Isolation and molecular characterization of Acanthamoeba genotypes isolated from soil sources of public and recreational areas in Iran
Pathogenic strains of Acanthamoeba are causative agents of a sight threating infection of the cornea known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. AK cases have been reported in Iran recently due to inappropriate usage of contact lens maintenance and most patients report a contact with contaminated sources such as dust, water or soil. Sixty soil samples were collected from public and recreational areas in the province of East Azerbaijan, Iran and checked for the presence of Acanthamoeba spp. Samples were cultured on non-nutrient agar plates seeded with heat killed Escherichia coli. PCR and sequencing of the DF3 region were carried out in order to genotype the isolated strains of Acanthamoeba. Thermotolerance and osmotolerance assays were performed in order to investigate the pathogenic potential of isolated Acanthamoeba strains. Acanthamoeba spp. was isolated from 41.6% of soil samples and genotyping of the strains resulted in the identification of genotypes T3, T4, T5 and T11. Most of the isolates belonging to genotypes T3 and T4 showed high pathogenic potential, indicating that they might present a potential health hazard for humans and other animals in this region. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the identification of genotypes T3 and T11 from soil sources in the country.
KeywordsAcanthamoeba spp. Iran soil
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