Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV) is a giant virus from the Mimiviridae family. It has many unusual features, such as a pseudoicosahedral capsid that presents a starfish shape in one of its vertices, through which the ϳ1.2-Mb double-stranded DNA is released. It also has a dense glycoprotein fibril layer covering the capsid that has not yet been functionally characterized. Here, we verified that although these structures are not essential for viral replication, they are truly necessary for viral adhesion to amoebae, its natural host. In the absence of fibrils, APMV had a significantly lower level of attachment to the Acanthamoeba castellanii surface. This adhesion is mediated by glycans, specifically, mannose and N-acetylglucosamine (a monomer of chitin and peptidoglycan), both of which are largely distributed in nature as structural components of several organisms. Indeed, APMV was able to attach to different organisms, such as Gram-positive bacteria, fungi, and arthropods, but not to Gram-negative bacteria. This prompted us to predict that (i) arthropods, mainly insects, might act as mimivirus dispersers and (ii) by attaching to other microorganisms, APMV could be ingested by amoebae, leading to the successful production of viral progeny. To date, this mechanism has never been described in the virosphere. IMPORTANCEAPMV is a giant virus that is both genetically and structurally complex. Its size is similar to that of small bacteria, and it replicates inside amoebae. The viral capsid is covered by a dense glycoprotein fibril layer, but its function has remained unknown, until now. We found that the fibrils are not essential for mimivirus replication but that they are truly necessary for viral adhesion to the cell surface. This interaction is mediated by glycans, mainly N-acetylglucosamine. We also verified that APMV is able to attach to bacteria, fungi, and arthropods. This indicates that insects might act as mimivirus dispersers and that adhesion to other microorganisms could facilitate viral ingestion by amoebae, a mechanism never before described in the virosphere.
Amoebae of the genus Acanthamoeba are free-living protozoa that can cause granulomatous encephalitis and keratitis in humans. In this study, four clinical and three household dust isolates obtained in Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil were characterized by their morphological, genotypic, and physiological properties. All isolates belonged to group II according to Pussard and Pons' cyst morphology. Analysis of their 18S rDNA sequence identified one isolate from household dust as genotype T11 and the others six samples as genotype T4. Five T4 isolates presented a highly variable region (DF3) in 18S rDNA identical to those previously described. Physiological assays carried out with trophozoites in co-culture with bacteria or in axenic conditions showed all samples tolerated temperatures up to 37°C, regardless of culture method. One keratitis isolate grew at 42°C in co-culture with bacteria. Most isolates in co-culture survived at 1.0M, except a T11 isolate, which tolerated up to 0.5M. The isolates did not grow at 42°C and did not tolerate 0.5M and 1.0M under axenic condition. This is the first report of 18S rRNA gene genotyping applied to Acanthamoeba isolated from keratitis patients in Brazil. The results also indicated that osmo-tolerance is dependent on the culture system.
In the past years, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have become an important field of research since EVs have been found to play a central role in biological processes. In pathogens, EVs are involved in several events during the host–pathogen interaction, including invasion, immunomodulation, and pathology as well as parasite–parasite communication. In this report, we summarised the role of EVs in infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths based on the talks and discussions carried out during the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) workshop held in São Paulo (November, 2016), Brazil, entitled Cross-organism Communication by Extracellular Vesicles: Hosts, Microbes and Parasites.
Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living amoebas distributed worldwide. Few studies have explored the interactions between these protozoa and their infecting giant virus, Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV). Here we show that, once the amoebal encystment is triggered, trophozoites become significantly resistant to APMV. Otherwise, upon infection, APMV is able to interfere with the expression of a serine proteinase related to amoebal encystment and the encystment can no longer be triggered. Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living amoebas found in a variety of environments and distributed worldwide (1-3). The life cycle of the amoebas involves two cellular forms: one that is metabolically active, known as the trophozoite form, and a dormant form, called the cyst, that is also responsible for promoting resistance in adverse environments (3). In natural environments, members of Acanthamoeba spp. are hosts and reservoirs for many microorganisms, including pathogenic bacteria and yeasts (4-7). Recently, the study of members of the Acanthamoeba genus has gained increased attention since the description of them as natural hosts for viruses of the Mimiviridae family, which are among the largest and most complex viruses described to date (8). Despite the recent interest in both organisms, there are few studies focusing on the interactions between Acanthamoeba spp. and the infecting mimivirus (9, 10). Thus, the objective of this study was to analyze the interactions between Acanthamoeba spp. and Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV) in response to encystment stimulation that may commonly happen in the natural environment.First, we performed a one-step growth curve analysis to compare the levels of replication of APMV at the amoebal trophozoite and cyst stages. Acanthamoeba castellanii cells (ATCC 30234) were seeded on 24-well microplates (Corning Incorporated, Corning, NY) in phosphate-amoeba saline (PAS) at 10 5 cells per well. The cells (cysts or trophozoites) were then infected with APMV at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10, collected at different time points, and titrated as described before (8). All experiments were performed three times in triplicate. APMV was unable to infect cysts of A. castellanii, given that final viral titers remained close to the initial inoculum titer, revealing no viral replication (Fig. 1A). On the other hand, when trophozoites were infected, the viral progeny titer increased about 2.5 logs (500-fold) 24 h postinfection and evident cytopathic effect was observed (Fig. 1A). These results were confirmed by electron microscopy (12 h postinfection). APMV morphogenesis, including the presence of mature virions, was observed in trophozoites (Fig. 1B), while no virions could be seen inside the cysts (Fig. 1C).Next, we investigated if the stimulation of encystment affects APMV infection of amoebas. Amoebal trophozoites were infected with APMV after being incubated in Neff saline solution (Neff) to trigger encystment. Trophozoites were transferred to 24-well microplates, at 10 5 cells per we...
