Acanthamoeba castellanii : GGrowth on human cell layers reactivates attenuated properties after prolonged axenic culture

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The free-living, but potentially pathogenic, bacteriovorous amoebae of the genus Acanthamoeba can be easily grown axenically in a laboratory culture. This, however, often leads to considerable losses in virulence, and encystment capacity, and to changes in drug susceptibility. We evaluated potential options for a reactivation of a number of physiological properties, attenuated by prolonged axenic laboratory culture, including encystment potential, protease activity, heat resistance, growth rates and drug susceptibility against N-chlorotaurine (NCT). Toward this end, a strain that had been grown axenically for 10 years was repeatedly passaged on human HEp-2 cell monolayers or treated with 5′-azacytidine (AzaC), a methyltransferase inhibitor, and trichostatin A (TSA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, in order to uplift epigenetic gene regulation. Culture on human cell monolayers resulted in significantly enhanced encystment potentials and protease activities, and higher susceptibility against NCT, whereas the resistance against heat shock was not altered. Treatment with AzaC/TSA resulted in increased encystment rates and protease activities, indicating the participation of epigenetic mechanisms. However, lowered resistances against heat shock indicate that possible stress responses to AzaC/TSA have to be taken into account. Repeated growth on human cell monolayers appears to be a potential method to reactivate attenuated characteristics in Acanthamoeba. © 2009 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.




Koehsler, M., Leitsch, D., Duchêne, M., Nagl, M., & Walochnik, J. (2009). Acanthamoeba castellanii : GGrowth on human cell layers reactivates attenuated properties after prolonged axenic culture. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 299(2), 121–127.

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