromosomal plasmids
  • Gene organisation
  • Genome size
  • Molecular karyotype
  • Nucleosome

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