Exp Parasitol 2019 May 24;200:48-54. Epub 2019 Mar 24.
Division of Molecular Biology & Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Free-living amoebae belong to the genus Acanthamoeba; can feed on microbial population by phagocytosis, and with the capability to act as a reservoir and a vehicle of microorganisms to susceptible host. Therefore, the role of endosymbiosis in the pathogenesis of Acanthamoeba is complex and not fully understood. The aim of the present study was to identify bacterial, fungal, and human adenovirus (HADV) endosymbionts as well as evaluating the endosymbionts role of such organisms in the pathogenesis of Acanthamoeba in keratitis patients living in Iran. Fifteen Acanthamoeba (T4 genotype) isolates were recovered from corneal scrapes and contact lenses of patients with keratitis. Cloning and purification was performed for all isolate. Gram staining was performed to identify bacterial endosymbionts. DNA extraction, PCR, and nested PCR was set up to identify endosymbiont of amoeba. Evaluation of pathogenicity was conducted by osmo-tolerance and thermo-tolerance assays and cell culture, and then CPE (cytopathic effect) was survey. Statistical analysis was used between Acanthamoeba associated endosymbionts and Acanthamoeba without endosymbiont at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h. A p value < 0.05 was considered as significant, statistically. A total of 9 (60%) Acanthamoeba (T4 genotypes) isolates were successfully cloned for detecting microorganism endosymbionts. The only isolate negative for the presence of endosymbiont was ICS9. ICS7 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Aspergillus sp., and human adenovirus endosymbionts) and ICS2 (Escherichia coli endosymbiont) isolates were considered as Acanthamoeba associated endosymbionts. ICS7 and ICS2 isolates were highly pathogen whereas ICS9 isolate showed low pathogenicity in pathogenicity evaluated. Positive CPE for ICS7 and ICS2 isolates and negative CPE for ICS9 isolate were observed in cell culture. The average number of cells, trophozoites, and cysts among ICS7, ICS2, and ICS9 isolates at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h was significant. This is the first survey on microbial endosymbionts of Acanthamoeba in keratitis patients of Iran, and also the first report of Aspergillus sp, Achromobacter sp., Microbacterium sp., Brevibacillus sp, Brevundimonas sp and Mastadenovirus sp in Acanthamoeba as endosymbionts. Our study demonstrated that microbial endosymbionts can affect the pathogenicity of Acanthamoeba; however, further research is required to clarify the exact pattern of symbiosis, in order to modify treatment protocol.