Killing the dead: chemotherapeutic strategies against free-living cyst-forming protists (Acanthamoeba sp and Balamuthia mandrillaris)

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


© 2013 The Author(s) Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology © 2013 International Society of Protistologists.The opportunist free-living protists such as Acanthamoeba spp. and Balamuthia mandrillaris have become a serious threat to human life. As most available drugs target functional aspects of pathogens, the ability of free-living protists to transform into metabolically inactive cyst forms presents a challenge in treatment. It is hoped, that the development of broad spectrum antiprotist agents acting against multiple cyst-forming protists to provide target-directed inhibition will offer a viable drug strategy in the treatment of these rare infections. Here, we present a comprehensive report on upcoming drug targets, with emphasis on cyst wall biosynthesis along with the related biochemistry of encystment pathways, as we strive to bring ourselves a step closer to being able to combat these deadly diseases.


The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology