Phospholipase activities in clinical and environmental isolates of Acanthamoeba.

Research paper by Abdul A Matin, Suk-Yul SY Jung

Indexed on: 05 Apr '11Published on: 05 Apr '11Published in: The Korean journal of parasitology


The pathogenesis and pathophysiology of Acanthamoeba infections remain incompletely understood. Phospholipases are known to cleave phospholipids, suggesting their possible involvement in the host cell plasma membrane disruption leading to host cell penetration and lysis. The aims of the present study were to determine phospholipase activities in Acanthamoeba and to determine their roles in the pathogenesis of Acanthamoeba. Using an encephalitis isolate (T1 genotype), a keratitis isolate (T4 genotype), and an environmental isolate (T7 genotype), we demonstrated that Acanthamoeba exhibited phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) and phospholipase D (PLD) activities in a spectrophotometry-based assay. Interestingly, the encephalitis isolates of Acanthamoeba exhibited higher phospholipase activities as compared with the keratitis isolates, but the environmental isolates exhibited the highest phospholipase activities. Moreover, Acanthamoeba isolates exhibited higher PLD activities compared with the PLA(2). Acanthamoeba exhibited optimal phospholipase activities at 37℃ and at neutral pH indicating their physiological relevance. The functional role of phospholipases was determined by in vitro assays using human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), which constitute the blood-brain barrier. We observed that a PLD-specific inhibitor, i.e., compound 48/80, partially inhibited Acanthamoeba encephalitis isolate cytotoxicity of the host cells, while PLA(2)-specific inhibitor, i.e., cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine, had no effect on parasite-mediated HBMEC cytotoxicity. Overall, the T7 exhibited higher phospholipase activities as compared to the T4. In contract, the T7 exhibited minimal binding to, or cytotoxicity of, HBMEC.