Rab7D small GTPase is involved in phago-, trogocytosis and cytoskeletal reorganization in the enteric protozoan Entamoeba histolytica

Yumiko Saito-Nakano, Ratna Wahyuni, Kumiko Nakada-Tsukui, Kentaro Tomii, Tomoyoshi Nozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Rab small GTPases regulate membrane traffic between distinct cellular compartments of all eukaryotes in a tempo-spatially specific fashion. Rab small GTPases are also involved in the regulation of cytoskeleton and signalling. Membrane traffic and cytoskeletal regulation play pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Entamoeba histolytica, which is a protozoan parasite responsible for human amebiasis. E. histolytica is unique in that its genome encodes over 100 Rab proteins, containing multiple isotypes of conserved members (e.g., Rab7) and Entamoeba-specific subgroups (e.g., RabA, B, and X). Among them, E. histolytica Rab7 is the most diversified group consisting of nine isotypes. While it was previously demonstrated that EhRab7A and EhRab7B are involved in lysosome and phagosome biogenesis, the individual roles of other Rab7 members and their coordination remain elusive. In this study, we characterised the third member of Rab7, Rab7D, to better understand the significance of the multiplicity of Rab7 isotypes in E. histolytica. Overexpression of EhRab7D caused reduction in phagocytosis of erythrocytes, trogocytosis (meaning nibbling or chewing of a portion) of live mammalian cells, and phagosome acidification and maturation. Conversely, transcriptional gene silencing of EhRab7D gene caused opposite phenotypes in phago/trogocytosis and phagosome maturation. Furthermore, EhRab7D gene silencing caused reduction in the attachment to and the motility on the collagen-coated surface. Image analysis showed that EhRab7D was occasionally associated with lysosomes and prephagosomal vacuoles, but not with mature phagosomes and trogosomes. Finally, in silico prediction of structural organisation of EhRab7 isotypes identified unique amino acid changes on the effector binding surface of EhRab7D. Taken together, our data suggest that EhRab7D plays coordinated counteracting roles: a inhibitory role in phago/trogocytosis and lyso/phago/trogosome biogenesis, and an stimulatory role in adherence and motility, presumably via interaction with unique effectors. Finally, we propose the model in which three EhRab7 isotypes are sequentially involved in phago/trogocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13267
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Rab7D
  • cytoskeleton
  • lysosome
  • pathogenesis
  • phagocytosis
  • trogocytosis
  • vesicular traffic


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