Acanthamoeba differentiation: a two-faced drama of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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The ability of cyst-forming protists such as Acanthamoeba to escape death by transforming into a cyst form, that is resistant to harsh physiological, environmental and pharmacological conditions, has continued to pose a serious challenge to human and animal health. A complete understanding of the fundamental principles of genome evolution and biochemical pathways of cellular differentiation offers unprecedented opportunities to counter detrimental outcomes. Acanthamoeba can elude inhospitable conditions by forming cysts. Here we unravel the processes involved in the phenotypic switching of Acanthamoeba, which are critical in our efforts to find potential targets for chemotherapy.