Development of an Acanthamoeba-specific Reverse Dot-Blot and the Discovery of a New Ribotype


Corresponding Author: R. Cast—Telephone number: 508-289-3209; FAX number: 508-457-2169; E-mail:


ABSTRACT. Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living amoebae, of which some speeies have been found to cause opportunistic infections in humans. The identification of these amoebae in natural and disease samples is based primarily upon morphological features. While these features are more than adequate for identification to the genus level, they are not useful for species-level identification. This not only leads to difficulty in the diagnosis of infections, but it makes an accurate assessment of the natural distribution of acanthamoebae very difficult to achieve. To improve this situation, a detection method was developed that utilizes both selective polymerase chain reaction amplification and the reverse dot-blot. Oligonucleotides were designed to be specific for the described ribosomal groups (or ribotypes) of Acanthamoeba, as well as one specific for the genus itself. When this method was used to analyze a series of Acanthamoeba cultures from Pakistan, a new ribotype was identified in addition to the detection of the ubiquitously distributed T4 type.