Targeting CNS related protist pathogens: Calcium ion dependency in the brain-eating amoebae

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Of the free-living amoebae (FLA) Naegleria fowleri, Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Acanthamoeba spp. are known to cause encephalitis. Coined with the term "brain-eating amoebae" (BEA), infection of the central nervous system with FLA has a high mortality rate. A combination of diagnostic delay, lack of new drug development, and incomplete understanding of the dependencies of FLA have resulted in the failure of introducing safer and effective drugs. We inferred that being a shape-changing entity the FLA should have a dependency on calcium (Ca2+) ions that could be targeted to cripple the pathogenicity of the FLA. We used genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic information available on FLA in online databases to evidence the presence of various Ca2+ion influx regulating channels, reviewing adapter proteins at first and then targeting human-like voltage-gated Ca2+ channels with nifedipine and verapamil that are used clinically for noninfectious diseases to see their effect in trophozoites of Acanthamoeba spp. in particular.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

ACS Chemical Neuroscience