Silencing of xylose isomerase and cellulose synthase by siRNA inhibits encystation in Acanthamoeba castellanii

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


A key challenge in the successful treatment of Acanthamoeba infections is its ability to transform into a dormant cyst form that is resistant to physiological conditions and pharmacological therapies, resulting in recurrent infections. The carbohydrate linkage analysis of cyst walls of Acanthamoeba castellanii showed variously linked sugar residues, including xylofuranose/xylopyranose, glucopyranose, mannopyranose, and galactopyranose. Here, it is shown that exogenous xylose significantly reduced A. castellanii differentiation in encystation assays (P < 0.05 using paired t test, one-tailed distribution). Using small interfering RNA (siRNA) probes against xylose isomerase and cellulose synthase, as well as specific inhibitors, the findings revealed that xylose isomerase and cellulose synthase activities are crucial in the differentiation of A. castellanii. Inhibition of both enzymes using siRNA against xylose isomerase and cellulose synthase but not scrambled siRNA attenuated A. castellanii metamorphosis, as demonstrated by the arrest of encystation of A. castellanii. Neither inhibitor nor siRNA probes had any effect on the viability and extracellular proteolytic activities of A. castellanii.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Parasitology Research