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J Med Microbiol. 1994 Feb;40(2):148-54.

Differential binding capacity and internalisation of bacterial substrates as factors in growth rate of Acanthamoeba spp.

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Clinical Microbiology Laboratories, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY 10029.


Acanthamoeba spp. are free-living predators that selectively feed on bacteria. Adherence of the bacterial food source to the trophozoite membrane is followed by internalisation and digestion. Through co-cultivation of A. castellanii and A. polyphaga, individually, with Xanthomonas maltophilia, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (despite the amoebicidal properties of the latter organism), specificity with regard to the preferred bacterial substrate was judged. X. maltophilia and P. aeruginosa adhered almost immediately forming a multilayered mantle of bacilli around trophozoites of both species of amoebae. E. coli adhered to fewer trophozoites and in smaller numbers. X. maltophilia was readily internalised after co-cultivation for 8 h, whereas P. aeruginosa, E. coli and S. epidermidis were not internalised even after co-cultivation for 24 h. These data suggest that the suitability of a bacterial food source for the Acanthamoeba spp. studied is associated not only with the proclivity with which the bacterial species binds to the trophozoite surface, but also with the rate of its internalisation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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