Labeled Trichoderma reesei cellulase as a marker for Acanthamoeba cyst wall cellulose in infected tissues

M. Derda (Corresponding Author), J. Winiecka-Krusnell, Markus Linder, E. Linder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Some protozoans are able to encyst as a protective response to a harmful environment. The cyst wall usually contains chitin as its main structural constituent. Acanthamoeba is an exception since its cyst wall contains cellulose. Specific cytochemical differentiation between cellulose and chitin by microscopy has not been possible due to the similarity of the constituent β-1,4-linked hexose backbones of these molecules. Thus, various fluorescent brightening agents and lectins bind to both cellulose and chitin. The identification of Acanthamoeba spp., which is based primarily on morphological and biochemical features, is labor-intensive and requires cloning and axenization. We describe a novel immunocytochemical method for identification of Acanthamoeba spp. based on selective binding of Trichoderma reesei cellulase to protozoan cyst wall cellulose. A recombinant cellulose-binding protein consisting of two cellulose-binding domains (CBDs) from T. reesei cellulases was coupled to the fluorescent dyes Alexa Fluor 350 and Alexa Fluor 568 or was labeled with biotin using EZ-Link sulfo-NHS-biotin. No staining reaction was observed with chitin-containing preparations of fungi. Thus, the recombinant CBDs can be used as a marker to distinguish between cellulose and chitin. This allows rapid identification of Acanthamoeba cyst wall cellulose in paraffin or frozen sections of infected tissues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6827-6830
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • parasites
  • infected tissues
  • Trichoderma reesei
  • cellulase
  • fungal cellulase
  • Acanthamoeba
  • cyst wall cellulose
  • cellulose binding
  • cellulose-binding domain


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