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Acanthamoeba is a microscopic protozoan free-living amoeba that can cause a rare, yet serious condition called acanthamoeba keratitis.
The first 200 words of this essay...
Dr. Mindy Rouzer
Human Biology 110
24 January 2012
Acanthamoeba is a microscopic protozoan free-living amoeba that can cause a rare, yet serious condition called acanthamoeba keratitis. The term 'acanthamoeba' has a literal definition meaning, "spiny amoeba," which is of Latin origin. Acanthamoeba is a unique parasite because of the severe infections it causes in humans. A free-living organism is different from other parasitic organisms because it is able to live on its own (hence the grouping: free-living), drawing its food from external sources independently from others in regards to its' survival. A parasitic organism, on the other hand, is dependent upon its host for survival. Acanthamoeba does not have a human carrier state, nor does it employ an insect vector. The question remains: How does this parasite make its way into the human body?
Acanthamoeba keratitis is caused when the amoeba infects the transparent, outer covering of the eye, known as the cornea. Once past this fibrous membrane, the parasite binds itself to the mannose glycoprotein's within the corneal epithelium. After binding, the Acanthamoeba secretes proteins as well as proteases - enzymes that break down proteins and peptides; the proteins
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