Using an axenic excystation system in vitro, we examined the effect of protein kinase C (PKC) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), which are signaling molecules responsible for numerous cellular responses, on the excystation and metacystic development of Entamoeba invadens. Excystation, which was assessed by counting the number of metacystic amoebae after the induction of excystation, was inhibited by the PKC inhibitors staurosporine, chelerythrine chloride and calphostin C in a concentration-dependent manner during incubation, compared with the controls. As cyst viability was not affected by these inhibitors, reduced excystation was not due to their direct toxic effects on cysts. Metacystic development, when determined by the number of nuclei in the amoebae, was delayed by these PKC inhibitors, because the percentage of 1-nucleate amoebae was lower than in controls at day 3 of incubation. Wortmannin, a potent inhibitor of PI3K, also inhibited excystation and metacystic development of E. invadens in a concentration-dependent manner, compared with the controls. These results indicate that signaling through PKC and PI3K contributes to the excystation and metacystic development of E. invadens.
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