Korean J Parasitol.  2011 Dec;49(4):349-356. 10.3347/kjp.2011.49.4.349.

Interaction of Escherichia coli K1 and K5 with Acanthamoeba castellanii Trophozoites and Cysts

  • 1Institute of Biomedical & Genetic Engineering, PO Box 2891, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • 2Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Molecular Diagnosis Research Institute, Namseoul University, Cheonan 331-707, Korea. syjung@nsu.ac.kr


The existence of symbiotic relationships between Acanthamoeba and a variety of bacteria is well-documented. However, the ability of Acanthamoeba interacting with host bacterial pathogens has gained particular attention. Here, to understand the interactions of Escherichia coli K1 and E. coli K5 strains with Acanthamoeba castellanii trophozoites and cysts, association assay, invasion assay, survival assay, and the measurement of bacterial numbers from cysts were performed, and nonpathogenic E. coli K12 was also applied. The association ratio of E. coli K1 with A. castellanii was 4.3 cfu per amoeba for 1 hr but E. coli K5 with A. castellanii was 1 cfu per amoeba for 1 hr. By invasion and survival assays, E. coli K5 was recovered less than E. coli K1 but still alive inside A. castellanii. E. coli K1 and K5 survived and multiplied intracellularly in A. castellanii. The survival assay was performed under a favourable condition for 22 hr and 43 hr with the encystment of A. castellanii. Under the favourable condition for the transformation of trophozoites into cysts, E. coli K5 multiplied significantly. Moreover, the pathogenic potential of E. coli K1 from A. castellanii cysts exhibited no changes as compared with E. coli K1 from A. castellanii trophozoites. E. coli K5 was multiplied in A. castellanii trophozoites and survived in A. castellanii cysts. Therefore, this study suggests that E. coli K5 can use A. castellanii as a reservoir host or a vector for the bacterial transmission.


Acanthamoeba castellanii; Escherichia coli K1; Escherichia coli K5; association; invasion; survival

MeSH Terms

Acanthamoeba castellanii/*microbiology
Disease Reservoirs/*microbiology
Disease Vectors
Escherichia coli/growth & development/pathogenicity/*physiology
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