Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Francine Marciano-Cabral


Naegleria fowleri, a free-living ameba, is the causative agent of Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis. Highly-pathogenic mouse-passaged amebae (Mp) and weakly-pathogenic axenically-grown (Ax) N. fowleri were examined for peptidase activity. Zymography and azocasein peptidase activity assays demonstrated that Mp and Ax N. fowleri exhibited a similar peptidase pattern. Prominent for whole cell lysates, membranes and conditioned medium from Mp and Ax amebae were the presence of an activity band of approximately 58kDa and 100 kDa bands susceptible to the action of cysteine and metallopeptidase inhibitors, respectively. Further roles of the peptidases during the invasion process were examined by in vitro invasion assays in the presence of inhibitors and Cysteine and metallopeptidase inhibitors were found to greatly reduce invasion through the ECM. This study establishes a functional linkage of the expressed peptidases to the invasion process, and these peptidases may serve as a candidate target for therapeutic management of N. fowleri infection.


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