Acanthamoeba, an environmental phagocyte enhancing survival and transmission of human pathogens

Binod Rayamajhee*, Mark D.P. Willcox*, Fiona L. Henriquez, Constantinos Petsoglou, Dinesh Subedi, Nicole Carnt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The opportunistic protist Acanthamoeba, which interacts with other microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, shows significant similarity in cellular and functional aspects to human macrophages. Intracellular survival of microbes in this microbivorous amoebal host may be a crucial step for initiation of infection in higher eukaryotic cells. Therefore, Acanthamoeba–microbe adaptations are considered an evolutionary model of macrophage–pathogen interactions. This paper reviews Acanthamoeba as an emerging human pathogen and different ecological interactions between Acanthamoeba and microbes that may serve as environmental training grounds and a genetic melting pot for the evolution, persistence, and transmission of potential human pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-990
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number11
Early online date12 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


  • evolution
  • grazing resistance
  • microbial symbiosis
  • phagocytosis
  • predation
  • virulence factors


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