Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010550
PLoS Pathog 18(5): e1010550
Entamoeba histolytica is a protozoan responsible for several pathologies in humans. Trophozoites breach the intestinal site to enter the bloodstream and thus traverse to a secondary site. Macropinocytosis and phagocytosis, collectively accounting for heterophagy, are the two major processes responsible for sustenance of Entamoeba histolytica within the host. Both of these processes require significant rearrangements in the structure to entrap the target. Rho GTPases play an indispensable role in mustering proteins that regulate cytoskeletal remodelling. Unlike phagocytosis which has been studied in extensive detail, information on machinery of macropinocytosis in E. histolytica is still limited. In the current study, using site directed mutagenesis and RNAi based silencing, coupled with functional studies, we have demonstrated the involvement of EhRho5 in constitutive and LPA stimulated macropinocytosis. We also report that LPA, a bioactive phospholipid present in the bloodstream of the host, activates EhRho5 and translocates it from cytosol to plasma membrane and endomembrane compartments. Using biochemical and FRAP studies, we established that a PI Kinase acts upstream of EhRho5 in LPA mediated signalling. We further identified EhGEF2 as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor of EhRho5. In the amoebic trophozoites, EhGEF2 depletion leads to reduced macropinocytic efficiency of trophozoites, thus phenocopying its substrate. Upon LPA stimulation, EhGEF2 is found to sequester near the plasma membrane in a wortmannin sensitive fashion, explaining a possible mode for activation of EhRho5 in the amoebic trophozoites. Collectively, we propose that LPA stimulated macropinocytosis in E. histolytica is driven by the PI Kinase-EhGEF2-EhRho5 axis.