Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 7

Search results for: Acanthamoeba

7 The Fast Diagnosis of Acanthamoeba Keratitis Using Real-Time PCR Assay

Authors: Fadime Eroglu


Acanthamoeba genus belongs to kingdom protozoa, and it is known as free-living amoebae. Acanthamoeba genus has been isolated from human bodies, swimming pools, bottled mineral water, contact lens solutions, dust, and soil. The members of the genus Acanthamoeba causes Acanthamoeba Keratitis which is a painful sight-threatening disease of the eyes. In recent years, the prevalence of Acanthamoeba keratitis has been high rate reported. The eight different Acanthamoeba species are known to be effective in Acanthamoeba keratitis. These species are Acanthamoeba castellanii, Acanthamoeba polyphaga, Acanthamoeba griffini, Acanthamoeba hatchetti, Acanthamoeba culbertsoni and Acanhtamoeba rhysodes. The conventional diagnosis of Acanthamoeba Keratitis has relied on cytological preparations and growth of Acanthamoeba in culture. However molecular methods such as real-time PCR has been found to be more sensitive. The real-time PCR has now emerged as an effective method for more rapid testing for the diagnosis of infectious disease in decade. Therefore, a real-time PCR assay for the detection of Acanthamoeba keratitis and Acanthamoeba species have been developed in this study. The 18S rRNA sequences from Acanthamoeba species were obtained from National Center for Biotechnology Information and sequences were aligned with MEGA 6 programme. Primers and probe were designed using Custom Primers-OligoPerfectTMDesigner (ThermoFisherScientific, Waltham, MA, USA). They were also assayed for hairpin formation and degree of primer-dimer formation with Multiple Primer Analyzer ( ThermoFisherScientific, Watham, MA, USA). The eight different ATCC Acanthamoeba species were obtained, and DNA was extracted using the Qiagen Mini DNA extraction kit (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany). The DNA of Acanthamoeba species were analyzed using newly designed primer and probe set in real-time PCR assay. The early definitive laboratory diagnosis of Acanthamoeba Keratitis and the rapid initiation of suitable therapy is necessary for clinical prognosis. The results of the study have been showed that new primer and probes could be used for detection and distinguish for Acanthamoeba species. These new developing methods are helpful for diagnosis of Acanthamoeba Keratitis.

Keywords: Acathamoeba Keratitis, Acanthamoeba species, fast diagnosis, Real-Time PCR

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6 Genetic Characterization of Acanthamoeba Isolates from Amoebic Keratitis Patients

Authors: Sumeeta Khurana, Kirti Megha, Amit Gupta, Rakesh Sehgal


Background: Amoebic keratitis is a painful vision threatening infection caused by a free living pathogenic amoeba Acanthamoeba. It can be misdiagnosed and very difficult to treat if not suspected early. The epidemiology of Acanthamoeba genotypes causing infection in our geographical area is not yet known to the best of our knowledge. Objective: To characterize Acanthamoeba isolates from amoebic keratitis patients. Methods: A total of 19 isolates obtained from patients with amoebic keratitis presenting to the Advanced Eye Centre at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, a tertiary care centre of North India over a period of last 10 years were included. Their corneal scrapings, lens solution and lens case (in case of lens wearer) were collected for microscopic examination, culture and molecular diagnosis. All the isolates were maintained in the Non Nutrient agar culture medium overlaid with E.coli and 13 strains were axenised and maintained in modified Peptone Yeast Dextrose Agar. Identification of Acanthamoeba genotypes was based on amplification of diagnostic fragment 3 (DF3) region of the 18srRNA gene followed by sequencing. Nucleotide similarity search was performed by BLAST search of sequenced amplicons in GenBank database (http// Multiple Sequence alignments were determined by using CLUSTAL X. Results: Nine out of 19 Acanthamoeba isolates were found to belong to Genotype T4 followed by 6 isolates of genotype T11, 3 T5 and 1 T3 genotype. Conclusion: T4 is the predominant Acanthamoeba genotype in our geographical area. Further studies should focus on differences in pathogenicity of these genotypes and their clinical significance.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, free living amoeba, keratitis, genotype, ocular

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5 Anti-Acanthamoeba Activities of Fatty Acid Salts and Fatty Acids

Authors: Manami Masuda, Mariko Era, Takayoshi Kawahara, Takahide Kanyama, Hiroshi Morita


