Parasitology

Review Article

Acanthamoeba differentiation: a two-faced drama of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

RUQAIYYAH SIDDIQUIa1, RICKY DUDLEYa2 and NAVEED AHMED KHANa1 c1

a1 Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

a2 School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

SUMMARY

The ability of cyst-forming protists such as Acanthamoeba to escape death by transforming into a cyst form, that is resistant to harsh physiological, environmental and pharmacological conditions, has continued to pose a serious challenge to human and animal health. A complete understanding of the fundamental principles of genome evolution and biochemical pathways of cellular differentiation offers unprecedented opportunities to counter detrimental outcomes. Acanthamoeba can elude inhospitable conditions by forming cysts. Here we unravel the processes involved in the phenotypic switching of Acanthamoeba, which are critical in our efforts to find potential targets for chemotherapy.

(Received September 02 2011)

(Revised September 26 2011)

(Revised November 01 2011)

(Accepted December 22 2011)

(Online publication February 06 2012)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan. Tel: +92 (0)21 3486 4540. Fax: +92 (0)21 3493 4294. E-mail: Naveed5438@gmail.com

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