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J Protozool. 1986 Nov;33(4):498-502.

Cytolytic activity of Naegleria fowleri cell-free extract.


The cytotoxic activity of a cell-free extract of Naegleria fowleri amebae on B103 rat nerve cells in culture was investigated. The cell-free extract was prepared by subjecting lysed amebae to centrifugation at 100,000 g for 1 h, precipitation of the supernatant fluid with 30-60% saturated ammonium sulfate, and desalting by group exclusion chromatography utilizing Sephadex G-25. The supernatant fluid recovered from this procedure was termed the soluble fraction. The Naegleria cytotoxic activity present in the soluble fraction was assayed by 51Cr released from labeled B103 cells. The Naegleria soluble fraction, when added to nerve cells, elicited blebs on the B103 target cell surface within 5 min after exposure to the fraction. Later, holes were observed in the B103 cell plasma membrane. These alterations were never observed on untreated B103 cells. Phospholipase A, phospholipase C, and protease activities were associated with the desalted ammonium sulfate-precipitable cytotoxic activity of N. fowleri cell-free lysate. The cytotoxic activity was impaired by ethylenediamine-tetraacetate (EDTA), phospholipase A inhibitor (Rosenthal's reagent), heating at 50 degrees C for 15 min, or incubation at pH 10 for 60 min. Repeated freeze-thawing and inhibitors of proteolytic enzymes had no effect on the cytotoxic activity. Small amounts of ethanol (5% v/v) enhanced cytotoxic activity of the fraction. Phospholipases A and C, as well as other as yet unidentified cytolytic factors may be responsible for producing 51Cr release from target cells by the soluble fraction of N. fowleri extracts.

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