Objectives: Fatty acid salts are a type of anionic surfactant and are produced from fatty acids and alkali. Moreover, fatty acid salts are known to have potent antibacterial activities. Acanthamoeba is ubiquitously distributed in the environment including sea water, fresh water, soil and even from the air. Although generally free-living, Acanthamoeba can be an opportunistic pathogen, which could cause a potentially blinding corneal infection known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. So, in this study, we evaluated the anti-amoeba activity of fatty acid salts and fatty acids to Acanthamoeba castellanii ATCC 30010. Materials and Methods: The antibacterial activity of 9 fatty acid salts (potassium butyrate (C4K), caproate (C6K), caprylate (C8K), caprate (C10K), laurate (C12K), myristate (C14K), oleate (C18:1K), linoleate (C18:2K), linolenate (C18:3K)) tested on cells of Acanthamoeba castellanii ATCC 30010. Fatty acid salts (concentration of 175 mM and pH 10.5) were prepared by mixing the fatty acid with the appropriate amount of KOH. The amoeba suspension mixed with KOH with a pH adjusted solution was used as the control. Fatty acids (concentration of 175 mM) were prepared by mixing the fatty acid with Tween 80 (20 %). The amoeba suspension mixed with Tween 80 (20 %) was used as the control. The anti-amoeba method, the amoeba suspension (3.0 × 104 cells/ml trophozoites) was mixed with the sample of fatty acid potassium (final concentration of 175 mM). Samples were incubated at 30°C, for 10 min, 60 min, and 180 min and then the viability of A. castellanii was evaluated using plankton counting chamber and trypan blue stainings. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) against Acanthamoeba was determined using the two-fold dilution method. The MIC was defined as the minimal anti-amoeba concentration that inhibited visible amoeba growth following incubation (180 min). Results: C8K, C10K, and C12K were the anti-amoeba effect of 4 log-unit (99.99 % growth suppression of A. castellanii) incubated time for 180 min against A. castellanii at 175mM. After the amoeba, the suspension was mixed with C10K or C12K, destroying the cell membrane had been observed. Whereas, the pH adjusted control solution did not exhibit any effect even after 180 min of incubation with A. castellanii. Moreover, C6, C8, and C18:3 were the anti-amoeba effect of 4 log-unit incubated time for 60 min. C4 and C18:2 exhibited a 4-log reduction after 180 min incubation. Furthermore, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined. The MIC of C10K, C12K and C4 were 2.7 mM. These results indicate that C10K, C12K and C4 have high anti-amoeba activity against A. castellanii and suggest C10K, C12K and C4 have great potential for antimi-amoeba agents.

Keywords: Fatty acid salts, anti-amoeba activities, Acanthamoeba, fatty acids

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4 Possible Involvement of DNA-methyltransferase and Histone Deacetylase in the Regulation of Virulence Potential of Acanthamoeba castellanii

Authors: Yi H. Wong, Li L. Chan, Chee O. Leong, Stephen Ambu, Joon W. Mak, Priyadashi S. Sahu


Background: Acanthamoeba is a free-living opportunistic protist which is ubiquitously distributed in the environment. Virulent Acanthamoeba can cause fatal encephalitis in immunocompromised patients and potential blinding keratitis in immunocompetent contact lens wearers. Approximately 24 species have been identified but only the A. castellanii, A. polyphaga and A. culbertsoni are commonly associated with human infections. Until to date, the precise molecular basis for Acanthamoeba pathogenesis remains unclear. Previous studies reported that Acanthamoeba virulence can be diminished through prolonged axenic culture but revived through serial mouse passages. As no clear explanation on this reversible pathogenesis is established, hereby, we postulate that the epigenetic regulators, DNA-methyltransferases (DNMT) and histone-deacetylases (HDAC), could possibly be involved in granting the virulence plasticity of Acanthamoeba spp. Methods: Four rounds of mouse passages were conducted to revive the virulence potential of the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba castellanii strain (ATCC 50492). Briefly, each mouse (n=6/group) was inoculated intraperitoneally with Acanthamoebae cells (2x 105 trophozoites/mouse) and incubated for 2 months. Acanthamoebae cells were isolated from infected mouse organs by culture method and subjected to subsequent mouse passage. In vitro cytopathic, encystment and gelatinolytic assays were conducted to evaluate the virulence characteristics of Acanthamoebae isolates for each passage. PCR primers which targeted on the 2 members (DNMT1 and DNMT2) and 5 members (HDAC1 to 5) of the DNMT and HDAC gene families respectively were custom designed. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was performed to detect and quantify the relative expression of the two gene families in each Acanthamoeba isolates. Beta-tubulin of A. castellanii (Genbank accession no: XP_004353728) was included as housekeeping gene for data normalisation. PCR mixtures were also analyzed by electrophoresis for amplicons detection. All statistical analyses were performed using the paired one-tailed Student’s t test. Results: Our pathogenicity tests showed that the virulence-reactivated Acanthamoeba had a higher degree of cytopathic effect on vero cells, a better resistance to encystment challenge and a higher gelatinolytic activity which was catalysed by serine protease. qPCR assay showed that DNMT1 expression was significantly higher in the virulence-reactivated compared to the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba strain (p ≤ 0.01). The specificity of primers which targeted on DNMT1 was confirmed by sequence analysis of PCR amplicons, which showed a 97% similarity to the published DNA-methyltransferase gene of A. castellanii (GenBank accession no: XM_004332804.1). Out of the five primer pairs which targeted on the HDAC family genes, only HDAC4 expression was significantly difference between the two variant strains. In contrast to DNMT1, HDAC4 expression was much higher in the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba strain. Conclusion: Our mouse passages had successfully restored the virulence of the attenuated strain. Our findings suggested that DNA-methyltransferase (DNMT1) and histone deacetylase (HDAC4) expressions are associated with virulence potential of Acanthamoeba spp.

