Antigens of selected Acanthamoeba species detected with monoclonal antibodies

Marian L. Turner, Emma J. Cockerell, Helen M. Brereton, Paul R. Badenoch, Melinda Tea, Douglas J. Coster, Keryn A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Acanthamoeba species are ubiquitous soil and freshwater protozoa that have been associated with infections of the human brain, skin, lungs and eyes. Our aim was to develop specific antibodies to aid in rapid and specific diagnosis of clinically important isolates. Mice were variously immunised with live mixtures of Acanthamoeba castellanii strain 112 (AC112) trophozoites and cysts, or with sonicated, formalin-fixed or heat-treated trophozoites, or with a trophozoite membrane preparation. Eight hybridoma cell lines secreting monoclonal antibodies reactive with A. castellanii epitopes were generated. Seven of the new antibodies (designated AMEC1-3 and MTAC1-4) were isotyped as IgMκ and one (MTAC5) as IgG1κ. All of the novel antibodies bound to AC112 cysts, and MTAC4 and MTAC5 also bound to trophozoites as measured by flow cytometry on unfixed cells. Single chain antibody fragments that retained parental antibody binding characteristics were engineered from three of the hybridomas (AMEC1, MTAC3 and MTAC4). Four monoclonal antibodies (AMEC1, AMEC3, MTAC1, MTAC3) bound reliably to unfixed cysts of clinical isolates of A. castellanii (two strains) and Acanthamoeba polyphaga (two strains), belonging to Pussard-Pons morphological group II, and to Acanthamoeba lenticulata and Acanthamoeba culbertsoni, belonging to Pussard-Pons morphological group III. None of the antibodies bound to cysts or trophozoites of the environmental group I species, Acanthamoeba tubiashi. Antibodies AMEC1, MTAC3, MTAC4 and MTAC5 reacted with buffered formalin-fixed AC112 by immunohistochemistry, and also stained Acanthamoeba in sections of infected rat cornea and buffered formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded infected human cornea. These antibodies may be useful in diagnosing pathogenic Acanthamoeba species in clinical specimens, provided that cysts are present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-990
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Cornea
  • Cyst
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Trophozoite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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