Effects of iron depletion on Entamoeba histolytica alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (EhADH2) and trophozoite growth: implications for antiamoebic therapy

Document Type



Published in: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Volume 63, Number 4, 2009


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the mechanism by which iron chelation affects the trophozoite survival of Entamoeba histolytica. Fe21 is a cofactor for E. histolytica alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (EhADH2), an essential bifunctional enzyme [alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH)] in the glycolytic pathway of E. histolytica. Methods: We tested the effects of iron depletion on trophozoite growth, the kinetics of iron binding to EhADH2, and the activities of ADH and ALDH. Results: Growth of E. histolytica trophozoites, and ADH and ALDH enzymatic activities were directly inhibited by iron chelation. Kinetics of iron binding to EhADH2 reveals the differential iron affinity of ADH (higher) and ALDH (lower). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that iron chelation interrupts the completion of the fermentative pathway of E. histolytica by removing the metal cofactor indispensable for the structural and functional stability of EhADH2, thus affecting trophozoite survival. We propose that iron-starvation-based strategies could be used to treat amoebiasis.