Keywords: acanthamoeba, DNA-methyltransferase, histone deacetylase, virulence-associated proteins

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3 Transcriptomic Analysis of Acanthamoeba castellanii Virulence Alteration by Epigenetic DNA Methylation

Authors: Yi-Hao Wong, Li-Li Chan, Chee-Onn Leong, Stephen Ambu, Joon-Wah Mak, Priyasashi Sahu


Background: Acanthamoeba is a genus of amoebae which lives as a free-living in nature or as a human pathogen that causes severe brain and eye infections. Virulence potential of Acanthamoeba is not constant and can change with growth conditions. DNA methylation, an epigenetic process which adds methyl groups to DNA, is used by eukaryotic cells, including several human parasites to control their gene expression. We used qPCR, siRNA gene silencing, and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to study DNA-methyltransferase gene family (DNMT) in order to indicate the possibility of its involvement in programming Acanthamoeba virulence potential. Methods: A virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba isolate (designation: ATCC; original isolate: ATCC 50492) was subjected to mouse passages to restore its pathogenicity; a virulence-reactivated isolate (designation: AC/5) was generated. Several established factors associated with Acanthamoeba virulence phenotype were examined to confirm the succession of reactivation process. Differential gene expression of DNMT between ATCC and AC/5 isolates was performed by qPCR. Silencing on DNMT gene expression in AC/5 isolate was achieved by siRNA duplex. Total RNAs extracted from ATCC, AC/5, and siRNA-treated (designation: si-146) were subjected to RNA-Seq for comparative transcriptomic analysis in order to identify the genome-wide effect of DNMT in regulating Acanthamoeba gene expression. qPCR was performed to validate the RNA-Seq results. Results: Physiological and cytophatic assays demonstrated an increased in virulence potential of AC/5 isolate after mouse passages. DNMT gene expression was significantly higher in AC/5 compared to ATCC isolate (p ≤ 0.01) by qPCR. si-146 duplex reduced DNMT gene expression in AC/5 isolate by 30%. Comparative transcriptome analysis identified the differentially expressed genes, with 3768 genes in AC/5 vs ATCC isolate; 2102 genes in si-146 vs AC/5 isolate and 3422 genes in si-146 vs ATCC isolate, respectively (fold-change of ≥ 2 or ≤ 0.5, p-value adjusted (padj) < 0.05). Of these, 840 and 1262 genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively, in si-146 vs AC/5 isolate. Eukaryotic orthologous group (KOG) assignments revealed a higher percentage of downregulated gene expression in si-146 compared to AC/5 isolate, were related to posttranslational modification, signal transduction and energy production. Gene Ontology (GO) terms for those downregulated genes shown were associated with transport activity, oxidation-reduction process, and metabolic process. Among these downregulated genes were putative genes encoded for heat shock proteins, transporters, ubiquitin-related proteins, proteins for vesicular trafficking (small GTPases), and oxidoreductases. Functional analysis of similar predicted proteins had been described in other parasitic protozoa for their survival and pathogenicity. Decreased expression of these genes in si146-treated isolate may account in part for Acanthamoeba reduced pathogenicity. qPCR on 6 selected genes upregulated in AC/5 compared to ATCC isolate corroborated the RNA sequencing findings, indicating a good concordance between these two analyses. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and its effects on gene expression in Acanthamoeba spp. The present data indicate that DNA methylation has substantial effect on global gene expression, allowing further dissection of the genome-wide effects of DNA-methyltransferase gene in regulating Acanthamoeba pathogenicity.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, DNA methylation, RNA sequencing, virulence

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2 Sensitivity of Acanthamoeba castellanii-Grown Francisella to Three Different Disinfectants

