Article: article from journal or magazin.
Amoebae as a tool to isolate new bacterial species, to discover new virulence factors and to study the host-pathogen interactions.
Publication types: Journal Article Publication Status: ppublish
Amoebae are unicellular protozoan present worldwide in several environments mainly feeding on bacteria. Some of them, the amoebae-resistant bacteria (ARBs), have evolved mechanisms to survive and replicate inside amoebal species. These mainly include legionella, mycobacteria and Chlamydia-related bacteria. Amoebae can provide a replicative niche, can act as reservoir for bacteria whereas the cystic form can protect the internalized bacteria. Moreover, the amoebae represent a Trojan horse for ARBs to infect animals. The long interaction between amoebae and bacteria has likely selected for bacterial virulence traits leading to the adaptation towards an intracellular lifestyle, and some ARBs have acquired the ability to infect mammals. This review intends to highlight the important uses of amoebae in several fields in microbiology by describing the main tools developed using amoebal cells. First, amoebae such as Acanthamoeba are used to isolate and discover new intracellular bacterial species by two main techniques: the amoebal co-culture and the amoebal enrichment. In the second part, taking Waddlia chondrophila as example, we summarize some important recent applications of amoebae to discover new bacterial virulence factors, in particular thanks to the amoebal plaque assay. Finally, the genetically tractable Dictyostelium discoideum is used as a model organism to study host-pathogen interactions, in particular with the development of several approaches to manipulate its genome that allowed the creation of a wide range of mutated strains largely shared within the Dictyostelium community.
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