Effect of embelin on inhibition of cell growth and induction of apoptosis in Acanthamoeba castellanii

Usman Ahmed, Seng-Kai Ong, Khalid Mohammed Khan, Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui, Naveed Ahmed Khan, Mohd Farooq Shaikh, Bader Saleem Alawfi, Ayaz Anwar

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Acanthamoeba castellanii is the causative agent of fatal encephalitis and blinding keratitis. Current therapies remain a challenge, hence there is a need to search for new therapeutics. Here, we tested embelin (EMB) and silver nanoparticles doped with embelin (EMB-AgNPs) against A. castellanii. Using amoebicidal assays, the results revealed that both compounds inhibited the viability of Acanthamoeba, having an IC50 of 27.16 ± 0.63 and 13.63 ± 1.08 μM, respectively, while causing minimal cytotoxicity against HaCaT cells in vitro. The findings suggest that both samples induced apoptosis through the mitochondria-mediated pathway. Differentially expressed genes analysis showed that 652 genes were uniquely expressed in treated versus untreated cells, out of which 191 were significantly regulated in the negative control vs. conjugate. Combining the analysis, seven genes (ARIH1, RAP1, H3, SDR16C5, GST, SRX1, and PFN) were highlighted as the most significant (Log2 (FC) value ± 4) for the molecular mode of action in vitro. The KEGG analysis linked most of the genes to apoptosis, the oxidative stress signaling pathway, cytochrome P450, Rap1, and the oxytocin signaling pathways. In summary, this study provides a thorough framework for developing therapeutic agents against microbial infections using EMB and EMB-AgNPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number360
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2023


  • Acanthamoeba castellanii
  • Metal Nanoparticles
  • Silver/pharmacology
  • Apoptosis


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