Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Wendy Trzyna

Second Advisor

Elmer Price

Third Advisor

Gary Schultz


Acanthamoeba castellanii, classified as a free living protist, are found in abundance in fresh water, filtered water, and soil, feeding upon bacteria in their environment. The pathogenic strain of this organism can cause either Acanathamoeba keratitis that targets eyes, or more rarely, granulomatous amoebic encephalitis, with immunocompromised individuals most at risk. Acanthamoeba castellanii are characterized by their two different stages: the trophozoite, which is the growing and dividing form, and the cyst form, which is the dormant stage. The cyst stage is highly resistant to harsh environmental conditions due to the double layer cell wall made largely of cellulose. It is not known exactly what controls encystment at the molecular level. Prior studies in this laboratory have shown that metacaspase may be involved in the process. The intracellular location of metacaspase in the cell will provide insight as to its function. This study will be done through immunolocalization on fixed permeabilized Acanthamoeba cells using polyclonal antibodies specific for metacaspase. The specificity of the antibody for metacaspase will first be evaluated on western blots. Insights gained as to the function of metacaspase in Acanthamoeba will be widely applicable to related processes in other systems that also have metacaspases or related proteins.


Acanthamoeba castellanii

Included in

Parasitology Commons