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Bioengineering 2019, 6(1), 13;

Extracellular Vesicles from the Protozoa Acanthamoeba castellanii: Their Role in Pathogenesis, Environmental Adaptation and Potential Applications

Departamento de Microbiologia e Parasitologia, Instituto Biomédico, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro 24210-130, Brazil
Departamento de Imunologia, Instituto de Microbiologia Professor Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 21941-970, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 26 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Vesicles: From Biology to Biomedical Applications)
PDF [2680 KB, uploaded 1 February 2019]


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membranous compartments of distinct cellular origin and biogenesis, displaying different sizes and include exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies. The EVs have been described in almost every living organism, from simple unicellular to higher evolutionary scale multicellular organisms, such as mammals. Several functions have been attributed to these structures, including roles in energy acquisition, cell-to-cell communication, gene expression modulation and pathogenesis. In this review, we described several aspects of the recently characterized EVs of the protozoa Acanthamoeba castellanii, a free-living amoeba (FLA) of emerging epidemiological importance, and compare their features to other parasites’ EVs. These A. castellanii EVs are comprised of small microvesicles and exosomes and carry a wide range of molecules involved in many biological processes like cell signaling, carbohydrate metabolism and proteolytic activity, such as kinases, glucanases, and proteases, respectively. Several biomedical applications of these EVs have been proposed lately, including their use in vaccination, biofuel production, and the pharmaceutical industry, such as platforms for drug delivery. View Full-Text
Keywords: Acanthamoeba castellanii; pathogenesis; adaptation; applications; extracellular vesicles Acanthamoeba castellanii; pathogenesis; adaptation; applications; extracellular vesicles

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Gonçalves, D.S.; Ferreira, M.S.; Guimarães, A.J. Extracellular Vesicles from the Protozoa Acanthamoeba castellanii: Their Role in Pathogenesis, Environmental Adaptation and Potential Applications. Bioengineering 2019, 6, 13.

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