Context:  A team of researchers from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has developed a new drug molecule against amoebiasis by attacking the protozoa which causes the disease.

More on News:

  • As per the World Health Organization (WHO), Entamoeba histolytica is the third-leading cause of morbidity and mortality due to parasitic disease in humans. 
  • It causes amoebiasis or amoebic dysentery, which is highly prevalent in developing countries.  

About Amoebiasis:

  • A parasitic infection of the colon (Large intestine) with the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica.
  • The disease is most common in tropical areas with untreated water. 
  • It spreads through drinking or eating uncooked food, such as fruit, that may have been washed in contaminated local water.
  • Symptoms: It can be present with no, mild, or severe symptoms. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea.

About Entamoeba histolytica:

  • It is an anaerobic parasitic amoebozoa, part of the genus Entamoeba.
  • The protozoa can’t survive high concentrations of oxygen. 
  • However, during infection, it faces a high surge of oxygen inside the human body.
  • The organism synthesizes large amounts of cysteine to counter oxidative stress.
  • This pathogen deploys cysteine as one of the essential molecules in its defence mechanism against high oxygen levels. 
  • Entamoeba expresses two crucial enzymes for synthesizing cysteine. 

Findings of Research:

  • Researchers from JNU have characterized and determined the molecular structures of both these crucial enzymes. 
  • They have successfully screened for potent inhibitors for one of the enzymes, O-acetyl L-serine sulfhydrylase (OASS). 


  • Some of these inhibitors can check the growth of this organism with high efficacy.
  • The identified molecules can lead to the development of drug molecules as Cysteine biosynthesis is crucial for the survival of E. histolytica and may be similar protozoan parasites. 


  • It is a type of cell or unicellular organism which has the ability to alter its shape, primarily by extending and retracting pseudopods.
  •  It is a protozoa and not a bacteria. 
  •  It is a genus of single-celled amoeboids in the family Amoebidae.

Source: team of researchers from,survive high concentrations of oxygen.

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