Francisella tularensis type A Strains Cause the Rapid Encystment of Acanthamoeba castellanii and Survive in Amoebal Cysts for Three Weeks post Infection

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Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease tularemia, has recently gained increased attention due to the emergence of tularemia in geographical areas where the disease has been previously unknown, and the organism's potential as a bioterrorism agent. Although F. tularensis has an extremely broad host range, the bacterial reservoir in nature has not been conclusively identified. In this study, the ability of virulent F. tularensis strains to survive and replicate in the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii was explored. We observe that A. castellanii trophozoites rapidly encyst in response to F. tularensis infection and that this rapid encystment phenotype (REP) ... continued below

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El-Etr, S H; Margolis, J; Monack, D; Robison, R; Cohen, M; Moore, E et al. July 28, 2009.

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Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease tularemia, has recently gained increased attention due to the emergence of tularemia in geographical areas where the disease has been previously unknown, and the organism's potential as a bioterrorism agent. Although F. tularensis has an extremely broad host range, the bacterial reservoir in nature has not been conclusively identified. In this study, the ability of virulent F. tularensis strains to survive and replicate in the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii was explored. We observe that A. castellanii trophozoites rapidly encyst in response to F. tularensis infection and that this rapid encystment phenotype (REP) is caused by factor(s) secreted by amoebae and/or F. tularensis into the co-culture media. Further, our results indicate that in contrast to LVS, virulent strains of F. tularensis can survive in A. castellanii cysts for at least 3 weeks post infection and that induction of rapid amoeba encystment is essential for survival. In addition, our data indicate that pathogenic F. tularensis strains block lysosomal fusion in A. castellanii. Taken together, these data suggest that the interactions between F. tularensis strains and amoeba may play a role in the environmental persistence of F. tularensis.

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PDF-file: 47 pages; size: 9.3 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Applied Environmental Microbiology, vol. 75, no. 23, December 15, 2009, pp. 5488; Journal Volume: 75; Journal Issue: 23

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  • Report No.: LLNL-JRNL-415174
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 972428
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc934483

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  • July 28, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 6:02 p.m.

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El-Etr, S H; Margolis, J; Monack, D; Robison, R; Cohen, M; Moore, E et al. Francisella tularensis type A Strains Cause the Rapid Encystment of Acanthamoeba castellanii and Survive in Amoebal Cysts for Three Weeks post Infection, article, July 28, 2009; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc934483/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.