Cellulose degradation: a therapeutic strategy in the improved treatment of Acanthamoeba infections

Sahreena Lakhundi, Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui, Naveed Ahmed Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Acanthamoeba is an opportunistic free-living amoeba that can cause blinding keratitis and fatal brain infection. Early diagnosis, followed by aggressive treatment is a pre-requisite in the successful treatment but even then the prognosis remains poor. A major drawback during the course of treatment is the ability of the amoeba to enclose itself within a shell (a process known as encystment), making it resistant to chemotherapeutic agents. As the cyst wall is partly made of cellulose, thus cellulose degradation offers a potential therapeutic strategy in the effective targeting of trophozoite encased within the cyst walls. Here, we present a comprehensive report on the structure of cellulose and cellulases, as well as known cellulose degradation mechanisms with an eye to target the Acanthamoeba cyst wall. The disruption of the cyst wall will make amoeba (concealed within) susceptible to chemotherapeutic agents, and at the very least inhibition of the excystment process will impede infection recurrence, as we bring these promising drug targets into focus so that they can be explored to their fullest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalParasites & Vectors
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2015


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Cyst formation
  • Cyst wall
  • Cellulose


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