Environmental adaptation of Acanthamoeba castellanii and Entamoeba histolytica at genome level as seen by comparative genomic analysis

Int J Biol Sci. 2018 Feb 12;14(3):306-320. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.23869. eCollection 2018.


Amoebozoans are in many aspects interesting research objects, as they combine features of single-cell organisms with complex signaling and defense systems, comparable to multicellular organisms. Acanthamoeba castellanii is a cosmopolitan species and developed diverged feeding abilities and strong anti-bacterial resistance; Entamoeba histolytica is a parasitic amoeba, who underwent massive gene loss and its genome is almost twice smaller than that of A. castellanii. Nevertheless, both species prosper, demonstrating fitness to their specific environments. Here we compare transcriptomes of A. castellanii and E. histolytica with application of orthologs' search and gene ontology to learn how different life strategies influence genome evolution and restructuring of physiology. A. castellanii demonstrates great metabolic activity and plasticity, while E. histolytica reveals several interesting features in its translational machinery, cytoskeleton, antioxidant protection, and nutritional behavior. In addition, we suggest new features in E. histolytica physiology that may explain its successful colonization of human colon and may facilitate medical research.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba castellanii; Entamoeba histolytica; Life strategy; comparative genomics; genomic adaptation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba castellanii / genetics*
  • Acanthamoeba castellanii / physiology*
  • Actins / genetics
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / genetics*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Protozoan
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcriptome


  • Actins