Naegleria fowleri causes a deadly infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). To our knowledge, there are very few transcriptome studies conducted on these brain-eating amoebae, despite rise in the number of cases. Although the Naegleria genome has been sequenced, currently, it is not well annotated. Transcriptome level studies are needed to help understand the pathology and biology of this fatal parasitic infection. Recently, we showed that nanoparticles loaded with the flavonoid Hesperidin (HDN) are potential novel antimicrobial agents. N. fowleri trophozoites were treated with and without HDN-conjugated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and silver only, and then, 50% minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined. The results revealed that the MIC of HDN-conjugated AgNPs was 12.5 microg/mL when treated for 3 h. As no reference genome exists for N. fowleri, de novo RNA transcriptome analysis using RNA-Seq and differential gene expression analysis was performed using the Trinity software. Analysis revealed that more than 2000 genes were differentially expressed in response to N. fowleri treatment with HDN-conjugated AgNPs. Some of the genes were linked to oxidative stress response, DNA repair, cell division, cell signalling and protein synthesis. The downregulated genes were linked with processes such as protein modification, synthesis of aromatic amino acids, when compared with untreated N. fowleri. Further transcriptome studies will lead to understanding of genetic mechanisms of the biology and pathogenesis and/or the identification of much needed drug candidates.
Brain-eating amoebae (Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri) have gained increasing attention owing to their capacity to produce severe human and animal infections involving the brain. Early detection is a pre-requisite in successful prognosis. Here, we developed a nanoPCR assay for the rapid detection of brain-eating amoebae using various nanoparticles. Graphene oxide, copper and alumina nanoparticles used in this study were characterized using Raman spectroscopy measurements through excitation with a He-Ne laser, while powder X-ray diffraction patterns were taken on a PANanalytical, X'Pert HighScore diffractometer and the morphology of the materials was confirmed using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Using nanoparticle-assisted PCR, the results revealed that graphene oxide, copper oxide and alumina nanoparticles significantly enhanced PCR efficiency in the detection of pathogenic free-living amoebae using genus-specific probes. The optimal concentration of graphene oxide, copper oxide and alumina nanoparticles for Acanthamoeba spp. was determined at 0.4, 0.04 and 0.4 μg per mL respectively. For B. mandrillaris, the optimal concentration was determined at 0.4 μg per mL for graphene oxide, copper oxide and alumina nanoparticles, and for Naegleria, the optimal concentration was 0.04, 4.0 and 0.04 μg per mL respectively. Moreover, combinations of these nanoparticles proved to further enhance PCR efficiency. The addition of metal oxide nanoparticles leads to excellent surface effect, while thermal conductivity property of the nanoparticles enhances PCR productivity. These findings suggest that nanoPCR assay has tremendous potential in the clinical diagnosis of parasitic infections as well as for studying epidemiology and pathology and environmental monitoring of other microbes.
Brain-eating amoebae (Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Naegleria fowleri) can cause opportunistic infections involving the central nervous system. It is troubling that the mortality rate is more than 90% despite advances in antimicrobial chemotherapy over the last few decades. Here, we describe urgent key priorities for improving outcomes from infections due to brain-eating amoebae.