Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii can exploit Acanthamoeba castellanii for growth

Med Mycol. 2004 Apr;42(2):149-58. doi: 10.1080/13693786310001616500.


It has recently been proposed that the origin and maintenance of virulence in certain environmental fungi is influenced by their interactions with non-vertebrate hosts such as amoebae and nematodes. In prior studies we have shown that the interactions of the soil amoebae Acanthamoeba castellanii with Cryptococcus neoformans varieties neoformans and grubii resemble those with macrophages. Here we extend those studies to C. neoformans variety gattii and describe quantitative differences in the type and outcome of the interactions observed relative to the other varieties. C. neoformans var. gattii proliferated in the presence of A. castellanii but the interaction was primarily extracellular with a paucity of phagocytic events. Experiments with acapsular cells coated with polysaccharide suggest that differences in the capsule structure may be responsible for the different interactions between cells of varieties neoformans, grubii, and gattii with amoebae. The ability of C. neoformans var. gattii to exploit amoebae indicates that despite major biological differences between C. neoformans varieties, all retain the ability to be pathogenic for A. castellanii.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / microbiology*
  • Acanthamoeba / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / classification
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / genetics
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / growth & development*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / isolation & purification
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / pathogenicity
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Virulence