Serge Ankri

Entamoeba histolytica-Gut Microbiota Interaction: More Than Meets the Eye

Please note that lunch will be provided after the seminar. Event registration here.


The human protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica is responsible for amebiasis, a disease endemic to developing countries. E. histolytica trophozoites are released from the cysts to colonize the large intestine, where they primarily feed on bacterial cells. Increasing evidences support the role of the gut microbiota in the development of amebiasis. In this seminar, I will discuss the role of two microbial-derived metabolites, oxaloacetate and queuine, in the regulation of the parasite virulence and resistance to oxidative stress. Many of the studies on E.histolytica-bacteria interaction, including our own, have examined bacteria under their planktonic state. However, in the gut, bacteria form structured communities called biofilm that are too large for phagocytosis. I will discuss unpublished data about a mechanism of digestive exophagy that is used by E. histolytica to degrade bacterial biofilm. The partially digested biofilms can serve as an unexpected shield protecting parasites from oxidative environments and thereby may regulate the persistence and virulence of the parasite.

Speaker Bio:

Prof. Serge Ankri is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He did his PhD in 1998 from University of Paris XI, France. His laboratory has a long-standing expertise working on the regulation of E. histolytica virulence and on its adaptation to environmental stresses. Research in the laboratory focuses on how epigenetic mechanisms and gut microbiota influence infection, hoping to lead to new venues for therapy. He has written Seventy peer-reviewed publications (Personal H-index 29, i10=51, >4400 citations), 2 book chapters, and 20 competitive research grants.