Occurrence of Acanthamoeba in the hospital environment may represent a health risk for patients, since these organisms can cause severe opportunistic illness, such as keratitis, and also can harbor pathogenic agents. We analyzed the dust from some environments of a public hospital in Curitiba, Parana State, Brazil. Two distinct populations of Acanthamoeba were isolated in five locations and morphologically classified as group I and group II according to Pussard and Pons. Isolates were identified as Acanthamoeba by PCR using primers to amplify a region of 18S rDNA, which showed variation in the product length among the isolates. A cloned culture of group II showed greater growth at 37 degrees C and in media with 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 M mannitol, which are the physiological characteristics of pathogenic Acanthamoeba. Monitoring the presence of Acanthamoeba in hospital units, as well as evaluating the pathogenicity of the isolates, can be an approach to alert the health professionals to improve the disinfection procedures and minimize the risks of treating this problematic disease caused by this protozoan.
In the present work, assays were performed to compare the efficacy of hypochlorous acid, chlorine dioxide, and ozone in the inactivation of Cryptosporidium oocyst in public water supply from Brazilian South conditions. Experiments were carried out in samples containing 2 x 10(4) oocysts/ml of C. parvum purified from feces of experimentally contaminated calves. An in vitro excystation method was used to evaluate oocysts' viability and to determine the inactivation rates of hypochlorous acid at 2 ppm, chlorine dioxide at 1, 2, and 5 ppm, and ozone at the doses of 0.18, 0.24, 0.36, 0.48, and 1.44 mg/l. By using hypochlorous acid, the maximum inactivation rate obtained was 49.04% after 120 min. Chlorine dioxide at 5 ppm inactivated 90.56% of oocysts after 90 min of contact. Ozone was the most effective product, rendering an inactivation of 100% with the concentration of 24 mg/l. Resistance of Cryptosporidium to the usual disinfectants and the need for more effective water treatments to prevent waterborne diseases in Brazil are discussed in this manuscript.
Proinflammatory cytokines have been shown to activate endothelial cells. To investigate the effect of cytokines on the interaction of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, cells were treated with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) plus tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) for 24 hr and exposed to P. aeruginosa suspension for 1 hr. Light microscopy showed that activated cells internalized significantly more bacteria than control cells. To ascertain the effect of cytokines on the microbicidal activity of HUVEC, the concentrations of viable intracellular (IC) bacteria in control and activated cells were determined, at 1 and 5 hr postinfection, by the gentamicin exclusion assay. In control cells, no significant decrease in the concentration of bacteria was detected 5 hr postinfection. In contrast, in activated cells the concentration of viable bacteria at 5 hr was significantly lower. Concentrations of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide detected in supernatants of activated cells were significantly higher than in control cell supernatants. HUVEC anti-P. aeruginosa activity was insensitive to the antioxidants superoxide dismutase, dimethylthiourea and allopurinol as well as to the L-arginine analogues aminoguanidine and NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), but was significantly inhibited by catalase. Our results indicate that HUVEC can be activated by IFN-gamma plus TNF-alpha to kill IC P. aeruginosa and suggest a role for reactive oxygen radicals, notably hydrogen peroxide, in HUVEC antibacterial activity.
SUMMARYTwo xenic isolates and cloned cultures of Entamoeba dispar were submitted to monoxenization using Crithidia fasciculata as the associated organism. Growth in monoxenic cultivation and ability of xenic and monoxenic trophozoites to destroy VERO cells and produce lesions in hamster livers were compared to those of a virulent E. histolytica. Parental and cloned E. dispar under monoxenic cultivation showed a remarkable lower growth than the monoxenic E. histolytica and were avirulent in both in vivo and in vitro tests. When xenically cultured, trophozoites of E. dispar showed a moderate lytic activity against VERO cells (1.5 to 41.8% of destruction) but caused severe hepatic lesions in hamsters as those caused by the virulent E. histolytica (29 to 100% in prevalence and 0.86 to 4.00 in lesion degree). Although E. dispar has not been associated with invasive disease in men, the ability of xenic trophozoites to produce prominent tissue damage in experimental conditions has indicated that some strains have a considerable pathogenic potential when in presence of bacteria.
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