Authors: M. Knezevic, V. Marecic, M. Ozanic, I. Kelava, M. Mihelcic, M. Santic


Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious, gram-negative intracellular bacterium and the causative agent of tularemia. The bacterium has been isolated from more than 250 wild species, including protozoa cells. Since Francisella is very virulent and persists in the environment for years, the aim of this study was to investigate whether Acanthamoeba castellanii-grown F. novicida exhibits an alteration in the resistance to disinfectants. It has been shown by other intracellular pathogens, including Legionella pneumophila that bacteria grown in amoeba exhibit more resistance to disinfectants. However, there is no data showing Francisella viability behaviour after intracellular life cycle in A. castellani. In this study, the bacterial suspensions of A. castellanii-grown or in vitro-grown Francisella were treated with three different disinfectants, and the bacterial viability after disinfection treatment was determined by a colony-forming unit (CFU) counting method, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), fluorescence microscopy as well as the leakage of intracellular fluid. Our results have shown that didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) combined with isopropyl alcohol was the most effective in bacterial killing; all in vitro-grown and A. castellanii-grown F. novicida were killed after only 10s. Surprisingly, in comparison to in vitro-grown bacteria, A. castellanii-grown F. novicida was more sensitive to decontamination by the benzalkonium chloride combined with DDAC and formic acid and the polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB). We can conclude that the tested disinfectants exhibit antimicrobial activity by causing a loss of structural organization and integrity of the Francisella cell wall and membrane and the subsequent leakage of the intracellular contents. Finally, the results of this study clearly demonstrate that Francisella grown in A. castellanii had become more susceptible to many disinfectants.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, disinfectant, Francisella, sensitivity

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1 Antimicrobial Activity of Fatty Acid Salts against Microbes for Food Safety

Authors: Aya Tanaka, Mariko Era, Manami Masuda, Yui Okuno, Takayoshi Kawahara, Takahide Kanyama, Hiroshi Morita


Objectives— Fungi and bacteria are present in a wide range of natural environments. They are breed in the foods such as vegetables and fruit, causing corruption and deterioration of these foods in some cases. Furthermore, some species of fungi and bacteria are known to cause food intoxication or allergic reactions in some individuals. To prevent fungal and bacterial contamination, various fungicides and bactericidal have been developed that inhibit fungal and bacterial growth. Fungicides and bactericides must show high antifungal and antibacterial activity, sustainable activity, and a high degree of safety. Therefore, we focused on the fatty acid salt which is the main component of soap. We focused on especially C10K and C12K. This study aimed to find the effectiveness of the fatty acid salt as antimicrobial agents for food safety. Materials and Methods— Cladosporium cladosporioides NBRC 30314, Penicillium pinophilum NBRC 6345, Aspergillus oryzae (Akita Konno store), Rhizopus oryzae NBRC 4716, Fusarium oxysporum NBRC 31631, Escherichia coli NBRC 3972, Bacillus subtilis NBRC 3335, Staphylococcus aureus NBRC 12732, Pseudomonas aenuginosa NBRC 13275 and Serratia marcescens NBRC 102204 were chosen as tested fungi and bacteria. Hartmannella vermiformis NBRC 50599 and Acanthamoeba castellanii NBRC 30010 were chosen as tested amoeba. Nine fatty acid salts including potassium caprate (C10K) and laurate (C12K) at 350 mM and pH 10.5 were used as antifungal activity. The spore suspension of each fungus (3.0×10⁴ spores/mL) or the bacterial suspension (3.0×10⁵ or 3.0×10⁶ or 3.0×10⁷ CFU/mL) was mixed with each of the fatty acid salts (final concentration of 175 mM). Samples were counted at 0, 10, 60, and 180 min by plating (100 µL) on potato dextrose agar or nutrient agar. Fungal and bacterial colonies were counted after incubation for 1 or 2 days at 30 °C. Results— C10K was antifungal activity of 4 log-unit incubated time for 10 min against fungi other than A. oryzae. C12K was antifungal activity of 4 log-unit incubated time for 10 min against fungi other than P. pinophilum and A. oryzae. C10K and C12K did not show high anti-yeast activity. C10K was antibacterial activity of 6 or 7 log-unit incubated time for 10 min against bacteria other than B. subtilis. C12K was antibacterial activity of 5 to 7 log-unit incubated time for 10 min against bacteria other than S. marcescens. C12K was anti-amoeba activity of 4 log-unit incubated time for 10 min against H. vermiformis. These results suggest C10K and C12K have potential in the field of food safety.

Keywords: food safety, microbes, antimicrobial, fatty acid salts

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